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Albion Woodbury Small facts for kids

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Albion Woodbury Small
Albion Woodbury Small.png
10th President of Colby College
In office
Preceded by George Dana Boardman Pepper
Succeeded by Beniah Longley Whitman
Personal details
Born (1854-05-11)May 11, 1854
Buckfield, Maine
Died February 12, 1926(1926-02-12) (aged 71)
Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater Colby College, 1876
Profession Sociologist

Albion Woodbury Small (May 11, 1854 – March 24, 1926) founded the first independent Department of Sociology in the United States at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois in 1892. He was influential in the establishment of sociology as a valid field of academic study.


Albion Woodbury Small was born in Buckfield, Maine to parents Reverend Albion Keith Parris Small and Thankful Lincoln Woodbury. He lived in Bangor, Maine, and then Portland, Maine where he attended public schools in both places.

He attended Colby University, now known as Colby College, from 1872 until he graduated in 1876. He studied theology from 1876 to 1879 at the Andover Newton Theological School. From 1879 to 1881 he studied at the University of Leipzig and the University of Berlin in Germany history, social economics and politics. While in Germany, he married Valeria von Massow in June 1881, with whom he had one child.

From 1888 to 1889 he studied history at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and was promoted in 1889 with a Ph.D. thesis (The Beginnings of American Nationality) at the same time continuing to teach at Colby College. From 1889–1892 he was the 10th President of Colby.

In 1892 he founded the first Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He chaired this department for over 30 years. In 1894 he, along with George E. Vincent, published the first textbook in sociology: An introduction to the study of society. In 1895 he established the American Journal of Sociology. From 1905 to 1925 he served as Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Literature at the University of Chicago.

Albion Woodbury Small was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Xi chapter).

Influence on sociology

Albion Small can be attributed with many "firsts" in the field of sociology. In 1892, he helped to create a Department of Social Science at the University of Chicago, which was the first ever sociology department in the United States. Then, in 1894, along with colleague George E. Vincent, he wrote the first sociology textbook titled An Introduction to the Study of Society. Lastly, he founded the first Sociology Journal in the United States in 1895, the American Journal of Sociology.


  • An Introduction to the Study of Society (1894)
  • General Sociology (1905)
  • Adam Smith and Modern Sociology (1907)
  • The Cameralists (1909)
  • The Meaning of the Social Sciences (1910)
  • Between Eras: From Capitalism to Democracy (1913)
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