1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ward, Lester Frank

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WARD, LESTER FRANK (1841–       ), American geologist and sociologist, was born in Joliet, Illinois, on the 18th of June 1841. He graduated at Columbian (now George Washington) University in 1869 and from the law school of the same university in 1871, his education having been delayed by his service in the Union army during the Civil War. In 1865–1872 he was employed in the United States Treasury Department, and became assistant geologist in 1881 and geologist in 1888 to the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1884–1886 he was professor of botany in Columbian University. He wrote much on paleobotany, including A Sketch of Paleobotany (1885), The Geographical Distribution of Fossil Plants (1888) and The Status of the Mesozoic Floras of the United States (1905). He is better known, however, for his work in sociology, in which, modifying Herbert Spencer and refuting the Spencerian individualism, he paralleled social with psychological and physical phenomena. His more important works are: Dynamic Sociology (1883, 2nd ed. 1897), Psychic Factors of Civilization (1897), Outlines of Sociology (1898), Sociology and Economics (1899), Pure Sociology (1903), and, with J. Q. Dealy, Text-Book of Sociology (1905).

See an appreciation by L. Gumplowicz, in Die Zeit (Vienna, 20th Aug. 1904); reprinted in English in vol. x. of The American Journal of Sociology.