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Van Kleeck, Mary Abby (1883–1972)

Van Kleeck, Mary Abby (1883–1972)

American reformer. Born in 1883; died in Woodstock, New York, in 1972; grew up in New York City; graduate of Smith College, 1904.

Began studies on status of working women, sponsored by Russell Sage Foundation (1908), which exerted a powerful influence on labor reform; published 1st book, Artificial Flower Makers (1913), concerning immigrant women, which was followed by Women in the Bookbinding Trade (1913), Wages in the Military Trade (1914), Working Girls in Evening Schools (1914), and A Seasonal Industry (1917); hired to advise the army Ordnance Department and to serve as a member of the War Labor Policies Board (1917), helped form the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, which she headed briefly; returned to her work with the Russell Sage Foundation (1919); served on 2 presidential commissions on unemployment; chaired the National Interracial Conference (1928); co-authored The Negro in American Civilization (1930); and presided over the International Conference of Social Work in Germany (1932); as she grew older, swung more to the political left, putting forth her views in Creative America (1936) and Technology and Livelihood (1944).

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