contributed by Museums & Archives Certificate Program student Katie Gable

In 1950, married pair of American psychologists Gardner and Lois B. Murphy went to India to help solve social tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Using funds allocated to them by UNESCO, they assembled six teams of researchers who were headed by Indian psychologists, professors, anthropologists, and more. Each team used informal interviews to gather research on the cause and effect of the tensions and Gardner Murphy used this research to write In the minds of men: The study of human behavior and social tensions in India.

In my previous blog post, I explained that the Murphy’s went to work in India for UNESCO following decolonization with the goal of rectifying social tensions between Hindus and Muslims. While that is technically true, it is a bit of an oversimplification of the state of India at that time. To better understand the work Gardner and his teams did, we must better understand India’s history of colonization of decolonization.

The Indian Partition is one of the most heartbreaking events in the country’s history. When Great Britain relinquished control of the subcontinent in 1947, the celebration of independence was quickly overshadowed by the horror of partition. Great Britain relied on the “divide rule” to cause conflict between the major religions in India in order to gain power. So concerns over a civil war post decolonization led the British government to haphazardly “solve” the problem before officially leaving. Knowing religious tensions would be the number one cause of war, they decided to divide the land into a Muslim majority country– Pakistan, and a Hindu majority country– India. Relying on outdated census maps, law lord Cyril Radcliffe carved out these borders. These borders were kept secret until Britain officially left the country leaving their former subjects to navigate these new borders. 

The Indian partition resulted in the uprooting, devastation, and death of many people. If you were of the wrong religion living in the wrong place, you were forced to flee. The road for both Muslims and Hindus on their way to the correct side of the border resulted in 1 to 2 million deaths from starvation, disease, or religious violence. It also resulted in tons of refugees who received little support from the government (TRT World, 2020).

The UNESCO study was about more than just social tensions between different religions; it was meant to examine and resolve the social and religious upheaval created by Great Britain. Gardner and his teams set out to understand not just the tensions between Muslims and Hindus, but also the trauma of being displaced and separated at the hands of a government that provided  no help to those forced to live under the new partition. 

When I began going through the still images in the Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers I came across multiple folders with photographs labeled “India” and “UNESCO”, but initially decided they were not useful as they appeared to be random photos from random villages that did not include the names or pictures of researchers I decided to highlight. However, following my research on the Indian Partition, these photographs became exceedingly important. They were from the sixth UNESCO study, B.S. Guha’s anthropological and psychological look at the plight of refugees from Pakistan.

Guha, an anthropologist, was the first Indian to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard and established the anthropology department at the University of Calcutta (Sarkar, n.d.). During the Murphy’s research period in India, B.S. Guha was serving as the director of the first anthropological survey of India, so he was very interested in examining refugees and their camps. Guha wanted to understand how their existence factored into the tensions between Muslims and Hindus. 

The camps we have photos of are Jirat and Azadgarh and both refugee camps filled with Hindus from what became Pakistan. Jirat was a camp resettled by the government while Azadgarh was a camp of “self-settlers” or “squatters.” Though both camps were results of similar situations and both lacked help from the government, life and outlook there was very different according to Guha. Jirat refugees were completely destitute and had to build their town from scratch, excavating roads, building houses and more. Azadargah refugees settled where “well-to-do” Muslims had previously lived, moving into the houses and jobs that were left behind. Though the camps of people were both suffering from tension issues, Guha and his team labeled Azadgarh “high-morale” and Jirat “low-morale” (Chatterji, 2007). While both situations are unfortunate, I can understand based on images I found in the Murphy collection why you would label these camps based on morale.

In the Azadgarh folders you can see photos of quality standing structures and even a young girl playing an instrument and smiling.

In the Jirat photos, the camp looks crowded and refugees look exhausted from having to build their own homes, excavate their own roads, and more.

Partition impacted every aspect of life. Even Pars Ram, the star of my previous blog post’s archival mystery, was asked to leave his long-standing position at Lahore University that following decolonization became a part of Muslim majority Pakistan (Murphy, 1953). During a meeting with reference archivist Lizette Barton and executive director of Cummings Center Dr. Cathy Faye, they asked me to try and understand the personal motivations for involvement with this study. While I have yet to find any specifics, I think it is clear that the concern over not just social tensions but understanding and coping with the trauma of partition was of utmost importance to these Indian scholars. This was something they had to live through and then deal with the after effects of.  Maybe they were not directly impacted, maybe they were, but they saw what was happening to their country and recognized the urgency to identify and rectify these problems. 


Chatterji, J. (2007). “Dispersal” and the Failure of Rehabilitation: Refugee Camp-dwellers and Squatters in West Bengal. Modern Asian Studies, 41(5), 995–1032. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4499809

Murphy, G. (1953). Our UNESCO Mission to India. In G. Murphy, In the minds of men: The study of human behavior and social tensions in India (pp. 11–26). Basic Books/Hachette Book Group. https://doi.org/10.1037/11234-002

[TRT World]. (2020, August 14). India-Pakistan partition explained [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/OnTYLyNUPMc

Sarkar, J. (n.d.). Short Biography of Biraja Sankar Guha. Your Article Library. Retrieved May 2, 2023, from https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/essay/short-biography-of-biraja-sankar-guha/41678

– contributed by Tony Pankuch.

Next week, the Cummings Center will launch its newest exhibit, Sexology: Science & Sensationalism, which explores the 50-year run of Sexology magazine (1933-1983), a sex science publication sold to popular audiences as “The Door to Sex Enlightenment.” I’ve had the pleasure of helping to supervise our current cohort of Museums & Archives Studies Certificate students in researching, curating, and designing this exhibit, and along the way I’ve been fascinated by Sexology’s contents—a unique blend of science, opinion, advice columns, and tabloid fodder. 

Sexology’s contributors came from a wide variety of backgrounds and included some genuine icons in the history of sex science – folks like Harry Benjamin, a pioneer in gender-affirming care for transgender people, and Wardell B. Pomeroy, who co-authored the famous “Kinsey Reports” with Alfred Kinsey and Clyde Martin. But for every recognizable author, there are numerous others whose contributions have attracted little historical attention. This blog is the first in a series spotlighting Sexology’s lesser known (but equally interesting) contributors.

Grace Verne Silver (1889-1972) was among Sexology’s earliest authors, writing numerous articles for the magazine throughout the late 1930s. Since its inception, the magazine had placed a focus on the issue of sex education, generally arguing in favor of honest, open discourse about sex and sexuality. Through her contributions, Silver helped to bolster this argument. Take, for example, her 1937 piece, “Sex Ignorance Is Criminal.”

Excerpt from an article titled Sex Ignorance in Criminal. It features an illustration of two older men and women sneering at two younger men and women who are wearing revealing bathing suits.

“Knowledge gives happiness as well as power; nothing but misery ever grows out of ignorance. This is as true of marital relations as in any other human affairs. Women need knowledge even more than do men. In the first place, men get knowledge—of sorts; in the second place, women pay higher for their mistakes and suffer more from their own ignorance than do men. As to what women have suffered because of man’s ignorance—in addition to their own—that is beyond any computation!” – Grace Verne Silver, Sexology 5(1), September 1937.

In the above article, Silver emphasized the importance of sex education for young women, writing that “much suffering could be prevented if women were told a few simple things before their marriage.” This interest in the wellbeing of women (and the harms inflicted upon them by men) was a hallmark of Silver’s writing for Sexology.

Excerpt from an article titled Woman's New Sex Freedom. It features an illustration of a man and a woman seated next to each other with grim expressions on their faces.

“Marriage is not the proof of man’s love, but the proof of his desire for exclusive ownership, and may or may not have anything to do with love. Usually it also proves he wants a housekeeper and nurse. Women know that the ‘security’ offered by marriage has been much overestimated.” – Grace Verne Silver, Sexology 4(9), May 1937

Silver’s contributions to Sexology were only a minor piece of her overall legacy, however. In addition to advocating for sex education and feminist causes, Silver was a prominent socialist and labor activist who lectured around the United States. According to her daughter, she opened the first socialist bookstore in Los Angeles, which was raided three times by members of the American Legion. She was once arrested on charges of assault and battery after a fight broke out during one of her speeches. Her occupation—openly listed as “Socialist Lecturer” on her daughter’s birth certificate—was a dangerous line of work during the Red Scare of the late 1910s.

Despite her contentious views, Silver established a positive working relationship with Sexology’s first editor, David H. Keller. Keller edited several magazines at this time, and Silver’s contributions were featured regularly throughout his publications. In 1937, Silver’s writing appeared in all 12 monthly issues of Sexology.

Excerpt from an article titled Sex Ignorance in Criminal (Part Two). It features an illustration of a young boy gesturing angrily at his mother, alongside an illustration of two children seated calmly in front of a woman holding a book.

“There is a theory that a girl’s husband should be her instructor. How shall he teach what he does not know? Men, as a class, know even less about the intimate life of women than women know. Men have learned much that is not true, much they need to forget when they marry.” – Grace Verne Silver, Sexology 5(2), October 1937

Silver’s views occasionally contradicted those of her editor. Her 1938 article “Normalcy of Petting” was prefaced by a note from Keller, which cautioned readers that “the Editor must express disagreement with many of the writer’s opinions, although full approval of the concluding paragraph.” In this article, Silver defended the practice of “petting” between young men and women, once again adopting a feminist perspective on the subject. “Personally,” she wrote, “I’d rather see a girl discover a man to be a cad before she married him, than have her wait to learn it later.” 

Excerpt from an article titled Normalcy of Petting. It features an illustration of a man and a woman seated closely together in conversation, with the man's arm around the woman's shoulder.

“When young people indulge in experimental petting, one of two things must happen sooner or later: they will find they have made a mistake, that they do not care enough for each other to risk marriage, and ‘call it off’; or they will find their love intensified, their longing to be together will overwhelm them, and they will want to marry.” – Grace Verne Silver, Sexology 5(8), April 1938

Though Silver’s contributions to Sexology appear to have ceased in the early 1940s, her writings undoubtedly helped the magazine to establish a voice in its early years. Sexology, at its founding, was a fairly radical publication, inciting controversy as it brought taboo subjects to popular audiences. It’s not surprising that a lifelong activist well-versed in political censorship would be among the magazine’s earliest contributors.

Silver’s legacy has lived on partly due to her daughter, Queen Silver. Queen followed in her mother’s footsteps and began lecturing publicly at just eight years old. She was a vocal atheist, socialist, and feminist whose young activism reportedly inspired Cecille B. DeMille’s 1928 feature film The Godless Girl. Queen’s free-spirited nature likely owes a lot to her mother, whose Sexology articles consistently defended women’s rights and the bold new ideas of the “modern youth.”

Excerpt from an article titled Motherhood Without Marriage (Part Two).

“Twenty-seven years ago, I elected to become a free and single mother. Neither I, nor my now fairly successful grown daughter, have ever had reason to regret the step. Starvation at times; hard work at other times; some minor criticisms in the early years, when there were fewer ‘moderns’ than nowadays. Under similar conditions, I would repeat the venture; I hope my daughter would have courage to do likewise.” – Grace Verne Silver, Sexology 5(4), December 1937.

The papers of both Grace Verne Silver and Queen Silver are held by the Duke University Libraries in Durham, North Carolina and are open for research. But if you’d like to explore Grace Verne Silver’s contributions to Sexology magazine right here in Akron, Ohio, drop by the Sexology: Science & Sensationalism exhibit, opening May 2. We’ll be featuring three of her articles among the 80+ issues of Sexology magazine on display.

And keep an eye on our blog in the coming months for more posts about the little-known writers of Sexology magazine!


Kirsch, J. (2000, November 1). This Hometown Girl Radical Fought Many a Battle on the Soapbox. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-nov-01-cl-44988-story.html

McElroy, W. (2011). Queen Silver: The Godless Girl. Prometheus Books.

Silver, G. V. (1937, May). Woman’s New Sex Freedom. Sexology, 4(9), 4-7. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, OH.

Silver, G. V. (1937, September). Sex Ignorance is Criminal. Sexology, 5(1), 4-7. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, OH.

Silver, G. V. (1937, October). Sex Ignorance is Criminal (Part Two). Sexology, 5(2), 4-7. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, OH.

Silver, G. V. (1937, December). Motherhood Without Marriage? (Part Two). Sexology, 5(4), 4-7. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, OH.

Silver, G. V. (1938, April). Normalcy of Petting. Sexology, 5(8), 496-500. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, Akron, OH

contributed by Museums & Archives Certiftcate Program student Katie Gable

I am in my final semester of undergrad and every so often I reminisce fondly on my time at The University of Akron. In four years, I have earned two degrees, my first in political science, the second in psychology, and a certificate in Museum & Archives. The skills I have learned inform my understanding of this project I have taken on.

To officially receive my certificate, I must complete a capstone project. Dr. Cathy Faye, executive director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology and Lizette Barton, a reference archivist in the Archives of the History of American Psychology  presented to me the story of Gardner and Lois Murphy, a pair of psychologists who worked with UNESCO in India in the early 1950s. The goal: figure out the point of their trip, piece together the story and characters through photos in the archives, and eventually digitize and create metadata for the primary sources and photos I found. This project was perfect for my skill set. Expanding upon my knowledge of important psychologists and their work, improving upon my archival skills to solve “mysteries” and of course digitize, and lastly challenging my understanding of political and social tensions worldwide.

To summarize, Gardner and Lois Murphy were both well respected psychologists by the time they visited India. Gardner, who focused on social psychology, was an obvious pick to lead the UNESCO study, which focused on social tensions between Hindus and Muslims, following decolonization. After about a year of correspondence between Gardner and UNESCO’s social science head Robert Angell, arrangements were made for Murphy to spend a year in India working with Indian government officials, psychologists, anthropologists, university students, and more to gather data about the tensions being experienced (Murphy, 1953). However, Gardner would not agree without ensuring his wife, Lois B. Murphy, a child psychologist, could accompany him. In a letter to Angell, Gardner does not ask, but rather tells him that Lois should accompany him. He emphasizes Lois’s  intentions to return to India insinutating that he could later join her on to “check up” on his initial UNESCO work.  Lois was offered to be a consultant for the B.M. Institute of Child Development. During her time in India, she visited over 30 schools, orphanages, and organizations of all levels throughout the country (Murphy, 1967). As such, many of the photos I have come across in the archives so far are of young Indian children, some playing games, others sleeping, and my favorite image of a young girl holding a cat.

It could just be my bittersweet emotions towards graduating this May, but the research I’ve done thus far reminds me of being on a yearbook committee. Gathering photos of people and places, attempting to identify them, attempting to understand the cliques or rather groups that worked together. Even assigning superlatives, Lois and Gardner obviously winning “cutest couple” (I will now be holding my boyfriend to Gardner’s standard, expecting to be brought along on business trips, no questions asked). From the moment I realized these photos were not well labeled, I made space in my notes for a “UNESCO Yearbook” where I placed confirmed images of important people and places associated with the UNESCO study and compared them with photos from the archives.

The photo that inspired me to use the yearbook analogy for my research is a group photo of Gardner and some Indian men. The back is labeled with the name Pars Ram. I recognized that name from my research. Professor Pars Ram ran one of the six research teams assembled by Murphy for the study. His team was in charge of the Aligarh University study.

But which one of these men is Pars?

I turned to google to search his name to find any photos or information in general on him, but it’s scarce. I assume the lack of information can be attributed to the fact that he passed in 1952, a year after the study. So instead, I turn to the process of elimination. Maybe if I create a spreadsheet, no– a yearbook, of the “MVPs” in this study, important names that reoccur in the research, I can use the process of elimination to determine which one is Pars Ram and hopefully identify the other three men as well.

At the bottom of my notes, I list out every important name I have come across in my preliminary research. Out of around 20 names, I can only match 9 to photos I have been able to find on the internet. These photos on the internet are not necessarily trustworthy either. In some cases, I can only find one image of a person online and I have to hope for now that it is accurate. I laugh as my organization of these headshots and their names and titles in bold looks exactly like the staff directory page in my high school yearbook.

Desperate for answers, I decided to email Aligarh University to see if they can send me any more information about Pars Ram and hopefully a photo. Unfortunately, I received no response. Though my questions regarding this group photo still plagued me, I returned to the archives. Using the finding aid to identify any boxes with sources or photographs relevant to my research, I finally came across another photo of interest to me. It looked like a bit of an action shot, not posed like the one before, but even still I recognized the man. That man stands beside Gardner Murphy in the group photo. I turned the photo over, doubting it is labeled, but to my surprise, it is. In curly cursive is his name, “Pars Ram”!

Just when I thought my excitement was at an all time high, I came across a photo of another Indian man, characterized by his glasses and snazzy suit. This man is also in the group photo, I am certain. I compare the group photo with the individual photo to confirm. I turn it over and once again I am surprised to see it is labeled “H.P. Maiti”. I am now working extra hard to keep my excitement at a whisper level in the reading room. H.P. Maiti, is another important name I was unable to identify using online sources. Professor Maiti, the director of The Institute of Psychology Research and Service  at Patna University also leads one of Murphy’s research studies.

H. P. Maiti standing with another man standing at the edge of a pier or a boat.
Handwritten text on the back of a photo. It reads: "Dr. H. P. Maiti, Patna. V31_F2_1."

I have now identified two out of the four men positioned beside Gardner Murphy in the mysterious group photo. That leaves me with two more men to identify! Unsure of where to start, I refer to the initial group photo, which is labeled with the word “Lucknow” in addition to other scribbles and Pars Ram’s name. It must be referring to Lucknow University, another school involved with Murphy’s six team UNESCO study. This must be where the photo was taken and leads me to assume one of the two remaining men are Dr. Kali Prasad, the head of the Lucknow Study. However, similar to his peers, photographs of Prasad are not easily found on the internet.

I return to the archival boxes to find two folders, one of which has numbered photos from the UNESCO trip, the other descriptions of the numbered photos. I decide to read through the descriptions first, to see if there is anything that is of relevance to my research. Photograph 170’s description includes the name of Kali Prasad and I open the photograph folder full of hope and excitement, only to find those numbered photos end at 150. Disappointed and puzzled, I ask Lizette where they might be. A major aspect of working in the archives is processing collections. This means surveying, organizing, and creating finding aids. This work requires reevaluation and as a result boxes are reorganized, and folders rehomed. The Murphy Collection has been reorganized and so Lizette suggests I trace the two folders I found in the box back to where they may have been kept before. As of today, I have yet to find the photo of Dr. Kali Prasad or any images of him in general. However, I am not willing to give up just yet.

This is certainly more effort than my yearbook editor ever put in and I recall the spelling mistakes and incorrect labels that littered my senior yearbook. Good thing this is a capstone project that determines if I graduate certified in Museum & Archival studies and not an actual yearbook. With that in mind, I continue to scour the internet and archives.


Murphy, G. (1967). Gardner Murphy. In E. G. Boring & G. Lindzey (Eds.), A history of psychology in autobiography, Vol. 5, pp. 253–282). Appleton-Century-Crofts. https://doi.org/10.1037/11579-010

Murphy, G. (1953). In the minds of men: The study of human behavior and social tensions in India. Basic Books/Hachette Book Group. https://doi.org/10.1037/11234-000

The More You Know…

Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

Back in December we posted about a future Cummings Center building assessment being funded through an NEH grant. We were hopeful about this knowledge-gathering journey we were about to take, looking toward collections care and the significant part that the building will ultimately play in that role. After three whirlwind days learning about the bones and the guts of our building and how to make it healthier and stronger, we are preparing to make some changes.

Jeremy Linden from Linden Preservation Services spent three days onsite to get to know not just the building, but the collections, the staff, and even typical Akron weather patterns. The goal was to provide information about how all of these elements work together to create our current preservation environment. The assessment focused mostly on the basement where the majority of Cummings Center materials live. But to know what’s going on in the basement we needed to know what’s happening outside and around it as well.

Jeremy Linden standing in front of a whiteboard in a conference room, drawing on the board with a dry erase marker. Another person is sitting in the foreground.

Jeremy Linden illustrating cooling and heating zones in CCHP basement

An illustration on a whiteboard depicting the rough structure of a basement in relation to a nearby exterior street and sidewalk.

Linden’s illustration of southside structure of basement storage

The two central points of focus were the heating and cooling systems within the building and the basement foundation, or ‘envelope’. We learned how the building mechanical systems are configured, how they communicate with one another and with the university’s physical facilities staff, and the pathways individual HVAC units take throughout the building to provide CCHP spaces with our unique heating and cooling needs.

In addition to proper heating and cooling, archival storage spaces also require appropriate humidification and de-humidification for optimal collections preservation. How all of these components correspond to create the building’s interior environment led to the biggest surprise of Jeremy’s visit: how we handle our heating, cooling, and humidity in the basement has a direct impact on moisture coming into the basement walls. If the difference between interior and exterior environments is too great in an underground environment, moisture pressure or vapor is created as it moves through the walls to the lowest point. The telltale signs of this event are mineral salts, called efflorescence, on the walls from moisture left behind. Vapor pressure also causes spalling, or deterioration of the wall’s coating. So we need to be careful about how the basement environment reacts to our heating, cooling, and humidification efforts into the future.

White mineral deposits on a brick wall.

White mineral deposits on basement walls due to efflorescence

Detailed image of concrete spalling.

Spalling as a consequence of vapor pressure

The good news is that we can take concrete steps toward short and long term improvements based on Jeremy’s findings. We’ll begin with a basement envelope study which will evaluate the condition of the building’s foundation and provide information on improving the basement environment.

A laptop, thermal camera, moisture meter, relative humidity meter, notepad, and museum brochure arranged on a desk.

Tools of the trade – thermal camera, moisture meter, temperature and relative humidity meter

A handheld thermal imaging device being held up to a brick wall with a pipe extruding from it.

Thermal imaging to detect water leaks, moisture seepage, and structural integrity of a CCHP basement pipe

Spending three days learning about the environment that we work in and care for our collections in was a significant move toward improved collection stewardship. Thanks to the NEH grant, we know more than we did before about our building and its systems, and we feel more confident in our journey forward.

We are excited about our next steps. After completing the building envelope study, we are planning a design study that will guide a significant renovation to the Archives of the History of American Psychology. This will guide us in future renovations that will provide our unique collections with a home with room for growth and the capacity for state-of-the-art preservation.

Logos for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Archives of the History of American Psychology.

An Archival Scavenger Hunt

contributed by CCHP student assistant Wesley Martin with an introduction by CCHP reference archivist Lizette R. Barton


I’m excited to have Wesley working here in the archives as our newest student assistant. One of my favorite things about him? He’s never taken a psychology class. Not one. I think this will make his work here at the CCHP even more fun. He’s going to learn about reference work and all things archives AND the history of psychology. Woohoo!


Hello readers! My name is Wesley Martin, and I am a new reference student assistant here at CCHP. As a senior studying anthropology, I felt it was only fitting to enroll in UA’s Museums and Archives Studies Certificate, which is taught at the Cummings Center. It was not long before I realized I want to dive further into learning about archives work—which is exactly why I am here!

My first assignment on the job was to go on a scavenger hunt in the archives. The objective was for me to figure out how our collections are organized so that I am better equipped to find things during my time here. I caught on pretty quickly. Right away, I figured out what letters belong to book/periodical call numbers–and I learned how easy it is to skip past what you are looking for if you do not look carefully! Looking for Calkins’ An Introduction to Psychology was hard: I quickly realized books are housed in the reading room and in the basement (I later learned that there are often copies in both). Another item had me stumped. I decided to search the archives for a Soviet war songbook I found in the online repository. I could not figure out why I could not find it in the basement or in the reading room only to learn there is additional storage in the postcard room on the fourth floor!

There was a lot of content I very much enjoyed looking through. One asylum report I found, “Annual Report of the State Lunatic Hospital at Harrisburg, PA” from 1886 made me realize just how much medicine has changed in the last 137 years. I was particularly surprised at the tables reporting the supposed “causes” for illness which included innocent activities like masturbation, “novel reading,” exposure to the sun, and excessive studying. Even more surprising was the level that was unknown with 933 cases assigned no known cause. It really emphasized how much was still not understood about our mental health.

Cover page and table from the Annual Report of the Trustees and Superintendent of the State Lunatic Hospital of Pennsylvania for 1866. Tables show ages at which insanity was first developed, duration of insanity previous to admission, social condition, assigned cause of insanity, and place of birth.
Asylum Reports, Box 62 (RC445 .P4 H31)

My search also brought me to a book recalling interviews with English sociologist Herbert Spencer, including some in which he reflects on his feelings about America. Spencer is famous for his theory of Social Darwinism and for having coined the term “survival of the fittest.” Despite having strongly opposed public relief systems, like those that gave assistance to the poor and unhoused, his interviews demonstrate a strong view of Americans’ dwindling freedom. He argued that America has to get worse before it gets better. Criticizing the illusion of freedom using voting ballots as an example, he said, “but his hand is guided by a power behind, which leaves him scarcely any choice.” Although I don’t necessarily agree with his worldview, I was intrigued by his criticisms.

Page from a book with interviews by Herbert Spencer.
Herbert Spencer on the Americans and the Americans on Herbert Spencer : being a full report of his interview, and of the proceedings of the farewell banquet of Nov. 11, 1882 – E168 .S746 1883

One last cool item I found is the “Children’s Apperception Test (Human Figures).” This was developed by Leopold and Sonya Sorel Bellak as an analysis of children’s’ mental states. It worked by having a child respond to pictures and then analyzing their responses by using a score-based guide to what certain responses meant. For example, when measuring a child’s level of “isolation,” the child would be given a score of 1 (detached attitude) if they responded with something like, “that couldn’t happen. It’s a cartoon.”

Pencil drawing from the Children's Apperception Test showing a child in a bed with railings as viewed from an open doorway.
Cummings Center Tests, Cabinet 2, Folder title: Children’s Apperception Test

I have found pleasure in walking through the stacks on special missions, and I am excited to do more of it.

Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

“The [Psychology] Archives are a valuable resource to the University of Akron campus community, the State of Ohio, the psychology profession and field, the nation, and …to the world, through its unique and broad collections.”

— Thomas F.R. Clareson, Vice President, The Foundation for the Advancement of Conservation

So much has changed in the 12 years since the Archives of the History of American Psychology moved from the basement of an old department store to our own 70,000 square foot building. We’ve expanded our space for storage, research, teaching, and exhibitions. We’ve enhanced our services, our collections continue to grow in size and content, and we’ve become a renowned research and humanities center for the history of psychology. For more than a decade, we’ve been focused on expanding our public face.

As we move into our next decade in our new home, our primary focus is to return to our roots and focus our resources on preserving and growing the Archives of the History of American Psychology. This means understanding current risks to our historical collections, understanding what we can do to protect them, and then creating a world-class storage facility that meets those needs.

AHAP basement stacks, Polsky building, circa 2001
Cummings Center basement in former Roadway building, 2022

But how to begin? All major initiatives must begin with an clear understanding of the current situation: how does our current facility impact the longevity of our collections? Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities is helping us with that. The $10,000 Preservation Assistance Grant, awarded to the Center in 2022, will support a 3-day onsite assessment of the Center’s storage environment, mechanical systems and structural environment. This assessment, conducted by an expert in preservation environments, will enable us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our current storage facility and the long term impact of the space on the nearly 4,000 linear feet of materials in our care. Our goal for this phase is to understand where we’re starting from and how well we are doing our main job: providing an optimal storage environment for the best long-term care of paper, wood, metal, audiovisual materials, artwork, mechanical objects, and a host of other one-of-a-kind media and materials within the Center’s historical collections.

Clockwise from top left: antiquarian books from CCHP library; biofeedback thermometer donated by F. Joseph McGuigan; I.Q. Zoo sign from the Animal Behavior Enterprises collection; Bobo doll donated by Albert Bandura; sunglasses prop from the Stanford Prison Experiment donated by Philip Zimbardo; Sigmund Freud home movie still from the Films from the History of Psychology collection.

Our greater goal is to gather the knowledge necessary for planning and creating an optimal but realistic storage environment suited to a world class collection. For this beginning phase, Linden Preservation Services will provide expertise on the building’s existing environment and provide a three-level report that will include recommendations for daily improvements, strategic plans for building renovations, and suggestions for long-term structural and environmental solutions.

From left: letter from Albert Einstein to Henry Goddard from the Henry Herbert Goddard papers; signed copy of Human Potentialities by Aldous Huxley from the Abraham Maslow papers

Stewardship of our materials is at the center of our mission. Our collections are used all over the world by researchers, by artists, in exhibitions, for teaching and outreach, and so much more. It is our duty to provide the best care we are able for these unique items. We are excited to take this first step forward.

Join us on this journey as we post updates and images of our environmental and storage improvements.

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton

Today is my birthday and I am celebrating with a blog about Mary Brown Parlee (1943-2018).

I was born November 19, 1980 and by that time Parlee was already absolutely crushing it. And by “it” I mean feminist scholarship and groundbreaking research in the psychology of women. If I’m being honest, and I’m 41 today so why not, Parlee’s research is so good and so scholarly, that I have been simultaneously blown away by her work and embarrassed by my lack of scientific understanding. But hey, at 41 I know better than to pretend to understand everything. So, this blog may not do Mary Brown Parlee justice in regard to her absolutely brilliant scholarship, but I hope it inspires someone out there to get to Akron and start a historical research project using this collection because these papers and their creator are incredible. For real.

If you’d like some biographical context before we get rolling head over to Psychology’s Feminist Voices and check out their profile on Mary Brown Parlee. It’s excellent, of course.

There is so much rich material in this collection it was hard to determine what story to tell in this blog post. However, I found myself coming back again and again to a paper Parlee presented in 1997 titled, PMS: A Historical Perspective. Parlee delivered this talk as part of a panel discussion on “Interdisciplinary Thinking on Premenstrual Syndrome” at the 12th conference of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.

Excerpt from the paper "PMS: A Historical Perspective"
Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7542, folder “PMS: A Historical Perspective”

My response to the ‘raging hormonal influences’ controversy was both scientific and feminist. From my background in biology and physiological psychology I knew that research wasn’t framed to ask, much less to answer, questions about hormones and performance at work. And as a feminist I was outraged at the idea that biology was going to be used to justify discrimination against women …

The paper is great (the endnotes are amazing!) but what makes it even more fun is that since it’s retrospective, original documents exist throughout the collection that illustrate the story she was telling.

Mary Parlee has the receipts!

In PMS: A Historical Perspective, Parlee writes candidly about receiving rejection letter after rejection letter from top journals regarding the publication of her work on menstruation. She writes, “Each [journal] suggested one of the others until the circle was literally complete….Editorial gatekeeping was one way psychology as a discipline kept women’s menstrual experiences at the margins of the field.”

Letter to Mary Brown Parlee from Ronald B. Kurtz. Kurz rejects Parlee's paper for publication in the American Psychologist and recommends alternative journals.
One of many early rejection letters in the Mary Brown Parlee papers [box M7557]

Nothing would stop this woman though and she wrote, “…my research interests …shifted when I went to New York in 1975 and became immersed in an absolutely wonderful interdisciplinary group of feminist scholars and activists.” Women supporting women. YES! Maybe some of those wonderful women were in the audience at this address Parlee delivered before the New York Academy of Sciences November 15, 1975. I bet our mutual friend Florence Denmark was in the crowd!

Abstract for an address titled "From the Known Into the Unknown: Sexual Politics Becomes Science" by Mary Brown Parlee
Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7542, folder “Talks, Presentations 1975-1976”

Parlee described her attendance at the first Conference on Menstrual Cycle Research in 1977 as, “…the first conference I had ever been to where there were so many women, smart women, talking seriously about research on a single topic….[and] the organizational power to define women-centered menstrual cycle research became real.”

Flier advertising a conference titled "The Menstrual Cycle: An Interdisciplinary Nursing Research Conference"
Original flier advertising that first conference on the menstrual cycle in 1977.
Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7545, folder “Feminist and Women’s Studies”

Parlee was invited to talk about her PMS research at a “no strings attached” press breakfast hosted by Glenbrook Pharmaceuticals in 1984 just as they were launching their product, Midol. In PMS: A Historical Perspective she writes, “In retrospect I think this is how drug companies influence a scientific field, not by crassly interfering with an individual scientist’s research or writing but by selectively amplifying one particular perspective in ways that both develop markets for its products and influence the direction of scientific research.”

Preach, Mary!!

First page of a press release on the interaction of cultural beliefs, attitudes and biologically caused psychological changes during the menstrual cycle.
Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7542, folder “A World View: A Cultural History of Menstruation, 1984”

In the 1980s the American Psychiatric Association was revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) and “Late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder” (LLPDD aka PMS/PMDD) was added to the appendix of the DSM-IIIR (1987) with the heading, “proposed diagnostic categories needing further study.” As Parlee remembers in PMS: A Historical Perspective, “PMS had become an “it”, something women “have.” It had become an explanation of experiences rather than a name for them.”

Before the 1980s even ended, the American Psychiatric Association was revising the DSM again and Parlee accepted a position on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Work Group on the LLPDD diagnosis. As she discusses at length in PMS: A Historical Perspective, the group did a super-mega-ultra literature review and was tasked with providing a recommendation on the basis of empirical evidence whether to keep LLPDD in the appendix, move it to the main DSM-IV, or remove it entirely. The Group presented their findings at the 1992 American Psychiatric Association Convention and in remembering this work Parlee wrote, “Despite the negative findings from the literature review, however it was clear in formal discussions of the Work Group’s report and in behind-the-scenes politiking that placement of the diagnosis in the DSM-IV was still controversial.”

An American Psychiatric Association memo and a handwritten letter from Nada Stotland congratulating Parlee and requesting a copy of her remarks.
Official memo from the American Psychiatric Association regarding the 1992 Work Group presentation and a letter from Nada Stotland to Parlee (1992). Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7548

But in 1994, there it was, right in the main body of the DSM-IV under “mood disorders” – Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Mary Parlee had this to say, “It was the most political, unscientific, irrational process I have ever experienced….Whatever the scientific facts about PMS and PMS treatments may turn out to be, it is clear that “scientific evidence” was not the basis for including PDD in the DSM-IV.”

Oh snap!

Isn’t this whole thing fascinating? Don’t you want to know more about who was in the working group, what literature they reviewed, and what they presented to the American Psychiatric Association at the end of the process? The Mary Brown Parlee papers contain a full box and a half worth of materials to answer those very questions (and spur even more!).

A box full of folders from the Mary Brown Parlee papers labeled "Administrative Files" with specific labels relating to the DSM-IV
Mary Brown Parlee papers, box M7548

In closing PMS: A Historical Perspective, Parlee writes, “Our bodies, ourselves? I don’t know. The “our” implies a unified “we,” and that unified subject makes little sense either in feminism or in the history of menstrual cycle research I’ve discussed. I hope its “future history” will…figure out how menstrual research can be used more powerfully in the places where science and society meet, so that science, media, and public discourse reflect not one hegemonic view but the multiplicity of women’s experiences.”

When Mary Brown Parlee presented this paper in June of 1997 at the 12th conference of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, I was 16 years old and heading into the summer before my junior year of high school. Going through her papers and reading (and re-reading) PMS: A Historical Perspective in 2021 as a 41-year-old I am struck by the line, “…so that science, media, and public discourse reflect not one hegemonic view but the multiplicity of women’s experiences.”

Whew. The more things change the more they really do stay the same. Happy Birthday to me?

 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

Our collections contain a range of unusual artifacts, but one that might surprise you is that we have our very own Ouija Board. Ouija Boards and similar tools have a long history in the field of psychology.

We’d like to share a few fun facts for the Halloween season.

A Ouija board displayed upright in a darkened reading room.
Ouija Board. Artifacts collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Most may associate the Ouija Board with the supernatural, but it has been used as a tool for the psychological study of the unconscious mind. In 1957, Frank X. Barron included the Ouija Board in a battery of tests used to study well-known creative writers. Barron’s research notes include detailed descriptions of his subjects’ interactions with the Ouija Board:

Scanned research notes.
Research notes, 1957. Box M5426, Folder 13, Frank X. Barron papers, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

[redacted] tried to recall the name of a man who had been a school teacher of his. He was not clear about what grade he had had this teacher in, nor was he able to remember his name, though he could visualize the person quite well. The Ouija board traced the following path:

Q P O 1 P T C Q U V W 9 8

When the table paused over 8, [redacted] with some excitement interrupted to report that something extraordinary had happened. He was aware that the pointer had rested over W and then moved to 8. When it came to 8 he remembered all of a sudden that the teacher whose name he was trying to recall had been his teacher in the 8th grade, and it was at the same moment he remembered that his teacher’s name began with W; was, indeed, Weaver.

Barron wasn’t looking to have his subjects communicate with spirits—rather, he and other psychologists who used the Ouija Board hoped that the words and patterns created by their subjects’ hand movements might reflect their unconscious thoughts, feelings, or desires.

Similar to the Ouija Board, this Spirit Writing Board, donated to the Cummings Center by Hobart-William Smith College, was used by researchers to produce “automatic writing”—writing which allegedly comes from the unconscious thoughts of the writer.

A homemade wood-framed spirit writing board displayed in a darkened reading room. It appears as a felt surface under a glass cover.
Spirit Writing Board. Artifacts collection, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Then there’s the Automatograph. Historian Arthur Blumenthal described the Automatograph as a “scientific-instrument version of the Ouija board.” It doesn’t record writing or messages, but its free moving ball bearings make it ideal for documenting the slightest involuntary movements.

Cover of the Marietta Apparatus Company catalog displayed under a catalog entry for an automatograph.
Marietta Apparatus Company Catalog, undated. Instruments, Apparatus, and Other Manuals and Catalogs, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

The automatograph records involuntary movements of the arm. It consists of two horizontal glass plates separated by ball bearings. The lower glass is framed and provided with grips for holding the record paper. The subject’s forearm rests on the paper which moves freely on the ball bearings. The slightest involuntary movement of the subject’s arm is recorded by a stylus which moves with the upper plate. Complete with storage case.

The Automatograph was developed by psychologist Joseph Jastrow in the mid-19th century. Jastrow was an strong opponent of spiritualism, and his Automatograph was designed to debunk spiritualism by documenting a psychological, rather than spiritual, basis for unconscious movements.

So, while the Ouija Board may initially seem disconnected from psychological science, the concept of automatic movement—either by spiritual intervention or unconscious impulse—has fascinated psychologists for well over a century. Thus explaining its place in the Archives of the History of American Psychology.

  • contributed by CCHP student assistant Isabella Pieri with an introduction from reference archivist Lizette R. Barton


The Archives has a lot of material – a lot – in a variety of formats, in different housing, on multiple floors of the building. It can be intimidating. The best way to get to know AHAP is to just spend some time perusing, which is why I like to give my new student assistants a scavenger hunt on their first day on the job. Isabella’s task was to locate 10 different items in the building. I tried to select items from all the different collections. Isabella had no trouble at all cracking my scavenger hunt and she was able to familiarize herself with the building and the collections all while getting a bit lost in the coolness of archives. I think we’re going to get along just fine. – Lizette R. Barton


Cultural nuances and histories have held my interest since a young age, stemming from an obsession with the religious beliefs and mythology of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Native American tribes (which are present, today). Entering my fourth year of study as an Anthropology major an perusing a minor in History as well as a certificate in Museum and Archival studies, an opening for a Student Assistant to the Reference Archivist at the CCHP was an opportunity I had to take. To help better acquaint myself with the innerworkings of the institution and the layout of the archives, my first assignment was a scavenger hunt!

I was overwhelmed with how much material I had access to and often found myself getting sidetracked by an interesting title or curious looking box. I really took my time to wander through the stacks, explore each shelf, and familiarize myself with the layout of everything. The CCHP’s archives are home to an incredibly diverse collection, as it’s the world’s largest repository of documents, media, and artifacts pertaining to the history of psychology and other related human sciences. To be totally honest, I did get lost once (or twice), but who’s counting?

Between finding a Kansas State Insane Asylum Report from 1919, a children’s questionnaire about their attitudes, a recipe for a Kaffee Klatsch cake, and letters between a congressman and a psychologist discussing shared interests, I found a curious thread that connected a few of the other items on my list.

What could a book, a collection with a reference to General Mills Inc., and a photograph of a chicken have in common? Animal psychology, apparently (at least in this situation).

One of the items on my docket was a book by the name of The Animal Mind by Margaret Floy Washburn (1917). Washburn upheld the notion that the animal mind could be inferred by observing and recording their behavior and used her own research as well as the experiments of other psychologists and physiologists to support this notion.

Seeing an opportunity in the behavioral principles that were developed by way of these experiments, Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE) began to train animals for commercial use. General Mills was an avid customer ­- being producers of cereal, granola, and grain – and often used ABE’s animals to advertise their products. Below is a letter from J.L. Coulombe of General Mills’ advertising to Marion Breland, one of the founders of ABE, listing some of the peculiar requests they have for “acts” and “units”, including that of a fortune telling chicken.

Scanned letter from J. L. Coulombe of General Mills, Inc. to Marion Breland requesting the shipment of several chicken "acts"
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box M4288, folder 2

For a screen reader compatible version of this document, click here.

There was also a pencil sketch of an idea for a chicken playing baseball act.

Top-down diagram on lined notebook paper of a miniature baseball field arrangement designed to be operable by a chicken. The device includes a bat for the chicken to peck at and a feeder to supply food to the chicken.
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box M4288, folder 2

The chicken would complete an action in exchange for a snack, triggering a mechanism to achieve the desired result and entertain the people watching. Below are two photos of a machine that was used in an act that shares a similar function to the drawing.

Two black and white photos. The first is of a chicken standing on the edge of a miniature baseball field display. Tiny figurines of baseball players are arranged on the field, and a large bat is connected to the batter with a lightweight ball positioned in front of it. The second is of a mechanical box with wires connected to make the baseball display work.
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box V115, folder 9

Overall, a very interesting and informative first week on the job looking through the archives here at the CCHP. I’m excited to get more assignments and continue become more comfortable working with the archives!

(And hopefully not get lost again).

 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

Browsing the contents of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, one is likely to come across some eyebrow raising titles and headlines from throughout the 20th century. The contents of the collection range from field standard publications like Psychology Today to the long-running Fate magazine, which featured parapsychological phenomena and headlines like “The Severed Head Spoke“. Yet as a queer person interested in the history of psychology and the LGBTQ+ community, the collection provides a fascinating opportunity to explore how LGBTQ+ individuals understood and sought to express their identities in relation to dominant psychological ideologies.

Article headline titled "A Lesbian Speaks Her Mind: An inside account of the feminine side of the female homosexual." Black and white photograph shows a woman placing a hand on another woman's shoulder.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 33, No. 3, October 1966, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

If you’re familiar with the broad strokes of psychology’s historical relationship to the LGBTQ+ community, you likely know that prior to the 1970s there was little opportunity for the open expression of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities within the mental health fields. As explored by works like Henry L. Minton’s Departing From Deviance and the CCHP’s online exhibit A Clockwork Lavender, LGBTQ+ identities were viewed as disorders to be cured rather than legitimate expressions of human diversity.

Yet in popular sexology magazines, articles featuring the firsthand testimony and perspectives of LGBTQ+ individuals were not altogether uncommon prior to the 1970s. In an era when criminalization, medicalization, and inhumane treatment of LGBTQ+ identity was common in the U.S. and abroad, individuals were able to use the space in magazines to advocate (often anonymously) for their own humanity. An early example of this sort of article appeared in the September, 1934 issue of Sex: Sane Sex Standards:

Article excerpt titled “An Interview with An Invert” by Kemit Riedner. Excerpt text included below.
Sex: Sane Sex Standards, Vol. 4, No. 3, September 1934, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

After hearing my case, can you safely say that I have committed any crime by acting in a way that to me is normal? If God created us any different from other people. He must have had a purpose in my view, and I think that the inverts of the world will join me in asking that we be given a chance to live as He sees fit to create us. We do not appreciate the efforts His usurpers have spent in improvising on His handiwork.

In this article, author Kemit Riedner interviewed an “intelligent, educated man” who identified himself as an “invert” (a common sexological term for homosexuality at that time). In the excerpt above, the anonymous man challenges the idea that homosexuality is abnormal or worthy of criminal status. The last portion of this excerpt, in particular, seems targeted at those who sought to “cure” LGBTQ+ identities through conversation therapies.

By the 1960s, articles of this nature had begun to appear regularly in Sexology magazine, which was founded in 1933 and paired sensational headlines and occasionally scandalous imagery with educational articles on a wide variety of topics. Take for instance this 1967 article from the pseudonymous “Rod Chase”:

Article excerpt titled "Inner Thoughts of a Homosexual: Autobiographical notes of a young man's experiences with the "straight" world" by Rod Chase. Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 33, No. 11, June 1967, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

I see sad homosexuals in gay bars and the only thing comparable is sad heterosexuals in normal bars. I see many unhappy heterosexuals, many unhappy marriages. Look at the divorce rate! Look at the wretched destructive marriages! But from this I do not conclude that heterosexuality is an illness.

On the other hand, in spite of prejudice, there are many homosexuals who are free human beings and who have capacity for love. They are creative and not sorry for themselves. They are never considered when doctors write about homosexuality.

Sexology provided LGBTQ+ contributors and interview subjects an opportunity to speak out emphatically to an audience that was, by nature of the magazine’s existence, likely to be sympathetic or at least open to the diversity of human sexual experiences. In this way, it followed in the footsteps of early sexology researchers like Havelock Ellis and Richard von Krafft-Ebing. As explained by Henry L. Minton in Departing From Deviance, “for many homosexual research participants, the research process became a proactive vehicle for changing public opinion and constructing more empathic and realistic understandings of homosexuality.” Though this research may have still contributed to pathological understandings of queer identity, research participants were able to exercise agency through their participation and testimony.

Article excerpt titled "Why I became a Lesbian" by "E. N." Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 31, No. 8, March 1965, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

What went ‘wrong’ with me? From my point of view, nothing. When I was 19 and a college student, I met a girl nearly my own age with whom I developed an intense friendship. We were happy only when we were together and miserable when we were apart. As soon as we were able to earn our own livings we went to live together and enjoyed our first serious physical contacts. We have loved one another ever since.

It wasn’t just gay and lesbian writers who wrote to Sexology. Transgender contributors were featured, as in the August 1960 issue:

Article excerpt titled "'Sex Change' Operation: The difficult and costly ordeal of surgery is not an 'open sesame' to happiness for the 'female in a male body.'" by Lana. Photo depicts a transgender woman seated in a long flowing dress. Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 27, No. 1, August 1960, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

Many of us, who feel that we are ‘females in a male body,’ are willing to pay whatever price is necessary. For many like myself, the surgery offers an opportunity to emerge from a world of shadow in which there is no possibility of happiness.

Although we cannot bear children, we are as much female as any man could wish, physically and emotionally. Doctors declare us to be women, and the law allows us to become so legally.

Let us hope that, in time, an understanding public will also sympathetically accept us as such.

Despite the ominous introduction—”surgery is not an ‘open sesame’ to happiness”—the article focused on physical recuperation and societal prejudice rather than any sort of psychological distress associated with trans identity, and Lana described herself as having “absolutely no regrets” for pursuing life as a transgender woman. This open and positive tone toward transgender identity makes sense for Sexology; for decades the magazine’s Board of Medical and Sexological Consultants included Dr. Harry Benjamin, a pioneer in gender-affirming surgery for transgender people, who wrote the introduction to Christine Jorgensen’s autobiography.

I’ll leave you with one more article, contributed by Lorynca Rome, from November, 1950:

Article excerpt titled "I'm Glad I'm a Homosexual!" Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 17, No. 4, November 1950, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

I do not feel as if my mind were ‘sick or diseased.’ I do not feel repressed or frustrated nor emotionally starved, nor that I am any of the terrible things that homosexuals are supposed to be. And yet, things have not always been as perfect in my life as I have longed them to be—perhaps they never will be. But I have no regrets, for I have had some of the happiest of moments—days—years. And I am glad that I was born a homosexual!

Through these articles, LGBTQ+ contributors challenged the dominant narrative that queer life was abnormal and unfulfilling. They expressed themselves as individuals comfortable in their identities and without shame. They were, in a very literal sense, celebrating Pride.

Browse the finding aid to the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection.

Explore more materials on the history of LGBTQ+ psychology from the Cummings Center.


Jorgensen, C. (1967). Christine Jorgensen: personal autobiography. P. S. Eriksson.

Minton, H. L. (2010). Departing from deviance. University of Chicago Press.