From the In Memoriam column of the March 2004 Perspectives

Blanche D. Coll (1916-2003)

Ed Berkowitz, March 2004

Blanche D. Coll died on the eastern shore of Maryland on March 8, 2003, at the age of 86. Coll, who received both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins, was a pioneer in the field of policy history. Over the course of a long career with the federal government, she worked for the U.S. Maritime Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. A graceful stylist, a talented researcher, and devoted to the craft of history, she wrote, with collaborators, histories of the U.S. Maritime Commission’s shipbuilding program in World War II and of the contributions of the Corps of Engineers to the war effort. Turning her attention to social welfare policy, she contributed an article on the Baltimore Society for the Prevention of Pauperism that was published in the AHR in October 1955. She also wrote a frequently cited and widely distributed history of public welfare, Perspectives on Public Welfare, which appeared in 1969. Upon retiring from the government in 1979, she set out to work on a history of the modern public assistance program, winning plaudits for her book, Safety Net: Welfare and Social Security, 1929–1979, published by Rutgers University Press in 1995.

Ed Berkowitz
George Washington University