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American National Biography Online Glueck, Sheldon (15 Aug. 1896-10 Mar. 1980), professor of criminal law and criminology, was born in Warsaw, Poland, the son of Charles Glueck, a small steel shop owner, and Anna Steinhardt. Facing bankruptcy, the family moved to the United States in 1903. They settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his father was a street peddler. Glueck attended public school in his youth. While working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Glueck attended Georgetown University Law School at night (1914-1915). His study was postponed for two years when he joined the "Rainbow Division" (Forty-second) of the Allied Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. He served as a translator at the rank of sergeant. On his return Glueck transferred to George Washington University, graduating with an A.B. in humanities in 1920. In the same year he was awarded an LL.B. and LL.M. by the National University Law School, was admitted to the New York Bar, and became a U.S. citizen. Glueck put aside his plans to practice law when he met and fell in love with Eleanor Touroff. She was a student of his brother, Bernard Glueck, an eminent prison psychiatrist and an early influence on Glueck's academic career. He followed Touroff to Boston, where she took a job as head social worker in a settlement house. They were married in April 1922 and had one child. Unable to qualify for entrance into the doctor of juridical science program at the Harvard Law School, Glueck enrolled in the Department of Social Ethics and received his A.M. in 1922 and his doctorate in 1924. His thesis, which drew on the fields of psychiatry, law, and sociology, was later published as Mental Disorder and the Criminal Law (1925). Eleanor Glueck also received a doctorate from Harvard in educational sociology in 1925. Glueck spent the rest of his academic life at Harvard. From 1925 he was an instructor of criminology in the Department of Social Ethics until moving in 1929 to the Law School as an assistant professor of criminology. He became a full professor in 1932. In 1950 he was appointed the first Roscoe Pound Professor of Law, and on his retirement from teaching in 1963 he became professor emeritus. In 1926 the Gluecks were given the opportunity by the Harvard Law School to work together; this marked the beginning of more than four decades of joint ventures in criminology. Their remarkable intellectual partnership produced a series of studies on correctional institutions and, later, on the causes, early detection, and prevention of delinquency. After four years of work the Gluecks published Five Hundred Criminal Careers (1930), a study of the recidivism of 510 former inmates of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Men that was the first important large-scale study of the effectiveness of such an institution. The lives of these inmates were further traced in Later Criminal Careers (1937) and Criminal Careers in Retrospect (1943), and a similar study was conducted with offenders released from a women's reformatory in Five Hundred Delinquent Women (1934). In that same year, One Thousand Juvenile Delinquents, an assessment of the Boston Juvenile Court and the Judge Baker Foundation Guidance Center, was published as part of the Harvard Crime Survey. The study, continued in Juvenile Delinquents Grown Up (1940), promoted closer links between the juvenile court and social agencies. After fifteen years of pioneering studies, the Gluecks demonstrated that the recidivism rates of graduates of various institutions were far higher than claimed. Their work also illustrated how the conduct of former inmates improved with the passing of time. In 1940 the Gluecks initiated what was to be their best known study, Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency (1950), which examined the causes of delinquency. They rejected unilateral theories of crime, using instead an eclectic, methodological approach to establish a multicausal explanation of delinquency. "We are scientists," Glueck commented in Think Magazine (Mar. 1960, pp. 2-6), "concerned with the studiable." Using a team of physical anthropologists, psychologists, statisticians, social investigators, and a psychiatrist, 500 delinquent boys were matched case by case with 500 nondelinquent boys from underprivileged areas of Boston. Extensive and meticulous statistical comparisons in this monumental study identified forty "highly decisive" factors used to formulate a series of "Prediction Tables." The most influential of these was known as the "Glueck Social Prediction Table," which "spotted" potential delinquents by examination of a child's family environment. "Nature as well as nurture" was also identified as a factor affecting delinquency. The Gluecks believed that mesomorphs (those with predominantly muscular, solid builds) were at greater risk of becoming juvenile delinquents. Recommendations that the tables be used by legal and social agencies were widely criticized, especially by sociologists who claimed the tables unfairly labeled children as "potential delinquents." The work was extended in Physique and Delinquency (1956) and Family Environment (1962). The 1,000 boys were followed up to the age of thirty-two in Delinquents and Non-Delinquents (1968). Alongside his collaborative labors Glueck had an interest in war crimes. He wrote extensively during and after World War II about the future trial and punishment of the Axis war criminals. Two of his books on the subject are War Criminals: Their Prosecution and Punishment (1944) and The Nuremberg Trial and Aggressive War (1946). He was a member of the Commission on War Criminals for the League of Nations and acted as consultant to Justice Robert H. Jackson, chief American council at the Nuremberg Trials. Glueck was active throughout his career in reforming criminal justice administration, serving on two different Supreme Court committees to revise the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (1943-1965). He also proposed the establishment of "Legal Interdisciplinary Institutes" in publications such as Crime and Justice (1936), Crime and Correction: Selected Papers (1952), and Roscoe Pound and Criminal Justice (1965). Glueck was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Law and Science. He also served as vice president of the American Society of Criminology. In 1961 he received the Isaac Ray Award of the American Psychiatric Association. The Gluecks jointly received the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology (1961) and gold medals from both the German Society of Criminology and of the Institute of Criminal Anthropology at the University of Rome (1964). Sheldon Glueck's nonprofessional interests included writing plays, children's stories, and short stories. After his wife died in 1972, Glueck remained in Cambridge, Massachusetts, until his death there. Bibliography The papers of Sheldon Glueck are located along with the joint papers of Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck in the Harvard Law School Library. For a bibliography of their work see Sheldon Glueck and Eleanor T. Glueck, Ventures in Criminology (1964). An autobiography including tales of the Gluecks' travels is Lives of Labor, Lives of Love (1977). Also see Noah Gordon, "Five Signs on the Highroad," Saturday Review, 6 Apr. 1963, pp. 49-52, a personality portrait. Modern appraisals are Robert J. Sampson and John H. Laub, Crime in the Making (1993), and Laub and Sampson, "The Sutherland Glueck Debate: On the Sociology of Criminological Knowledge," American Journal of Sociology 96 (1991). Obituaries are in the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, both 12 Mar. 1980; the New York Times, 13 Mar. 1980; and Newsweek and Time, both 24 Mar. 1980. Andrew Chappel Citation: Andrew Chappel. "Glueck, Sheldon"; http://www.anb.org/articles/11/11-01061.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. Access Date: Copyright (c) 2000 American Council of Learned Societies. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. 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