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Buell, Bradley

in: People

Bradley Buell (1893-1976) — Social Worker, Author/Editor, and Community Planning Consultant


Bradley Buell
Bradley Buell
Photo: U.S. National Library of Medicine
NLM ID B010775

Introduction: Bradley Buell  was a social worker, author/editor, and community planning consultant. He worked for Community Chests and Councils, Inc. and for Survey magazines, and he founded Community Research Associates. He was actively involved with the emergence of a professional association for social workers (the American Association of Social Workers) in the 1920s and the community planning and organization movement during the 1930s.

Career: Josiah Bradley Buell (usually known as Bradley or “Si”), was born in Chicago on January 29, 1893. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1915 and completed his graduate training at the New York School of Philanthropy and Columbia University in 1918. While a student, he was employed part-time in the Division of Industrial Studies of the Russell Sage Foundation. After a term of military service during World War I he returned to the Russell Sage Foundation in 1919.

Buell worked under Frances Perkins on the New York State Industrial Commission during 1920. From 1921 through April 1923 he was on the staff of the American Association of Social Workers (which, when he began, was still the National Social Workers Exchange), an organization in which he had already been active for a number of years. From 1923 until 1925 he was secretary of the New York City Council on Immigrant Education. In 1925 he began a lengthy association with the community chest movement, first as associate director of the New Orleans Community Chest. Later he moved to the national offices of Community Chests and Councils, Inc., where he was the field director from 1930 until 1943.

Buell joined the staff of Survey Midmonthly as executive editor, 1943-1947, and as contributing editor, 1948-1949. In 1947 he founded Community Research

Associates, Inc., a for-profit organization engaged in research and consultation for local community problems. He was its executive director and, later, chief consultant until his retirement in 1972. His most noted survey was a study of social work in St. Paul, Minnesota where he found that a comparatively small group of families received about half of the total health and welfare services delivered. CRA’s study was best known for the diagnostic tools it developed through the St. Paul Family Centered Project to identify and treat multi-problem families.

Buell’s first wife, Alice Standish, an artist, died in 1960.  He later married the former Alice L. Voiland who survived him when he died on March 23, 1976.

Buell wrote two books, Community Planning for Human Services (1952), and The Road to Solving Community Problems Has Been Paved with Good Intentions (1973).  He also wrote a number of articles for the Survey Midmonthly: Examples include: Milestones in Professional Progress (Postwar inventory of the big job ahead in “the only kind of world in which modern social work can feel truly at home”:  a report of the 1946 National Conference) by Marion Robinson and Bradley Buell;  How the Chests Spend the Money By ALLEN T.  BURNS, Executive Vice-President and BRADLEY BUELL, Field Director, Community Chests and Councils, Inc.

Originally Published: “Bradley Buell Papers” in the Social Welfare History Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries Social Welfare History Archive.

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Pederson, L. (2002). Bradley Buell (1893-1976) — Social worker, author/editor, and community planning consultant. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from