University of Chicago Library

Guide to the University of Chicago Society for Social Research Records 1923-1956

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


University of Chicago. Society for Social Research. Records




3 linear ft. (6 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The Society for Social Research was established in 1921 as an association of graduate students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The records of the Society consist of constitutions, minutes, correspondence, and abstracts of papers from the Society's regular meetings, as well as correspondence, programs, and abstracts from its annual Summer Institute.

Information on Use


No restrictions


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: University of Chicago. Society for Social Research. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The Society for Social Research was established in 1921 as an association of graduate students in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Unlike the Sociology Club, an earlier group which had admitted students, instructors, and others acceptable to two-thirds of its members, the Society limited membership to graduate students and those who had "attained professional standards of research" (1:1). Robert E. Park, a leader in forming the organization, was elected the first president of the Society and played a significant role in defining its goals and programs. Other faculty members who served as officers or participated actively in the Society's affairs included Ernest W. Burgess, Fay-Cooper Cole, Ellsworth Faris, Everett C. Hughes, Gordon Laing, William F. Ogburn, Stuart Rice, Lloyd Warner, and Louis Wirth. While intended originally to encourage empirical research in sociology, the Society's interdisciplinary approach also attracted support from anthropologists, economists, historians, and political scientists at the University.

In 1923, the Society held its first Summer Institute, a forum for papers and round-table discussions by students, faculty, and alumni of the University and leading social scientists from other institutions. Themes for individual Summer Institutes ranged from "Regionalism and Crime" (1932), "Morale" (1941), and "Wartime Trends and Post-War Planning" (1943), to "Communications and the Urban Community" (1949). Reports on sessions of the Summer Institute and regular meeting programs of the Society appeared in its Bulletin, a publication which also provided abstracts of selected scholarly papers, lists of books available through the Society at reduced rates, and brief notices on the research interests and activities of Society members.

The Society for Social Research continued as the graduate student organization of the Department of Sociology and as publisher of a new series of the Bulletin initiated in 1975.

Scope Note


Although incomplete, the administrative records of the Society for Social Research contain important information on the development of social science research at the University of Chicago. Minutes of the executive committee (1:2) record suggestions by Park and other faculty members on the Society's role and programs. The general minutes (1:3-4) provide brief summaries of lectures delivered at the Society's meetings, including Albion Small on distinctions between types of research (May 1924); Fay-Cooper Cole on the culture area (March 1928); Harold Lasswell on the objectification of psychoanalytic interviews (June 1933); Ernest W. Burgess on family research in Russia (December 1933); John Gaus on social science and social planning (June 1934); and Thomas French on a psychodynamic analysis of Karl Marx (February 1945). Membership applications to the Society (1:7-2:2) contain biographical data and notes on individual research projects, while the general correspondence (2:3-5) deals with the scheduling of guest speakers and the operation of the Society's book sales program. Guy Johnson, Max Rheinstein, Hans Speier, and Walter Sulzbach are among the scholars represented in a group of more complete abstracts (2:6) from 1936-1937.


All correspondence, memoranda, and programs for the Society's Summer Institutes have been arranged chronologically beginning with the Fifth Institute in 1927. In the case of four Institutes (1932-1934 and 1942), abstracts of papers by Edward Buehrig, Evelyn Crook, Philip Hauser, Homer Hoyt, E. H. Sutherland, Louis Wirth, Florian Znaniecki, and others are included.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


The Archival Serials Files contain incomplete sets of the original series of the Society's Bulletin from 1926 to 1957 and of the revised series of the Bulletin begun in 1975. A brief history of the Society by Dick Scott appears in Vol. 19, No. 1, (November 1, 1957).

Subject Headings


Series I: General Administration

Box 1   Folder 1

Constitutions of the Sociology Club (1916, amended 1923) and the Society for Social Research (undated)

Box 1   Folder 2

Executive Committee minutes, 1924-1929, 1938-1944

Box 1   Folder 3

General minutes, 1924-1933

Box 1   Folder 4

General minutes, 1934-1935, 1943-1945, 1952

Box 1   Folder 5

Financial records, 1927-1945

Box 1   Folder 6

Membership lists, 1925, 1945, and undated

Box 1   Folder 7

Membership applications and renewals, 1926-1942

Box 1   Folder 8

Membership applications and renewals, 1943

Box 2   Folder 1

Membership applications and renewals, 1944-1945

Box 2   Folder 2

Membership applications and renewals, 1946

Box 2   Folder 3

General correspondence, 1926-1932

Box 2   Folder 4

General correspondence, 1933-1939

Box 2   Folder 5

General correspondence, 1942-1945, 1951-1953

Box 2   Folder 6

Abstracts of papers delivered at regular meetings, 1936-1937

Box 2   Folder 7

C. R. Henderson Criminology Society, financial records and membership list, 1949-1950

Series II: Summer Institute, Correspondence and Programs

Box 3   Folder 1


Box 3   Folder 2


Box 3   Folder 3


Box 3   Folder 4


Box 3   Folder 5


Box 3   Folder 6

1932 (includes abstracts)

Box 3   Folder 7

1933 (includes abstracts)

Box 3   Folder 8


Box 3   Folder 9

1934 abstracts

Box 3   Folder 10


Box 3   Folder 11


Box 3   Folder 12


Box 3   Folder 13


Box 3   Folder 14


Box 4   Folder 1


Box 4   Folder 2


Box 4   Folder 3


Box 4   Folder 4


Box 4   Folder 5

1942 abstracts

Box 5   Folder 1


Box 5   Folder 2


Box 5   Folder 3


Box 5   Folder 4

1946; 1947

Box 5   Folder 5


Box 5   Folder 6


Box 5   Folder 7


Box 5   Folder 8


Box 5   Folder 9


Box 5   Folder 10


Box 5   Folder 11


Series III: Addenda

Box 6   Folder 1

Zeta Phi Record Book

Box 6   Folder 2

Zeta Phi correspondence, etc.

Box 6   Folder 3

SSR correspondence and constitution

Box 6   Folder 4


Box 6   Folder 5

Annual Institute

Box 6   Folder 6

Dept. of Sociology

Box 6   Folder 7

Society for Social Research

Box 6   Folder 8

SSR records

Box 6   Folder 9

Society for Social Research, 1958-9

Box 6   Folder 10

Minutes of the Steering Committee, SSR

Box 6   Folder 11

Institute for the Society of Social Research, 1960

Box 6   Folder 12

General correspondence

Box 6   Folder 13

Executive Committee

Box 6   Folder 14


Box 6   Folder 15


Box 6   Folder 16


Box 6   Folder 17


Box 6   Folder 18

Sociology, University

Box 6   Folder 19