Social Security Board Members

Ellen S. Woodward
Member 1938-1946

photo of Ellen Woodward

Ellen Woodward was from a prominent Mississippi family, her father, William Sullivan, was a Congressman and U.S. Senator from that State. She began her own public career as a member of the Mississippi State Legislature. She was a member of the State Board of Public Welfare in Mississippi before coming to Washington to serve in the Roosevelt Administration. Initially, she served as assistant to Harry Hopkins in the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and was appointed Administrator of the new Works Progress Administration when it was created in 1935.

Coming to the Social Security Board in 1938, she would serve until the Board was abolished in 1946. She was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration following World War II.

After the Board was abolished, Mrs. Woodward stayed on with the Federal Security Agency and its successor, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), serving as Director of International Relations. In 1954 she retired at the end of a 28-year career in the federal service.

Married to a State Judge, Albert Woodward, she had one son, Albert Jr. She died in September 1971 at her home in Washington.

For more information on the life and career of Ellen Woodward, see: "Ellen S. Woodward: New Deal Advocate for Women," by Martha H. Swain. University Press of Mississippi. 1995