Skip Navigation
Frank Wilson Blackmar

Frank Wilson Blackmar

November 3, 1854 - March 30, 1931

Frank W. Blackmar served as the 9th President of the American Sociological Society (name later changed to Association). His Presidential address entitled "A Working Democracy" was delivered at the organization's Annual Meeting in Chicago in 1919.

Blackmar was born November 3, 1854 in Springfield, Erie County, Pennsylvania, the son of John S. and Rebecca (Mershon) Blackmar. After attending public schools for his early education, Blackmar earned an A.B. degree from the University of the Pacific at San Jose, California.

His first professional position was as professor of mathematics in the University of the Pacific from 1881 until 1886, at which time he became a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1889 he earned a Ph.D. and left Johns Hopkins to become a professor of history and sociology at the University of Kansas. After ten years in that position, Blackmar was made professor of sociology and economics at the same institution. When the graduate school of the University of Kansas was orgnized in 1896, Blackmar was elected dean.

Following is an entry from Volume I of Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. Edited by Frank W. Blackmar:

Blackmar, Frank Wilson, educator, author and lecturer, was born at Springfield, Erie county, Pa., Nov. 3, 1854, a son of John S. and Rebecca (Mershon) Blackmar, the former of Scotch and the latter of Huguenot ancestry. He was educated in the public schools, the state normal school at Edinboro, and in 1881 received the degree of A. B. from the University of the Pacific at San Jose, Cal. He was then professor of mathematics in that institution until 1886, when he became a graduate student in Johns Hopkins University, where he was an instructor in history in 1887-88, and a fellow in history and politics in 1888-89. In the last named year he received the degree of Ph. D. and left Johns Hopkins to become professor of history and sociology in the University of Kansas. After occupying that chair for ten years, he was made professor of sociology and economics in the same institution, which position he still holds. When the graduate school of the University of Kansas was organized in 1896 Prof. Blackmar was elected dean, and is still occupying that office. He is the author of a number of works bearing upon the subjects in which he has so long been an instructor, the principal ones being as follows: "Spanish Colonization of the Southwest," 1890; "Spanish Institutions in the Southwest," 1891; "The Story of Human Progress," 1896; "History of Higher Education in Kansas," 1900; "Life of Charles Robinson," 1900; "Elements of Sociology; Economics for Colleges; Economics for High Schools," 1907. Besides these he has contributed to reviews and written a number of pamphlets on historical, sociological and economic topics. In 1885, at San Jose, Cal., Prof. Blackmar married Miss Mary S. Bowman, who died on March 4, 1892, and on July 25, 1900, he married Miss Kate Nicholson of Lawrence, Kan.<

Upon his death in 1931, the following obituary was published in the May 1931 issue of the American Journal of Sociology:

Frank Wilson Blackmar, 1854-1931

After two weeks' illness, Frank W. Blackmar died at Lawrence, Kansas, on March 30.

Professor Blackmar was the ninth president of the American Sociological Society, serving in this position during the year 1919.

Professor Blackmar was born in West Springfield, Pennsylvania, November 3, 1854. He was a graduate of the University of the Pacific in 1881, receiving his Master's degree from the same institution. He was a professor of mathematics in the University of the Pacific from 1882 to 1886.

His part in the development of the social sciences in the University of Kasnas is indicated by the fact that he was a professor of history and sociology from 1886 to 1899, professor of sociology and economics from 1899 to 1912, and professor of sociology 1912 to 1929. From 1899 to 1926 he served as head of the Department of Sociology, and from 1896 to 1922 was also dean of the Graduate School.

Professor Blackmar was a pioneer in the development of sociology, particularly in Kansas and the Southwest. He was also active in promoting social welfare in the state of Kansas, being responsible for securing public welfare legislation. He was president of the Kansas Conference of Social Work, 1900 to 1902.

In addition to many articles, Professor Blackmar was the author of sixteen books. Of his works within the field of sociology are Spanish Institutions in the Southwest, 1891; The Story of Human Progress, 1896; The Elements of Sociology, 1905; Outlines of Sociology, with J. G. Gillin, 1914; Justifiable Individualism, 1922; and History of Human Society, 1926.

<< Back to ASA Past President Listing Page