Carl Rakosi was born on November 6, 1903, to Hungarian nationals Leopold Rakosi and Flora Steiner, who were at that time living in Berlin. The young Rakosi was brought to the United States in 1910; his father and stepmother reared him and his brother in various midwestern cities—Chicago; Gary, Indiana; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rakosi made many attempts to begin a career. After earning his B.A. in literature at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he tried social work in Cleveland and New York City. He returned to Madison for an M.A. in educational psychology and then worked as the staff psychologist in the personnel department at Bloomingdale’s for a time. He taught English at the University of Texas at Austin and made forays into law school (in Austin) and medical school (in Galveston). Having found neither law nor medicine congenial, he taught high school in Houston for two years. At the outset of the Depression, he tried social work again, returning to Chicago to work at the Cook County Bureau of Public Welfare. By now he had changed his name, to Callman Rawley. He served a two-year stint as a supervisor at the Federal Transit Bureau in New Orleans; then, following a period of working as a field supervisor for Tulane University, he started to work—in a pioneering role—as a family therapist at the Jewish Family Welfare Society in New York. At the same time, he pursued graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania; in 1940 he received an M.A. in social work.
His professional course was now clear. After three years as a case supervisor at the Jewish Social Service Bureau in St. Louis and two years as assistant director of the Jewish Children’s Bureau in Cleveland, he became executive director of the Jewish...
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