Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Hill, Michael R. 2000. “Loren Eiseley and Sociology at the University of Nebraska, 1926-1936: The Sociological Training of a Noted Anthropologist.” Sociological Origins 2 (Winter): 96-106.


Copyright 2000 Michael R. Hill


LOREN COREY EISELEY [1907-1977] rose from modest beginnings to become one of the nation’s foremost essayists, naturalists, and anthropologists (Carlisle 1983; Christianson 1990; Carrithers 1991; Gerber 1983; Heidtmann 1991; Pitts 1995), and his work was built on a solid interdisciplinary foundation that included intensive undergraduate and graduate study in sociology at the University of Nebraska.1 Eiseley, the writer, is best known today for The Immense Journey (1957), The Firmament of Time (1960), and The Unexpected Universe (1969), his most popular books. As a mature scholar tenured at the University of Pennsylvania, Eiseley served as Provost; Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology; Professor and Chair of the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science; and Curator of the Early Man Museum. Unknown to most of Eiseley’s readers and students, however, these notable accomplishments were rooted professionally in his substantial sociological training, primarily at the University of Nebraska, as much as in his literary interests, archaeological studies, and anthropological schooling at Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Whatever else is claimed for Loren Eiseley, he was also a professionally-trained sociologist.