Chapel Hill: Obituaries

Allen H. Barton

Allen Hoisington Barton of Chapel Hill, NC, formerly Greenwich, CT passed away at home on December 18, 2017, at age 93 (b October 7, 1924). Allen was the son of H. Allen and Elizabeth (Folwell) Hoisington Barton. He is survived by his wife, Judith Schneider Barton (married Paris, France, March 11, 1949), his children (and spouses) Stephen (Barbara) in El Cerrito CA, Hugh (David) in Mystic CT, Matthew (Maya) in Chapel Hill NC, and Julia in Bethel CT and two grandchildren, Sunjay (Susannah) in New York City NY and Pravin in Somerville MA. He is also survived by his brother, David K. Barton, and sister, Maida B. Follini and many nephews, nieces, and cousins.Allen was Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and served as Director of the Bureau of Applied Social Research (BASR) in New York City, NY. He was a tireless advocate for the value of public opinion survey data for understanding important political and social issues. Following graduation from Harvard University (1947) and service in the army in World War II (1943-46), he studied sociology at Columbia under Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Merton, obtaining a PhD in 1957. Starting as a research assistant at the BASR in 1947, he worked on a wide range of projects, becoming Director of the BASR (1962-77) and a professor in the Department of Sociology (1958-1990). Following his retirement he enjoyed privileges as adjunct Professor and Scholar with the Sociology Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He spent a year (1948-49) at the newly created Institute for Social Research at the University of Oslo working on a survey of voting and interviewing government economic planners. During three years at University of Chicago he worked on the law school's jury study (1954-57). Major projects at Columbia included studying methods of teaching reading in the US public schools, reviewing disaster studies, surveys of elites in Yugoslavia and the U.S., and a study of citizen-government relations in NYC neighborhoods. He received the Robert M. Worcester Prize for best article published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research in 1995. Allen received the International Research Committee on Disasters 2002 E.L.Quarantelli Award for contributions to disaster theory. These were published in his book, “Communities in disaster: A sociological analysis of collective stress situations” (1969), which was translated into numerous languages and widely cited.Allen’s favorite activities included traveling the world with his wife, observing planets and stars, documenting family history, and reciting poetry or singing folk music for which he had a remarkable memory of verse and lyrics. He treasured Ram Island off Isleboro, ME, which has been in the family for over 100 years, establishing a trust to ensure its preservation. He enjoyed sharing all these activities and his perspectives on politics with his family, friends, and colleagues around the world.In lieu of a memorial service, his immediate family requests that family, friends, and colleagues across the globe take time to remember Allen and share those remembrances with others around them. Contributions may be made to the Island Institute, Rockland ME to support his love of the environment and islands of Maine.