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Former Emeritus Professor of Sociology Allen Grimshaw and Emeritus Librarian Polly Grimshaw donated funds in 2001 to create the first endowed professorship in Sociology at IU, the Allen D. and Polly S. Grimshaw Professorship, and a similarly named endowed lecture series. The Grimshaw Professor serves for five years; the first Grimshaw Professor, named in 2002, was Brian Powell. The second Grimshaw Professor, named in 2007, is Eliza K. Pavalko.

In donating funds for the Grimshaw Lecture Series, Allen and Polly wanted the Lecturers to reflect the range of methodological and theoretical orientations and interests of sociologists and sought to nourish catholic and cosmopolitan views, by sociologists and non-sociologists alike, of what constitutes the sociological enterprise. They established the Grimshaw Lecture Series as a showcase of sociological innovation as well as imagination. The visiting Lecturer delivers a lecture to the university, visits with a sociology class as a guest lecturer, and meets informally with sociology faculty and graduate students.

Past Allen D. and Polly S. Grimshaw Lecturers include:

2001 Donald Black “Adventures in Pure Sociology”

2002 Michael Burawoy “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Bringing Theory and History to Ethnography”

2004 Paul DiMaggio Digital Inequality: How is the Internet Influencing Social Stratification in the U.S.?”

2005 Paula England "Hook Ups, Dates and Relationships on Today’s College Scene"

2006 Lawrence D. Bobo "Unfair by Design?: Race, Public Opinion, and the New Law & Order Regime"

2007 Katherine Newman "Failure to Launch?: Delayed Departure from the Family Home in Western Europe and Japan”

2008 Gary Alan Fine "Honest Brokers: Owen Lattimore and the Politics of Expertise"

2009 Douglas W. Maynard "Calling for Participation, Dialing for Donations: Observations on the Sociolinguistic Action of 'Requesting'"
2010 Jerry Jacobs “Interdisciplinarity, Specialization and the Intellectual Map of the 21st Century Research University”
2011 Wendy Griswold “How the Federal Writers’ Project Accidentally Diversified American Culture and Why It Matters Today”
2012 Larry W. Isaac “Movement Schools and Dialogical Diffusion of Nonviolent Praxis: Nashville Workshops in the Southern Civil Rights Movement”

Allen D. Grimshaw (b.1929-2011; IU Sociology 1959-1994) and Polly S. Grimshaw (1931-2006; IU Library 1965-1996) were members of the Indiana University and Bloomington communities for forty-five years. Allen took a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri in 1950 and 1952. Following two years in the US Air Force, he returned to school and earned his doctorate in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. Polly, after beginning her studies at Monmouth College in Illinois, earned her B.A. at Missouri in 1953. Some years later she returned to school and earned an MLS at Drexel University in 1957.

Allen and Polly are highly regarded both professionally and as citizens of IUB. Allen has been a much-loved colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend since he came to Bloomington as an instructor in sociology in 1959. Allen wrote some 200 publications (books, edited volumes, special issues, chapters, refereed articles, and reviews and review articles in major journals in anthropology, linguistics, sociology and specialty areas) on a wide range of topics. His primary interests included social conflict and social violence and the use of language in social contexts (sometimes called sociolinguistics), an area for which he has been a strong proponent in faculty meetings over the years. One of his students, Curt Simic, now President of the IU Foundation, wrote about Allen’s life work, “He brings to issues a balanced understanding and a broad, humane, and caring vision.” Allen held several dozen appointive and elected offices, editorships, and panel memberships in a wide range of scholarly associations and institutions. He was recognized by the Peace and War Section of the ASA for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship, Teaching, and Service and by the Directors of the Indiana University Foundation with a Resolution of Appreciation for his many services to the Foundation. Since his retirement in 1994, Allen has continued to be active in publishing and promoting teaching about the horrors of genocide.

Allen and Polly Grimshaw
Photo by Paul Martens

Allen passed away in 2011. An obituary was published in the American Sociological Association's Footnotes and is shown here. Polly passed away after a long illness in 2006. A Memorial Resolution recognizing Polly’s commitment and devotion to Indiana University and to her profession was passed by the Bloomington Faculty Council.

Polly Grimshaw was the Liaison Librarian for Anthropology, Folklore, Gender Studies, and Sociology, and Director of the Human Relations Area File. Polly’s extensive knowledge of the literatures of all these fields and her exceptional skills as a reference librarian attracted a steady stream of students and faculty to her office over the years. Polly served on elected committees of the American Library Association and elected and appointed positions on a number of IU committees and governing bodies, including the all-campus IU Library Council. At one time Polly and Allen served together as elected members of the IU University Faculty Council. In addition to her regular faculty responsibilities as liaison librarian, she helped initiate and then supervised the MLA Folklore Bibliography Project. While most of her writing was related to professional responsibilities, she found time to write Images of the Other (1991), a major book evaluating microfilm collections on American Indian/white relations. Generations of graduate students in the fields for which she was responsible acknowledged her freely-given bibliographic assistance and counsel and encouragement. Perhaps the best testament to Polly's years of service at the library is the strength of the collections that she built up; in that sense, she continues to serve the social sciences community at IU. In 1988 she was selected by her peers to receive the William Evan Jenkins Librarians Award for her outstanding contributions to the Indiana University Libraries.

Beyond their many professional accomplishments, Allen and Polly have always been warm, caring and generous people–and by many accounts the best story-tellers in the department. Their gift of the Grimshaw Lecture Series and Professorship will benefit the Sociology department and the broader university community for generations to come. A news story about the Grimshaws’ donation is available here.