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Theodore Fred Abel papers, 1930-1984 

Abel, Theodore, 1896-1988,.
Phys. Desc: 
2 linear feet (2 linear feet 4 boxes)
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Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

Born in Lodz, Poland on 24 November 1896; immigrated to U.S. by 1925; died March 23, 1988, in Albuquerque, NM. Sociology professor. Abel received his M.A. degree in 1925 and his Ph.D. degree in 1929 from Columbia University. He began his career as an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1925, moving to Columbia University in New York as an associate professor of sociology from 1929 to 1950. He became a full professor of sociology at Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1950, retiring in 1967. His first book was "Protestant Home Missions to Catholic Immigrants", published by the Institute of Social and Religious Research in 1933, and his last book, a collection of essays"Reflections of an Unorthodox Christian" (1986). He was a member of the Eastern Sociological Society (president, 1957), and he was fluent in German, Russian, and French. In 1934 Theodore Abel traveled to Germany representing Columbia University and offering a prize for autobiographies of members of the National Socialist movement. He received hundreds of essays which enabled him to theorize about how the National Socialist movement managed to gain and retain power. Over the years many people have drawn on these essays. Of particular value is his presentation of the life histories of various Germans: a worker; a soldier; an anti-Semite; a middle-class youth; a farmer; and a bank clerk; all of whom explain in their own words why they joined the NSDAP. Recently, Thomas Childers has noted how the past half-century of research and writing on Nazi Germany has verified Abel's original insights into the broad appeal of the National Socialist movement. Some of Abels' Books are: "Protestant Home Missions to Catholic Immigrants", Harper, 1933; "Why Hitler Came Power", Prentice-Hall, 1938 (Editor) "Freedom and Control in Modern Society", Van Nostrand, 1954; "Systematic Sociology in Germany", Octagon, 1966; "The Nazi Movement, Atherton", 1967; "The Foundation of Sociological Theory", Random House, 1970; "Reflections of an Unorthodox Christian, Privately published, 1986.

Scope and Contents

Typescript diaries, with holograph correction detailing Theodore Abel's daily personal and professional life with his comments on local, national and world events. Recorded are his daily activities and his thoughts on all aspects of the human conditions: history, literature, the arts, religion, science, politics, sociology, etc. The journals are rich in details about the Columbia University Sociology Department and related departments.