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March 22, 2013

Celebrating Women’s History Month: Margaret H. Johnson

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Margaret Hilda Johnson was the first woman dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences (SASS) of Western Reserve University (WRU), now known as the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of CWRU. She was appointed dean in 1950 and served until her retirement in 1958.

Miss Johnson was born 11/3/1893 in Lowell Massachusetts. Her father, George H. Johnson, was a Congregational minister and he moved the family to Cleveland when he became minister at Euclid Avenue Congregational Church. He also served as professor of History and Economics at Case School of Applied Science 1909-1927. She had 5 sisters.

Miss Johnson graduated from Central High School before entering the College for Women of WRU. She received the A.B. degree in 1917. As an undergraduate she was a member of Sigma Omega sorority. In 1919 she received the first Master of Science in Social Administration degree from SASS.

She entered the work force as personnel secretary for the H. Black Co. in Cleveland. One of her duties was to make sure that the immigrant workers attended their English classes. She became executive secretary of the Cleveland chapter of the League of Women Voters and in 1924 moved to Washington, D.C. as assistant executive secretary of the National League of Women Voters working with Belle Sherwin, president of the League.

In 1927 Miss Johnson returned to Cleveland and SASS as executive secretary of the School. The next year she became an instructor, and in successive years became assistant and associate professor. She was promoted to professor in 1939. In addition to her duties as a faculty member she served as assistant dean and was acting dean several times.

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Dean Johnson in front of the School of Applied Social Sciences at 2117 Adelbert Road

Miss Johnson was a vital part of the School’s growth and development from 1917 to 1958, as a student, faculty member, and dean. Upon her retirement in 1958 she stated that, “The School of Applied [Social] Sciences has developed greatly in the last few years. This development, especially the revised program and the new building, gives me a feeling of great satisfaction.”

Dean Johnson served the community as chairman of the American Association of Social Workers, executive committee member of the National Conference of Social Work, member of the Advisory Committee of the Department of Public Welfare of Ohio, Advisory Committee of City Relief Administration of Cleveland, Board of Directors of Women’s City Club, Board of Trustees of Welfare Federation, chairman of Directors of the Association of Social Workers of Cleveland.

She received numerous awards for her work including a citation at the convocation honoring the 75th anniversary of the founding of Flora Stone Mather College (1963) and an honorary degree from WRU in 1966.

In 1976 Margaret Johnson passed away at the age of 82 in Cleveland.

Posted by hxy2 at March 22, 2013 08:59 PM

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