NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Henry Hibbs (1888 - 1977)
In 1917, Henry Hibbs was assigned to Richmond by the U.S. Secretary of War to train Red Cross home service workers to help alleviate the shortage of health care workers caused by World War I.
The Columbia University graduate later opened the Richmond "School of Social Economy "for the purpose of training social workers and public health nurses." It was the first such school in the South and promoted a strong emphasis on field work. Candidates for the school needed to be 21 years of age and "have the ability to work with people." The school is now known as the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. One of the school’s graduates said of Hibbs, “he was a remarkable person who built the school on a shoe string.”