Eleanor and Sheldon Glueck just before receiving their honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Harvard, 12 June 1958
Kodacolor print, 7 x 5 in.
Eleanor T. (Eleanor Touroff) and Sheldon Glueck Visual Materials
Sheldon Glueck received his Ph.D. from the Harvard Department of Social Ethics in 1924. Glueck began teaching at Harvard Law School as an assistant professor of criminology in 1929, and in 1950 became the first Roscoe Pound Professor of Law. Eleanor T. (Eleanor Touroff) Glueck received her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Harvard in 1925. At the time, the Education School was the only Harvard school to admit women, and she was one of only two women to receive a Doctorate of Education from Harvard that year. She never secured a tenured faculty position or teaching position at Harvard. The Gluecks’ eclectic educational background reflected their interdisciplinary pursuits at the intersection of social science and law and also led to a significant degree of social and professional isolation.
Between 1933 and 1969, Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck received numerous awards for their work, the majority of which recognized their contribution to the study of chronically delinquent youth and the predictability and causality of crimes. The Gluecks were the first husband and wife team in Harvard’s history to be given honorary degrees. They were recognized chiefly for their contribution to the study of chronic juvenile delinquency at a time when recidivism and the link between criminal behavior and sociological factors, such as family life, peer groups, and temperament, was little understood.
Yet their work also reminds us that conceptions of social justice evolve over time: over the decades, their research has proven controversial among criminologists for its insularity, moral judgments of lower-income families, and a failure to incorporate sociological factors like culture and community in favor of variables traditionally thought to influence crime, like morphology, class, and intelligence.