Doris Marie Bender

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Doris Marie Bender (November 29, 1911 – November 15, 1991) was an Alabama social worker. Her programs, developed in Mobile County, to help the elderly and disabled adults became models for later state-wide efforts to protect these groups of people. Bender was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1994.


Bender was the oldest of four children and born in Mobile, Alabama.[1] She helped raise her younger siblings after the death of her mother.[1] Bender earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama and did graduate work in the field of social work at Tulane University and the University of Chicago.[1]

Bender started work with the Mobile County Relief Administration in 1933.[1] Bender took over as director of welfare for Mobile County in 1943.[2] She would work as the director there until she retired in 1976.[1] Bender's innovations as a social worker in Alabama included the creation of an adult foster care program for elderly and disabled victims of abuse and neglect and in-home care for the elderly.[1] Both of these programs were used to develop state-wide efforts for adult foster care and in-home care.[1] Bender hired the first black social worker in Alabama, Rosemary Butler, in 1946.[3]

Bender was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1994.[3] In 2007, she was inducted into the Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Doris Marie Bender (1911-1991)". Alabama Women's Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 28 February 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  2. ^ "Mrs. Jones Prepares to Begin Tenure as Welfare Director". The Montgomery Advertiser. 1943-12-12. p. 27. Retrieved 2019-02-01 – via
  3. ^ a b Whitley, Carla Jean (20 October 2015). "Get to know Doris Marie Bender, a woman who shaped Alabama". Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  4. ^ "Alabama Social Work Hall of Fame". The University of Alabama. Retrieved 2019-02-02.

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