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Frank Hamilton Hankins Papers

Identifier: CA-MS-00060

Scope and Contents

The Frank Hamilton Hankins Papers include his numerous publications and cover his involvement in various societies and organizations. Files include articles, correspondence, speeches, photographs, minutes from meetings, publications, and information from Hankins' time at different universities, such as Columbia and Clark.

In addition to some chronologies of Hankins' history, the biographical materials also contain some articles and press releases at the time of his death.

Copies of Hankins' publications comprise the largest part of this collection. There is some information on debates Hankins was involved with and lectures he gave. Also, there are some materials on Hankins' contributions to The New Humanist. Hankins' collaboration with Farrar & Rinehart Publishers is also well documented.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1846 - 1968


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Smith College retains copyright of materials created as part of its business operations; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Smith College, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Frank Hamilton Hankins was born on September 27, 1877 in Wilkshire, Ohio. He grew up in Kansas, where he received an A.B. from Baker University in 1901. He served as superintendent of schools in Waverly, Kansas for two years before entering Columbia University. As a graduate student and fellow in statistics, Hankins was strongly influenced by the philosophy and logic of John Stuart Mill, the sociology of Giddings, Spencer, and Ward, and the quantitative work of Quetelet, Galton, and Pearson. His doctoral dissertation, "Adolphe Quetelet as Statitician" (1908), was an important contribution to the development of empirical sociology.

Hankins served as a member of the Clark University faculty for sixteen years (1906-22), and head of the Department of Political and Social Science beginning in 1908. He contributed numerous articles to scholarly journals, lectured frequently at other universities, studied social conditions in Europe before and after World War I, and taught at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politique in Paris in 1921.

Hankins joined the Smith College faculty in 1922 as Professor of Sociology, and for many years he served as department chairman, until he left Smith in 1946. He built up a group of sociologists on campus, including Harry Elmer Barnes, Ray Billington, G.A. Borgese, Merle Curti, and Harold Faulkner. Hankins was very active on many different boards and organizations on population and individual rights. In 1930, Hankins was elected the first President of the American Sociological Society, and in 1945 President of the American Population Association. He also taught and lectured widely, serving on the faculties of Amherst College, Columbia, Berkeley, the Army Center at Biarritz, and, following his retirement from Smith, the University of Pennsylvania. In 1936, he studied, on the scene, social conditions in Nazi Germany.

Hankins contributed widely to scholarly journals, anthologies, and the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. His ground-breaking study, The Racial Basis of Civilization: A Critique of the Nordic Doctrine, was published in 1926. In 1928, he published An Introduction to the Study of Society, a textual treatise presenting his principal theoretical and substantive concerns and convictions. Hankins' writings reveal an interest in the role of biological factors in social life and history and, conversely, in the role of such selective processes as urbanization, education, persecution, and war in the determination of population quantity and quality. He argued in favor of birth control, more for the lower classes and less for the privileged. He condemned authoritarian institutions and practices and supported the maximization of opportunity for all. He also denounced racist policies and believed that racially mixed populations were physically and socially beneficial.

Hankins died of a heart attack at the age of 92 on January 24, 1970 in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.


3.938 linear feet (9 containers)

Language of Materials



Professor of Sociology, demographer, author and lecturer. Collection contains articles, correspondence, written speeches, photographs, minutes from meetings, and publications.


This collection is organized into four series:

  1. I. Biographical Materials
  2. II. Correspondence
  3. III. Subject Files/Organizations
  4. IV. Speeches/Publications

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Processing Information

The Frank Hamilton Hankins Papers were processed by Katrina Cokeng, 2002, CDO Archival Intern in 1999-2000.

Processing Information

Please note that prior to 2018, folder inventories were not always updated when new material was added to the collection. As a result, folder inventories may not be complete and folder numbers may be incorrect.

Finding aid to the Frank Hamilton Hankins Papers
Finding Aid
Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
Katrina Cokeng, 2002, CDO Archival Intern
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: manosca60 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2018-11-06: Containers added and finding aid updated as part of the College Archives Survey

Repository Details

Part of the Smith College Archives Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063