A Life in the First Half-Century of Sociology

Stephen Turner

in Sociology in America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780226090948
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226090962 | DOI:
A Life in the First Half-Century of Sociology

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  • Comparative and Historical Sociology


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The customary division of the history of American sociology into the periods before and after 1945 is well grounded. In 1944, Charles Ellwood, one of the first PhD's in sociology and a former American Sociological Society president, published his bitter final message, his “Valedictory”, which testified both to the changes in the discipline and to his loss of hope for it. He died in 1946 at the age of seventy-three. At the same time, a new generation was taking over American sociology, and taking it over both at an unprecedentedly young age and in what turned out to be almost unprecedented conditions of growth. This chapter aims to recapture, through a consideration of Ellwood's career, something about the world of pre-1945 sociology and the larger public world, national and international, that he inhabited. His career is also important in illuminating one of the critical questions in the history of American sociology: how did the fundamental and persisting conflicts in American sociology originate?

Keywords: Charles Ellwood; American sociology; American Sociological Society

Chapter.  18856 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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