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Hillman, Arthur J.

in: People

Arthur J. Hillman ( 1909- 1985): Sociologist, Educator and Director of the Training Center of the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers

Introduction:  Professor Arthur Hillman spent his career studying and developing the fields of urban planning, urban renewal, social work, and urban sociology. In 1960 he was selected to direct the National Federation of Settlements‘ Training Center at Hull-House in Chicago.  Arthur Hillman was an educator, social researcher, and administrator, who spent most of his career in Chicago. He taught first at Central YMCA College in Chicago, then joined the Sociology Department at Roosevelt University in 1945.

Education and Career: Arthur Hillman was born on June 26, 1909, in Nevada City, California. In 1931 he graduated, cum laude, from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he was a member of Phi Betta Kappa. He earned his Master’s Degree in Sociology and Education in 1934, also from the University of Washington, Seattle. In 1940 Dr. Hillman earned his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.  Professor Hillman held several teaching positions throughout the 1930s and 1940s. He spent the 1936-1937 academic year as an instructor at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Hillman taught at the Central YMCA College in Chicago from 1938 until he joined the faculty at the newly established Roosevelt College in Chicago.

Hillman spent most of the remainder of his academic career with Roosevelt University, where he served in various capacities. He was an associate professor of Sociology and part-time chairman of the Sociology department from September, 1945 until February, 1946, when he took over the position full-time. Between 1955 and 1960 Professor Hillman served at the College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University. From 1961-1964 he reoccupied his previous position as Chairman of the Sociology Department. Between 1969 and his retirement in 1974, he served as chairman of the Urban Studies graduate interdepartmental program at Roosevelt University’s undergraduate Social Work program.

Hillman’s career was not limited to his work at Roosevelt University. In 1936 he participated in the “Urbanism Study” conducted by the National Resources Committee at The University of Chicago. In 1942, Hillman served as the Executive Secretary of Community Council of the Stockyards District in Chicago. From 1943-1945, during World War II, he worked as the Assistant Regional Director for the Office of Community War Service, part of the Federal Security Agency. Hillman also was the first director of the Social Work Labor Project, sponsored by the Council of Social agencies in 1945.

In 1947 Hillman requested a reduced teaching load at Roosevelt University in order to pursue his desire to, according to his letter to the Dean of Arts and Sciences, “learn by doing” and fulfill his “sense of community responsibility.” From 1947-1950 Hillman served as president of the Cooperative Federation of the Chicago Area, steering committee member for the Chicago Council Against Racial and Religious Discrimination, Chairman of the Evaluation Committee of Community Organization Project for the Chicago Urban League, and member of the Board of Directors at the Benton House Neighborhood Center in Bridgeport.

As a Fulbright Scholar in 1950, Hillman resided in Olso, Norway where he studied community and national planning and family life. While in Europe he was appointed to the Committee on Teaching and Training of the International Sociological Association. In 1950, Hillman’s book Community Organization and Planning was published.In 1958-1959, Hillman directed the “Neighborhood Goal Project” research survey for the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. Supported by the Fels Foundation of Philadelphia, this project aimed to help neighborhood people manage community affairs, bridge cultural and racial differences between neighborhoods, and reach out to problem youth.

The “Neighborhood Goal Project” resulted in the founding of the National Federation of Settlements Training Center in Chicago in 1960. Hillman resigned as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Roosevelt University to accept the position. The Training Center opened at Hull-House in October 1960. Social workers were sent to the Training Center from Neighborhood Centers nationwide to receive instruction in juvenile delinquency, assisting mobile population groups, and urban renewal and planning research.

Professor Hillman taught at Roosevelt University until 1974. He was honored for his work in 1961 when he was elected Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters. Hillman spent his retirement in California and Chicago. He died on 10 April 1985.

Republished from: Arthur Hillman papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives. (2003). Arthur J. Hillman ( 1909- 1985): Sociologist, educator and director of the Training Center of the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from