This study examines one highly significant event in the history of Romania’s sociology that until now has been largely unknown publicly for an astonishing long period: almost nine decades. The “hero” at the center of that event is the important academic book published in the USA in April 1930 by the American historian Robert J. Kerner, about the “Social Sciences in the Balkans and in Turkey”, based on Kerner’s visits to Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. The book contains a detailed, documented first hand, highly informative and robustly analytical chapter on the ‘state of the art’ in Romania’s sociology in 1928–1929. Cernea describes the serendipitous circumstances in which he discovered the book in 1979, ‒ and realized that Kerner’s book contained the first and earliest presentation of Romania’s sociology in the USA. Thids discovery corrects the widespread but erroneous attribution of priority in this respect to Philip E. Mosley’s 1935 visit as a young American student to Romania. The study presents Kerner’s professional personality as an internationally recognized scholar, and informs that, at Nicolae Iorga’s recommendation, Kerner was elected in 1938 as Corresponding Member of the Academia Română (Romanian Academy). Cernea synthesizes Kerner’s importance for the history of Romania’s sociology in three essential features: a) his book is the first comprehensive presentation abroad of România’s sociology between WW I and WW II; b) the outstanding analytical assessment of its achievements; and c) Kerner’s comparative evaluation and ranking of sociology in România, leading to Kerner’s overall conclusion that “in România sociology is better developed than anywhere else in the Balkans.”
Keywords: Robert J. Kerner, Dimitrie Gusti, Nicolae Iorga, Sociology in Romania, Bucharest School of Sociology.