Ellen S. Woodward

The daughter of a Congressman and U. S. Senator, Ellen Sullivan Woodward would have a prominent public career, as well. Born in 1887 in Oxford, Mississippi, she was educated in Washington, D. C., and South Carolina. She married Albert Young Woodward and moved to Louisville, Mississippi. Her husband was a state legislator, and she was involved in civic activities. In 1925, her husband died, and she was elected to complete his term, the second women to so serve. With a young son to raise, she took a job with the Mississippi State Board of Development and soon was named executive secretary. A national Democratic committeewoman, Woodward became assistant administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Relief Administration during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. She created relief projects for unemployed women and was appointed administrator of the Works Progress Administration in 1935. In 1938, Woodward was named by Roosevelt to the Social Security Board and later served with the Federal Security Agency and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. She retired in 1954 after 28 years of federal service and died in 1971.

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