“A Disillusioned Intellectual”


review of Leaves from a Russian Diary – Workers Monthly 1-1-1925 pg 113

Posted here (PDF file above)

review of Sorokin’s Leaves from a Russian Diary

reviewed by Alexander Bittelman

Workers Monthly

January 1, 1925



Alexander Bittelman (1890–1982) was a Russian-born American communist political activist, Marxist theorist, influential theoretician of the Communist Party USA, and writer. A founding member, Bittelman is best remembered as the chief factional lieutenant of William Z. Foster and as a longtime editor of The Communist, its monthly magazine. (Wikipedia)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     July 2022

Письмо А.Л. Толстой П.А. Сорокину. 15.05.1946 (letter from Alexandra Tolstoy to Pitirim Sorokin, May 5, 1946)


Alexandra Tolstoy to Sorokin 5-15-1946


Глубокоуважаемый Питирим Александрович, Сегодня утром получила Ваше милое письмо и чек для ученых в Германии. Только что организова-лось Общество, выделившееся из American Council of Voluntary Agencies, в которое Толстовский фонд вошел членом, имеющим право посылать продо-вольствие в Германию. Возможно, что организация, со всеми разрешениями на посылки в Германию, займет около месяца. Но зато на эту сумму денег, которые Вы прислали, вероятно, можно будет пос-лать в пять раз больше продуктов, чем обыкновен-ной почтой. Пришлите мне открытку с указанием, как поступить. На днях мне пришла мысль организовать при Толстовском фонде Профессорский фонд. Я сейчас занята составлением письма, которое отдам мимеографировать, с обращением к русским и американским профессорам. Каждому профес-сору, список которых у нас имеется, мы пошлем по пять экземпляров такого письма, с просьбой дальше его распространить. Есть ряд американских профессоров, заинтересованных в русских ученых, которые с удовольствием придут нам на помощь, как в финансовом смысле, так и предоставлением аффидевитов. К этому обращению мы приложим список наиболее известных ученых в Германии, Франции и Австрии. Думаю, что создание такого Профессорского фонда сильно облегчит задачу как отдельным лицам, оказывающим помощь профессорам, так и Толстовскому фонду.

— Письмо А.Л. Толстой П.А. Сорокину. 15.05.1946. Цит. по: Ульянкина Т.И. (Москва) «Дикая историческая полоса» Иммиграция русских ученых в США из послевоенной Европы // Русский Берлин. 1920–1945. Международная научная конференция 16–18 декабря. 2002. М., 2006. 441;  цитируется в Юрий Дойков, Питирим Сорокин, Человек вне сезона: Биография, Том 2 (1922 – 1968 годы) (Архангельск, 2009)


Dear Pitirim Alexandrovich, This morning I received your kind letter and the check for scientists in Germany. The society has just been formed, distinct from the American Council of Voluntary Agencies, of which the Tolstoy Foundation had become a member authorized to send food to Germany. It is possible that the arrangements, with all the permits for parcels to Germany, will take about a month. But with the amount of money that you have sent, one can probably send five times more products than the usual mail. Send me a postcard telling me how to proceed. The other day I came up with the idea of organizing at the Tolstoy Foundation a professor’s fund. I am now busy drafting a letter that I will have mimeographed, with an appeal to Russian and American professors. To each professor, of which we have a list, we will send five copies of such a letter, with the request to distribute it further. There are a number of American professors interested in Russian scholars who would gladly come to our aid, both financially and by providing affidavits. To this appeal we will attach a list of the most famous scholars in  Germany, France and Austria. I think that the creation of such a professor’s fund will greatly facilitate the task both of individuals assisting professors as well as the Tolstoy Foundation. (translation by Roger W. Smith)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     July 2022

“Питирим Александрович Сорокин и Генри Нобл Маккракен” (Pitirim Alexandovich Sorokin and Henry Noble MacCracken)


Pitirim Sorokin and Henry Noble MacCracken RUSSIAN

Pitirim Sorokin and Henry Noble MacCracken


Posted here in both the original Russian and my English translation:

Наталья Станиславовна Сергиева и Роджер В. Смит

Питирим Александрович Сорокин и Генри Нобл Маккракен

опубликовано в материалах конференции

итирим Сорокин и Парадигмы Глобального Развития XXI Века

Сборник научных статей по материалам Международной научной конференции, приуроченной к юбилею СГУ им. Питирима Сорокина

26–28 мая 2022 года, г. Сыктывкар. Сыктывкар Издательство

СГУ им. Питирима Сорокина 2022


Natalia S. Sergieva and Roger W. Smith, “Pitirim Aleksandrovich Sorokin i Genri Nobl Makkraken” (Pitirim Alexandovich Sorokin and Henry Noble MacCracken)

IN Pitirim Sorokin I Paradigmy Global’nogo Razvitiya Xxi Veka (Pitirim Sorokin and Paradigms of Global Development in the XXI Century); Proceedings; International scientific conference dedicated to the anniversary of Syktyvkar State University named after Pitirim Sorokin (May 26–28, 2022, Syktyvkar, Russia). pp. 68-73


— posted by Roger W. Smith
    June 2022

an exchange of letters with Alexandra Tolstaya


Alexandra Tolstaya-Sorokin letters


See downloadable Word document, above.


 — posted by Roger W. Smith

       June 2022

Alexander Goldenweiser, “Facts vs. Theories”: a review of Sorokin’s “Contemporary Sociological Theories”


Goldenweiser, ‘Facts vs. Theories’ (review of Contemporary Soc Theories) – NY Herald Tribune 7-1-1928


Posted here (downloadable Word document above) is the following:

Facts vs. Theories

review of Contemporary Sociological Theories, by Pitirim Sorokin

reviewed by Alexander Goldenweiser

New York Herald Tribune

July 1, 1928


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     May 2022

Louis A. Ryan, review of “The Crisis of Our Age”


Louis A. Ryan review of The Crisis of Our Age – The Thomist


“I discovered Sorokin in my local public library at age 17 when I was a senior in high school. … There was a book on the library’s shelves which caught my eye: The Crisis of Our Age by one P. A. Sorokin, whom I had never heard of.

“ ‘This looks interesting,’ I thought. …

The Crisis of Our Age was an intensely stimulating and exciting read for a 17 year old with an interest in history and, especially, the history of ideas. … I could not put the book down, devoured it. It was a very rewarding intellectual exercise for me at that stage in my intellectual development. It challenged me, stimulated me mentally, and greatly expanded my intellectual horizons.”

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin (Сорокин)”

Roger W. Smith, “Sorokin (Сорокин)”



Posted here (downloadable Word document ahove) is a very through and thoughtful review of Sorokin’s The Crisis of Our Age by Louis A. Ryan:

book review: The Crisis of Our Age. By Pitirim A. Sorokin. New York: Dutton & Co., 1941. Pp. 338, with index. $3.50.

The Thomist: A Speculative Quarterly Review

Volume 4, Number 3

July 1942

pp. 523-533

Louis A. Ryan, O.P. was a professor of sociology at the College of St. Mary of the Springs in Columbus, Ohio.


– posted by Roger W. Smith

      May 2022

faculty profile


Faculty Profile


The Harvard Crimson

April 22, 1941


“The biggest noise in an empty barrel for the year,” said Clifton Fadiman in the New Yorker. “He is to me like God,” wrote an awestruck Freshman in the Confidential Guide poll last spring. “The world’s foremost sociologist,” was the opinion of a professor in a midwestern university. In panning Sorokin’s book on “Social and Cultural Dynamics,” Fadiman referred to Harvard’s Department of Sociology as a “White Russian WPA.”* But Professor Sorokin, who is head of that WPA, began his career by being just as red as the rest of his intellectual, revolutionary friends. Back in 1916 in Petrograd, as a young lecturer, his ideas were well tinged with Utopian visions of a socialistic Russia. But his part in the “great experiment” was that played by so many moderates in so many revolutions, only with a happier ending. As he fed the Russian bear, it turned around and bit him. “In a revolution, power lies in the street for any one to pick up,” he wrote in one of his innumerable books. He stepped into the street just long enough to pick up a job as Secretary to Prime Minister Kerensky in the fall of 1917, but that success was so short-lived that soon he had to grow a beard to escape detection by the Bolsheviks who had seized power and were after him. As the blue blood began to run, and the red as well, Sorokin became sickened by the cruelty and irresponsibility of the anarchists and turned counter-revolutionary. He spent fifty days in the Petropavlovskaia Fortress, another word for Bastille, for having “attempted to assassinate Lenin.” It turned out that what they thought was a pistol shot had only been a tire blowout, but he was kept in prison for good measure. Writing anti-government pamphlets and articles was not a healthy occupation in Russia in 1918, and soon Sorokin found himself sentenced to death. At the last minute he was saved by a combination of luck and the work of a friend who must have put in a good word with Lenin. Back in Petrograd teaching again, on precarious academic tenure, he found it impossible to indoctrinate the sons of the proletariat with the first principles of sociology. He contrived to get himself banished from Russia in 1923, and from then on the tempo of the Sorokin drama relaxed. A short term of lecturing in Prague, then on to America. Professor at the University of Minnesota until 1930, and at Harvard since then.

Professor Sorokin now lives in Winchester, with the Mystic Valley Reservation for a back yard, which gives him “all the advantages of an estate without any of the duties.” When he is not lecturing or writing or breakfasting with his friend Serge Koussevitsky, the professor likes to work in his garden behind the house, an interest perhaps inherited from his many Russian forebears. When they want more lengthy relaxation. Mother and Father and the two boys move to their camp in Canada where Father forgets his vertical and horizontal mobility long enough to be a compleat angler. He despairs of modern jazz, movies, radio, advertising, and has a high unconcern for the press. He is above all criticism, good or bad, from a world whose culture and civilization are degenerate. He has an enormous and un-selfconscious ego concerning the immortality of his works, but won’t budge form the assertion that none of the modern greats correspond in ability to those of the past. “When there are no fish, a crawfish is a fish,” he says. “I am a crawfish.” Yet he has doubled the size of Harvard’s Sociology Department, attracted a brilliant group of graduate students, and has probably written as many books in his field as any man in history. Although he scorns the “sensational, vulgar, misleading, and distorting press,” he manages to cull yearly as much publicity as the average Hollywood starlet.

Personally, Professor Sorokin is as pleasant and charming an egoist as it is possible to find at Harvard, home of many successful men. His eyes, behind steel-rimmed glasses, glitter smilingly with every word he utters. Some people who take his courses groan that they can’t understand a word he says. A little judicious listening, coupled with the immunity gained after a few of his lectures, should fix that. Short, boyishly cut gray hair, a rapid and brusque manner, make him seem a tall little man. A conversation with Sorokin requires an effort to keep up with his wit, and when he gets serious, an effort to grasp what he is talking about. For him, the best art, literature, and music was produced before the nineteenth century. Enough of a cosmopolite to prefer Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart to Tchaikovsky and Rimsky Korsakov, smoke English instead of Russian cigarettes, keep cases of French wine in his cellar instead of scotch or vodka, and obtain American citizenship in 1930, he is nevertheless simple and quiet in taste, abhorring social life and all that it entails. However, the professor continues to sling his provoking social theories into the intellectual boxing ring, and although they get slammed around quite a bit there’s no reason why he shouldn’t come out a winner in the end.

* Porter Sargent , a former Harvard professor, publisher, and commentator and critic of higher education. was quoted in an article in Time (May 30, 1938) as follows: “The [Harvard] sociology department is the White Russian WPA.”  Fadiman may have been quoting Sargent; or it may have been the other way around.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     April 2022

Sorokin’s early reading


Питирим Сорокин аккуратно записывал в дневник назва-ния прочитанных им книг и авторов: 4 тома А.  П.  Чехова, Ф.  М.  Достоевского  — «Преступление и наказание», «Дневник писателя», «Бедные люди» и другие. Огромное впечатление произвел на него «Идиот». Дальше идут книги A.M.  Горького, И.  А.  Гончарова, Г.  Сенкевича, Н.  А.  Некрасова, Л.  Н.  Толстого, У.  Шекспира, П.  В.  Засодимского. В.Гюго, A.M.  Скабичевского, Г.  И.  Успенского, А.  И.  Писарева, выписки из древнегреческих философов: Демокрита, Гераклита, Пифагора, Анаксагора, Про-тагора, Сократа. Среди прочитанных книг — работы B.C.  Соло-вьева, Гегеля, В.Чернова («Монистическая точка зрения в исто-рии и психологии», «К вопросу о капитализме и крестьянстве»), М. И. Туган-Барановского («Теоретические основы марксизма»), В.  И.  Ленина («Проект аграрной программы» и др.) а также книги В.  И.  Засулич и «Прошлое Шлиссельбургской крепости» В.  Панкратова, «Популярные очерки политической экономии» П.  Кропоткина.

— Дойков, Юрий, Питирим Сорокин, Человек вне сезона: Биография. Том 1 (1889–1922); Архангельск, 2008., стр. 23


Pitirim Sorokin carefully recorded in his diary the names of the books and authors he read: 4 volumes by A. P. Chekhov, F. M. Dostoevsky – “Crime and Punishment”, “Writer’s Diary”, “Poor People” and others. The Idiot made a huge impression on him. Then there are books by A. M. Gorky, I. A. Goncharov, G. Senkevich, N. A. Nekrasov, L. N. Tolstoy, W. Shakespeare, P. V. Zasodimsky. V. Hugo, A. M. Skabichevsky, G. I. Uspensky, A. I. Pisarev, extracts from ancient Greek philosophers: Democritus, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Socrates. Among the books read are the works of B.C. Soloviev, Hegel, V. Chernov (“The Monistic Point of View in History and Psychology”, “On the Question of Capitalism and the Peasantry”), M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky (“Theoretical Foundations of Marxism”), V. I. Lenin (“The Project of the Agrarian Program”, etc.), as well as books by V. I. Zasulich and “The Past of the Shlisselburg Fortress” by V. Pankratov, “Popular Essays on Political Economy” by P. Kropotkin.

Yuri Doykov, Pitirim Sorokin: A Timeless Man; A Biography, Volume 1 (1889-1922); Arkhangelsk, 2008, pg. 23


— posted by Roger W. Smith

      April 2022

Sorokin, “Some of the Basic Factors in the Improvement of Scholarship among American Students of the Social Sciences”


Sorokin, ‘Some Basic Factors in Improvement of Scholarship Among American Students – Social Science, 1936 (2)


Posted here (PDF file above) is the following article by Sorokin:

Some of the Basic Factors in the Improvement of Scholarship among American Students of the Social Sciences
By Pitirim A. Sorokin
Social Science, Vol. 11, No. 2 (April 1936), pp. 93-99

It is a very interesting article in terms of Sorokin’s views not only on the teaching of sociology, but his views on sociology and sociological scholarship.


posted by Roger W. Smith

      April 2022

“Use of A-Bomb Condemned”


‘Use of A-Bomb Condemned’ – NY Times 8-3-1955

Posted here (PDF file above):

Use of A-Bomb Condemned: Group Notes Tenth Anniversary of Bombing of Hiroshima

letter to editor

The New York Times

August 3, 1955

The signers were Clarence E. Pickett, Bishop W. Appleton Lawrence, Lewis Mumford, Pitirim A. Sorokin, W. Harold Row, A. Philp Randolph, Orie O. Miller, Howard Thurman, Henry J. Cadbury, A. J. Muste, Roland H. Bainton, and Rabbi Isidor B. Hoffman.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

     March 2022