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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, DOROTHY - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, DOROTHY (26 Apr. 1892-30 Dec. 1976) was a prominent social worker born in Springfield, Mo. to James H. and Emily G. (Russell) Smith. She attended Vassar College, and entered social work upon her graduation in 1914, assuming a position with the YWCA in Pawtucket, R.I. Named general secretary of the Pawtucket YWCA in 1916, she established vocational programs in nursing and child care, placing her organization in the forefront of the local war effort. Smith came to Cleveland in 1921, a year later becoming general secretary of the Cleveland YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSN. (YWCA). Under her guidance, the YWCA built a new headquarters, established a program to aid senior citizens, added recreation programs, and strongly supported Prohibition. Smith resigned on the eve of the Depression to enter the insurance business for 13 years, while also acting as an advisor to many programs assisting people crippled by the Depression. WORLD WAR II and the resulting shortage of skilled administrators brought her back to social work. In 1943 she became an adult worker at EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE, becoming director in 1944, instituting volunteer programs allowing the settlement to cut its administrative costs by 40% and constructing a new recreation building in 1947. Smith resigned in 1955 but continued serving as an advisor for 10 more years. During this period she also became active with the Mentor Community Fund, serving on its board of trustees from 1957-64. Smith spent her last 10 years in quiet retirement in Mentor. She was unmarried.

East End Neighborhood House Records, WRHS.

Last Modified: 22 Jul 1997 02:47:40 PM

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