Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Deegan, Mary Jo and Michael R. Hill. 1991. “Edith Abbott (1876-1957).” Pp. 29-36 in Women in Sociology: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, edited by Mary Jo Deegan. New York: Greenwood Press.


Copyright 1991 Mary Jo Deegan and Michael R. Hill


Abbott was the first woman dean of a graduate school in an American university and, simultaneously, the first dean of the first graduate school of social work in the nation. Her leading role in social work overshadowed her deep roots in sociology, in which she was a major scholar of her day. She was a prolific author (Marks 1958) and specialized in the study of women's rights and wages. Her life was dedicated to the eradication of social inequality facing blacks, immigrants, people in poverty, and laborers. Abbott championed the use of statistical data at the University of Chicago during an era when this activity was considered "women's work" in sociology.