Thomas, Dorothy Swaine (1899–1977)
Robert C. Bannister
1000 - 1999
Thomas, William I.
Dorothy Swaine Thomas, sociologist and demographer, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of John Knight and Sarah (Swaine) Thomas. A graduate of Barnard (BA 1922) and the London School of Economics (PhD 1924), she held academic positions at several leading universities and research institutions. In nine books and more than 70 articles, she studied the business cycle, population, and migration in Sweden and the United States, and the forced evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Appointed at the University of Pennsylvania in 1948, she became the first woman professor at the Wharton School and, four years later, the first woman president of the American Sociological Association. In 1958 she was also elected president of the Population Association of America. During her youth, Thomas personally experienced the social effects of economic fluctuation and human migration. Her paternal grandfather was a prosperous merchant who retired early to dissipate his fortune propagating Methodism. Her maternal grandfather, a transplanted Yorkshireman, “made and lost” a lot of money in the grain elevator business. Dorothy's father, a traveling salesman, deserted the family when she was 12. As a child, she lived in boarding houses in several small Virginia towns, and after her father left, with an uncle who teased her about her bookish ways, while her mother ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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