American Sociological Association

Rupert B. Vance

Rupert Bayless Vance

Rupert Bayless Vance

March 15, 1899 - August 25, 1975

Rupert B. Vance served at the 34th President of the American Sociological Society (name later changed to Association). His Presidential Address, "Toward Social Dynamics," was delivered at the organization's annual meeting in Chicago in December 1944.

Upon his death, Vance's papers were donated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for preservation. A finding aid to the Vance papers is available online. The UNC Archives provides the following biographical sketch of Rupert Vance:

Rupert Bayless Vance was born in 1899 in Plummerville, Arkansas. He received a masters degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, then, in 1926, joined the faculty of the Sociology Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He remained at Chapel Hill for forty years, playing a leading role in the introduction of the sociological study of the South.

Vance was a prolific writer, publishing seven books and hundreds of articles. Through his writings, teaching, and public appearances, he made it clear that he was not only interested in the analysis of social problems. Following the lead of his mentor Howard W. Odum, Vance often went beyond analysis, daring to suggest solutions and urging the South to embrace economic, political, and social progress. Vance's approaches to his work evolved along with the discipline of sociology, and, in the 1950s and 1960s, he concentrated on new statistical methods and demography.

Vance's interests and activities ranged beyond sociology. He served, for example, on the governing board of the University of North Carolina Press and was active in community work. Rupert Vance died on 25 August 1975.

For additional information see sketches of Vance by Edgar T. Thompson in The Encyclopedia of Southern History by Elizabeth McGehee in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989).