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Schottland, Charles I.

in: People

Charles Irwin Schottland (1906 – 1995) — Social Welfare Expert, Commissioner of the California Department of Public Welfare, Commissioner of  the U.S. Social Security Administration, Founder and Dean of the Heller School of Social Policy at Brandeis University.


Charles I. Schottland
Charles I. Schottland
Photo: Social Security Administration

Introduction:  Charles Irwin Schottland was a recognized expert on social welfare programs.  He served as Commissioner of the California Department of Public Welfare, U.S. Commissioner of Social Security during the Eisenhower administration, Dean of the Florence Heller School of Social Policy and President of Brandeis University.  During his long career, Schottland authored three books and over 130 published articles. He lectured in more than 40 universities and was a recipient of seven honorary degrees.

Career: Charles Schottland was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in California.  He received a BA degree from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1927, a Social Work certificate from the New York School of Social Work in 1929. He graduated from the University of Southern California Law School in 1933.  During the 1930s he served as director of a number of social welfare organizations in California, including the Modern Social Center in Los Angeles, the California Relief Administration, and the Federation of Jewish Welfare Organizations. In 1941 he was appointed as assistant chief of the United States Children’s Bureau.

During World War II, Schottland served in the army in Europe and helped coordinate the relocation of millions of displaced persons. . He was on the staff of General Dwight D. Eisenhower (SHAEF) and lieutenant colonel in charge of the section dealing with displaced persons. For his work in the care and repatriation of five and a half million displaced persons, Schottland was decorated by the governments of France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, and the Netherlands.

Following World War II, he was assistant director of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for refugees and displaced persons in Germany.  He later practiced law in Los Angeles until 1950 when Governor Earl Warren appointed him director of the California Department of Public Welfare. He served in that position until 1954 when he was appointed Commissioner of the U.S. Social Security Administration by President Eisenhower.

In 1958 Schottland resigned from government service to join the faculty of Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He helped found and then served as dean of the Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare at Brandeis.  In 1970, following the resignation of Morris B. Abram, Schottland was appointed president of Brandeis University by the board of trustees.   Two days after taking office, Schottland signed an agreement with the student Afro-American Organization to bring 80 additional minority students to Brandeis, an issue that had been simmering during the Abram administration. Following two years at the helm of Brandeis University, Schottland returned to the Heller School as dean.

In addition to his employment, Schottland served a term as president of the National Conference of Social Welfare and the International Council on Social Welfare. He also served as chairman of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Aging; president of the National Senior Citizen Law Center;  president of the American Society on Aging; Board member of the Pima Council on Aging; and the National Council on Aging. He was also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the California bar.

In 1979, he retired and moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he spent the rest of his life. Even in retirement he remained active in social welfare matters. He served as an adviser to the governor of Arizona, and headed the Arizona delegation to the White House Conference on Aging in December 1981.

Schottland died in 1995 at the age of 88.


Social Security Administration:

Dwight D. Eisenhower Library Abilene, Kansas:  Schottland, Charles I.: Papers, 1928-92

Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

National Association of Social Workers Foundation: Social Work Pioneers