The Awakening of Statistics in the United States
On November 27, 1839, five men—Rev. William Cogswell, John Dix Fisher, M.D., the Honorable Richard Fletcher, Oliver W. B. Peabody, and Lemuel Shattuck—met in Boston to found a statistical organization; they called it the American Statistical Society. During the following year, a constitution and a new name, the American Statistical Association (with a preferable abbreviation), were approved (Mason et al., 1990). The group’s expressed purpose was to accumulate and classify data from many areas of concern; little attention was given to the mathematics required for meaningful analysis. An early letter to members shows that the ASA was interested in receiving reports on topography, population, education, associations, the press, government, public defense, casualties, crime, pauperism, benevolence, and religion (Historical exhibits, 1940; M. Anderson, 1989).
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