William Foote Whyte's Street Corner Society

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William Foote Whyte, born June 27 1914 in Springfield, Massachusetts, was an American sociologist most recognized for his work in ethnographic study and his book Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum. Whyte 's father, John Whyte, a university professor of German, and his mother Caroline Van Sickle, moved the family to several different locations in the greater New York area before eventually settling down in Bronxville, NY where he attended high school. Following his high school graduation Whyte moved to Germany with his father before eventually returning to the United States to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1936.

William Foote Whyte

Upon graduating Swarthmore,
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It wasn 't until Street Corner Society was reissued in 1955 that it received critical acclaim from both academic community and the educated reading public. The book went on to become a best seller as well as a standard college text and was translated into a half dozen languages. Street Corner went on to inspire similar sociological studies throughout the 1960 's as poverty became a prominent national issue. Reissued a third time in 1981 and a fourth in 1993, Street Corner Society remains in print and has sold over 270,000 copies…show more content…
Whyte continued to publish works all the way up until 1997 when he published his last book Creative Problem Solving In The Field: Reflections on a Career, in which he chronicled many of the problems he encountered in the field and how he overcame them.

William Foote Whyte

William Foote Whyte died on Sunday, July 16 2000 in Ithaca, New York at the age of 86. His death was large loss to the sociological community with many of his esteemed colleagues offering their praise to his career, his influence and his humanity.

Peter H. Rossi of the University of Massachusetts credited Whyte as being "one of sociology 's greatest practitioners." Arlene Kaplan Daniels of Northwestern University called Whyte 's Street Corner Society "one of the most important studies of urban life to ever be written..." and that "those who knew him had the pleasure of seeing how that simplicity, directness and warm heartedness worked out in his professional and personal relations."

Daniels, Arlene Kaplan, and Peter H. Rossi. "Colleagues Salute William Foote Whyte." Colleagues Salute William Foote Whyte. American Sociological Association, n.d. Web. 28
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