Sidney Verba' s Bio

Curriculum Vitae

Professor Verba is The Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Government at Harvard University.  He served as Director of the Harvard University Library for twenty-four years. At Harvard, he has also been chair of the Department of Government, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Undergraduate Education, and Associate Provost, among several other senior administrative posts.  In addition, during these years he has also served as the chair of the Board of Directors of the Harvard University Press and has been the author of University-wide reports on many complex subjects.  Professor Verba received his B.A from Harvard and his PhD from Princeton.  He has taught at Princeton, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and at Harvard for over thirty years.

One of the nation’s most renowned political scientists, Professor Verba is an award-winning author of over twenty books including  Small Groups and Political Behavior: A Study of Leadership,  Princeton, 1961;  The Civic Culture, with Gabriel A. Almond. Princeton, 1963;   Participation in America, with Norman Nie, Harper and Row, 1972.;  Participation and Political Equality, with Norman Nie and Jae‑on Kim. Cambridge 1978;  The Changing American Voter, with Norman Nie and John Petrocik. Harvard 1976;    Injury to Insult, with Kay L. Schlozman, Harvard, 1979; Equality in America, with Gary R. Orren, Harvard, 1985;  Voice and Equality, with Kay L. Schlozman and Henry E. Brady Harvard, 1995;  The Private Roots of Public Action, with Nancy E. Burns and Kay L. Schlozman, Harvard, 2001; and Designing Social Inquiry, with Gary King and Robert Keohane, Princeton, 1993 – as well as numerous articles.   His speciality is the study of the role of citizen engagement and activism in democratic political life. 

He has been President of the American Political Science Association.   He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences where he has chaired the Social and Political Science Section and currently chairs its Committee on Human Rights, as well as a member of the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Among his awards are the James Madison Prize of the American Political Science Association, the Association's highest award, given every three years for a career contribution to political science, the Skytte Award from Upsalla University in Sweden, the major international award for significant contributions to political science world wide, the Dinerstein Prize from the World Association of Public Opinion Research for contributions to the methodology and study of public opinion, the Warren Miller Prize for contributions to the study of elections and public opinion, as well as the American Political Science Association’s Kammerer Award for the best book on American politics and its Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book in political science.  

As Director of the University Library, Professor Verba assumed a leadership position in a range of library initiatives both nationally and at Harvard. He was a founding member of the Commission on Preservation and Access and served on the Board of its parent organization, the Council on Library and Information Resources. He has been a member of the Higher Education Advisory Committee of OCLC and has served on the Visiting Committee to the Stanford University Library. He testified before Congress on behalf of the library and humanities communities in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, in particular its Brittle Books Program.  Under his leadership, the Harvard University Library system evolved in significant and strategic ways. In addition to advancing the libraries' role in national and international efforts, locally Professor Verba's contributions include:

  • Planning for and development of the Harvard Depository,
  • Ensuring the retrospective conversion of the Union Catalog,
  • Shaping the development of HOLLIS and now ALEPH,
  • Overseeing the creation of a nationally renowned Library Preservation Program,
  • Conceiving and implementing the Library Digital Initiative
  • Integrating the Archives and the Records Management Office