Dr Gordon Willard Allport

Dr Gordon Willard Allport

Montezuma, Parke County, Indiana, USA
Death 9 Oct 1967 (aged 69)
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Begonia Path, Lot 9349
Memorial ID 132750262 · View Source
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Interred 10/12/1967
Gordon Willard Allport, an American psychologist, was a longtime and influential member of the faculty at Harvard University from 1930 to 1967. Dr. Allport was one of the first psychologists to focus on the study of the personality, and is often referred to as one of the founding figures of personality psychology.

He was the youngest of four boys -- Harold, Floyd, Fayette,and Gordon -- born to a physician,John Edwards Allport, and a schoolteacher, Nellie Edith (Wise) Allport. His family moved many times before young Gordon was six, ultimately settling in Ohio where his father, who was also a patent medicine salesman, ran a hospital out of their home.

Dr. Allport was raised in a devoutly Methodist household.The Christian, service-oriented temper of the Allport home is evident in Gordon Allport’s middle name, Willard. The name was in honor of Frances Willard, a leading advocate of higher education for women and a national president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. As an adult Dr. Allport was practicing Episcopalian, and he brought to psychology an ecumenical concern about the corrosive impact of science and technology on the human condition.

Prior to joining in Harvard faculty -- and just after his graduation from Harvard College, where he has strong interests in psychology and social ethics -- Dr. Allport traveled to Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey, where he taught economics and philosophy for a year, before returning to Harvard to pursue his Ph.D. in psychology on fellowship in 1920 His first publication, Personality Traits: Their Classification and Measurement in 1921, was co-authored with his older brother, Floyd Henry Allport, who became an important social psychologist. Dr. Allport earned his master's degree in 1921, and then his Ph.D. in 1922. Harvard then awarded Dr. Allport a coveted Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. He spent the first Sheldon year studying with the new Gestalt School in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany; and then the second year at Cambridge University.

Dr.Allport then returned to Harvard as an instructor in psychology from 1924 to 1926. During this time, he married Ada Lufkin Gould, who was a clinical psychologist, and they had one child, a boy, Robert, who later became a pediatrician. After leaving to teach introductory courses on social psychology and personality at Dartmouth College for four years, Dr. Allport returned to Harvard and remained there for the rest of his career.

In 1931, Dr. Allport served on the faculty committee that established Harvard's Sociology Department. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1933. While his early experience with missionary work tempered Allport’s social idealism, he remained committed to the ideal of scientifically informed social reform. In the 1930s he helped establish the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) and he was chairman of the APA Committee on Displaced Foreign Psychologists, which assisted European psychologists who had been persecuted by the Nazis.

Dr. Allport was elected President of the American Psychological Association in 1939. In 1943, he was elected President of the Eastern Psychological Association. In 1944, he served as President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. During this period he was also editor of the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, and a Director of the Commission for the United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization. In 1963, Dr. Allport was awarded the Gold Medal Award from the American Psychological Foundation. In the following year, he received the APA's Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

His death in October 1967 was from lung cancer.

Ian Nicholson, Inventing Personality: Gordon Allport and the Science of Selfhood, American Psychological Association, 2003; Great American Fraud: Articles on the Nostrum Evil and Quackery, Samuel Hopkins Adams.

Family Members



Gordon W Allport
1897 - 1967
Ada L Allport
1898 - 1975

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  • Created by: Mayflower Pilgrim 332
  • Added: 13 Jul 2014
  • Find A Grave Memorial 132750262
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Gordon Willard Allport (11 Nov 1897–9 Oct 1967), Find A Grave Memorial no. 132750262, citing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Mayflower Pilgrim 332 (contributor 47081711) .