Helen Crossley, a pioneer in the field of public opinion research and a longtime friend of the Roper Center, has died at the age of 95.
Crossley, daughter of polling innovator Archibald Crossley, was a graduate of Radcliffe College and received a master’s degree from the University of Denver. As a graduate student, she worked with Don Cahalan in the Opinion Research Center on the influential Denver Community Survey. In her early career, she worked for the Armed Forces Information and Education Division, then moved to the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), where she led survey research around the world that informed U.S. diplomatic efforts. She also worked for ArchCross Associates and as a consultant, providing polling for clients including Nelson Rockefeller.
Crossley was devoted to the promotion of public opinion research and provided essential leadership to the developing polling industry. She was a founding member of AAPOR and served as the first female president of WAPOR. She established the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver and provided funding for graduate coursework and fellowships there.
The Roper Center, which Crossley supported throughout her life, will always be grateful for her efforts to ensure that polls conducted by USIA would be preserved at the Center for future generations of researchers. Crossley also cataloged her father’s papers and donated them to the Pioneers in Survey Research collection at the University of Connecticut’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center archive. In 2008, Crossley received the Roper Center’s Distinguished Service Award for conducting and archiving international survey research.