Alfred Ray Lindesmith was a University Professor emeritus of sociology at IU. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Carleton College in 1927, his M.A. in English from Teacher’s College at Columbia University in 1929, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1938. He joined IU’s faculty in 1936 in the Department of Sociology where he quickly reached the rank of full professor followed by the title of University Professor in 1965. He served the department for 39 years until his retirement in 1975 though he continued to contribute to IU and the department for many years to follow. Lindesmith also served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1945 of which half of his service was stationed in military intelligence at the Pentagon.
Lindesmith was an internationally known scholar in the areas of social psychology, criminology, and drug addiction, and one of the first scholars to focus his research on the sociological perspective of drug addiction. He published two major research monographs, the Opiate Addiction in 1947 and The Addict and the Law in 1965, and was also the author of the college textbook, Social Psychology, which was used in the field for many years. Lindesmith received a Fulbright fellowship to teach at Indore Christian College in India from 1952 to 1953 and a Ford Foundation grant to serve as a senior research fellow at the University of Chicago from 1956 to 1957. Lindesmith also received an Alumni Achievement Award from Carleton College forty years after graduating.
Lindesmith passed away on February 14, 1991.