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Baltzell, E. Digbylocked

(14 November 1915–17 August 1996)
  • Richard Harmond

Extract

Baltzell, E. Digby (14 November 1915–17 August 1996), sociologist and educator, was born Edward Digby Baltzell on Rittenhouse Street in Philadelphia, the son of Edward Digby Baltzell and Caroline Adelaide Duhring Baltzell. Baltzell's Protestant patrician family, though it had become in his words “impecuniously genteel,” was nonetheless able to send him to Chestnut Hill Academy, a private day school, and later to St. Paul's, a select boarding school in New Hampshire. During Baltzell's senior year, his father, an alcoholic, lost his job because of drinking, and the subsequent strain on family finances kept him from going away to college. Instead, he attended the University of Pennsylvania, starting out in the School of Architecture, but financial difficulties forced him to drop out of school after his freshman year. Later, with a loan from a friend, Baltzell resumed his studies at Penn. But he forsook his dream of becoming an architect and enrolled in the Wharton School, where be majored in insurance. A series of odd jobs, including parking lot attendant and chauffeur, enabled him to meet his expenses. He graduated in 1939 and went to work with an insurance company as an underwriter and then at a pharmaceutical company, Smith, Kline, and French Laboratories, where he helped to conduct attitude surveys....

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