Mary E. Woods

head shot of Woods

Mary E. Woods was the first woman to be selected as a District Manager of a local Social Security office. On November 9, 1936 she was appointed the District Manager of the new Cleveland, Ohio office. (The first Social Security office opened in Austin, Texas on October 14,1936, and there were a total of 74 offices nationwide by the end of that year.)

Ms. Woods was also the second woman to serve as what is today known as a Regional Commissioner. She served as Acting Regional Manager for the Bureau of Old-Age Benefits in the Cleveland Regional Office from March 1936 until her permanent appointment as District Manager in November 1936. (Anna Rosenberg was the first female Regional Commissioner, her appointment coming only one month before that of Ms. Woods.)

A graduate of Western University in Oxford, Ohio, Mary Woods taught geography for many years before becoming the head of the Cleveland office of the U.S. Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Trade in 1922. She went on to become the Ohio Director of the National Recovery Administration under FDR's New Deal. When the NRA was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and put out of business, Ms. Woods joined the new Social Security Board. She started with the SSB in August 1936, working in Washington, and took her position as a District Manager barely three months later.