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Klapp, Orrin Edgar (1915-1997) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Klapp, Orrin Edgar (1915-1997)


Historical Note:

Born in 1915, Orrin Edgar Klapp was one of San Diego State College's top sociological researchers and professors. A Chicago native, Klapp received his bachelors, masters, and Doctorate from the University of Chicago in Sociology. At the outbreak of World War II, he left his doctoral program and became a Lieutenant in the US Navy.  As a Lieutenant, he worked in the hydrographic office making maps for airplanes and ships.

During his time in the service Klapp started publishing written work. He was the editor of Scuttlebutt, a humor magazine intended to be distributed throughout Klapp's fleet. The publication was discontinued after the humorous albeit irreverent material started to offend other officers.

After his time in the military, Klapp finished his doctoral degree and began teaching Sociology at San Diego State College in 1949. In his twenty years in San Diego, he published several works exploring sociological interaction in San Diego. His first book, Ritual and Cult, was published in 1956.  In 1962, he authored his best known work, Heoes, Villains, and Fools, a scholarly investigation about the changing American culture in the 1960's.

Klapp left SDSC in 1969 to pursue another teaching career at the University of Western Ontario. He taught there for an additional 14 years and continued his sociological research during that time. After a struggle with Alzheimer's, Klapp died in 1997.

Note Author: Conor Higgins





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