Robert Cooley Angell
April 29, 1899 — May 12, 1984
Robert C. Angell, sociologist, was born April 29, 1899, in Detroit, Michigan. He was educated at the University of Michigan receiving his Ph. D. degree in 1924. His thesis on the student mind was later published under the title The Campus. He was appointed instructor in 1922 and assistant professor of sociology in 1924. At the time sociology was still taught within the department of economics and Angell's teacher and mentor was his uncle Charles Horton Cooley. Sociology gained departmental status in 1930 and Angell became associate professor that same year. In 1935, he became full professor. He served as chairman of the department from 1940 to 1952 and was instrumental in bringing to the department such individuals as Theodore Newcomb and Ronald Freedman, as well as the groups that formed the Survey Research Center and the Research Center for Group Dynamics.
Outside the department, Angell championed the importance of undergraduate instruction and helped to form the honors college, which he chaired from 1957 to 1961. With Kenneth Boulding, he helped to found the Journal for Conflict Resolution in 1954 and the Center for Research on Conflict Resolution in 1959.
Within his profession, Angell edited the American Sociological Review from 1946 to 1948 and was elected president of the American Sociological Association in 1951. Angell's Presidential Address, entitled "Sociology and the World Crisis", was published in the December 1951 issue of the American Sociological Review (Volume 16, Number 6, pages 749-757).
Angell served abroad as director of UNESCO's Social Science Department in Paris from 1949 to 1950 and headed a project on world tensions. Partly as result of this work, Angell was instrumental in founding the International Sociological Association. He also served as this organization's second president. From 1950 to 1956 Angell was member of the U.S. National Commision for UNESCO.
Angell retired from the university in 1969 but continued to teach for a number of years. He died May 12, 1984. Upon his death in 1984, an obituary was published in the May 1985 issue of Footnotes.