Mowrer, Ernest R. (Ernest Russell), 1895-1983
Ernest Russell Mowrer was born in Lost Springs, Kansas, on August 18, 1895. He received his B.A. (journalism) in 1918 from the University of Kansas and his M.A. (1921) and Ph.D. (1924) from the University of Chicago, both in sociology. Mowrer joined the faculty of NU in 1928, where he remained until his retirement in 1963. During his career he developed a scientific method for role theory in studying the interaction of members of a family and deviant behavior. Mowrer died in 1984.
In 1922-23 Mowrer was an assistant professor of sociology at Coe College and in 1923-24 he held the same position at Ohio Wesleyan University. After two years (1926-28) as a Wieboldt Foundation Research Fellow, Mowrer joined the Northwestern faculty in the fall of 1928 as an assistant professor of sociology. Northwestern promoted him to the rank of associate professor in 1933 and to full professor in 1943. Mowrer three times served as a visiting professor: at Michigan State University during the summer of 1940, at the University of Chicago during the spring of 1948, and at the University of Arizona in the spring of 1964. He retired from Northwestern in 1963 and was named professor emeritus.
Mowrer married Harriet C. Rosenthal on October 12, 1924. Harriet survived her husband who died on January 26, 1984. The couple had no children. For Harriet R. Mowrer's papers, see Northwestern University Archives' Series 55/14. Those papers include correspondence, teaching files, case records, speeches, and publications. Where the Mowrers collaborated on publications the pertinent materials will be found in the papers of the senior author.
Ernest Mowrer took the study of marital disorganization out of the areas of reform and law and gave it a scientific methodology in terms of interactional social psychology. This led to the development of role theory in studying the interaction of family members. He developed a unifying theory of personal disorganization that linked the major forms of deviant behavior into a pattern based on personal roles. In addition, Mowrer invented a method for showing variations in rates of social phenomena by isometric maps.