a photo of Sorokin and Kerensky

 

Kerensky, Sorokin meet in Boston – Christian Sci Monitor 3-9-1938

 

This photo appeared in The Christian Science Monitor (published in Boston, Massachusetts) in the following article:

“Kerensky Sees Fall of Soviet Dictatorship: Colleagues of Revolution Meet in Boston

The Christian Science Monitor

March 9, 1938

pg. 10

On the evening of March 9, the day the article appeared, Kerensky spoke at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston. His lecture was entitled “On Behalf of Democracy.”

In the conclusion of the article, it is stated: “The last meeting between Mr. Kerensky and his secretary [Sorokin] occurred nearly 18 years ago in Berlin. This was four years after Mr. Kerensky’s escape and already the Soviet Regime was sending its roots into Russian soil. Yet like his former superior, Sorokin believes the Soviet Union some day will collapse.”

 

— posted by Roger W Smith

     April 2019

Henry Noble MacCracken, “Russia of To-day”

 

Henry Noble MacCracken, ‘Russia of To-day’ – NY Evening Post 5-5-1923

Henry Noble MacCracken, ‘Russia of To-day’ – The Literary Review 5-5-1923

 

Posted here (above) as a PDF and Word document is the complete text of following article:

“Russia of To-day”

By Henry Noble MacCracken

The Literary Review, New York Evening Post

Vol. 3, No. 35

May 5, 1923

pp. 657, 658, 665

The article reviews a recent “pamphlet” (so termed by MacCracken; actually a short book) of Sorokin’s that he published in Prague:

“современное состояние России” (sovremennoye sostoyaniye Rossii;  The Present State of Russia)

By Pitirim Sorokin

Prague, 1922 (MacCracken gives the wrong year of publication, 1923)

MacCracken writes:

“The psychology of the refugee” is the phrase with which most European observers of to-day are apt to dismiss any report written by an exile of this home land. There is much that is just in the observation. It is inevitable that the refugee should, in order to justify himself for leaving his home land, exaggerate the abnormalities of home conditions, the cruelty of his enemies, and the need of foreign aid and intervention. It is natural also that the refugee should stress the circumstances which passed under his immediate observation, and should generalize from insufficient data of the universal conditions. The precariousness of his own means of existence, the characteristics of dependency, well known to social workers, all influence his judgement and his interpretation of facts.

It is true that most books about Russia bear marks of the refugee psychology. They all, or nearly all, tell the same story. In contrast with the present conditions, the previous condition of Russia is treated as idyllic, and in most of the books at least the deplorable conditions of the present are attributed to the active ill will and viciousness of a small group of people, instead of to unsound political and economic doctrine, and the inevitable conditions of war.

As a result, scarcely any really trustworthy accounts of conditions in Russia to-day can be found. It is quite out of the question to expect that an American observer, however familiar with Russia he might have been in the past, could get a really wide and impartial view of Russian conditions, or that, seeing them, he could really interpret them. Those residents of Russia who might give such a picture are prohibited from writing by the Soviet Government. Whatever else the Bolshevists may have to reproach the capitalistic governments with, at least they cannot claim superiority in the matter of freedom of speech.

It is therefore a wholly exceptional opportunity which is presented in the recent pamphlet of Pitirim Sorokin. Exiled last autumn from his professorship of sociology at Petrograd University, Sorokin brought with him [to Czechoslovakia] official data concerning conditions in Russia, and in the course of a few days wrote at white heat his pamphlet, which was published in the first week of January of this year. After extended conversations with him in Prague in December, he gave me an advance copy of his work, with permission to use extracts from it in any way.

Henry Noble MacCracken (1880–1970) was president of Vassar College from 1915 to 1946. He and Sorokin were lifelong friends. MacCracken first met Sorokin during a trip to Czechoslovakia in late 1922. He invited Sorokin, upon Sorokin’s coming to the USA, to visit Vassar College, where Sorokin had a pleasant stay before going to the Midwest to deliver lectures on the Russian Revolution.

 

— transcription of article by Roger W. Smith

     posted April 2019

another Sorokin quote… ““I would rather have a man of common sense”

 

“I would rather have a man of common sense from the street as a ruler than a high brow social scientist.”

— Pitirim A. Sorokin, quoted in The Hammond Times (Hammond, Indiana), December 30, 1935, pg. 1

 

*****************************************************

 

Sorokin had a way of making headlines with pungent remarks that showed him to be the eternal gadfly. He often came off as the high-handed scholar showing off his erudition and scorning his contemporaries — he was not infrequently given to writing pompously — while, at the same time, he prided himself on his scorn of academic pomposity and intellectual sterility and his identification with common humanity.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     March 2019

a Sorokin quote

 

“Utopia you cannot make in a day. Russian tried to butter the bread of everyone and found it spread too thin to suit the taste of the people.”

— Pitirim A. Sorokin; quoted in Evening Times, Cumberland, Maryland, April 8, 1943, pg. 4

 

*****************************************************

 

Sorokin was indeed quotable.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     March 2018

“Men cannot be treated like mice and guinea pigs.”

 

Before accepting a position in the sociology department at the University of Minnesota, Pitirim A. Sorokin was a guest of Vassar College, where he gave lectures.

The following article appeared in the Vassar Miscellany News, March 18, 1931: “Scintillating Selz Sends in Successful Solutions”

The article noted that Katherine Selz ’31 was the winner of the college’s Chat Current Events contest.

The prize-winning answers included the following:

 

“Who said:

Q. ‘Men cannot be treated like mice and guinea pigs’?

A. Mr. Sorokin”

 

*****************************************************

This squib provides a revealing glimpse of Sorokin: the provocative lecturer and a sociologist who was firmly against what he called quantophrenia. And insight into what was Sorokin’s humanistic conception of sociology.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

      March 2019

“a mysterious mixture of crackpot and genius”

 

“Harvard’s Pitirim Sorokin, 66, a Russian artisan’s son who became the first professor of sociology at the University of St. Petersburg and later at Harvard. Brash, brilliant young Sorokin ran away from his father at the age of nine (“My father was good man, except when he was drunk”), managed to get himself enough education to enter the University of St. Petersburg. A social revolutionary, he was arrested three times by the Czarist police, served as one of Kerensky’s secretaries, was later arrested three more times by the Communists. Exiled in 1922, he soon came to the U.S., and with the publication of his monumental Social and Cultural Dynamics, a study of the fluctuations of “sensate” and “ideational” cultures, he set the academic world to wondering whether it had found a new Spengler. Today, a mysterious mixture of crackpot and genius, Pitirim Sorokin has his colleagues wondering still.”

— ‘Goodbye, Messrs. Chips,” Time, June 27, 1955, pp. 59-60

 

*****************************************************

 

Time magazine, it should be noted, was known and often parodied for its glib, snarky style.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     February 2019

a Sorokin nemesis (Porter Sargent on Sorokin)

 

Caustic without being bitter is Boston’s white-thatched, bow-tied Porter Sargent. The saltiest commentator on U. S. education, from which he makes his living but for which he has a certain amused contempt, Porter Sargent prefaces his famed annual catalogue of 4,000 private schools with his shrewd opinions on men and affairs. Last week, in the 22nd edition of his Handbook of Private Schools, he threw most of his custard pies at the two most popular favorites of U. S. higher education —President James Bryant Conant of Harvard and President Robert Maynard Hutchins of University of Chicago.

President Conant, glooms Porter Sargent, started out as Harvard’s head “with the naivete and boldness of a scientist,” but soon “sacred cows were jostled” and today Conant has subsided “to the dead level of mass alumni opinion.” Sprightly, 66-year-old Porter Sargent criticizes President Conant most severely for keeping as head of Harvard’s sociology department Pitirim Alexandrovitch Sorokin, whom he calls a pseudo-scientist, a defeatist and a reactionary. “Harvard is maintaining him in a position of influence where he is misguiding and frustrating American youth. . . . The sociology department is the White Russian WPA.”

— “Plain Talker.” Time, May 30, 1938, pg. 39

 

*****************************************************

Porter Sargent (1872–1951) was a prominent educational critic/gadfly and founder of Porter Sargent Publishers. In 1949, he was described in an article in the Journal of Higher Education as “probably the most outstanding and consistent critic of the American educational scene.”

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

     February 2019

Sorokin and Defoe (and Winston Churchill)

 

imageedit_1_2520341161.jpg

 

Daniel Defoe’s customary skill as a writer was to speak in the voices of others. His novels are only the most famous examples of the first-person accounts, memoirs, and polemics that he fabricated throughout his career. Memoirs of a Cavalier is a special example because it took the pursuit of authenticity–which is the standard of all Defoe’s novels–to its limits. So successfully did it mimic the voice of the seventeenth-century soldier of fortune who is its narrator, that for over half a century the memoirs were considered to be genuine. The struggle of this narrator to turn his observations into facts, to make a certain history of his uncertain experiences, was so well caught that, as one of its eighteenth-century editors declared, “tis a Romance the likest to Truth that I ever read’. It is this struggle, as much as the battles and adventures which comprise the Cavalier’s story, that gives this narrative its dramatic qualities.

— back cover copy; Daniel Defoe, Memoirs of a Cavalier, or a Military Journal of the Wars in Germany, and The Wars in England; From the Year 1632, to the Year 1648 (World’s Classics Edition; Oxford University Press 1991)

 

*****************************************************

In my post

“Sorokin” (“Сорокин”)

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin (Сорокин)”

I wrote:

“Leaves from A Russian Diary,” which details Sorokin’s experiences as a revolutionary opponent of the Czarist government, an official in the short lived Kerensky government, and an anti-Bolshevik, was a work that I could not put down. It has a cogency and dramatic interest, being written at white heat, so to speak, that make it compelling. It reads live a novel, a sort of “Les Misérables” minus about a thousand pages. l feel that it is an underrated book and could never understand why it never achieved a wide readership. For me, it is the best book on the Russian Revolution, the only one I practically ever read about it, in fact. It made me feel what the revolution must have been like. I regard it as a classic, and I felt it was very well written, much more so than when Sorokin was writing as a scholar.

The analogy to Defoe, applied to Sorokin’s reminiscences of the February Revolution and it’s immediate aftermath, is very apt. I am happy to say that I have just recently interested a literarily minded friend in reading Leaves from a Russian Diary, a book I couldn’t put down.

 

*****************************************************

 

In his preface to The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1948), Winston S. Churchill wrote:

I have followed, as in previous volumes, as far as I am able, the method of Defoe’s Memoirs of a Cavalier, in which the author hangs the chronicle and discussion of great military and political events upon the thread of the personal experiences of an individual. I am perhaps the only man who has passed through both the two supreme cataclysms of recorded history in high Cabinet office. Whereas, however, in the First World War I filled responsible but subordinate posts, I was for more than five years in this second struggle with Germany the Head of His Majesty’s Government. I write, therefore, from a different standpoint and with more authority than was possible in my earlier books.

Precisely the same as Leaves from a Russian Diary. Both Sorokin and Churchill were participant-observers.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     February 2019

caricature of Sorokin lecturing

 

This caricature of Pitirim A. Sorokin lecturing at Harvard appeared in the Harvard Guardian, vol. II, no. 2 (November 1937), pg. 11.

 

caricature of Sorokin - Havard Guardian, Nov 1937.jpg

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

seeking translator for Sorokin biography / ищет переводчика для биографии Сорокина

 

Yuri Doykov, an independent journalist and historian based in Arkhangelsk, Russia has written several important books on Sorokin, including his two-volume biography Питирим Сорокин: Человек вне сезона (Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man, 2008-2009).

Doykov’s work is the first real biography of Sorokin.

In 1996, the University Press of Kansas published Barry V. Johnston’s Pitirim A. Sorokin: An Intellectual Biography. The work is a valuable contribution to Sorokin studies, but it is not strictly a biography.

Given that most of Sorokin’s career was spent in the United States (and not minimizing the importance of his Russian years), it would be a great service to sociologists and social scientists in related fields to be have an English translation of Doykov’s biography available.

We are seeking responses from Russian scholars who would be willing to undertake a translation into English. Roger W. Smith is prepared to assist in preparation of the translation. While he is not qualified to undertake it himself, he has a working knowledge of Russian and professional editorial experience which would enable him to assist a translator and make the translation letter perfect in English.

We invite responses to either

 

Yuri Doykov

ydoikov@yahoo.com

or

Roger W. Smith

brandeis106@gmail.com

 

*****************************************************

 

Юрий Дойков, независимый журналист и историк из Архангельска, написал несколько важных книг о Сорокине, в том числе его двухтомную биографию: Питирим Сорокин. Человек вне сезона (2008-2009).

Работа Дойкова – первая настоящая биография Сорокина.

В 1996 году университетская пресса Канзаса опубликовала «Питирим А. Сорокин» Барри В. Джонстона: «Интеллектуальная биография». Работа является ценным вкладом в исследования Сорокина, но это не совсем биография.

Учитывая, что большая часть карьеры Соркина проводилась в Соединенных Штатах (и не сводя к минимуму важность его российских лет), это было бы отличным сервисом для социологов и социологов в смежных областях, чтобы иметь английский перевод биографии Дойкова.

Мы ищем ответы от российских ученых, которые хотели бы взять перевод на английский язык. Роджер У. Смит готов помочь в подготовке перевода. Несмотря на то, что он не имеет возможности самостоятельно заниматься этим, он имеет опыт работы с русским и профессиональным редакционным опытом, который позволил бы ему помочь переводчику и сделать переводное письмо совершенным на английском языке.

Мы приглашаем

Юрий Дойков

ydoikov@yahoo.com

или

Roger W. Smith

brandeis106@gmail.com

 

*****************************************************

 

Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man

 

Contents

Volume 1

Chapter 1 Life of Sorokin before the First World War. 1889-1916

Chapter 2. Participation of Sorokin in the Russian Revolution and the Struggle against the Bolsheviks 1917-1918

Chapter 3 Sorokin’s work at Petrograd University and expulsion from Soviet Russia
on the orders of Lenin and Trotsky. 1919-1922

 

Volume 2

Chapter 1 Life of Sorokin in Prague.Czechoslovakia 1922-1923

Chapter 2 Sorokin’s work at the University of Minnesota 1923-1930

Chapter 3. Sorokin at Harvard 1930-1968

 

Питирим Сорокин. Человек вне сезона

Содержание

 

Том 1

Глава 1 Жизнь Сорокина до Первой мировой войны.1889-1916

Глава 2.Участие Сорокина в Русской революции и борьбе с большевиками 1917-1918

Глава 3 Работа Сорокина в Петроградском университете и высылка  из Советской России

по указанию Ленина и Троцкого. 1919-1922

 

Том 2

Глава1  Жизнь Сорокина в Праге.Чехословакия 1922-1923

Глава2 Работа Сорокина в университете Миннесоты 1923-1930

Глава 3. Сорокин в Гарварде 1930-1968