Too Taboo For You?

Contributed by Breanna Arnold

Among the multitude of volumes that grace the shelves of the CCHP library sit three of the seven notable volumes by renowned British physician, psychologist and pioneering sexologist, Henry Havelock Ellis.  Studies in the Psychology of Sex is the moniker, etched with a golden touch onto each of these works.

DSC_8021.wmk       DSC_8016.wmk

Born in 1859, during the Victorian Era, Ellis challenged Victorian taboos by publicly discussing human sexuality.  He lived an unconventional lifestyle, beginning with his ‘open marriage’ to an English writer, Edith Lees, who was openly lesbian.  With the controversial publication of this series, his friends chuckled at his expertise on sex due to his own impotence and speculation of his never engaging in sexual intercourse.  Ellis caused quite a pandemonium with his alternative approach to human sexuality.


In the first few pages of each work, Ellis includes the titles for each of the six volumes of Studies in the Psychology of Sex.  Shift your gaze to the bottom of the left page: it mentions how these works are the only editions published in English with Ellis’ permission; this is a unique commonality for volumes I, II and IV that are housed here at CCHP.


The above excerpt is typical for the Victorian era, when menstruation was seen as a medical illness that impaired a woman’s mental and physical abilities.  Because these “monthly discharges” rendered women “unwell or out of order”, feelings of disgust and shame were considered to be common among women.

Ellis placed an additional emphasis on “auto-eroticism”—spontaneous sexual emotion produced in the absence of an external stimulus.  In this excerpt, the reader learns of a Japanese form of autoeroticism. Interestingly enough, this craft originating in Japan has transcended down the line to what are now known as “Ben Wa Balls”—muscles inside of the female vagina hold them in, stimulating movement and/or vibration.

He believed that it was possible for an individual to be in love with themselves; onanism, day-dreaming, self-abuse, orgasm during sleep and masturbation were phenomena he sought to include on the autoerotic spectrum.


Ellis also discussed the legal implications of sexual acts. In Volume II of the series—Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversionhe describes punishment of homosexual practices within England.  Ellis coined the term “homosexual” although he claimed no responsibilities for it.  I found it to be unique that Volume II of this series was considered by some to be the first medical textbook on homosexuality.  Because this work placed a heavy emphasis on homosexuality, it was deemed “obscene,” leading to its ban from publishing in Britain.  However, an American publisher released this book as the second volume that followed volume I—The Evolution of Modesty.

Ellis’ goal was to demystify human sexuality while remaining transparent with the public about these taboo topics.  Though Victorian views hindered this effort, The Studies in the Psychology of Sex provided a platform for public dialogue about human sexuality.

Breanna Arnold is a student assistant at the CCHP. She is a psychology major at The University of Akron.

contributed by Nicole Merzweiler.

Eugenics is a controversial word in psychology, but it has a slightly more humble beginning, as seen in Sir Francis Galton’s book, Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences.

Galton Picture 1

Galton, a mathematician who was interested in individual differences, wrote Hereditary Genius in 1869. It was one of the first attempts to study genius and greatness from a social science perspective. He believed that genius was passed down by parents and was primarily the product of inherited nature rather than environment. He supported this argument by showing that it tends to run in families. Interestingly enough, he was the cousin of Charles Darwin, so his own family may have had an influence on his thinking. Galton who coined the phrase “nature vs. nurture,” would also go on to combine the Greek roots of the words “beautiful” and “heredity” to create the term eugenics. Galton focused on what is sometimes referred to as ‘positive’ eugenics, programs to promote selective breeding to create a healthier and more intelligent population. Despite his focus on positive eugenics, Galton’s ideas were influential in ‘negative’ eugenics in the form of sterilization programs in Europe and the United States

The copy of this book held at the CCHP is especially interesting because it was the personal copy of James McKeen Cattell, and even includes his signature.

Galton Picture 3

Galton Picture 2

In 1886, Cattell became the first American to receive a doctoral degree under Wilhelm Wundt. After this, Cattell briefly worked with Galton at Galton’s laboratory in London. In 1888, Cattell would be offered the first chair in psychology in the United States, at the University of Pennsylvania. There he established his own laboratory and began conducting mental tests on students. Cattell would go on to help legitimize the field of psychology in America, publishing prolifically and founding The Psychological Corporation in 1921 to help promote applied psychology in industry and business. Cattell’s time at Galton’s laboratory studying individual differences may have influenced his direction in psychology, and the way in which psychology became perceived in the United States.

Contributed by Charity Smith

“You’ve got to change your evil ways, baby, before I stop lovin’ you.”

On Monday, October 5th, roughly 1,100 audience members were greeted with the wise words of Carlos Santana, courtesy of Dr. Philip Zimbardo. Simple, yet sound advice, no? It is clearly a message Zimbardo took to heart when imparted to him by a powerful source of opposition, more than 40 years ago: his wife.

During Monday’s talk, hosted by the CCHP, Zimbardo gave a nod to his favorite ordinary hero, Dr. Christina Maslach, the under-celebrated whistle-blower of the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Maslach, who had previously been Zimbardo’s graduate student, was dating Zimbardo at the time of the SPE—likely making it doubly alarming to witness the scene she walked into on what would become the last night of the study. Zimbardo recounts this history-making moment in the clip below:

And with that, Zimbardo began his journey from the villain of the SPE to someone considerably more HIP. On the webpage for his newest endeavor, the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP), Zimbardo adds another title to his already crowded CV: Hero Cultivator. President and founder of HIP, Zimbardo describes the importance and communal nature of the program’s motto, Stand Up. Speak Out. Change the World., by imploring the audience to: “Change your perspective. ‘Me’ becomes ‘We,’ ‘I becomes us.’”

Counted in attendance were community members, professors, social workers, CCHP staff, and UA Board of Trustees members. However, in attendance there were none so important as the hundreds of folks that filled the rest of the room—the students. In addition to our own UA students, several groups made the trek from far and wide, including students from Stow-Munroe Falls, Mayfield, and Hayes high schools; Sinclair Community College; the College of Wooster; Ohio Wesleyan University; The Ohio State University; Tiffin University (featured in picture below); Thiel College; Penn State; University of Pittsburgh; and a host of others. A special “thank you” goes out to Chelsie Polcha and her partner Stephen, who joined us all the way from the University of South Florida—thank you, Chelsie and Stephen!

Tiffin Post

To these students, Zimbardo spoke directly. Using the story of a long-overdue conversation shared between he and a former student, Zimbardo imparted the importance of reaching out to others and expressing gratitude (contains adult language):

With so many young psychologists-in-the-making and social justice advocates of all generations in attendance, there is little doubt that Dr. Zimbardo’s legacy will be paid forward for generations to come.


The staff and students of the CCHP would like to thank Dr. Zimbardo, not only for an amazing and inspiring evening, but also for his continued support of and generous donations to the CCHP. To hear Dr. Baker’s introduction and Zimbardo’s opening remarks regarding his appreciation of and contributions to the Center, watch here:

contributed by Nicole Merzweiler.

The CCHP recently received an interesting new collection that I would like to share! It is the Frank B. Gilbreth Collection of Stereoscopic Photographs. If you have read, or watched the original movie version of Cheaper by the Dozen, then you may recognize the name Frank B. Gilbreth. The book, written by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, describes life with their parents, who were known as efficiency experts. Gilbreth Sr. and Lillian were business partners who studied efficiency and output in industrial work places. Frank, an engineer, and Lillian, who had her Ph.D. in psychology, used time-and-motion studies to streamline employee movements and increase comfort and productivity.

The set of stereoscopic photographs includes a letter dated March 19, 1914, from Frank Gilbreth to Hugo Münsterberg. The letter provides detailed descriptions for the photographs. Letter_001

Gilbreth wanted to show Münsterberg, a pioneer of applied psychology who also had interest in industrial/organizational work, the projects that he had been working on and sent photographs which were mainly from his time at The New England Butt Company in Providence, Rhode Island.

You’ll notice something unique about these photographs – there are two side-by-side images. Stereoscopic photographs are used to create depth in the picture. If you look at these through a stereoscopic viewer they will become three-dimensional. The collection consists of 54 stereoscopic photographs, including 13 on 8 x 9.25 inch cards, 24 on 3.5 x 7 inch cards, and 17 photographs without card backing in a variety of sizes. All of the photographs in this collection have been digitized and are available to view online.

Some of my favorite from the collection include:

According to the letter, “1026 shows the experiment room where my micro-motion study first took place. The floor is cross-sectioned, and the two clocks can be seen half way up on the right hand side of the picture.”

According to the letter, “1026 shows the experiment room where my micro-motion study first took place. The floor is cross-sectioned, and the two clocks can be seen half way up on the right hand side of the picture.”


According to the letter, “618-G70-2. This picture shows ten cycles of folding ten handkerchiefs, taken from the right side in put in a box in front”

According to the letter, “618-G70-2. This picture shows ten cycles of folding ten handkerchiefs, taken from the right side in put in a box in front”.


According to the letter, “#618-G71-C shows an operator making more than 150 motions in folding one of these pieces of cloth. The operator should do this work in 16 motions.”

According to the letter, “#618-G71-C shows an operator making more than 150 motions in folding one of these pieces of cloth. The operator should do this work in 16 motions.”


According to the letter, “S10-B. This is a cyclegraph of a surgeon tieing [sic] a knot in a suture around an artery. This is also a dummy operation.”

According to the letter, “S10-B. This is a cyclegraph of a surgeon tieing [sic] a knot in a suture around an artery. This is also a dummy operation.”

Many thanks to Milt and Lee Hakel for these fabulous materials!

–Contributed by Charity Smith

With Dr. Zimbardo’s upcoming visit to CCHP right around the corner (Oct. 5th, see website for details), you’d think I’d go the easy route and write about the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE). Check! Another item off my to-do list. Ok, admittedly, that’s pretty much what I intended to do…but then I got to thinking: how could my little blog post possibly compete with hearing about the SPE, straight from Zimbardo himself? Let’s face it, it couldn’t.

In searching for a new angle, I discovered that Zimbardo is the 2015 recipient of the Kurt Lewin Award—the namesake of which, is the very man whose groundbreaking research on group dynamics laid the foundation for both the SPE and Milgram’s (1963) famed (READ: infamous) obedience study. Here enter, Kurt Lewin—father of modern social psychology, pioneer researcher of human interactions, and psychologist extraordinaire. Thwarted again, my words cannot compete with those of Zimbardo, who so accurately and succinctly heralded Lewin as “probably the most influential figure in all of social psychology,” (1985).

Lewin, a Jewish immigrant who left Germany in 1933, posited that our behaviors are not simply inherent to our nature; they are the result of an interaction between ourselves (and all the contextual baggage that entails) and environment. This concept is woven throughout Resolving Social Conflicts: Selected Papers on Group Dynamics, a text published posthumously by Lewin’s wife in 1948. Divided into three sections and spanning Lewin’s work from 1935 to 1946, the text explores group dynamics, belongingness, and cultural oppression.

Part I, “Problems of Changing Culture,” explores what is needed for a culture to make effective and lasting change, particularly in relation to Germany and WWII. Perhaps the best synopsis of Lewin’s theories on conflict resolution (not to mention some timeless advice for all of us) comes from an amalgam of two articles, both found in this first section:

Lewin Quote_Page 52

Lewin Quote_Page 58

Part II, “Conflicts in Face-to-Face Groups,” Lewin discusses the impact of leadership styles on tension, conflict resolution, and behaviors resulting from group membership. Although he cites research on children, the below table and discussion of autocratic and democratic governance provides more than just the study’s findings. These results, which mirror the stark contrast between German and American rule, serve as a reminder of the space Lewin’s research holds in time: WWII.

Lewin Quote_Page 79Lewin Quote_Page 72


Part III, “Inter-Group Conflicts and Group Belongingness,” largely centers on the impact of prejudice and segregation on Jewish people during WWI and WWII. Spanning 1935-1946, and heavy with Lewin’s own views and minority status, these articles make salient the weight of oppression and contain concepts that are, sadly, timeless. Below he proffers both the problem and the solution:

Lewin Quote_Page 214




Lewin Quote_Page 215

Although I didn’t go the route of the SPE, the opportunity to read Lewin’s book brought to light the atrocities of the most horrific prison experiment of all: The Holocaust. With articles that explore this time period on a personal, psychological, and sociological level, Lewin not only defines how social evils arise, but provides us with a road map back to the humane.


Lewin, K. (1948). Resolving social conflicts: Selected papers on group dynamics. New York:   Harper & Bros.

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,    67, 371-378.

Zimbardo, P. G. (1985, June). Laugh where we must, be candid where we can. [A conversation   with Allen Funt.] Psychology Today, 19, 42-47.


Six Degrees of The CCHP

-contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

I’m not a psychologist, I don’t play one on TV, and I certainly don’t make for the best conversationalist on the topic. And yet here I am, attempting to prove how the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology can be connected to an author of a rather obscure piece of literature in the most abstract way.

I go boldly forth only because I do know a little about American literature (English major turned librarian here), and I think I can successfully prove a relationship between a small, unassuming booklet written by an early 20th century novelist and the CCHP, with Banned Book Week and David Shakow thrown in for good measure.

So, first question: What’s the connection? Since most of us like visuals, here’s a chart of this particular Six Degrees theory, which I will explain in the following text.six degrees.jpg

What can you say about America, its neurotic state, its collective sex impulse, and its national character without making a stop for collaborative materials at the CCHP? What can you say about America, its neurotic state, its collective sex impulse, and its national character without consulting more than one source? If your answer is “Not much” (and it should be if you’re playing along), then you’ve come to the right blog.

The author of controversial novels Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy (both of which are college English-class staples) dabbles in some non-fiction with his Neurotic America and the Sex Impulse And Some Aspects of Our National Character, part of a larger work titled Hey Rub-A-Dub Dub: A Book of the Mystery and Terror and Wonder of Life.  Theodore Dreiser had a reputation for penning tales about displaced people getting themselves into bad situations, and the general downfall of early 20th century society.

Dreiser attempts to answer all of the above questions in one short, tiny adapted booklet. Its physical stature is slight – only 5” tall by 3 ½” wide – and 62 pages long, but Dreiser’s commentary is robust as he postulates on the intricacies of sex and the shortcomings of American constitution.

Next question: So what’s this little book doing in the psychology archives?


You won’t have to look too closely to see David Shakow’s name printed on the top right of the title page and make the obvious connection:

David Shakow was a clinical psychologist.

The CCHP houses the personal and professional manuscript papers of over 350 psychologists.

The CCHP holds the David Shakow papers.

The book was in the David Shakow papers.

See where I’m going here? Six Degrees theory proven.

Now, we can only surmise why David Shakow owned a copy of this Little Blue Book No. 661. Did he take the sentiments between the pages seriously? It’s doubtful, since Rub-A-Dub-Dub, from whence it was adapted, was severely panned by critics and fellow authors alike for failure to sustain its arguments on a variety of philosophical ideas.


Though panned, it still seems quite possible that Shakow could have taken an interest in Dreiser’s citing of those quite familiar with schizophrenia in this adapted version. Dreiser references Freud, as did many authors, but he also notes another psychoanalyst of the day, H. W. Frink, in exploring the idea that the “sexual factor [is] dominant in every neurosis.”


If we explore more of David Shakow’s library of 1,039 books that he donated to the CCHP, we would find many titles that discuss neuroses in some aspect: Abnormal psychology: a clinical approach to psychological deviants; The abnormal personality; The psychology of functional neuroses; The analysis of fantasy; Annual review of the schizophrenic syndrome, Psychopathology of the psychoses, and so on. [Click here to view all of David Shakow’s books at the Cummings Center].

So I’ve made the connection between CCHP and Theodore Dreiser but let’s not forget there’s an entire second part of his little book – Some Aspects of Our National Character – and this is where I think the true controversial nature of this book lies. It’s easy to say neuroses and sex were taboo topics in 1920, and that might be true, but the sexual revolution of the Roaring ‘20s was on its way with Flapper girls at the helm, and it would seem more likely that controversy could very well be in the thoughts and ideas behind any outlook on America that didn’t seem patriotic.   I could easily create a second Six Degrees chart for Banned Book Week and Little Blue Book No. 661; I could even fairly easily create a new twist on the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon parlor game (with CCHP as the subject), but I won’t do that. I will simply leave you with these pages from Dreiser’s book that may have been a difficult and controversial pill to swallow in 1920.


dreiserbook5[Please add comments to suggest your own version of “Six Degrees of the CCHP” or to contribute a title for Banned Books Week]

– Contributed by Jodi Kearns

This summer, we ran a list of all the pre-1800 books in the Cummings Center rare book collection. You can read the full list here: CCHP_pre1800_books. One title on this list is Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere written by Francesco Redi in 1664. For a reason I cannot entirely explain, this book stood out to me from the others on this impressive list. This book can be found in several libraries around the world, and it usually holds the subject heading “Snakes.” [vipere (Italian) = viper, poisonous snake.] An approximate English translation of the title is Observations About Snakes. I took to Google to learn more.

Osservaxioni Intorno Alle Vipere by Francesco Redi 1664

Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere

The Encyclopædia Britannica biography on Francesco Redi (1626-1697) describes Redi as an Italian physician and poet. It seems he spent time researching and writing to debunk commonly held beliefs about the natural world, including a study in 1668 showing that maggots on putrefying meat are from eggs laid by flies, and do not spontaneously generate. This he concluded after a series of experiments that are recognized as one of the earliest experiments to use proper controls like those used in modern scientific methods.

The Embryo Project Encyclopedia recounts an earlier Redi experiment published in 1664 that contested a popular belief by demonstrating that snake bites and venom are separate and that venom was only effective if it entered the bloodstream with a bite. This work was published in Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere in 1664.

Francesco Redi, 1664

That a book survives 350 years and ends up in a collection specializing in the history of psychology and related human sciences fascinates me. The Cummings Center copy has an even greater distinction among surviving copies: it is inscribed by this 17th Century scientist and author. The inscription is to “Paolo Abrams” from the Author [d’Autore (Italian)]. The trail runs cold during my search for information about a Redi contemporary named Paolo Abrams.

Osservaxioni Intorno Alle Vipere by Francesco Redi 1664

inscribed to Paolo Abrams by Francesco Redi 1664

The Embryo Project Encyclopedia claims root of the field of experimental toxicology in Redi’s work. A 1997 article in the French journal Histoire des sceince médicales claims the field of experimental parasitology also began with Redi’s work.

[This volume came to the Cummings Center with the David Shakow papers.]


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