Staughton Lynd was the son of two of America's most famous sociologists, Helen Merrell Lynd and Robert S. Lynd, the authors of Middletown. In their pioneering study of an industrial American city (Muncie, Indiana), the senior Lynds concluded that the gap between middle-class and working-class people was crucial in determining their different life styles. Staughton Lynd never forgot this lesson. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 1929. When he was two years old his father was appointed professor of sociology at Columbia University, and Lynd grew up in the urban intellectual environment of New York City. His family played a vital role in the molding of his mind. His father had originally planned on a religious career. When he moved into academic work, his study of sociology tended to sustain the "class struggle" theory of Karl Marx. Thus Lynd's family was not only interested in events around them, it was eager to play some role in shaping those events. Lynd had difficulty discovering what he wanted to do with his life.