DIAMOND, SIGMUND (1920–1999), U.S. sociologist. Born in Baltimore, Diamond graduated from Johns Hopkins University and joined the United Auto Workers Union. In 1945 he participated in a uaw-cio-sponsored meeting for shop stewards in Tennessee. At night he violated state law by sleeping in a dormitory for blacks, thereby integrating public sleeping quarters in Tennessee for the first time since Reconstruction. The following year Diamond was a negotiator of the uaw-cio contract with the Bendix Aviation Corp. When it was ratified, it became the first contract to give women equal pay for equal work.
In 1949 Diamond entered Harvard University, where he earned a Ph.D. in history. He was not granted a professorship there or at any other university he applied to in the United States because he had refused to cooperate with the fbi during the McCarthy period.
In 1955, however, Diamond was appointed to the first chair in historical sociology at Columbia University. A specialist in entrepreneurial and economic history, Diamond emphasized the sociological context of economic development. His major contribution to sociology lies in his analysis of the growth and transformation of new societies on the historically virgin soil of the Americas. He remained at Columbia until his retirement as Giddings Professor of Sociology and professor of history, emeritus, in 1986. Among his many activities during his years at Columbia were founding and directing the history department's program in social history and consulting on the American Jewish Committee oral history project on the Holocaust.
Diamond's publications include "From Organization of Society: Virginia in the Seventeenth Century" (American Journal of Sociology, 63:5, 1958); "An Experiment in Feudalism: French Canada in the Seventeenth Century" (William and Mary Quarterly, 1961); Casual View of America: The Home Letters of Salomon de Rothschild 1859–1881 (1961); The Creation of Society in the New World (1963); The Nation Transformed: The Creation of an Independent Society (1963), a descriptive analysis of capitalistic development in America; The Reputation of the American Businessman (1966); In Quest: Journal of an Unquiet Pilgrim (1980); and Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community 1945–1955 (1992). Diamond also edited the Political Science Quarterly.
[Werner J. Cahnman and
Alvin Boskoff /
Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]