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George Bryan Vold papers

Identifier: ua-00805

Scope and Content

George Vold's papers reflect his 37 years at the University of Minnesota. During this period Vold contributed numerous articles, studies, and speeches to the literature of the field of sociology. His membership and contributions to many local and state boards and committees especially those concerned with criminology and prison reform.

The papers include general correspondence, reports and other documentation of various University of Minnesota committees and subcommittees as well as professional societies, and articles, manuscripts, and speeches.

Material regarding Vold's work as a research analyst with the U.S. occupation forces in Japan during 1946 and 1947 are absent from the collection.


  • 1930-1967


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

Use of materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of George B. Vold (1986-1967)

George Vold, B.S. (1921) South Dakota State College, M.A. (1924) University of Chicago, Ph.D. (1930) University of Minnesota. Professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota (1927-1964). Expert in the fields of criminology, penal law, and recidivism. Published widely used textbook Theoretical Criminology(1958).

George Bryan Vold was born on October 5, 1896 in Platte, SD. He earned his BS in chemistry from South Dakota State College, Brookings in 1921. He served as Superintendent of Summit, South Dakota, Public Schools from 1921 to 1923. After receiving his MA in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1924, Vold served as an assistant professor at Macalaster College, St. Paul, Minnesota, until 1927 when he was appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. After the completion of his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1930, he spent the rest of his academic career in the Department of Sociology until his retirement in 1964 as professor emeritus. He died on November 20, 1967 at La Jolla, CA.

Vold specialized in criminal sociology. His thesis was that individuals became criminals due to innate character flaw rather than by association with other criminals. In 1932 he wrote a report on Massachusetts state prisons. In 1934 he helped draft Minnesota's psychopathic personality law. As an adviser to the Minnesota Crime Commission, he was influential in drafting a report which became the basis for the state's prison reform.

During his 37 years at the University of Minnesota, Vold contributed numerous articles, studies, and speeches to the field of sociology, including his widely used textbook Theoretical Criminology(1958),served with F. Stuart Chapin as co-editor of the American Sociological Review(1944-1946), was elected President of the Midwest Sociology Society (1949-1950). In 1966, Vold received the Edwin H. Sutherland award for his work in criminology from the American Criminological Society.


1.6 Cubic Feet (5)


Professional papers of George Bryan Vold, professor emeritus of sociology, consisting of correspondence, University of Minnesota faculty committees and Department of Sociology activities, work with professional organizations dealing with penal reform, articles, studies and speeches.


The materials are arranged into the following groups:

  1. General Correspondence
  2. University of Minnesota Materials
  3. Professional Societies and State and Local Reform Committees
  4. Articles, Studies, and Speeches

The general correspondence and the articles, studies, and speeches are arranged chronologically; the other material is arranged alphabetically within each division.

Source of acquisition

Donated to University of Minnesota Archives, Sept. 12, 1950 and Nov. 24, 1964 by George B. Vold.

Processing information

Collection processed by Carol Jenson, August 15, 1967.

George Bryan Vold Papers, 1930-1963
Carol Jenson
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area