Talcott Parsons: A Voice from the Past, an Opportunity Missed, and a Road Not Taken

  • John Tropman
  • Emily Nicklett University of Michigan
Keywords: Talcott Parsons, social work, and sociology


In this paper, the authors discuss the history of correspondence with the well-known sociologist Talcott Parsons in 1977 and again, just before his death in May 1979. A prolegomenon introduces Parsons, contextualizes the correspondence, and explains how the authors came to collaborate on this project, which seeks to preserve the history of this correspondence with a leading school of social work. The discussion begins with a brief introduction to Parsons, followed by each of the other’s reflections on the project. There follows a section on Parsons himself and a note on the collaboration.