Gabriel Almond, 91, a Stanford University professor emeritus and past president of the American Political Science Association who was one of the leading lights in academic political science in the past 50 years, died Dec. 25 in Pacific Grove, Calif. He had a heart ailment.
Dr. Almond was a pioneer in behavioralist and interdisciplinary approaches to political science. He served from 1954 to 1964 as comparative politics committee chairman of the Social Science Research Council.
He drew on the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology and economics, as well as history and international relations, for works on nation-building, comparative government and the social development of political societies.
He examined everything from the personalities of communists and what made Nazis tick to the formation of new nations in Africa and the influence of public opinion on foreign policy.
Dr. Almond wrote 18 books, and the eighth edition of his text "Comparative Politics Today," is scheduled for publication this year. He also is the co-author of the classic 1963 book "The Civic Culture."
Among his other books are "The American People and Foreign Policy" (1950), "The Appeals of Communism" (1953) and "Crisis, Choice and Change" (1973).
In his 1990 book "A Discipline Divided," he deplored the narrowing and specialization of social scientists in general and political scientists in particular.
Gabriel Abraham Almond, who lived in Palo Alto, Calif., was born the son of a rabbi in Rock Island, Ill. He grew up in Chicago, where he edited his high school newspaper and dreamed of becoming a novelist. He graduated from the University of Chicago, where he received a doctorate in political science in 1938.
While attending college, he worked as a reporter for a jewelry magazine and as a caseworker for the Public Relief Agency. This paid off with his first scholarly paper, "Aggressive Behavior by Clients Towards Public Relief Administrators."
He became famous in academic circles for the dissertation he wrote for his doctorate, "Plutocracy and Politics in New York City."
The Chicago authorities were not enthusiastic about the dissertation and discouraged Dr. Almond from publishing it. This might have been because it featured a not entirely flattering psychological profile of John D. Rockefeller, a man of legendary wealth and the leading financial benefactor of the University of Chicago.
During World War II, Dr. Almond became chief of the enemy information section of the Office of War Information. After the war, he served on the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey that examined damage done by U.S. aircraft to the enemy during the war. He later did government-related work for RAND Corp.
He taught at Brooklyn College and Yale and Princeton universities before joining the Stanford faculty in 1963. He served as political science chairman before retiring from teaching at Stanford in 1976.
His hobbies included gardening, woodworking and playing blues harmonica.
His wife, the former Maria Dorothea Kaufman, whom he married in 1937, died in 2000.
Survivors include three children; a sister; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.