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Beth Bowman Hess

Beth Bowman Hess brought a humanist and feminist sensibility to gerontology by discussing the difficulties the elderly faced not as problems inherent in older people, but as problems in the social order that should be confronted and changed. Hess earned a BA from Radcliffe in 1950 and a PhD in sociology from Rutgers in 1971. From 1969–1997, she was a professor of sociology at the County College of Morris. Throughout that time, she wrote extensively on aging, and her introductory sociology textbook was groundbreaking for its analysis of how gender, race, and class affected people throughout the life cycle instead of studying those factors in separate, special chapters. She served as president of the Association for Humanist Sociology from 1986–1987, Sociologists for Women in Society from 1987–1989, the Eastern Sociological Society from 1988–1989, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems from 1994–1995, among her many responsibilities. She served as an editor and board member for a number of journals in her field, such as Contemporary Sociology, Gerontology Review, Teaching Sociology, American Sociologist, and Gender and Society. In 2000, she was awarded the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ Lee Founders Award.

More on Beth Bowman Hess
Date of Birth
September 13, 1928
Place of Birth
Buffalo, New York
Date of Death
April 17, 2003

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Beth Bowman Hess." (Viewed on October 15, 2018) <>.


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