Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979

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Sociologist.

From the description of Reminiscences of Talcott Parsons : oral history, 1967. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122631875

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was an educator and scholar of sociology. He contributed to the field of sociological theory, particularly through his development of a "general theory of action." Parsons spent most of his professional career at Harvard University, where he was affiliated with the various incarnations of the sociology department for thirty-two years.

From the description of Papers of Talcott Parsons, 1921-1979 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76973295

Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) was an educator and scholar of sociology. He contributed to the field of sociological theory, particularly through his development of a "general theory of action." Parsons spent most of his professional career at Harvard University, where he was affiliated with the various incarnations of the sociology department for thirty-two years.

Parsons graduated from Amherst College in 1924, having majored in philosophy and biology. In 1925 he redirected his intellectual focus and entered the London School of Economics, studying with Bronislaw Malinowski, L.T. Hobhouse and Morris Ginsberg. The following year he received a fellowship at the University of Heidelberg, where he first encountered the work of Weber. Parsons completed his doctoral dissertation, on the concept of capitalism in recent German scholarship, in 1927 while teaching economics at Amherst. The following year he joined the Harvard faculty as an instructor in economics. He continued to teach at the University until his retirement in 1973.

Parsons' career is entwined with the development of sociology as an academic discipline at Harvard. In 1931 he joined Carle Zimmerman and Pitirim Sorokin as inaugural faculty in the Department of Sociology. Gordon Allport and Henry Murray, of the Psychology Department, and Clyde Kluckhohn, of the Anthropology Department, joined with Parsons in 1945 to establish the Department of Social Relations. This department became a landmark of interdisciplinary collaboration in the behavioral sciences and served as a model for similar departments at other institutions. Parsons served as chairman for the first ten years and continued to work enthusiastically in the Department until its dissolution in 1972.

Parsons' scholarship is unified by his effort to draft a set of concepts of the determinants of human behavior. He began to develop his "general theory of action" in Structure of Social Action (1937). He refined this theory in Social System and Towards a General Theory of Action (both published in 1951). Parsons spent the later years of his career further modifying his theory and eventually applying it to discrete social situations.

From the guide to the Papers of Talcott Parsons, 1921-1979, (Harvard University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Robert Cooley Angell Papers, 1923-1971 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Records. 1939-1977. 1940-1968. Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Erik H. and Joan M. Erikson papers, 1925-1985 (inclusive) 1960-1980 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Harvard University. School for Overseas Administration. Correspondence and memoranda, ca. 1943-ca. 1944 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Harvard College Library. Social Relations Library,. Collection of Talcott Parsons reprints from the Social Relations Library [unprocessed accession], 1928-1970. Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Cohen, Morris Raphael, 1880-1947. Papers, 1898-1981. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Institute for Religious and Social Studies. Records, 1938-1976. Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
creatorOf Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. Robert Cooley Angell papers, 1923-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Stouffer, Samuel Andrew, 1900-1960. Papers of Samuel Andrew Stouffer, 1930-1960 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on Educational Policy. Records of the Subcommittees of Committee on Educational Policy, 1944-1963 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Papers, 1926-1977 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn John Manfredi Papers FS 148., 1938-1985 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries
referencedIn McGovern, John Stewart. Talcott Parsons : on the world and on love / Jack McGovern. Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Tamiment Institute Records, 1935-1990s Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
referencedIn Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Norman Kaplan papers, ca. 1950s-1970s, Circa 1950-1979 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Williams, Stillman P. Sociology 21 : lectures by Dr. Talcott Parsons, 1935. Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Henderson, Lawrence Joseph, 1878-1942. Lawrence Joseph Henderson papers, 1907-1942. Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
creatorOf House, Floyd Nelson, 1893-1975. Papers of Floyd Nelson House [manuscript], 1919-1974. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Napior, David A. Talcott Parsons and Claude Levi-Strauss : a comparison / David Napior. Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. Robert Cooley Angell papers, 1923-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Harvard University. Fellowships: William F. Milton Fund records, 1960-1966 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Harvard University. Dept. of Social Relations. Records of the Department of Social Relations, 1946-1973 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Bachtiar, Harsya W. The social system : K. Marx and T. Parsons / by Harsja W. Bachtiar. Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Porter, Jack Nusan. Correspondence of Jack Porter relating to Talcott Parsons photocopies, 1995. Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Intergroup Activities Photographs, [ca. 1937-1968]. Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Records from the Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 1948-1950 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Barnard, Chester Irving, 1886-1961. Papers, 1925-1960 (inclusive). Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
creatorOf Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979. Reminiscences of Talcott Parsons : oral history, 1967. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Bendix, Reinhard. Reinhard Bendix papers, 1929-1998. University at Albany, University Libraries
referencedIn Harvard University Archives Photograph Collection: Portraits, ca. 1852-ca. 2004 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Papers, 1861-1971 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on Concentration in the Area of Social Sciences. Records from the Committee on Concentration in the Area of Social Sciences, 1940-1943 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
creatorOf Parsons, Talcott, 1902-1979. Papers of Talcott Parsons, 1921-1979 (inclusive). Harvard University, Archives
referencedIn Kaplan, Norman, 1923-1976. Papers, ca. 1950s-1970s. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Papers of Talcott Parsons, 1921-1979 Harvard University Archives.
referencedIn Elton Mayo papers, 1909-1960 Baker Library, Harvard Business School
referencedIn Erik H. and Joan M. Erikson papers, 1925-1985 (inclusive) 1960-1980 (bulk). Houghton Library.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Academy of Arts and Sciences. corporateBody
associatedWith American Sociological Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Angell, Robert Cooley, 1899-1984. person
associatedWith Bachtiar, Harsya W. person
associatedWith Barnard, Chester Irving, 1886-1961. person
associatedWith Bendix, Reinhard. person
associatedWith Carnegie Corporation of New York. corporateBody
associatedWith Cohen, Morris Raphael, 1880-1947. person
associatedWith Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion. corporateBody
correspondedWith Erikson, Erik H. (Erik Homburger), 1902-1994 person
associatedWith Fuller, Lon L., 1902- person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896- person
associatedWith Grossner, Isabel S., person
associatedWith Harvard College Library. Social Relations Library, corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Social Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Social Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Dept. of Sociology corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on Concentration in the Area of Social Sciences. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on Educational Policy. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. Russian Research Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University. School for Overseas Administration. corporateBody
associatedWith Henderson, Lawrence Joseph, 1878-1942. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
correspondedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith House, Floyd Nelson, 1893-1975. person
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Institute for Religious and Social Studies. corporateBody
associatedWith Kaplan, Norman, 1923-1976. person
associatedWith Kluckhohn, Clyde, 1905-1960. person
associatedWith Koch, Sigmund. person
associatedWith Manfredi, John, 1920- person
associatedWith Mayo, Elton person
associatedWith McGovern, John Stewart. person
associatedWith MIRIAM VAN WATERS, 1887-1974 person
associatedWith Napior, David A. person
associatedWith Porter, Jack Nusan. person
associatedWith Stouffer, Samuel Andrew, 1900-1960. person
associatedWith Tamiment Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Weber, Max, 1864-1920. person
associatedWith Williams, Stillman P. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Cambridge (Mass.)
Subject
Paradigms (Social sciences)
Endowment of research
Social ethics
Sociologists--Interviews
Sociology--Methodology
Sociology--Societies, etc
Social systems
Sociology--Study and teaching
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1902-12-13

Death 1979-05-08

Americans

English

Information

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