The Social Security Card

Fred Happel of Albany, N.Y. designed the original Social Security card back in 1936. He was commissioned by the Social Security Board to submit three designs, one of which was ultimately selected. Mr. Happel was paid $60 for his work. (Mr. Happel was a skilled artist who also designed the famous "Flying Tigers" logo used by General Chennault's forces during World War II.)

In 1985, Mr. Happel's surviving niece, Emily Bailey of Greensboro, Maryland, donated the original artwork for the card to SSA's History Room in Baltimore.

two women and a man with plaque

Former Commissioner of SSA Martha McSteen (left) and former SSA Historian, Sid Leibovitz (center), receive a donation to the History Room of the original artwork done by Fred Happel, from his niece, Emily Bailey. 1985. SSA History Archives.

drawing of Social Security card

Happel's original design.