This is an archived article. For the latest news, go to the Advance Homepage.
For more archives, go to the Advance Archive/Search Page

UConn Advance

Donation to help expand archives
By Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu
May 23, 1997

A gift honoring one of the early pioneers of public opinion polling will enable the University to expand its archives of survey research.

The $25,000 gift from Helen M. Crossley in honor of her father, Archibald M. Crossley, has created the Crossley Endowment Fund. The gift will be matched by the state under the UConn 2000 matching gifts program.

The new fund will support the Archive of Pioneers in Survey Research, established in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in 1995, and the survey data collections held by the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and its Institute for Social Inquiry.

The archive houses the personal papers of major figures in modern public opinion polling, including Elmo Roper, Daniel Yankelovich and Samuel Lubell, as well as documents on the background of the surveys and the purposes of survey sponsors. It complements the collection of survey data held by the Roper Center and the Institute for Social Inquiry - the largest collection in the world.

"The creation of the archive of Pioneers in Survey Research offers UConn an exciting opportunity to build collections which support an already existing archive at the Roper Center," said Thomas Wilsted, director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. "The Crossley Endowment will allow the processing of additional collections and, ultimately, new public programming, which will enhance both the archives and the Roper Center."

The fund honors Archibald M. Crossley, an early pioneer of public polling and one of the first to use representative sampling techniques. In 1936 Crossley, together with George Gallup and Elmo Roper, used polls based on scientifically selected samples of the U.S. population to successfully predict the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The defeat of Alfred Landon, predicted to win by the Literary Digest using a large but non-representative sample, demonstrated the fallibility of polls based on sheer numbers.

Crossley also invented the concept of radio ratings, carried out a great deal of media and communications research, and contributed significantly to the methodological and ethical standards of the profession.

"When it comes to methods, Crossley was definitely an innovator and a pioneer," said Everett Carll Ladd, executive director of the Roper Center and the Institute for Social Inquiry.

The donor, Helen M. Crossley, together with survey researcher Leo P. Crespi, established the long-standing series of international surveys conducted by the U.S. Information Agency. She was the first female president of the World Association of Public Opinion Research.

Issue Index Advance Homepage