Sociology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 2006. “Bio-Bibliography: William Clark Gordon (1865-1936).” Sociological Origins 4 (Spring): 115-120.


Copyright 2006 Michael R. Hill


William Clark Gordon was a clergyman and an early theorist of the relationships between literature and sociology. He earned a Ph.D. in the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1899 where he majored — within the School’s own Department of Sociology — in social institutions. As such, he completed his doctorate during the first full decade of Chicago’s pioneering sociological project — a fact noted but misattributed by Robert E. L. Faris (1967) to work in the University’s Department of Sociology in the Graduate School of Arts and Literature (Hill 2005). As a practicing clergyman, Gordon’s professional attentions focused on pastoral duties for many years, becoming a university professor only in later life. Although sociologically trained, there is no evidence that he ever taught a formal sociology course2 or participated in the activities of the American Sociological Society.