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Sophia Moses Robison

Sociologist Sophia Moses Robison spent her career shattering stereotypes, from exposing the racial bias in labels of juvenile delinquency to debunking myths that immigrants were a drain on the economy. Robison graduated from Wellesley in 1909 and earned an MA in German literature from Columbia in 1913 while teaching high school. She married in 1913 and had five children while working first as a social worker for the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society and then executive secretary for the Brooklyn chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. In 1936 she earned a PhD from Columbia with a thesis that formed the basis of her groundbreaking Juvenile Delinquency: Can It Be Measured? which showed how race, class, and even neighborhood influenced whether children were labeled delinquent. She served as director of the Division of Neighborhood Statistics for New York City’s Welfare Council from 1931–1940, then led the Statistical Research Division on Delinquency of the US Children’s Bureau. Her 1942 Refugees at Work calmed fears about jobs and the economy at the height of WWII immigration. From 1946–1954 she taught at the New York School of Social Work, and even after retirement continued to research and publish works on civil rights and racial bias.

Date of Birth
November 28, 1888
Date of Death
August 4, 1969

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sophia Moses Robison." (Viewed on December 14, 2018) <>.


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