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Edward Cary Hayes

Edward Cary Hayes

February 10, 1868 - August 7, 1928

Edward Cary Hayes was born in Lewiston, Maine on February 10, 1868, the son of Benjamin Francis Hayes and Arcy Cary. Benjamin taught philosophy at Bates College and the Cobb Divinity School. Arcy was a local schoolteacher involved in a plethora of community improvement and social welfare activities.

Hayes entered Bates College, and upon graduating in 1887 went on to study ministry at Cobb Divinity School. He was ordained a minister in 1893 and became a pastor in Augusta, Maine. Hayes married Annie Lee Bean in 1895, with whom he had three children. He remained a pastor until 1896, at which point he began to find that his beliefs clashed with most of the congregation. Hayes turned his focus back to academics. He moved to New York, where he taught philosophy and served as Dean at Keuka College for two years.

In 1899 Hayes enrolled at the University of Chicago to acquire a doctorate degree in philosophy. It was during this time that he became interested in sociology. Hayes entered the University’s newest department, receiving instruction from Albion Small and studying alongside academics George Herbert Mead, John Dewey and James Tufts. He also spent a year in Germany at the University of Berlin, where he studied with Georg Schmoller, Adolph Wagner, Friedrich Paulsen, Alfred Vierkandt and Georg Simmel. Hayes was one of the original pioneers promoting the assimilation of sociology into the American educational system.

After receiving his doctorate in 1902, Hayes went on to teach at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He moved to the University of Illinois in 1907 to take on the position of Chair in its new sociology department. Sociology classes had previously been a part of the economics department. Hayes stayed at Illinois until his death. He also lectured on occasion at universities such as Harvard, Columbia, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. During Hayes’s tenure, the department had grown to house seven full-time faculty members and enroll over two thousand students each year.

Hayes produced a number of notable works in his time. These tended to focus on definitions and methodological issues within sociology. His Introduction to the Study of Sociology (1915) was widely read at the time but has faded from much use today. Although Hayes observed a rising trend in specialization among sociologists, he stressed the importance of keeping attentive to the larger design. His works mostly consisted of attempts to define the discipline of sociology and to analyze the general problems facing sociologists of his time. Societal progress fascinated Hayes. A product of the progressive movement, he often criticized both radical and conservative thought. Hayes advocated more government involvement in social welfare. This desire is evident in his Sociology and Ethics (1921).

Hayes also had a large impact on the sociological discipline outside academia. He maintained an active interest in public sociology and solidifying the profession as a whole. Hayes held memberships in organizations such as the German Sociological Society, the Institut Internationale de Sociologie and the Instituto Internazionale di Sociologia. In 1904, he acted as Secretary for the Social Psychology section at the World’s Congress of Science. Hayes was also active in a number of social reform groups, such as the Family Welfare Society and the community chest in Champaign-Urbana. He was a member of an advisory committee to the Illinois State Department of Public Welfare. From 1910-1911, Hayes was the President of the Illinois State Conference of Charities and Corrections.

Hayes attended the first organizational meeting of the American Sociological Society in 1905 and became one of its most influential founding members. He served on the Society’s Committee of Ten, selected to create a universal model for schools’ undergraduate introductory sociology courses. He also attended the Joint Commission on the Presentation of Social Studies in Schools, on behalf of the Society. Hayes was elected Second Vice President of the American Sociological Society in 1919, First Vice President in 1920, and became its eleventh President in 1921. His Presidential address, delivered at the 1921 Annual Meeting, was entitled "The Sociological Point of View."

Hayes died on August 7, 1928 in Urbana, Illinois. His obituary can be found in the July 1929 issue of the American Journal of Sociology 35(1): 93-99.

For more information on Edward Cary Hayes, you may find the following sources useful:

  • Kivisto, Peter. 2000. “Hayes, Edward Cary.” American National Biography Online. American Council of Learned Societies: Oxford University Press, Retrieved March 14, 2003 (http://www.anb/org/articles/14/14-00269.html).
  • Sutherland, E. H. 1929. “Edward Cary Hayes, 1868-1928.” American Journal of Sociology 35(1): 93-99.

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