Dorwin Philip Cartwright was born March 3, 1915 in Des Moines, Iowa. He received his BA from Swarthmore College in 1937, his MA in 1938 and PhD in 1940, both from Harvard. After serving briefly as a research fellow at the University of Iowa, he joined the staff of U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Agricultural Economics. As director of the Division of Program Surveys, Cartwright conducted research on war bond sales and public attitudes toward bond drives with his colleague, Rensis Likert. (See Rensis Likert collection for related material)
At the conclusion of World War II in 1945, Cartwright became an associate professor and in 1947 director of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Under his directorship the Center became a leading sponsor of social science data research. The following year he was persuaded by his former colleague, Rensis Likert, to move the Center to the Survey Research Center at the University of Michigan. The two centers later merged to form the Institute of Social Research (ISR).
At Michigan, while continuing to head the Research Center for Group Dynamics, Cartwright became an associate professor of psychology and authored numerous articles on social attitudes and the quantification of group behavior. He later became research coordinator at ISR and served on the board of directors for the Social Science Research Council.
From the guide to the Dorwin Cartwright Papers, 1943-1979, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)