Small, Albion Woodbury

Small, Albion Woodbury,

1854–1926, American sociologist, b. Buckfield, Maine, grad. Colby College, 1876, and further educated in Germany. He was made president of Colby in 1889, but left it in 1892 to found at the Univ. of Chicago the first department of sociology in an American university. Small also established (1895) and edited the American Journal of Sociology, the first such journal in the United States. He did much to establish sociology as a valid field for academic study, and he occupied a leading place as a historian of sociological thought. General Sociology (1905) is the chief of his several works.

Small, Albion Woodbury


Born May 11, 1854, in Buck-field, Me.; died Mar. 24, 1926, in Chicago. American sociologist. President of Colby College from 1889. Professor of sociology at the University of Chicago from 1892.

Small’s views, which were basically eclectic, developed under the influence of social Darwinism and the psychologism of the American sociologist L. Ward. Viewing the category of interest as the basic unit of sociological analysis, Small believed that social life is the result of the interaction of six classes of interests oriented toward health, wealth, sociability, knowledge, beauty, and justice. According to Small, sociology should have practical results in “social technology,” which should bring about the gradual improvement of social institutions. These ideas constituted the foundation for his bourgeois political reformism.

Small is considered one of the founders of American sociology. He was the head of the world’s first sociology department, which was established at the University of Chicago. In 1895 he founded the American Journal of Sociology. He was also one of the founders of the American Sociological Society. Small and G. E. Vincent published the first American sociology textbook in 1894.


An Introduction to the Study of Society. With G. E. Vincent. New York, 1894.
General Sociology. Chicago-London, 1905.
The Meaning of Social Science. Chicago, 1910.


Kon, 1. S. Pozitivizm ν sotsiologii. Leningrad, 1964.

A. B. GOFMAN [23–1856–]

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