NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Beatrice N. Saunders (1915 - 2003)
Beatrice "Bea" Saunders has not only been a pioneer in the development of social work journals and other publications but, through her help to countless authors, she has enabled them to present publications concerning their own innovative and groundbreaking work.
Saunders was born in Connecticut and received a bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1936 and immediately began to do editorial work. She worked first as an editorial assistant with a text book company, and, then from 1939 to 1942, as the editor of Family, the publication of the Family Welfare Association of America. From 1942 to 1945, she was supervising editor for the Department of Publication for the American Red Cross in Washington, DC. Following that, she was a freelance editor and then in 1950 became the editor-in-chief of publications for the Girl Scouts of America. It was while Saunders was in this position that she became involved with some of the planning for publications of the soon to be established NASW, and was a staff person for the publications committee of the Temporary Inter-Association Committee (TIAC).
When NASW was established in 1955, Saunders became director of publications and editor of Social Work, a position she held until the early 1980s. She was also staff editor of three editions of the Encyclopedia of Social Work (1965, 1971, 1977) and executive editor of several NASW publications. From 1983 to 1986, she was publishing consultant to NASW as well editor-in-residence at Fordham University. Since 1986, Saunders has been a consultant at Rutgers University School of Social Work. In 1984 she established AFFILIA, a journal of women in social work.
Saunders received the NASW Presidential Exemplary Service Award for her major contributions to the development of social work knowledge over the past four decades. For 26 years she had headed the publications department of NASW and, as executive editor, she had developed the journal program and managed the production of three editions of the encyclopedia of social work. She helped countless authors improve their writings and had managed significant growth in the NASW publications program.
Saunders is married and has two sons, one an associate professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work, and the other a professor in the Department of Opthamology at the University Southern California. She lives in New York City, is active in community service and travels throughout the country leading workshops on professional publishing.