CUTLER, JAMES ELBERT (24 Jan.1876-29 Oct. 1959) taught the first formal courses in sociology at Western Reserve University (WRU, 1907-46, see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY) and, with CHARLES THWING, cofounded and served as the first dean of WRU's pioneering School of Applied Social Sciences (1916-41). Cutler was born in Princeville, IL, to Francis Wilson and Antonaiah Hoag Cutler. After his mother died, he was raised by an aunt in Colorado. He attended Princeville public schools, went to the State Preparatory School in Boulder, CO (1894-96), and received a B.A. from the University of Colorado (1900) and a Ph.D. from Yale University (1903). He taught at Yale (1903-04), Wellesley College (1904-06), and the University of Michigan (1906-07). Cutler first held the position of associate professor of sociology at WRU until 1910, when he became Selah Chamberlain Professor. During WORLD WAR I, he served as captain, then major, with the Military Intelligence Division of the U.S. Army's office of the Chief of Staff (1918-19) in Washington, DC. In 1941 Cutler retired as dean and cut down to part-time teaching. Five years later he retired entirely and was made dean emeritus.
Cutler married Carolena D. Sperry (d. 1945) on 25 June 1903; the couple lived in Cleveland. On 2 Aug. 1946 he married Ida May Devine; they lived in SHAKER HEIGHTS. Cutler had no children. A charter member of the American Sociological Society and president of the Ohio Valley Sociological Society (1939), he served locally as a trustee of the Welfare Federation, the Goodrich Social Settlement (see GOODRICH-GANNETT NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER), UNIVERSITY SOCIAL SETTLEMENT, and CLEVELAND ASSOCIATED CHARITIES. He helped organize the Federation for Charity and Philanthropy (see FEDERATION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING). Cutler served as president of the New England Society of Cleveland & the Western Reserve (1926-27, see PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES). Cutler, a Republican, was a member of the CHURCH OF THE COVENANT.
James Elbert Cutler Papers, CWRU Archives.