Breckinridge, Sophonisba Preston

Breckinridge, Sophonisba Preston,

1866–1948, American pioneer social worker, educator, and author, b. Lexington, Ky., grad. Wellesley, 1888, Ph.D. Univ. of Chicago, 1901. She was the first woman to be admitted (1897) to the bar in Kentucky, but abandoned the practice of law to enter social work at Hull House, Chicago. After 1902 she taught at the Univ. of Chicago, where later she was professor of social economy (1925–29) and then professor of public welfare (1929–33). In 1934 she was president of the American Association of Schools of Social Work. As a delegate to the Pan-American Conference at Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1933, she was the first woman to represent the United States at an international conference. Her published works include The Delinquent Child and the Home (with Edith Abbott, 1912), Family Welfare in a Metropolitan Community (1924), Public Welfare Administration in a Metropolitan Community (1927), and Women in the Twentieth Century (1933).
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Breckinridge, Sophonisba Preston

(1866–1948) social worker, educator; born in Lexington, Ky. Reared in a prominent Southern family, she graduated from Wellesley College (Mass.) (1888), became the first woman lawyer in Kentucky (1895), and earned a doctorate from the University of Chicago (1901). In 1907 she went to live at Chicago's Hull House. Soon known for her studies exposing slum conditions, she was also instrumental in professionalizing social work as an administrator and teacher at the University of Chicago (1920–42) and as a founder of the Social Service Review (1927), which she edited until her death.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.