Matilda White Riley

Bowdoin College

April 19, 1911 - November 14, 2004

Scientific Discipline: Social and Political Sciences
Membership Type:
Member (elected 1994)

Matilda White Riley was a pioneering figure in the field of sociology. Riley had a long academic and research career, publishing sixteen books independently and in conjunction with other scientists. Later in her career, Riley focused her attention on gerontology and was a leading figure on work involving age stratification. She conducted scientific research on the issue, and her work challenged the stereotype of aging as an irreversible biological phenomenon, bringing attention to the psychological and sociological complexities of the process.

Riley graduated from Radcliffe College in 1931. Riley and her husband John Riley were copresidents of the District of Columbia Sociological Society, and she went on to assume the presidency of the American Sociological Association between 1985 and 1986. In 1991 she became the senior social scientist at the National Institute of Aging, a branch of the National Institute of Health.

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