Nebraska Authors

Amos G. Warner

Born 1861-12-21 Elkander, IA (USA)

Died 1900-01-17

Roca Cemetery, Roca, NE (USA)

Warner, Iowa born, was raised on a farm near Roca, Nebraska by his mother, following the death of his father. He attained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics Degree from the University of Nebraska in 1885 and departed to attend the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he studied with Richard T. Ely. Ely's students at the time included Woodrow Wilson, and Albion W. Small and Edward A. Ross, both to become very influential sociologists.

While a student at Hopkins in 1887, Warner was appointed general secretary of the Charity Organization Society of Baltimore. Thereafter a leading theme of his scholarship would be the influence of philanthropy and charity on social problems and reforms. He returned to the University of Nebraska in 1889-1891 to teach economics, and there developed the course that led to his book American Charities. In 1891 President Benjamin Harrison brought him to Washington D.C. to serve as the city's Superintendent of Charities. In 1893 he was appointed the first Professor of Economics at the newly founded Stanford University. He taught there, intermittently due to ill health, until his death by tuberculosis in 1900.

In 1989, University of Nebraska sociologist Mary Jo Deegan republished Warner's "landmark" work, American Charities: A Study in Philanthropy and Economics. The book had gone through four editions from 1894 to 1930, and as Deegan describes it, its economic, statistical and secular narrative had a monumental influence on the practical pursuit of social improvement of that era, as an earlier religiously based understanding of social problems was felt to fail to comprehend the scale and depth of social problems of a modernizing America.

Places Lived

Roca, NE
Baltimore, MD

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Economics and Economists; Charities; Philanthropy; Social Problems; Social Reform; Sociology


Bachelor of Arts in Economics Degree, 1885, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Graduate Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD


Professor of Economics

Places Worked

University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE


American Charities received the 1895 John Marshall Prize from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.


Mary Elizabeth Burroughs Roberts (Smith) Coolidge helped compile materials for the first edition of the book and was listed as a co-author for two of its editions, then disappeared as such from the fourth edition. Deegan describes her importance in keeping the book up-to-date and before a larger public.


American Charities: A Study in Philanthropy and Economics. (With a new introduction by Mary Jo Deegan). 1989. (First edition 1894)

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Amos G. Warner

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