for W. I. Thomas
American Sociological Society
First Business Meeting of The American Sociological Society, December 29, 1947
President Wirth in the chair.
President Wirth called upon Kimball Young to take the floor, whereupon Mr. Young, Chairman of the Committee on Memorial concerning the late William I. Thomas, read the following statement and then moved that it be spread on the minutes of the Society, and that a copy be sent to Dr. Thomas' survivors. The motion was seconded and carried by a unanimous standing vote:
The members of the American Sociological Society deeply regret the passing of one of its founders, William I. Thomas. His contributions to the advancement of sociology were of high order. To mention only some of the most significant: He was a pioneer in the field of race relations where he always stressed the need of empirical research before effective action programs could be expected. He was among the very first to bring about a real linkage between cultural anthropology and sociology, as evidenced in his Source Book for Social Origins, 1909. His Polish Peasant in Europe and America, 1918-1920, was, and is, a high water mark in the description and analysis of acculturation. He contributed much to the development of social psychology, both in matters of theory and in empirical research. His use of the concepts of the four wishes, of attitude and value, and later his situational approach, all helped extend the frontiers of our knowledge about social behavior.
Dr. Thomas was a most stimulating teacher and always a friendly and helpful critic of the work of others. As a sociologist, he continually stressed the need of maintaining close relations between research and theory. As a person he was warm and outgoing, and one whose zest for life was contagious.