Social Scientists



Based primarily on lists in The World Almanac


American Social Scientists


Thomas (Tom) Paine, 1737-1809, political theorist, writer. Common Sense.

William Prescott, 1796-1859, early American historian; The Conquest of Peru.

George Bancroft, 1800-91, historian; wrote 10-volume History of the United States.

Francis Parkman, 1823-93, historian; France and England in North America, 1851-92.

Henry Adams, 1838-1918, historian; History of the United States of America, The Education of Henry Adams.

Brooks Adams, 1848-1927, historian, political theoretician; The Law of Civilization and Decay.

Edward Channing, 1856-1931, historian; wrote 6-volume History of the United States.

Franz Boas, 1858-1942, German-born anthropologist; studied American Indians.

Frederick J. Turner, 1861-1932, historian, educator; The Frontier in American History.

George H. Mead, 1863-1931, philosopher, social psychologist.

Francis E. Townsend, 1867-1960, led old-age pension movement, 1933.

Charles A. Beard, 1874-1948, historian; The Economic Basis of Politics.

Edward Sapir, 1884-1939, German-born anthropologist; studied ethnology and linguistics of some U.S. Indian groups.

Ruth Benedict, 1887-1948, anthropologist; studied Indian tribes of the Southwest.

Leonard Bloomfield, 1887-1949, linguist; Language.

Lewis Mumford, 1895-1990, sociologist, critic; The Culture of Cities.

Bernard A. De Voto, 1897-1955, historian; wrote trilogy on American West; edited Mark Twain manuscripts.

Ariel Durant, 1898-1981, and Will Durant, 1885-1981, historians; The Story of Civilization.

Margaret Mead, 1901-78, cultural anthropologist; popularized field, Coming of Age in Samoa.

Erik Erikson, 1902-94, psychoanalyst, author; theory of developmental stages of life, Childhood and Society.

Carl Rogers, 1902-87, psychotherapist, author; client-centered therapy.

Bruno Bettleheim, 1903-90, Austrian-born psychoanalyst specializing in autistic children; The Uses of Enchantment.

B. F. Skinner, 1904-89, psychologist; behaviorism.

Barbara Tuchman, 1912-89, author of popular history books, The Guns of August, The March of Folly

Richard Hofstadter, 1916-70, historian; The Age of Reform.

Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr., 1917-2007, historian; A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House

Noam Chomsky, 1928-?, "father of modern linguistics"; transformational grammar; Syntactic Structures

Christopher Lasch, 1932-94, social critic, historian; The Culture of Narcissism.

David McCullough, 1933-?, historian; Truman, John Adams

Philip Zimbardo, 1933-?, psychologist; Stanford Prison Experiment

Ken Burns, 1953-?, documentary filmmaker, The Civil War, Baseball


British Social Scientists


Bede (the Venerable), c673-735, scholar and historian; Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

Thomas Hobbes, 1588-1679, philosopher, political theorist; Leviathan.

Izaak Walton, 1593-1683, wrote biographies; political-philosophical study of fishing, The Compleat Angler.

John Locke, 1632-1704, philosopher and political theorist; Two Treatises of Government.

Edmund Burke, 1729-97, Irish, British parliamentarian and political philosopher; influenced many Federalists.

Edward Gibbon, 1737-94, historian; The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Robert Owen, 1771-1858, political philosopher, reformer; pioneer in cooperative movement.

James Mill, 1773-1836, Scottish, philosopher, historian, economist; a proponent of utilitarianism.

Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish, historian, critic; Sartor Resartus, Past and Present, The French Revolution.

Sir James George Frazer, 1854-1941, anthropologist; studied myth in religion, The Golden Bough.

Sidney J., 1859-1947, and wife Beatrice, 1858-1943, Webb, leading figures in Fabian Society and Br. Labour Party

Joseph Needham, 1900-95, scientific historian; Science and Civilization in China.

A(lan) J(ohn) P(ercivale) Taylor, 1906-89, historian; The Origins of the Second World War.

Nikolaas Tinbergen, 1907-88, (Dutch-born) ethologist; pioneer in study of animal behavior.

Mary, 1913-96, and husband Louis, 1903-72, Leakey, paleoanthropologists; found skulls at Olduvai Gorge; son Richard

Jane Goodall, 1934-?, studied chimpanzees


French Social Scientists


Charles-Louis Montesquieu, 1689-1755, social philosopher; The Spirit of Laws.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712-78, social philosopher; the father of romantic sensibility; Confessions.

Charles Fourier, 1772-1837, utopian socialist.

Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805-59, political scientist, historian; Democracy in America.

Pierre Joseph Proudhon, 1809-65, social theorist; the father of anarchism, The Philosophy of Property.

Alfred Binet, 1857-1911, psychologist; Binet-Simon IQ test.

Emile Durkheim, 1858-1917, a founder of modern sociology; The Rules of Sociological Method.

Claude Levi-Strauss, 1908-2009, developed structural anthropology; Tristes Tropiques


Italian Social Scientists


Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469-1527, writer, statesman. The Prince, Discourses on Livy.

Francesco Guicciardini, 1483-1540, historian; wrote Storia d'Italia,

Giovanni Vico, 1668-1744, historian, philosopher; regarded by many as first modern historian; New Science.

Giuseppe Mazzini, 1805-72, political philosopher.

Benedetto Croce, 1866-1952, philosopher, statesman, and historian; Philosophy of the Spirit.


German Social Scientists


Theodor Mommsen, 1817-1903, historian; The History of Rome.

Karl Marx, 1818-83, political philosopher, proponent of modern Communism; Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital.

Friedrich Engels, 1820-95, political writer; with Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto.

Max Weber, 1864-1920, sociologist; The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.

Oswald Spengler, 1880-1936, philosopher and historian; The Decline of the West.


Other European Social Scientists


Ivan Pavlov, 1849-1936, Russian, physiologist; classical conditioning

Ferdinand de Saussure, 1857-1913, Swiss, founder of modern linguistics.

Bronislaw Malinowski, 1884-1942, Polish, considered the father of social anthropology.

Karl Mannheim, 1893-1947, Hungarian, sociologist, historian; Ideology and Utopia.

Jean Piaget, 1896-1980, Swiss, psychologist; Piaget's theory of cognitive development; genetic epistemology

Konrad Lorenz, 1904-89, Austrian, ethologist; pioneer in study of animal behavior.





American Reformers


Elizabeth Seton, 1774-1821, nun; established parochial school education in U.S.; first native-born American saint.

Emma Hart Willard, 1787-1870, pioneered higher education for women.

Lucretia Mott, 1793-1880, reformer, pioneer feminist.

Horace Mann, 1796-1859, pioneered modern public school system.

John Brown, 1800-59, abolitionist who led murder of 5 pro-slavery men at Harper's Ferry, was hanged.

William H. McGuffey, 1800-73, whose Reader was a mainstay of 19th-century U.S. public education.

Samuel G. Howe, 1801-76, social reformer; changed public attitudes toward the handicapped.

Dorothea Dix, 1802-87, crusader for the mentally ill.

Elizabeth P. Peabody, 1804-94, education pioneer; founded 1st kindergarten in U.S., 1860.

William Lloyd Garrison, 1805-79, abolitionist.

Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-87, clergyman, abolitionist.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902, woman suffrage pioneer.

Amelia Bloomer, 1818-94, social reformer.

Lucy Stone, 1818-93, feminist, abolitionist.

Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906, a leader in temperance, anti-slavery, and woman suffrage movements.

Clara Barton, 1821-1912, organizer of the American Red Cross.

Jacob Riis, 1849-1914, crusader for urban reforms; photographer; How the Other Half Lives.

Frances X. (Mother) Cabrini, 1850-1917, Italian-born nun; founded charitable institutions; first American Catholic saint.

Samuel Gompers, 1850-1924, labor leader; a founder and president of AFL.

Melvil Dewey, 1851-1931, devised decimal system of library-book classification.

Eugene V. Debs, 1855-1926, labor leader; led Pullman strike, 1894; 4-time Socialist presidential candidate.

Clarence Darrow, 1857-1938, lawyer; defender of "underdog," opponent of capital punishment.

Carrie Chapman Catt, 1859-1947, suffragette; helped win passage of the 19th amendment.

Jane Addams, 1860-1935, cofounder of Hull House; won Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.

Nicholas Murray Butler, 1862-1947, educator; headed Columbia Univ., 1902-45; Nobel Peace Prize, 1931.

Emma Goldman, 1869-1940, Russian-born, published anarchist Mother Earth, birth-control advocate.

William Green, 1873-1952, president of AFL, 1924-52.

Helen Keller, 1880-1968, crusader for better treatment for the handicapped; taught by Anne Sullivan

John L. Lewis, 1880-1969, labor leader; headed United Mine Workers, 1920-60.

Margaret Sanger, 1883-1966, social reformer; pioneered the birth-control movement.

Dorothy Day, 1897-1980, founder of Catholic Worker Movement.

Walter Reuther, 1907-70, labor leader; headed UAW.

Rosa Parks, 1913-2005, Civil Rights Movement; did not give up seat to white on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama

Betty Friedan 1921-2006, co-founder of National Organization for Women; The Feminine Mystique

Medgar Evers, 1925-63, Civil Rights leader, led integration of Univ. of Miss.; assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith

Ralph Abernathy, 1926-90, Civil Rights leader, co-founded Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Cesar Chavez, 1927-93, labor leader; helped establish United Farm Workers of America.

Thomas Dooley, 1927-61, "jungle doctor," noted for efforts to supply medical aid to developing countries.

Michael Harrington, 1928-89, revealed poverty in affluent U.S. in The Other America, 1963.

Martin Luther King Jr., 1929-68, Civil Rights leader; "I Have a Dream" speech; assassinated by James Earl Ray

Harvey Milk, 1930-78, gay rights advocate on San Francisco Board of Supervisors


British Reformers


William Wilberforce, 1759-1833, social reformer; prominent in struggle to abolish the slave trade.

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-97, wrote Vindication of the Rights of Women.

Earl of Shaftesbury (A. A. Cooper), 1801-85, social reformer.

Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910, founder of modern nursing.

William Booth, 1829-1912, founded the Salvation Army.

Emmeline Pankhurst, 1858-1928, woman suffragist.


Other Reformers


Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian, led Indian independence movement from Britain; nonviolent civil disobedience

Maria Montessori, 1870-1952, Italian, educator, physician; originated Montessori method of student self-motivation.

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013, South African, anti-apartheid leader; African National Congress; imprisoned on Robben Island; President 1994-9

Aung San Suu Kyi, 1945-?, Burmese, political prisoner under house arrest; 1991 Nobel Prize

Malala Yousafzai, 1997-?, Pakistani, advocate for education of women; injured by Taliban gunman; youngest Nobel laureate