Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Deegan, Mary Jo and Michael R. Hill. 2005. “Centenary of the First Sociology Doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.” Footnotes (American Sociological Association) 33 (December): 8.


Copyright 2005 May Jo Deegan and Michael R. Hill.


On June 10,1905, the Faculty of the Graduate School in the University of Nebraska formally recommended that Anderson William Clark “receive the degree of Doctor of Philosophy” in Sociology.’ Clark, who had completed a dissertation on “State Control and Supervision of Charities and Corrections,” was a Baptist minister and the founding Superintendent of Omaha’s Child Saving Institute.2 Based on extensive firsthand observations, interviews, and examinations of records in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and other states, Clark concluded, “Immediate state control is demanded in order to save the lives of thousands of infants and small children who are today in the hands of ignorant and sentimental nurses and caretakers, where they suffer from poor ventilation, unsuitable food, and bad sanitary conditions. . . . State control is required to correct such abuses”(pp. 39% 399). Clark’s dissertation exemplified the practical applications of sociology emphasized by Amos G. Warner, a former Nebraskan, in his influential 1894 work, American Charities: A Study in Philanthropy and Economics.