This website is devoted to making the history of

the Rural Sociological Society and rural sociology more accessible.


Additions and suggestions are always welcome!





"Firsts" in Rural Sociology



Below is a list of "firsts" in Rural Sociology.  These include items such as the first textbook or the first department. 


This list is a continual work in progress.  If you know of other "Firsts" that should be included, please email the RSS Historian.








First Course:


   1894 at the University of Chicago.




First Course at an Agricultural College:


    1904  Rhode Island Agricultural College.




First Textbooks:


    Constructive Rural Sociology. John M. Gillette. 1913.  (New York: Sturgis and Walton).

    Introduction to Rural Sociology. Paul L. Vogt. 1917.  (New York: Appleton).




First Department:


    Cornell University.  Department of Rural Social Organization.  1918.




First national organization to have “Rural Sociology” in its name:


   National Association of Rural Sociology Extension Workers. (est. 1931)




First President of the Rural Sociological Society:


   Dwight Sanderson (1938-1939)




First editor of the journal Rural Sociology:


   Lowry Nelson (1936-1940)




First section organized in the American Sociological Association [Society]:


   Rural Sociology Section (1922).




First Chair of the Rural Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association [Society]:


   Dwight Sanderson (1922).




First President of the American Sociological Society [ASA] to serve in the position while

employed outside of academia:


   Carl C. Taylor.  (RSS President 1939-1940.  At the time, Taylor was head of the USDA’s Division of

   Farm Population and Rural Life.)




Most Influential Research Report in Early Rural Sociology:


    The Social Anatomy of an Agricultural Community.  Charles J. Galpin. 1915.  (Research Bulletin No. 34, Wisconsin Agricultural

     Experiment Station.  Madison, WI.)








Please send suggestions, ideas, or changes to:


Julie N. Zimmerman

RSS Historian

Professor, Rural Sociology

Dept. of Community and Leadership Development, University of Kentucky


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