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Stuart A. Queen

Stuart A. Queen

February 26, 1890 - September 28, 1987

Stuart A. Queen served as the 31st President of the American Sociological Society (later changed to Association). His Presidential address, "Can Sociologists Face Reality?" was delivered at the Thirty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Society in New York City on December 28, 1941.

Stuart A. Queen is standing in the back between his parents

The Queen family in 1898
Stuart A. Queen is standing in the back between his parents.

In his 1951 book, American Sociology: The Story of Sociology in the United States through 1950, Howard Odum provided the following biographical sketch of Stuart Queen (page 197-201):

More than any other president of the American Sociological Society, Stuart A. Queen, the thirty-first president, in 1941, may be said to represent the larger field of social work. This is true both in his record and in his own expressed choice of specialisms. Of the other presidents who had directed schools or courses in training for social work no one had had the first-hand professional experience that Queen had gained during the earlier years of his career, and of those who had written on social work no one had reflected such predominance of social work emphasis, nor contributed so many articles on this subject. Odum had headed the School of Public Welfare at North Carolina and had edited a special volume of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science on "Public Welfare in the United States," had written two minor volumes on social work and public welfare, and had been president of the North Carolina Conference for Social Service; but all this grew out of his primary function of building a department of sociology, founding a research institute and the journal, Social Forces, from which emerged a separate school allocated to social work and public welfare. Nor did Odum keep close to social work in later years except as a member of the National Conference of Social Work and of its executive commit-tee, and as a member of the American Association of Social Workers. Much the same was true of Bogardus who, although he remained head of his graduate school of social work, was more interested in sociology and social research. So, too, with F. Stuart Chapin who had earlier been director of the Smith College Training School for Social Work and later director of the Minnesota training program for social work, and who collaborated with Queen in the preparation of the Social Science Research Council's Research Memorandum on Social Work in the Depression. Yet all along Chapin had been much more directly interested in social evolution and in sociology and social research and methodology. Gillin at Wisconsin, even while he was on leave with the American Red Cross, had consistently maintained his primary interest in sociology, featuring criminology and pathology as special fields of sociology. Queen, on the other hand, had consistently estimated that his primary interest and perhaps his main concern was in the relationship between sociology and social work. Like Jesse F. Steiner who had gone to the University of North Carolina in the early 1920's as professor of social technology, Queen had been associate professor of social technology at Goucher College. Like Gillin and Steiner, both of whom had been in charge of social work education programs for the American Red Cross in its national pro-gram, Queen had been director of the Potomac Division, even as Odum had been director of Home Service in Camps and Camp Cities in the Southern Division during World War I.

Queen's social work experience began immediately after he received his A.M. degree at the University of Chicago when he became executive secretary of the California Board of Charities and Corrections from 1913 to 1917. He was then director of the Texas School of Civics and Philanthropy in 1917–18. Then, after receiving his Ph.D. degree from Chicago in 1919, he was director of educational service for the Potomac Division of the American Red Cross, 1919–20 at the same time that he was associate professor of social technology at Goucher College. From Goucher he was made head of the Simmons School of Social Work in Boston where he remained for two years from 1920 to 1922. Kansas-born Queen found his work in Boston in education for social work none too congenial from the first, and after considerable trial and error, he went back to sociology and was professor at the University of Kansas from 1922 to 1930. Once again, however, he was persuaded to break into the social work field and for two years from 1930 to 1932 he went into the practical field as executive in the Detroit Community Fund. Finally then, he returned for good to sociology and has been professor of sociology at Washington University since 1932 where also as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, 1946-49, he might appear to have been a sort of balance wheel between his colleagues, L. L. Bernard and Frank Bruno.

The story of Queen's transfer from another field to sociology is a familiar one, after the manner of many of the earlier sociologists. Like Odum he was majoring in Greek until he came under the influence of a dynamic teacher in the new field. Born in Fredonia, Kansas, in 189o, he received his A.B. degree from Pomona College twenty years later and had gone back to Kansas. About his transfer he writes, "I was a major in Greek at Pomona College and at the University of Nebraska, until, by a happy accident, I took a course in sociology with George Elliott Howard, whose ponderous three volumes on Matrimonial Institutions give no slightest hint of the fascinating personality and challenging teacher that he was in the classroom. This man's personal influence is directly responsible for my change to sociology and for the decision to do graduate work in this field at the University of Chicago."

Continuing the emphasis upon the social work aspects, Queen writes, "I really do not feel competent to say what of my probably too varied activities is least unimportant, but it is probable that, looking across the years, which are coming to be rather numerous, chief emphasis might properly be laid on my concern about the relationships between sociology and social work. First of all, I have insisted upon their differentiation as two distinct fields of interest and activity. Second, I have pointed out that they have, actually, and potentially, numerous points of contact and possible collaboration. I look upon sociology as one of the foundation stones for the profession of social work, not forgetting that this is only one of many functions which may be performed. Also, for 16 years, I have given a great deal of time to the development of research projects which reach into both fields. It seems to me that this is one of the most important and fruitful areas for exchange of experience and for team-work."

On the other hand, like Gillin and Sutherland, Queen never loses sight of the sociological foundations and looks forward to definite gains for sociology. He writes: "I think, through the American Sociological Society and our regional societies, as well as in other ways, we are laying, quite properly, great emphasis on research and the development of new knowledge in our field. I am sometimes fearful that we may forget our obligations to pass this knowledge on in a variety of ways, but particularly through effective teaching. It seems to me sometimes that our young sociologists are almost apologetic about devoting time and effort to the teaching job. In this teaching, it seems to me we must develop both general principles and specific applications. We must challenge students to relate their academic course work to the real world about them, but I would not have us confuse our function with that of the clergyman or the politician. I do not believe that it is the privilege or the responsibility of the sociology teacher to issue statements to the effect that `So and so must be done' or `Such and such ought to be abolished.' Rather we should help students to assemble reliable information about significant problems; to think clearly about them; analyze situations to see what they are, how they came to be, what are their implications; are there any alternative possibilities; if so, what they are, and at what cost might they be realized."

In addition to his books, Queen has contributed no less than thirty articles of which a dozen were in Social Forces, four in the American Sociological Review, three in Sociology and Social Research, two in The American journal of Sociology, and five in The Survey. Of these a dozen deal primarily with social work, a half dozen with sociology and social work, another half dozen with community and social problems, and three each with teaching and with sociology in crisis. Queen's main books after his doctoral dissertation, The Passing of the County jail, 1920, were Social Work in the Light of History, 1922; Social Pathology (with Mann), 1925; American Charities and Social Work (with Warner and Harper), 1930; Social Organization and Disorganization (with Bodenhafer and Harper), 1935; Research Memorandum on Social Work in the Depression (with Chapin), 1937; The City (with Thomas), 1939; Social Pathology (with Gruener), 1942. Queen's presidential address to the American Sociological Society "Can Sociologists Face Reality?", was published in the American Sociological Review for February, 1942, Volume VII, No. I. In this address and in two other articles in Social Forces, Queen recounts the problems brought about by the economic depression, armament races, bureaucracy and centralization, dictatorships, urbanism, family decline, etc. He notes that sociologists are not called upon much to assume administrative responsibility, but they are beginning to be called upon to furnish factual data and some interpretations for certain social phenomena. This means that sociological research is the means by which sociologists play roles in contemporary society, especially with reference to governments. There is need for more information about cultural lags, the social processes involved in revolution, changing values (social security vs. individual thrift, production for use rather than for profits, home ownership, inter-national peace, "the art of living" rather than "making a living," etc.). The sociologist must study origins, processes, trends, in a scientific manner.

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