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Howard, George Elliott (1849–1928)

Michael R. Hill


George Elliott Howard, a distinguished social scientist trained initially in history, rose to the presidency of the American Sociological Society in 1917. Howard earned the A.B. in 1876 at the University of Nebraska. Following two years of advanced study in Germany, Howard joined the Nebraska faculty in 1879. Howard's most prominent Nebraska student from this period, Amos Griswold Warner, later wrote American Charities (1894) – a standard classic in the field. Howard was named to the prestigious “First Faculty” of Stanford University in 1891. At Stanford, when sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross was summarily fired in 1900 by university president David Star Jordan, Howard immediately defended Ross's right to free speech. Jordan demanded Howard's apology – or his resignation. Howard resigned, as did other Stanford faculty members in sequence. Instantly, Ross was hired by chancellor E. Benjamin Andrews to teach sociology at the University of Nebraska. The so-called “Ross affair” at Stanford resulted ultimately in the founding of the American Association of University Professors and the establishment of academic tenure in American universities. After a series of brief appointments, including the University of Chicago (1903–4), Howard returned in 1904 to the University of Nebraska, where his colleagues included Edward A. Ross and Roscoe Pound. In 1906, with Ross's departure for the University ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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