-Contributed by Danielle Bernert
It’s no secret that CCHP is renowned for its extensive collection of manuscripts, media, and other materials from famous psychological research. Since the first collection of Harry and Leta Hollingworth papers was donated in September of 1966, the Center has always served as a repository for psychologists to bequeath their work so that others may learn from it. However, this year I was given the chance be a part of something completely different: starting a new collection. More specifically, I am helping to establish a collection about the CCHP itself. Since its inception on October 11, 1965, the Cummings’ Center for the History of Psychology has undergone incredible changes, one of which was the name of the organization itself (it was originally called the Archives of the History of American Psychology). With all of this rich history behind it, CCHP is more than worthy of its own archival collection, and this KSU graduate intern is incredibly excited to be a part of the whole process.
My work began only a few short weeks ago, and I have already felt like I have been here for much longer. This is one of the things I love about archives: you always underestimate the power that archival material can have on your sense of history. You couldn’t imagine how looking at the leftover materials of events can possibly make you feel as though you were there…until you’ve looked at 300 of them. I’ve skimmed so many of CCHP founder John Popplestone’s letters I feel like we are now on a first-name basis. And I have seen so many posters, publications, letters, receipts, and photographs that it’s like I’ve worked here for years. Will I be able to write a complete history of CCHP before my brief internship is over? Only time will tell.
Some CCHP materials already gathered for the archives.
Archival fascination aside, beginnings are always a process; full of guesses, adjustments, and moments of clarity. The most challenging question by far: does this item fit into the focus of the collection? Or better yet: what exactly is the focus of our collection? After a few short weeks, these and other questions are being answered. I now know that the focus is materials that capture the essence of CCHP and its history. Even so, these obstacles cannot always be predicted. Nor can they always be solved with an easy answer. Rather, they should be answered as process unfolds. And even then, the solution is never definite. I have since learned that it helps to have a firm idea of the materials to look for, but don’t be afraid to make exceptions. There will always be a few, and it’s what keeps archival work interesting. In the end, all you can hope is that you have made the best decision for the collection and that it will reflect the greatest aspects of CCHP. Over the course of the next two months of my internship, this will be my number one goal.
Danielle “working” with CCHP artifacts (don’t worry – these are extras!)
Posted in Archives, Internships | Tagged Kent State University School of Library and Information Science, Organizational Records, Practicum | Leave a Comment »
– Contributed by Jodi Kearns
The Cummings Center introduces a new series of short films from the Archives of the History of American Psychology!
The series tells stories of people, objects, and topics found in our archives, and includes collection notes if you are interested in doing some related research. (All on- and off-site research requests can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The research team of the 5 Minute History Lesson consists of Cummings Center staff and graduate students. Film production is the work of current undergraduate student assistant Jon Endres of The University of Akron’s College of Communications.
The first episode, premiering here, is about the work and life of psychologist James V. McConnell. Episode 2: Ruth Howard Beckham will debut this summer.
You can also view and share this film on the CCHP youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/CenterHistoryPsych.
Posted in 5 Minute History Lesson, Archives | Tagged Flatworms, James McConnell, James V. McConnell, Journal of Biological Psychology, Journal of Neuropsychiatry, Planarians, Unabomber, Worm Runner's Digest | 1 Comment »
– Contributed by Jodi Kearns
Fall 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Archives of the History of American Psychology. The April 2015 book-of-the-month selection pays tribute to this rich history that CCHP staff and students have dedicated the past 50 years to preserving. In 2015, the mission of the Cummings Center is to support access to the complete historical record of psychology and related human sciences in order to foster understanding of the human condition. The Illustrated History of American Psychology, 2nd edition, published 17 years ago, was an early project in providing access to the historical record of American psychology.
Populated largely by photographs and digitized materials from CCHP collections and written by the co-founders of the Archives, Drs. John A. Popplestone and Marion White McPherson, the Illustrated History describes in words and illustrations with more than 350 pictures the (at the time) just over 100-year story of American psychology . The book visits experimental psychology laboratories, writings and works of prominent figures, military testing for intelligence and vocation, and more.
The photographs and objects from the Archives in the Illustrated History are still in the CCHP collections today.
exhibit in Museum of Psychology showcasing artifacts from CCHP collections
The phrenology bust on page 37, for example, is on exhibit in the Museum of Psychology. (Can you find it in the above gallery photograph?)
An Illustrated History of American Psychology, page 37
So, too, is the pseudophone now on display in the Museum depicted in this 1928 image on page 86. (Do you see it in the gallery photo?)
An Illustrated History of American Psychology, page 86
Additionally, images in the Illustrated History of manuscript papers and testing materials remain in the CCHP collections and available to researchers.
An Illustrated History of American Psychology, page 127
An Illustrated History of American Psychology, pages 148-149
Dorothy Gruich, CCHP Coordinator, helped Drs. Popplestone and McPherson put the first edition together while she was an undergraduate student assistant at the Archives.
Please visit the University of Akron Press for information about other CCHP publications.
Posted in Archives, Book of the Month, Books, Museum, Still Images, Tests | Tagged 50th Anniversary, Book of the Month, CCHP50, historical photographs, Illustrated History, Museum of Psychology, phrenology, pseudophone | Leave a Comment »
-Contributed by Vanessa Facemire.
Ever wonder what your personality says about you? Well, there’s a test for that. What about your IQ or achievement? There’s a test for that too. Would you like to be able to have someone tell you what career to choose? Well, you’re in luck because there’s a test for that too! For more than a century, psychologists have designed and administered tests and measures to assess many different kinds of human abilities and characteristics.
The history of psychological testing is long and varied. It has roots in ancient China; where the emperor instated proficiency testing on topics such as civil law and fiscal policies for public officials. From phrenology to vocational testing, scientists and practitioners have been fascinated with developing new ways to “measure the mind”. Historically, psychological tests have been used in very diverse ways across a variety of settings.
The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is featuring a new exhibit called “Measuring the Mind” that showcases some early ways that psychologists have measured different abilities and characteristics. Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the “Museums for America” program, the exhibit gives visitors a chance to see and interact with tests and measures dating from the nineteenth century to the present.
The exhibit features a 1921 home economics test for 8th grade girls that measures knowledge of “household arts” such as clothing care and repair, childcare, and budgeting. The 1919 Woodsworth Personal Data Sheet, which measures potential emotional difficulties among WWI recruits, was specifically designed to identify soldiers who might be at risk for shell shock, which we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder. A black-and-white 1935 film depicting the different tests used to measure mechanical aptitude among potential employees is also highlighted.
The exhibit also features a variety of interactive displays. Want to test your mental acuity? Check out the weights discrimination test used in the nineteenth and early twentieth century as a way of examining the relationship between the physical world and the mental world.
Do you wonder about your motor learning ability? Check out the finger maze, developed in 1928, used to select employees for jobs requiring fine motor skills.
Want to measure your intelligence? Check out the form board intelligence test from the nineteenth century and time yourself to see how quickly you can complete the board. Form boards were used in a variety of situations including: measuring mental capacity and nonverbal intelligence in children, as part of a battery of tests used on immigrants at Ellis Island, and during WWI to test intelligence among illiterate recruits.
Visitors can also test their intelligence through the Army Alpha interactive display. Developed in WWI, the Army Alpha was the first intelligence test designed to be administered to large groups. This test was used to test new army recruits and by the end of the war, more than 1 million recruits had been tested.
For more information about these tests and many more pay a visit to the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology to check out our “Measuring the Mind” exhibit. You can also schedule a research visit to examine our vast collection of psychological tests and measures.
Posted in Museum, News, Tests | Tagged Army Testing, Assessment, Discrimination Weights, Finger Maze, Form Board, Personality, Testing | Leave a Comment »
– Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton with digitization assistance from Jodi Kearns.
Francis Cecil Sumner (1895-1954) was the first African American to earn a doctoral degree in psychology. He earned his degree on June 14, 1920 under G. Stanley Hall at Clark University upon defending his dissertation, “Psychoanalysis of Freud and Adler.”
Francis Cecil Sumner in his doctoral robes.
Robert V. Guthrie papers
Listen to Kenneth Clark comment on Sumner’s high standards when it came to education at the link below.
Many of us recognize Sumner’s name because he was a “first.” However, it could be said that the most important part of his legacy was his work in establishing the Psychology Department at Howard University and the teaching and training of numerous African American psychologists.
Sumner joined the faculty at Howard University in 1928. As was common in many historically black colleges, psychology courses were taught in the education and philosophy departments. Sumner believed in order to properly train Black psychologists an independent department of psychology was of the utmost importance. In 1930, with the support of Howard’s president, Sumner established the psychology department and was promoted to full professor and head of the department that same year.
He was assisted in the department by Frederick P. Watts, a graduate student, and Max Meenes, a professor of psychology and fellow graduate of the Clark University doctoral program.
Listen to Max Meenes discuss the start of Howard’s psychology department below.
Howard offered training up to the Master’s level with a focus on laboratory and experimental psychology.
In the audio clip below Max Meenes discusses why they kept the program at the Master’s level and how they prepared students for doctoral work elsewhere.
Kenneth B. Clark, Mamie Phipps Clark, Max Meenes, unidentified. 1957.
Robert V. Guthrie papers
Well-known graduates of the Howard University Psychology Department include Kenneth and Mamie Phipps Clark, both of whom went on to earn doctoral degrees from Columbia University. Kenneth Clark in particular stressed the influence Sumner had on him while at Howard and the importance of his time in the department.
Listen to Kenneth Clark talk about Sumner’s influence on his own education and career as a psychologist.
To learn more about Francis Cecil Sumner please check out Robert V. Guthrie’s seminal book, “Even the Rat was White: A Historical View of Psychology.” And to learn even more pay a visit to the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology and take a look at the Robert V. Guthrie papers, which include the incredible sound recordings featured above.
Posted in Archives, Sound Recordings | Tagged Black History Month, Black Psychology, Clark University, Even the rat was white, Francis Cecil Sumner, Frederick P. Watts, G. Stanley Hall, Howard University, Kenneth B. Clark, Mamie Phipps Clark, Max Meenes, Robert V. Guthrie | Leave a Comment »
– Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart
We mourn the sudden and terrible loss of Narcisse Blood and his colleagues on February 10, 2015. Narcisse became a friend of the CCHP back in 2006 when he took part in the “Abraham Maslow and The Blackfoot Experience” two-day conference hosted by CCHP.
Narcisse immediately captured us with his dedication to broadening understanding of the Blackfoot way of life and his deep sincerity in doing so – from explaining Blackfoot storytelling practices to the importance of repatriation efforts. His determination, sincerity and passion for cultural research were tempered with a sense of humor and warmth that will not soon be forgotten.
Our hearts go out to Narcisse’s family and friends, his professional acquaintances and all of those in the Blackfoot community who have lost a talented and generous comrade.
Posted in Archives, Institute for Human Science & Culture, News | Tagged Blackfoot Experience, Narcisse Blood, Tribute | Leave a Comment »
– Contributed by Franklin Fitch.
Wilhelm Wundt (1832- 1920) and William James (1842 – 1910) are considered by many to be two of the most central figures in the establishment of experimental psychology. Both saw the discipline through its early stages as it branched off from the philosophical discourse of the time and became a field of its own. Both established psychology labs during the very same year. These labs were the first of their kind, focused on the measurement and analysis of sensation, perception, and introspection. The historical narratives of these two early psychologists have been intertwined, due both to their historical proximity to one another and the role each filled in building the foundation of a discipline that was new in name, but had in truth existed for thousands of years. Wundt founded the first official laboratory and institute for psychology in Germany. James is said to have taught the first psychology course in the United States and published one of the first American textbooks in the field. Both laid the groundwork for a field of science that now spans the globe. Taking all that into account, the text at hand becomes particularly significant. Housed within the Cummings Center’s collection is this particularly spectacular artifact, one that establishes a material link between these two giants of modern thought.
front cover of Wundt book
The book is a first edition copy of Wilhelm Wundt’s Vorlesungen uber die Menschen- und Tierseele which translates to “Lectures about Human and Animal Psychology.” Wundt is recognized as a pioneer of experimental and comparative psychology.
spine of Wundt book
The artifact itself is beautiful; the pages are thick and smell of years past (and are in good shape, all things considered). The interior portion of the binding is covered in a web of red and blue ink the likes of which I have never seen. It’s a wonderful example of turn of the 20th century craftsmanship and attention to detail.
inside front cover of Wundt book
Aesthetics aside, this copy has something that makes it extremely special. This particular copy belonged to William James himself!
William James’ signature with date from first pages of Wundt book
One can almost feel the weight of history when turning through the pages. On the back page, there is a list of annotations written by James. The staggering significance of the piece shines through when you flip to one of the pages mentioned in James’ personal index.
index of annotations in William James’ handwriting
For example, on page 136 James has written a paragraph worth of reaction to Wundt’s ideas. He notes, “… from the entire mass of comparative measurements absolute norms emerge.”
James’ annotations of Wundt book, pages 136-137 (click to enlarge)
I feel honored to have the privilege of examining and commenting on this text. I can think of few artifacts that have such a personal and historical significance to the field of psychology. One founder of the field commenting on the work of another. This unique text, housed in the Cumming’s Center collection, serves as a tangible record of their interaction with each other. While the text is in many ways in remarkable condition, the pages are separating significantly from the binding. As always, your donations help preserve artifacts just like this one!
Posted in Archives, Book of the Month, Books | Tagged annotations, desk copies, experimental psychology, marginalia, philosopy, Rare books, Wilhelm Wundt, William James | Leave a Comment »