Allee, W.C. (Warder Clyde), 1885-1955

Alternative names
Birth 1885-06-05
Death 1955-03-18

Biographical notes:

Zoologist. S.B., Earlham College, 1908. S.M., University of Chicago, 1910; Ph. D., 1912. Associate professor of zoology, University of Chicago, 1921-1923, associate professor, 1923-1928, professor, 1928-1950. Dean of the College of Arts, Literature, and Science, University of Chicago, 1924-1926. Secretary of the Department of Zoology, University of Chicago, 1927-1934. Managing editor, Physiological Zoology, 1937-1955. Chair, National Research Council Committee on the Ecology of Animal Populations.

From the description of Papers, 1894-1955 (inclusive). (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 52247330

Warder Clyde Allee, zoologist, was born June 5, 1885 near Bloomingdale, Indiana. He received the S.B. degree from Earlham College in 1908, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago in 1910 and 1912. Allee worked as an Assistant in Zoology from 1910 to 1912. Between 1912 and 1921 he taught at the University of Illinois, Williams College, University of Oklahoma, Lake Forest College, and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He returned to the University of Chicago in 1921 as Associate Professor of Zoology, became an Assistant Professor in 1923, and Professor in 1928. In addition, he served as Dean in the College of Arts, Literature, and Science (1924-1926) and Secretary of the Department of Zoology (1927-1934). Upon retirement in 1950, he moved to the University of Florida at Gainesville, where he was Head Professor of Biology until his death in March 1955.

Allee was a principal figure in the establishment of ecology as an independent biological subscience. His own work centered on experimental studies of animal aggregations, and the phenomena of subordinance-dominance relationships and cooperation. Allee was interested in applying his work on animal sociology to human conditions, particularly his findings that many species of both lower and higher forms exhibit cooperative tendencies, that individuals in groups have a higher survival rate than those living alone, and that conscious and unconscious cooperative tendencies counterbalance the "peck orders" established by aggression.

A spinal tumor caused paralysis which caused Allee to be confined to a wheelchair after 1935. He nevertheless maintained a full schedule of teaching, research and writing. Allee continued to spend summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, and served as a trustee from 1932 to 1955. Having been on the editorial board of Physiological Zoology, a journal published by the University of Chicago Press, since its founding in 1928, Allee took over as managing editor in 1937 and remained in that position until his death. He also chaired the Committee on the Ecology of Animal Populations of the National Research Council which was established in 1941 to solicit and administer funds for research projects in the field.

Besides articles and research monographs, Allee wrote a number of books, including Animal Aggregations: A Study in General Sociology (1931), Animal Life and Social Growth (1932), The Social Life of Animals (1938), Principles of Animal Ecology, co-authored by Alfred E. Emerson, Orlando Park, Thomas Park, and Karl P. Schmidt (1949), and Cooperation among Animals, with Human Implications (1951).

From the guide to the Allee, Warder Clyde. Papers, 1894-1980, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)


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  • Animal ecology
  • Animal populations
  • Zoology
  • Ecology


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