Switzer, Mary Elizabeth, 1900-1971

Hide Profile

Mary Elizabeth Switzer, government official, was born on February 16, 1900, to Julius F. and Margaret (Moore) Switzer of Newton, Mass. Switzer graduated from Radcliffe College in 1921 with a B.A. in international law. She moved to Washington, D.C., where her first position with the federal government was as assistant secretary to the Minimum Wage Board. She worked for the Department of the Treasury until 1953, principally for the Public Health Service and the Federal Security Agency, becoming increasingly concerned with health care issues. In 1950 she was appointed Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (which, in 1961, became the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration), overseeing its move to the newly-created Department of Health, Education and Welfare in 1953. In 1967, responsibility for all federal rehabilitation services was combined under the Social and Rehabilitation Service (SRS); Switzer became its first administrator. She retired in 1970 and became vice-president of the World Rehabilitation Fund, where she remained until her death in 1971.

During her tenure at VRA and SRS, Switzer's principal responsibilities were to publicize the government's growing role in vocational rehabilitation and to encourage and support expansion of vocational rehabilitation projects among non-government groups and agencies. Programs for the mentally retarded and severely disabled were especially emphasized. Because of her expertise, Switzer was asked to participate in such bodies as the World Health Organization and the International Society for Rehabilitation; she served as advisor to many American health organizations, including especially the Menninger Foundation and St. Elizabeth's Hospital.

In recognition of her contributions to vocational rehabilitation, Switzer received the President's Certificate of Merit (1948), the Albert Lasker Award in medicine (1960), and numerous other awards and honorary degrees. In 1973, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare dedicated the Mary Elizabeth Switzer building in Washington, D.C.

For many years, Switzer shared a house with her life-long companion, Isabella Diamond, a librarian at the Department of the Treasury. They lived in Alexandria, Va., until Switzer' death on October 16, 1971.

From the guide to the Papers, 1922-1973, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Consumers' League of Massachusetts. Records, 1891-1955 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Berkowitz, Edward. Essay, n.d. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1898-1975 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Newman, Pauline. Papers, 1903-1982 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1960-1972 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Raushenbush, Elizabeth Brandeis, 1896-1984. Papers, 1920-1967 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Hardy, Harriet Louise, 1906-. Papers, 1910-1984 (inclusive), 1924-1980 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1920-1967 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Newman, Pauline, ca. 1890-1986. Papers, 1900-1980 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Semans, James H. James H. and Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans family papers, 1925-1991. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Lawrence Arnstein Papers, 1915-1979 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Papers, 1910-1984 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Eliot, Martha M. (Martha May), b. 1891. Papers, 1870-1978 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963. Papers, 1797-1963 (inclusive), 1897-1963 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Switzer, Mary Elizabeth, 1900-. Papers, 1922-1973 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1965. Papers, 1797-1968 (bulk 1897-1968) Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Comstock, Ada Louise. Records of the President of Radcliffe College, 1923-1943 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Sage Colleges Archives. Honorary degree recipient for 1969, Mary Elizabeth Switzer. The Sage Colleges Libraries
referencedIn Records, 1891-1955 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Papers, 1922-1973 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Gladys Tilden Papers, 1875-1982 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Raushenbush, Elizabeth Brandeis. Paul A. Raushenbush and Elizabeth Brandeis Raushenbush papers, 1918-1980. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Alexandria Hospital. corporateBody
correspondedWith Allen, Rowland person
correspondedWith Allen, W. Scott person
correspondedWith Amato, David person
associatedWith American Association for the Aid of Crippled Children. corporateBody
associatedWith American Friends Service Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith American Hearing Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Mary, 1872-1964. person
associatedWith Anderson, Mary, 1873-1964 person
correspondedWith Arnstein, Lawrence, 1880-1979 person
associatedWith Arthurdale Advisory Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Arthurdale Advisory Committee. corporateBody
correspondedWith A. Ryrie Koch person
associatedWith Berkowitz, Edward. person
correspondedWith Blain, Daniel person
associatedWith Bunting, Mary Ingraham, 1910- person
correspondedWith Carroll, Thomas J. person
associatedWith Celebrezze, Anthony J. person
associatedWith Celebrezze, Anthony J., 1910- person
correspondedWith Clunk, Joseph F. person
associatedWith Comstock, Ada Louise. person
associatedWith Consumers' League of Massachusetts. corporateBody
associatedWith Copp, Tracy person
associatedWith Copp, Tracy. person
correspondedWith Corson, John person
correspondedWith Cramer, John person
correspondedWith Currier, Mary person
associatedWith Diamond, Isabella person
associatedWith Diamond, Isabella. person
correspondedWith Diehl, Harold S. person
correspondedWith Donald F. Simpson person
correspondedWith Draper, Warren F. person
associatedWith Dreier, Mary E. (Mary Elisabeth), 1875-1963. person
associatedWith Eliot, Martha M. (Martha May), b. 1891. person
associatedWith Elizabeth (Brandeis) Raushenbush, 1896-1984 person
correspondedWith Fishbein, Morris and Anna person
associatedWith Flemming, Arthur Sherwood, 1905- person
associatedWith Flemming, Arthur Sherwood, 1905- person
associatedWith Florence Crittenton Mission person
correspondedWith Fogarty, John E. person
correspondedWith Frampton, Merle E. person
associatedWith Gardner, John William, 1912- person
associatedWith Gardner, John William, 1912- person
correspondedWith Gerald W. Green person
correspondedWith Gold, Bill person
correspondedWith Gorham, William person
correspondedWith Gregg, Harry A. person
correspondedWith Greve, Bell person
associatedWith Hardy, Harriet Louise, 1906- person
associatedWith Harriet Louise Hardy, 1906- person
correspondedWith Haupt, Alma C. person
correspondedWith Head, Murdock person
correspondedWith Hendricks, Eula Susan person
associatedWith Hill, Lister, 1894- person
associatedWith Hill, Lister, 1894-1984. person
correspondedWith Huseth, Brete person
associatedWith International Society for Rehabilitation of the Disabled. corporateBody
associatedWith International Society of the Rehabilitation of the Disabled corporateBody
correspondedWith James F. Kelly person
associatedWith Jane Addams Hall of Fame Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Jane Addams Hall of Fame Committee. corporateBody
correspondedWith Johnson, Lyndon Baines person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward M. (Edward Moore), 1932-2009. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932- person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Robert Francis, 1925-1968 person
correspondedWith Klotz, Henrietta person
correspondedWith Klumpp, Theodore G. person
correspondedWith Krusen, Frank H. person
correspondedWith Lapham, Max E. person
correspondedWith Lasker, Mary (Mrs. Albert D.) person
correspondedWith Lee, Philip person
associatedWith Lenroot, Katharine F. (Katharine Fredrica), 1891-1982. person
associatedWith Lenroot, Katharine Frederica, 1891- person
correspondedWith Lisle C. Carter Jr. person
correspondedWith Louis R. Schubert person
correspondedWith Lynch, Grace person
correspondedWith Marrin, Andrew person
associatedWith MARTHA MAY ELIOT, 1891-1978 person
associatedWith MARY ELISABETH DREIER, 1875-1963 person
correspondedWith May, Elizabeth Eckhardt person
correspondedWith McCloskey, Mark A. person
correspondedWith McCormick, Helen B. person
correspondedWith McLean, Franklin D. person
associatedWith McNutt, Paul Vories, 1891-1955 person
associatedWith McNutt, Paul V. (Paul Vories), 1891-1955. person
correspondedWith Mellon, Paul person
associatedWith Menninger Foundation corporateBody
associatedWith Menninger Foundation. corporateBody
associatedWith Menninger, Karl A. (Karl Augustus), 1893- person
associatedWith Menninger, Karl Augustus, 1893- person
associatedWith Menninger, William Claire, 1899-1966 person
associatedWith Menninger, William Claire, 1899-1966. person
correspondedWith Merck, George W. person
associatedWith National Florence Crittenton Mission. corporateBody
associatedWith National Rehabilitation Association corporateBody
associatedWith National Rehabilitation Association. corporateBody
associatedWith National Technical Institute for the Deaf corporateBody
associatedWith National Technical Institute for the Deaf. corporateBody
associatedWith National Women's Trade Union League corporateBody
associatedWith National Women's Trade Union League of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Newman, Pauline. person
associatedWith Parran, Thomas, 1892-1968 person
associatedWith Parran, Thomas, 1892-1968. person
correspondedWith Paul A. Miller person
associatedWith PAULINE NEWMAN, 1888-1986 person
associatedWith Pressman, Joel J., 1901- person
associatedWith Pressman, Joel J., 1901- person
correspondedWith Pritchard, Elizabeth G. person
associatedWith Radcliffe College corporateBody
associatedWith Radcliffe College. corporateBody
associatedWith Raushenbush, Elizabeth Brandeis. person
associatedWith Raushenbush, Elizabeth (Brandeis), 1896- person
correspondedWith R. Doyle Best person
correspondedWith Reedy, Corbett person
associatedWith Ribicoff, Abraham, 1910-1998. person
associatedWith Ribicoff, Abraham A., 1910- person
correspondedWith Robert F. Meier person
associatedWith Roche, Josephine A. (Josephine Aspinwall), 1886-1976 person
associatedWith Roche, Josephine Aspinwall, 1886- person
correspondedWith Ross, Helen person
associatedWith Rusk, Howard A., 1901- person
associatedWith Rusk, Howard A., 1901- person
associatedWith Saint Elizabeths Hospital (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Salvatore G. DiMichael person
correspondedWith Sanders, Murray person
correspondedWith Schafer, Philip person
associatedWith Scheele, Leonard Andrew, 1907- person
associatedWith Scheele, Leonard Andrew, 1907-1993 person
correspondedWith Schuck, Franz person
correspondedWith Schwitalla, Alphonse M. person
correspondedWith Semans, James and Mary person
associatedWith Service Bureau for Women's Organizations corporateBody
associatedWith Service Bureau for Women's Organizations. corporateBody
associatedWith Shriver, Eunice Kennedy, 1921- person
associatedWith Shriver, Eunice Mary (Kennedy), 1921(?)- person
associatedWith Shriver, Robert Sargent, Jr., 1915- person
associatedWith Shriver, Sargent, 1915- person
correspondedWith Sinai, Nathan person
correspondedWith Stanley C. Hedstrom person
associatedWith St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C. corporateBody
correspondedWith Strecker, Edward A. person
correspondedWith Taft, Charles P. person
correspondedWith Taylor, Eugene J. person
correspondedWith Tilden, Gladys, 1900- person
correspondedWith Trask, John W. person
associatedWith United States. Children's Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare. Vocational Rehabilitation Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Dept. of the Treasury. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Security Agency. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Security Agency. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Public Health Service. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Rehabilitation Services Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Social and Rehabilitation Service. corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Children's Bureau corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Department of the Treasury corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Federal Security Agency corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Public Health Service corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Social and Rehabilitation Service corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Vocational Rehabilitation Administration corporateBody
associatedWith Viscardi, Henry, 1912-2004. person
associatedWith Viscardi, Henry, Jr., 1912- person
correspondedWith Vlad F. Ratay person
associatedWith Weybright, Victor, 1903- person
associatedWith Weybright, Victor, 1903- person
correspondedWith Whelan, Ralph person
associatedWith Wiesman, Margaret, ? -1953 person
associatedWith Wiesman, Margaret, d. 1953. person
correspondedWith Wilbur S. Cohen person
correspondedWith William H. Woodin person
associatedWith Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Newton MA US
Washington, D. C. DC US
Subject
People with disabilities
Public health
Rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation
World health
Blind
Deaf
International agencies
Occupation
Public Administrator
Activity

Person

Birth 1900-02-16

Death 1971-10-16

Female

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w66b7v78

Ark ID: w66b7v78

SNAC ID: 85766492