Memorial Motion for William I. Thomas

American Sociological Society

First Business Meeting of The American Sociological Society, December 29, 1947

President Wirth in the chair.

President Wirth called upon Kimball Young to take the floor, whereupon Mr. Young, Chairman of the Committee on Memorial concerning the late William I. Thomas, read the following statement and then moved that it be spread on the minutes of the Society, and that a copy be sent to Dr. Thomas' survivors. The motion was seconded and carried by a unanimous standing vote:

The members of the American Sociological Society deeply regret the passing of one of its founders, William I. Thomas. His contributions to the advancement of sociology were of high order. To mention only some of the most significant: He was a pioneer in the field of race relations where he always stressed the need of empirical research before effective action programs could be expected. He was among the very first to bring about a real linkage between cultural anthropology and sociology, as evidenced in his Source Book for Social Origins, 1909. His Polish Peasant in Europe and America, 1918-1920, was, and is, a high water mark in the description and analysis of acculturation. He contributed much to the development of social psychology, both in matters of theory and in empirical research. His use of the concepts of the four wishes, of attitude and value, and later his situational approach, all helped extend the frontiers of our knowledge about social behavior.

Dr. Thomas was a most stimulating teacher and always a friendly and helpful critic of the work of others. As a sociologist, he continually stressed the need of maintaining close relations between research and theory. As a person he was warm and outgoing, and one whose zest for life was contagious.

The chair announced the membership of the Resolution Committee consisting of Franklin Frazier, Carl Taylor and Robert Lynd.

Reports of the Secretary, Treasurer and Managing-Editor were heard and it was moved that they be received and placed on file.

Kimball Young reported upon the work of the Social Science Research Council of which he is one of the Society's representatives. A summarization of the main features of the report were presented, the complete report to be published later in the Review.

Talcott Parsons, the Society's representative to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, reported upon the relations of the Society with the A.A.A.S., particularly upon the work of the inter-society committee in its efforts to draw up legislation relative to the establishment of a Science Foundation.

The Secretary, who served as one of the Society's representatives, reported on the annual meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies at which constitutional changes were made.

It was moved that the reports of the representatives to the S.S.R.C., A.A.A.S. and the A.C.L.S. be received and accepted. This motion was passed.

The Secretary read the minutes of the first meeting of the Executive Committee. It was moved to approve these minutes and voted to accept them except for the amendment to the By-laws concerning joint memberships which, in accordance with the constitution, was laid on the table to be considered at the second business meeting.

The meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Ernest R. Mowrer, Secretary.


No notes

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