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Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory History

The Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory (RASRL) grew out of the research conducted by the Sociology program at the University of Hawaii under the direction of Dr. Romanzo Adams. In 1920, Dr. Adams had become the University of Hawaii's first professor of sociology and economics. (See Biographical Sketch.) During the 1930s, the laboratory became known informally as the Sociology Laboratory. Dr. Adams remained the guiding inspiration of the sociological work performed by faculty and students at the University. Dr. Adams retired from the University in May 1934, but continued active professionally for some time. Dr. Andrew Lind took over the direction of the sociology program at the University upon Dr. Adams retirement. During World War II the University Board of Regents renamed the Laboratory the War Research Laboratory, reflecting the work the Laboratory was performing under the Military Government in morale, race relations, labor relations, etc. After the War the focus of the lab shifted back from the war-related research to the emphases it had had prior to the war: race relations, cultural institutions, interracial marriage; and the lab was renamed the Hawaii Social Research Laboratory. In 1955, the organization was named the Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory as memorial to him.

The primary focus of the research program of RASRL has always been race relations. Since race relations is a factor in all facets of society, however, the RASRL research program has addressed many related topics: population, cultural conflict, the impact of the war on territorial Hawaii society, industrial relations, the changing family, and social disorganization. The research program covered over forty years of social history in Hawaii. The most notable aspect of the program is the cumulative character of the research. The forty years of activity resulted in the accumulation of subject files, reports, student papers, news clippings, statistical data, population charts, and maps. The Laboratory was also responsible for numerous studies, primarily appearing in the pages of Social Process in Hawaii and in the less formally published What People in Hawaii are Saying and Doing.

During the academic year 1960/61, Dr. Bernhard Hörmann served as acting director of RASRL. In 1961, Dr. Lind resigned from the directorship of RASRL as he had accepted the appointment as acting director for the newly created Social Science Research Institute; in October of that year, Dr. Ho¨mann became the director of RASRL.

Over the next couple of years, much discussion occurred concerning the role of RASRL and of the SSRI, the focus of which was interdisciplinary research among the social sciences and humanities without geographical limits. A memorandum from Dr. Hörmann to the faculty of the Department of Sociology in October 1963 indicated that, as Director of RASRL, he was "giving his complete support" to the move of the University administration to merge RASRL into the SSRI. A letter from the Hawaii Chapter of the American Statistical Association dated February 1964, however, expressed regret that the University was abandoning the focused research on Hawaii conducted by RASRL throughout its existence.

Many of the scholarly activities of the sociology professors related to RASRL continued after the Laboratory ceased to function. Professors continued collecting student papers. Some clipping of newspaper articles continued. Certainly research into the sociology of Hawaii's population continued. One mark, however, that seems to indicate the end of RASRL was the ceasing of publication of Social Process in Hawaii in 1963, though the journal was resurrected in 1979. Currently, the Andrew W. Lind Social Process in Hawaii Fund, established in 1986, supports the publication of Social Process in Hawaii. Complete runs of Social Process in Hawaii and of What People in Hawaii are Saying and Doing are available at the Hawaiian Collection, Hamilton Library, 5th Floor. In addition to Dr. Adams, Dr. Lind, and Dr. Hörmann, other sociologists contributed significantly to the work of RASRL, including Dr. Clarence Glick, Dr. Yukiko Kimura, Dr. Harry Ball, and Dr. Kiyoshi Ikeda.

For additional information see Directory of American Scholars: A Biographical Directory (New York: R.R. Bowker, 1952-), Bernhard L. Hörmann, "Sociological Research at the University of Hawaii," Social Process in Hawaii, 19, 1955, and Vickie Ong, "Andrew Lind Dies -- A Distinguished Hawaii Sociologist." Honolulu Advertiser, 3 September 1988, A3.


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