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The events of Summer 2020 have no doubt had a profound impact on the work and perspective of arts and culture institutions across the United States. Protests, still ongoing, against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other Black civilians by police have placed a national spotlight on the systems that enforce racial injustice in this country. Countless institutions, including the Cummings Center, have taken this opportunity to reflect upon representations of racial diversity and civil unrest in their collections, and to use those representations as a means of furthering dialogue and providing a historical background for our tumultuous present.

However, highlighting diversity and historical relevance in material collections is not enough to address the inequalities that impact Black Americans in their daily lives. We must all come to terms with how our own ongoing actions contribute to racial inequality in our institutions and in the communities that we serve. It is essential for us to take a proactive role in recognizing and addressing these issues.

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology stands against social injustice, including all forms of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and transphobia. We recognize that there is a long way to go in fostering true equity, inclusivity, and diversity within our institution and the larger fields of psychology and museum education. In order to work toward a more equitable future and to specifically address anti-Black racism, we are committed to carrying out the following ongoing actions:

  • We will conduct racial equity impact assessments for all major institutional decisions and programming going forward.
  • We will devote our time and resources to the greater representation of Black individuals and historic perspectives in our collections and programming.
  • We have formed a committee which will meet monthly to discuss the promotion of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion and the creation of specific goals and initiatives.

These are merely the first steps in a long-term process of actively challenging our own perspectives and combating racial inequity. Though thorough and widespread changes to the fields and industries in which we work cannot happen overnight, we hope that our actions going forward will contribute to a more equitable environment for the next generation of psychologists, archivists, and museum professionals.

The events of this year have undeniably shifted priorities around issues of diversity and inclusion, but their importance transcends this moment in history. Black lives have always mattered, and they always will. We are dedicated to carrying out this principle within our institution and within our community.

This two-part post from guest blogger Linda Bussey, Director of the Hower House Museum in Akron, discusses how to care for vintage textiles like linens and table cloths.

Now that your textiles are cleaned, you can safely display or store them. Please be mindful that these vintage items should not be displayed in direct sunlight or in an overly hot or damp area. Otherwise their unhappiness will become evident with fading or mildew.

Also remember that if these pieces are used, they must periodically be gently rewashed. Hand towels will become especially high maintenance. It might be best to have a “do not use” policy for vintage towels.

For safely storing your vintage treasures, you will need a few things:

  • Archival tissue paper or 100% cotton muslin fabric
  • Acid -free/archival storage boxes or
  • Polypropylene plastic storage bin with a lid. Be sure to look for this symbol on the bottom of the bin, indicating it is safe for storing textiles:

The acid-free/archival tissue and storage boxes may be obtained from a museum supply or from a craft supply store. Acid-free photo storage boxes may be used for small items but loosely wrap the contents in acid-free tissue or cotton fabric. Do not store with photos. Cotton fabric may be purchased from a fabric store or online and be pre-washed in unscented laundry soap without fabric softener and dried without use of dryer sheets. The fabric will be a bit wrinkled as a result, but do not despair! You can try out your new pressing skills as outlined here in the quick reference guide!

Regarding storage in a plastic bin, yes, it sounds a bit strange, I know. However, a bin of the polypropylene (PP) variety is fine for fabric storage, and may be obtained at discount stores. There is a long list of other, non-safe plastics that should not be used, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Now that you have your supplies gathered, let’s discuss how best to package the items to keep them safe and happy. Prepare a large flat surface to fold or roll the item(s). If you plan to fold them, they should be cushioned to avoid creasing, which can stress the fibers. Use acid -free tissue paper or cotton fabric scrunched up to form a small roll where the item is folded. Once folded or rolled, loosely wrap the item(s) in acid -free paper or cotton fabric, particularly if multiple items will be stored together.

Place items in an acid-free archival box or in a safe storage bin (as noted above). If rolled items are too large for a storage container, fold diagonally with the more delicate side of the item to the inside of the packet; this will help alleviate wear and tear on the more fragile stitching and surface embellishments. Make sure the container is slightly larger than needed to avoid overcrowding. Larger items, such as bedspreads, coverlets, or quilts may need to be stored separately. As always, store in a moderately temperate, dry area, away from direct sunlight, extreme cold or heat.

On a final note, be kind to your textile treasures. Remember to “visit” them occasionally to see how they are holding up. Unfurl them and let them air out for an hour or so. Whi le that is happening, be sure to examine the storage container to look for evidence of insect activity. Not my idea of a good time, either, but check anyway. Your textiles might need an intervention and to be freshened up with new wrappings. Wipe out the storage containers with a damp cloth and let air dry before carefully refolding them in a different direction, rewrapping and returning them to the container.

Having vintage textiles is a serious commitment—sometimes tedious—but well worth it . Cared for correctly, they will provide years of enjoyment and given a new lease on life because you put in the effort.

Textile Sachet Recipe

Follow this recipe and instructions for making a sachet that not only smells good, but protects your textiles from cloth-destroying pests.

Sachet ingredients: lavender, spearmint, bay leaves
Filling the sachet bag

This two-part post from guest blogger Linda Bussey, Director of the Hower House Museum in Akron, discusses how to care for vintage textiles like linens and table cloths.

Imagine inheriting a collection of vintage linens from a favorite auntie. Perhaps she was the most influential person in your life—a bit eccentric, ahead of her time—a colorful character who influenced the YOU of today. Of course, honoring and keeping her memory alive is now emotionally invested in those textiles. No pressure here!

This blog will give you a starting place when dealing with vintage textiles, much of it learned from one of those eccentric, special people in my own life. I try to honor her memory by teaching others what I learned then and since. (Thank you, Sue!)

Start by separating the textile pieces according to their use—pillowcases, dresser scarves, hand towels, doilies, tablecloths and napkins— and then assess the condition of each individual piece. Take your time and be gentle. Remember that someone made each of these items. They have a history and had a life before they came into yours.

A sampler of linens from Hower House Museum

Some pieces may be in great shape, others not so much. In the era these vintage goodies were made, it was a common practice to store old linens ironed and starched within an inch of their life, using a homemade solution made from potatoes, rice or sugar water. Along the way, the items may have been stored in less than optimal conditions—damp basements, attics, cardboard boxes, in old suitcases or trunks. None of these situations bodes well for old textiles; the starch attracts insects and mice, resulting in damage.

Examples of rust stains on linens

At this point I should tell you that old textiles should be stored as you would your best clothing—in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme heat or cold.

If your linens are in good shape, great! If not, some mending and/or stain removal may be in order. Minor repairs—small holes, tears, fraying or loose edging—will need your attention before cleaning. If you are unsure how to repair antique or vintage fabrics, best to ask around; find someone to teach you. Be aware that hand sewing takes a bit of patience, but is a useful skill.

After this initial review of the pieces and mending if necessary, proceed with a gentle washing of your textiles. How do you determine what may be safely washed? We know that cotton, linen, and poly blend cottons may be safely washed by hand; never machine wash fragile, vintage, or antique fabrics. If they are light in color, do not wash with dark fabrics. Some of the old dyes that were used were unstable and may “bleed out” in the wash process. For example, if you have a dark blue blanket, you would not wash that with a light-colored dresser scarf. You see where I’m going with this, right? You could end up with a blue blanket and a light blue dresser scarf.

If you are not sure if the pieces should be washed, ask a professional. What do I recommend to use for your own personal collection? A mild soap called Orvus WA paste. A white, creamy paste that comes in a large container, it can be purchased from a museum supply store, but the more economical source, believe it or not, is your local farm supply store! Orvus WA is used as a horse shampoo, concentrated yet gentle. It only requires a small amount for a batch of linens, so share with a friend because a container will last you years, unless you have several horses to shampoo on a regular basis!

Mild Orvus WA Paste used for cleaning fragile linens and textiles
Supplies for hand-washing your linens. Clockwise from left: clean, absorbent towel for drying; nylon screen for protection of linens during washing; kitchen timer; Orvus WA paste; disposable gloves

Check out this reference guide for a more detailed list of basic supplies and detailed instructions on all phases of textile care.

My next post will deal with the “aftermath” of the washing process, such as how to safely press and store your newly-cleaned treasures. Truly not as boring as it sounds!

Online resources http://anacostia.si.edu/exhibits/online_academy/academy/preserve/preservemain.htm

https://www.ohiohistory.org/preserve/state-historic-preservation-office

Books

Hamby, D.S. The American Cotton Handbook. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 1965.

McGehee, L. Creating Texture with Textiles. Iola, WI: Krause Publications. 1998.

Morton, W.E. and J.W.S. Hearle. Physical Properties of Textile Fibres. 4th ed. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing Ltd. 2008

Pizzuto, J.J. Fabric Science. 11th ed. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2015.

Contributed by Emily Gainer.

My daughter just finished kindergarten.  I’m starting the journey of collecting school memorabilia, but I can tell it will be fun and full of important memories.

In this blog, I’ll outline different types of materials that are created at school, and I’ll provide preservation and storage tips for each.  For general preservation advice, including temperature and humidity recommendations, see the first blog in our preservation series.

Paper-based materials includes documents from diplomas to certificates to worksheets.  Paper is an organic material that is vulnerable to deterioration.  My first piece of advice for paper is do not laminate!  Lamination permanently alters the document using plastic and heat.  Lamination, like other plastics, breaks down over time.  Second, remove metals, rubber bands, or plastics before storing.  These materials rust or breakdown over time causing damage to the paper. For long-term storage, I recommend folders and boxes. Label each folder with the child’s name and year/grade, and you can easily add the next year to the box.  Finally, label the outside of the box before storing.

Paper based documents can be stored in folders.

Artwork includes items that were created using mixed media, such as crayons, markers, watercolors, and paints.  Artwork also includes three-dimensional pieces made from clay or other formats.  All of these formats have unique preservation issues.  For art created with crayons, markers, or other media, it’s important to interleave plain white paper between the pieces so that color doesn’t transfer. This also applies to colored paper, such as construction paper.  For identification, write lightly on the back with a pencil the child’s name and year the art was created.  Artwork on standard-sized paper can be stored in the same folders and boxes linked above.  Three-dimensional items like sculptures may require separate storage boxes and white tissue paper wrapping. 

Artwork that includes construction paper and paint. Before storing, interleave with white paper to avoid color transfer.

Oversize includes items that are larger than a standard 8.5×11” piece of paper, such as larger artwork, charts, newspapers, or posters.  The most important piece of advice for oversize items is to lay the item flat without folds or rolls.  Folds will cause permanent creases, which will weaken over time.  Rolled items can conform to the rolled shape and be permanently altered.  If the oversize item is a piece of art with chalk, paint, charcoal, etc., you will want to interleave with plain white paper, so the colors don’t bleed onto other mementos.  The same applies for newspapers or news clippings.  Newspapers naturally discolor over time and can stain other documents or fabrics.  Archival suppliers have boxes in a variety of sizes for long-term storage of oversize items.

Oversize items are larger than a standard piece of paper. It’s best to store these flat to avoid long-term damage.

I’ll close with a final tip. Preservation and storage are easier to manage if you make selections on what to save.  It would be impossible to save everything that comes home in my daughter’s backpack.  As she brings things home, I select items to preserve for her (and me) to look at in the future.  

If you want to learn more about preservation and storage, I recommend this free booklet from Gaylord Archival “Guide to Collection Care”. 

 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

When I set out to write a post for the CCHP blog in celebration of Pride Month, I knew that I wanted to focus on documents written by rather than about members of the LGBTQ+ community. Like many marginalized groups, LGBTQ+ individuals are often depicted as passive participants in our own struggle for equal rights. Without diminishing the important work of allies such as Dr. Evelyn Hooker, it is important to remember that there were also psychologists within the LGBTQ+ community speaking up and working tirelessly in support of themselves and their loved ones.

So, imagine my delight upon finding numerous materials relating to the Association of Gay Psychologists (AGP).

The AGP was created in 1973 in response to the 1972 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA). Founding member Dr. Steven Morin provided some background on these events in the AGP’s inaugural newsletter:

Association of Gay Psychologists Newsletter. June, 1973

NOTES ON THE FORMATION OF AGP (Steve Morin)

At the 80th Annual Convention of the APA in 1972, the only scientific discussion of homosexuality was presented by division 13 in a symposium entitled "Psychotherapy and Homosexuality in the Seventies: Divergent Views." The panel was chaired by Robert A. Harper, Washington D.C.; other participants were Hedda Bolgar, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, California; Albert Ellis, Institute for Advanced Study in Relational Psychotherapy, New York, New York; 
and Harold Greenwald, San Diego, California. 
TOPIC AREAS: Some of the topic areas covered were: Are homosexuals sick? Should sexual orientation be changed? Which psychotherapy approach shows the most promise for treating homosexuals? Are treatment and prognosis different under changed social conditions for female as well as male homosexuals? 
NO GAY PANELISTS: The panel included no gay psychologists as members, and the chairperson remarked during the proceedings that although this was unfortunate, the panel had no knowledge of gay psychologists within APA and/or were not willing to request that 
any psychologist jeapordize his/her career by making an appearance as a homosexual on the panel. 
LANGUAGE AND LABELING: The language and labeling used by the panel indicated an extremely low level of consciousness about gay issues. The chairperson was overheard referring to the symposium as the "Homo Panel". The panel's general knowledge about gay life styles was minimal at best. The audience, which included a large number of gay persons, was outraged by the entire symposium. During the open discussion period which followed, many gay people stood to protest the lack of representation on the panel and the general nature of comments that had been made. 
Alternatives: The 1972 APA had very little to offer in terms or alternatives to the opinions expressed by the distinguished clinicians on the panel. Chuck Silverstein from Identity House in New York had a series of organized discussions in his suite during the week. When I arrived for one session, Chuck was busy organizing a protest with the tranvestites of Hotel Street. I am not sure of the exact extent of these meetings nor of their eventual outcome.
AFTERMATH: That evening and the evenings that followed, a 
number of gay psychologists met at a gay bar adjacent to the Convention Headquarters. Most of the people there had been to the afternoon symposium, and the depression that many felt earlier in the afternoon had been transformed either to sarcastic humor or genuine anger. This was my first APA, and I was just feeling disappointed and tired.
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Archives, Box 754, Folder 6

The panel [on homosexuality] contained no gay psychologists as members, and the chairperson remarked during the proceedings that although this was unfortunate, the panel had no knowledge of gay psychologists within the APA and/or were not willing to request that any psychologist jeapordize [sic] his/her career by making an appearance as a homosexual on the panel.

That evening and the evenings that followed, a
number of gay psychologists met at a gay bar adjacent to the Convention Headquarters. … This was my first APA, and I was just feeling disappointed and tired.

1972 was a big year for psychology, psychiatry, and the gay liberation movement. It was the year that Dr. John E. Fryer, otherwise known as “Dr. Anonymous,” concealed his identity to speak at the American Psychiatric Association’s panel on homosexuality. Tensions over the continued classification of homosexuality as a mental illness within the DSM-II were nearing their peak. Take a look at the language used by Boston’s Gay Male Liberation in their 1972 statement to the Eastern Psychological Association:

Statement & Demands of Boston's Gay Male Liberation to the Eastern Psychological Association, April, 1972
Eastern Psychological Association records, Box 1037, Folder 3

In presenting demands to you, members of the EPA, we compromise in asking anything other than your immediate disbanding and the complete destruction of bourgeois clinical institutions as well as the positivist, behavioralist orientation of modern psychology.

Strong words. It was in this post-Stonewall environment of vocal activism that Morin, along with Dr. Martin Rogers and Barbara Bryant of Sacramento State College, set out to form the AGP.

So what did they do? To get the rest of the narrative, we can turn to the January 1975 Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. It’s the “Gay Issue.”

Cover of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. Features a cartoon of a skeleton in a large floral hat exiting a closet. Headline: "Gay Psychology Coming Out!"
Cummings Center for the History of Psychology Special Interest, “Psychologists for Social Action – Newsletters”

Personal aside: As a nonbinary trans person, I’ve never felt more represented in the archives than I do by this newsletter’s fanciful skeletons.

The newsletter contains a full history of the AGP up to that point.

Two-page spread of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. Features a cartoon skeleton stating "Of course, we know there are no Gay Psychologists." A crowd of skeletons respond: "Just wait till the next convention." "And who does he think is going to teach the Gay Studies program"

There’s a lot happening here, so let’s break it down piece by piece (setting the skeletons aside for the moment).

GAY CAUCUS 
A Gay Caucus met at the Western Psychological Association meetings in Anaheim in April 1973. There was considerable debate about issues concerning the Association of Gay Psychologists. While most of the SO people present urged the foundation of the organization, no consensus was reached about the name of the group, membership, or the goals of the organization. The Name: Association of Gay Psychologists of Gay Psychological Association or a more "neutral" name which would permit those individuals who are not ready to be public about their sexuality to join? Membership: only Ph.D. psychologists, or Masters level psychologists, too? Can Gay graduate students join? What about membership for para-professionals working in gay community service centers? Goals: Research, of course. Establishing a consulting network. Lobbying with APA and American Psychiatric Association. How politically involved should the organization be? Would involvement detract from its professional status? Nothing was resolved until the Fall APA meetings in Montreal.

The Western Psychological Association meetings of 1973 were the AGP’s first major planning session. As you can see above, things didn’t go smoothly. A number of issues arose, but one that stands out immediately is the concern over “outing” gay psychologists.

In the early 1970s, it was hard to speak out for gay liberation as an openly gay psychologist, because psychologists just weren’t supposed to be gay. Many in the profession sincerely viewed homosexuality as an illness incompatible with psychological or psychiatric practice. This is why John E. Fryer was forced to speak in disguise as “Dr. Anonymous” in 1972. Publicly outing himself would have amounted to the end of his career.

It took until the Fall 1973 APA Convention for the AGP to really come together. Here, they succeeded in making a radical improvement in gay representation:

NO MORE LIES 
Although the APA program had included sessions on Homosexuality in the past, and the organization has been subject to protests by Gay students and non-members, the Fall '73 convention was the first time that Lesbian and Gay male psychologists openly confronted their professional organization. A symposium, Homosexuals as Persons chaired by Dr. Martin Rogers, filled the room with 400 delegates. The First University based Gay Studies Program in the country was described by Barbara Bryant, masters candidate in psychology.
Dr. Steven Morin of California State College, San Bernadino argued that "there has been none of the work done for Gays that has been done for blacks and women, and no studies on methods of changing society's attitudes." Dr. Mark Freedman of San Francisco Northeast Community Mental Health Center discussed the successful Gay Counseling Service in his city. At the symposium, many psychologists in the audience stated they had learned more about Gay people during the symposium than during all of their graduate school training.

Day two got even better…

ZAP 'EM
During the second day of the convention, there was an "action" by 25 Lesbian and Gay male psychologists. Alerted by the Association of Women in Psychology that a film Behavior Therapy for Homosexuality was being shown, the Gay people contacted Dr. Richard Evans, in charge of APA' s film program and demanded a preview. Evans agreed after receiving assurances the film would not be stolen. Following the viewing the group worked through the night writing a critical statement entitled, A Clockwork Lavender? 
Immediately prior to the scheduled showing the statement was distributed to the 500 people present. Martin Rogers informed the audience that "the time has passed when APA can present programs about homosexually oriented persons without using Gay psychologists as consultants or discussants." 
He asked them to view the film critically and to focus on the points made in the statement. To the surprise of the Gays present, he received considerable applause. A guerilla theatre drama was staged after the film showing, with Jesse Miller, doctoral student at UC Berkeley parading in radical drag as Miss Demeanor, Playboy's APA Bunny and Mark Freedman in tow as her ''cured'' companion.

That’s right. The AGP responded to the offensive film Behavior Therapy for Homosexuality with not just a critical statement, but with a whole guerrilla drag performance. “Miss Demeanor, Playboy’s APA Bunny.” I am in awe.

From there, the AGP formulated a list of objectives for their organization and demands for the APA. Among their objectives was “to eliminate the conception of homosexuality as a clinical entity and encourage the reconceptualization of human sexuality in terms of its diversity and potential.”

Did they succeed? In part, yes.

DISORDERED, NOT DISORIERED, DISORDERED? 
There was no response from the APA for several months, and when a response did come from the Board of Directors, it was mostly evasive and shirking of responsibility for direct action on the demands. In the meantime, on December 15, 1973 the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders. AGP knows this action was the direct result of pressure from Gay organizations on APA. For present actions, read on in this Newsletter.

The actions of the AGP and other Gay Liberation groups demonstrate the importance of direct action, visibility, and community in effecting social change. The collective action of these groups strengthened the voices of their individual members, allowing them to speak out openly for themselves. Their fate was no longer exclusively in the hands of their straight colleagues. Though there was still much more progress to be made for the LGBTQ+ community in the mental health fields (particularly for members of the transgender community), the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the DSM-II was a landmark accomplishment.

The AGP would continue to work for further progress for the LGBTQ+ community, and in 1983 changed its name to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychologists (AGLP). Their full archival records are currently held by Cornell University Library. Steve Morin went on to became an important figure in HIV/AIDs research, serving as director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). You can read a 2017 retrospective on his career here.

So in the future, if anyone ever tries to tell you…

Cartoon of a seated skeleton stating, "Of course, we know there are no gay psychologists."

…give them a little history lesson about Dr. Morin and the AGP.

If you’d like to see more of the 1975 “Gay Issue” of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action, you can read the full document here.

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Welcome back for the fourth installment of CCHP Pandemic Projects.

First of all, let me be the first to say that there is no substitute for working with physical archival materials in the Charles L. and Marjorie S. Brewer reading room. But since we can’t do that right now we are trying our best to provide some meaningful archival projects suitable for remote learning.

I think one misconception about teaching with archival materials is that you have to have all the pieces of the puzzle and you have to tell a complete story. In all reality, for instructors and students just getting started with primary sources, that can be a bit overwhelming.

Let me share a CCHP pro tip – one of the best ways to get started with primary sources is with a single letter or one page document. For real!

You’ll find everything for this project here: A Single Letter or Document Analysis.

Check out this one. It’s one of my favorites. I use it for onsite “introduction to archives” sessions all the time.

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 5

As you are probably aware, the meeting is a “Men Only’ affair, so for God’s sake, don’t bring along any women.

If you are into the history of psychology you likely know all about the Society of Experimental Psychologists (aka The Experimentalists) and their exclusionary history. They were the very definition of “an old boys’ club.” This letter is pretty excellent evidence for that so it’s perfect for helping to tell that story.

But you don’t have to be teaching a history of psychology course to use this letter in your coursework. You can use this letter to help tell the story of women in science in 1920s. You can use it for a lesson on presentism and have students consider how folks likely interpreted this letter in 1926 versus how it would be interpreted today. You can have your students use this letter as a jumping off point for a bit of research about the roles of women in America in general during this time period.

I have a general document analysis sheet available in our CCHP Pandemic Projects folder but remember, you can adapt it however you see fit. And don’t forget, the National Archives has some fantastic resources online for getting started with document analysis. See here: NARA Educator Resources.

How about another letter? This is another one of my favorites.

Walter & Catharine Cox Miles papers, box M1199.5, folder LHH-GS

It’s easy to determine who received the letter (Dr. Walter Miles at Stanford University) but who sent it? If nothing else, this is a great lesson on the time it can take to decipher handwriting in the archives.

So, who wrote the letter? Can you tell? You can find the answer here.

Now that you know it’s First Lady Lou Henry Hoover you can use the letter in a variety of ways. Use it as evidence of her involvement with the Girl Scouts of America. Use the letter to help teach about the history of Girl Scouts or for biographical research on Lou Henry Hoover. Maybe dig deeper and try to determine whether or not there is some kind of connection between Walter R. Miles and Lou Henry Hoover. Hint – there is a connection.

And finally, how about we move away from correspondence? Check out the cover page of the “Gay Issue” of the Psychologists for Social Action‘s Social Action (1975) newsletter.

CCHP Special Interest collection, folder “Psychologists for Social Action”

The front page of this newsletter has two pieces, a note to readers and also a note from the editor. Both are powerful statements and can really help facilitate some critical thinking about who is doing the research. Remember, homosexuality wasn’t removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) until 1973. In the DSM-I (1952) being gay was a sociopathic personality disturbance and in the DSM-II (1968) being gay was considered a sexual deviation.

Were LGBTQ+ psychologists and psychiatrists doing the research and creating those labels or were heterosexual psychologists and psychiatrists creating those labels? Did LGBTQ+ folks consider themselves mentally ill prior to 1973? Who determines what ends up in the DSM anyways? Talk about that with your students!

People assume that men can write about women and whatever applies to men can also apply to women (in a direct or reverse fashion)….As we have had to learn in traditional psychological literature, our knowledge about males does not really tell us anything about females, except with the possible exception that this literature has clued us into the extensiveness and nature of the suppression of women. So read on, but keep a good check on your thinking.

So read on, but keep a good check on your thinking. I love that. How can you facilitate a discussion with your students to help them keep that in mind as they conduct literature reviews and as they work to consider sources as evidence throughout not only your class but throughout their lifetime?

And who were the Psychologists for Social Action? Are they still around? Did they morph into another group? What else were they doing in the 1970s?

I assume, like me, you think the first page of the newsletter isn’t nearly enough. I know! I know! This is supposed to be an analysis of a single page but I’m a “see more” kind of gal so I just can’t help myself. Access the entire 1973 newsletter here.

Go ahead and get started teaching with archives. Start small, work your way up, and get your students engaged with primary sources. Even a single letter can spark interest and provide an opportunity for critical thinking.

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

To access more CCHP remote learning materials click here: CCHP Pandemic Projects and for specific questions please email me directly – lizette@uakron.edu.

Contributed by Jon Endres.

Say you’re going through your parent’s attic or basement. You come across a box that says “Home Movies: 1960 to 1990.” Would you know what to do with the tape or film that is in the box and how to make sure this media lasts as long as possible?

VHS, Compact VHS, S-VHS
These formats are likely to be among the most prevalent of audio/visual materials because of its ease of use and display. VHS and its subtypes very quickly supplanted 8mm and 16mm film in the 1970s and 1980s. There was no film development needed, no repairing broken film so it’s easy to see the draw.

What might be surprising to many is that VHS is considered to be among the most at risk forms of audio/visual media. The Museum of Obsolete Media lists VHS as a level 4 out of 5 for the risk of becoming unstable to a point where the a/v information is then unrecoverable.

VHS tapes are surprisingly not resilient. They can succumb easily to heat and humidity. Tapes like to live between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 30% to 55%. This means no storing tapes in your attic or basement. Flooding can lead to mold. Mold is difficult to mitigate once it has taken hold.

The best practice here is to keep tapes right side up next to each other, not stacked on top of one another. Then keep them stored away in a room of your house that will best fit the temperature and humidity guidelines above. In addition, keep them away from any appliances that might create a large electromagnetic field such as large speakers.

The wrong way to store tapes
The correct way to store VHS tapes

In addition, because of the fragile nature of the medium it would be a good idea to seek out a business or someone that can convert them into digital files and several copies of DVDs. Once on these formats your memories should be safe for decades to come.

16mm and 8mm film

The two other most common mediums you might find home movies on are 8mm and 16mm film. With each there are numerous subtypes. Film with sound, different types of stock used through the years, starting with nitrate (which is highly flammable, but also very old and not very likely used for home movies), and going through acetate and polyester. I’m not entirely going to focus on all of that. Most film needs to be given the same environment so these rules will apply across the board.

*Writer’s note: if you do come across film labeled as “Nitrate” on the side use extreme caution. Nitrate is, again, very flammable.

Film is also a high risk medium. In fact according to The Museum of Obsolete Media film ranks in the 5 out of 5 for lack of reliability. This can vary wildly, however, based on the type of film, how old it is and how it has been stored. Film goes by some of the same types rules as VHS tapes, just with different temperature and humidity requirements.

The best practices for preserving film can often be difficult for your average person because the ideal condition is cold and dry. There is generally a range of about 60 degrees Fahrenheit to frozen. The relative humidity should be stable and not go above 50%. So, much like with the VHS tapes, keep them out of the attic or the basement.

Ideally refrigeration would be used to keep the film as stable as possible for as long as possible. This is often not an option. So what I tell people is when you get the film remove any plastic or rubber bands that might be in the canister and buy some archival plastic canisters to store the film. Gaylord Archival has very good options for these. This can be a little pricey but will help immensely in slowing degradation of the film that has already happened. Once rehoused find a nice cool place to store them. Maybe a closet with an air conditioning vent. With film, we are always fighting the aging of the chemicals in the stock, dyes and emulsion. So while we can slow this process it is again imperative to find a place that can scan your film at the best possible quality and have multiple digital versions of it.

We can’t save film forever, I find the idea bittersweet as it’s what I strive to do. But with any format, it will not last forever, and especially with audio/video materials it is the most important to make sure to follow temperature and humidity guidelines and… DIGITIZE, DIGITIZE, DIGITIZE.

Resources:

The Museum of Obsolete Media

The National Film Preservation Foundation

Gaylord Archival

Center for Home Movies

Image Permanence Institute

Hello everyone! My name is Cathy Faye and as of June 1, I am the Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. I received my Ph.D. from York University in Toronto, Canada, specializing in the history and theory of psychology. I have been at the Center since 2009, serving as Assistant Director. My very first task in that role was to lead the development of our first gallery exhibits, launched in 2010. It was by far the most satisfying work I had ever done as a historian of psychology. I knew then that the Center was where I wanted to be for a very long time.

As I step into my new role as Director, I feel excited and slightly terrified, but mostly I feel grateful for this unbelievable opportunity to explore what we are capable of as we enter this next phase of our development.

As a historian of psychology, I have been thinking so much about what a historic moment we are making our way through right now, with a polarized political landscape, the pandemic, and the powerful uprising against racial violence. Now more than ever, it is imperative to explore how psychology and its history can speak to the present. The Center’s vast collections, its team of smart empathetic educators, and our public gallery spaces provide so many opportunities to engage with the present; to think about these issues from historical perspectives; and to encourage open, honest, and constructive public dialogue. This is a role I know our team can fill.

We also have an opportunity right now to speak not just to the present, but also to the future. The stories that we collect and preserve today will be used to write history 100 years from now. The historical narrative of this important moment will come from the archival documents, the images, the videos, and the first-hand stories that we collect now. We have an opportunity today and always to ensure that the archival record reflects all of the voices, stories, and perspectives of our current moment. Psychology shapes, reflects, and shifts with our social world. Those shifts are happening quickly; capturing them in real time is difficult but absolutely necessary.

It seems to me that our central responsibility right now lies in capturing this moment to the best of our ability. And, as we move forward and public attention shifts to other realms, it is still our responsibility to think deeply and critically about what stories, what events, and what voices are represented in all historical collections, including our own. And to act decisively to expand that narrative.

I am grateful for the continued support of all of our partners, visitors, and friends and I hope you will consider ways that you might help us work towards these goals.

Cathy Faye, Ph.D.
Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director
Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

  • contributed by Emily Gainer.

Photographs are amazing!  They bring back memories; they document moments in our lives; they allow us to see people that we’ve never met.  As family treasures, they are invaluable pieces of history.  From an archives perspective, photographs are fragile and easily damaged.

Print photograph and negative.

In this blog, I’ll outline 5 tips for long-term preservation of photographic prints and negatives.

  1. Handling: Oils and dirt from your fingers can damage photographs, especially negatives.  It is recommended that you wear white cotton gloves while handling photographs, but if those aren’t available, handle the photographs along the edges with clean, dry hands.Holding photograph by the edges.
  2. Identifying: The number one rule of preservation is don’t do anything that can’t be undone!  In this vein, don’t write on the back of photographs with a marker or pen.  Write with a pencil on the enclosure (folder, envelope, photo album, box).  Post-it notes are not recommended, even if you put them on the back of your photographs, because they can leave behind a sticky residue. Labeling a folder
  3. Organizing: There are many ways to organize family photographs.  It’s a personal choice, and there is no wrong answer.  When deciding how you want to organize your photographs, consider how they will be stored, accessed, and used.  I would suggest organizing your photographs by year, and then by event within each.  For example, gather all of your 1986 photographs together, and then all of the photos taken at your 1986 birthday party together, and then all of the Christmas 1998 photographs together.  Start again for 1999 and 2000.
  4. Weeding: In the archives profession, we sometimes do weeding, which is the process of identifying and removing unwanted materials from a larger body of materials.  I would urge you to consider weeding your family photographs as well.  For example, you may have duplicate copies when you only need one.  Get rid of those blurry photos!  The photos with someone’s finger over half the frame!  The photos with everyone’s eyes closed!  It might be difficult, but it can make your family preservation efforts more manageable and highlight the “good stuff”. Negatives and photograph prints
  5. Storage: Storing photographs in envelopes, sleeves, albums, and boxes is essential for their long-term preservation.  These enclosures protect against light, dust, air pollutants, and help buffer against changes in temperature and humidity.  Here are storage options:
    1. Paper enclosures help protect from light, as well as support the photographs physically. Paper enclosures include unbuffered file folders, envelopes, and storage boxes. Acid free box
    2. Plastic enclosures might be more appropriate for photographs that will be handled and viewed often.  These three plastics are currently considered acceptable for long-term storage: polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene.  (Vinyl, PVC, and magnetic photo albums are not recommended. These are recognizable by their oily feel and strong smell.)  Archival product suppliers have options for sleeves and envelopes in various sizes.
    3. Purchasing storage supplies from a trusted archival products supplier is your best bet.  We recommend Gaylord Archival, Hollinger Metal Edge, and University Products.  Materials that are safe for photo storage will be identified with P.A.T. (Photographic Activity Test). Acid free box, folder, and pencil

These tips will hopefully provide a starting point for you to preserve your family photos!  If you want to learn more about photograph preservation, I recommend this free booklet from Gaylord “Guide to Collection Care”.

contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

Welcome to the Cummings Center’s new blog series presenting basic preservation and conservation practices. We’re kicking it off with some Do’s and Don’ts for caring for your own personal keepsakes and family treasures. No technical stuff here — just pictures and a few tips to get you started on your way to becoming a preservation pro in your own home!

DO NO HARM

The preservation mantra: DO NO HARM
If it can’t be undone, don’t do it.

Don’t do anything to your keepsakes that can’t be reversed such as using pens (see above image), staples, metal clips, or tape which can leave behind permanent marks, holes and residue. And no eating or drinking around any items that you love! The goal is maintain your items as close to their original forms as possible.

Clockwise left to right: Don’t take a book off the shelf by pulling it from the top; when handling photographs, wear gloves — don’t handle with bare hands; storing large books with the spine facing down will cause them to become misshapen; don’t expose anything you want to keep in direct sunlight.

DON’T LAMINATE — ALWAYS ENCAPSULATE!

Lamination – NO! Encapsulation – YES!

Lamination was a popular way to keep paper items from being exposed to excessive handling and environmental changes in temperature and humidity. But lamination is permanent because the lamination process seals paper items between two sheets of transparent plastic material, melting to form a seal when subjected to heat and pressure. The laminate material also breaks down over time, damaging the document trapped inside the melted plastic.

The encapsulation process uses a non-reactive polyester film to hold paper items in place. It does not use heat to adhere to the paper or to seal the pieces closed, but rather simple double-sided tape to tape edges together and enclose the materials inside. The tape can be removed or replaced at any time to open up the two pieces of polyester and allow easy removal of the item inside.

Clockwise left to right: DON’T stack vinyl records flat on top of one another, but DO store flat anything that’s recorded on tape like old home movies or VCR tapes; don’t under-fill or overfill paper items stored in folders; store audiovisual recordings in appropriately sized individual non-metal containers.
Places to NOT store your family treasures!

Most people store their family mementos and heirlooms in the basement, attic, or garage, but it is best to keep these items away from areas that are not climate controlled like the living spaces of your house are. Avoid large fluctuations +/- 5 degrees in temperature and +/- 5% in humidity. The ideal temperature for items and people to cohabitate is between 68-70 degrees. Film based materials generally like cold storage (a freezer is best). Even if your materials aren’t organized, keep them away from areas that would attract pests and have high levels of heat, humidity, or sunlight.

Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll be able to keep your family treasures around for generations to come!