contributed by Nicole Merzweiler.

The start of summer has filled me with a mix of excitement for the break, and dread of my senior year, which begins in the fall. I was comforted though, when I found these two books, and I was reminded that even famous psychologists had to begin at “the bottom” as a student. I found my choices while I was finishing up on the digitization of the Professor Robert H. Wozniak Collection of Books on the History of Psychology. After the recent CCHP Board of Directors meeting, Professor Wozniak suggested that I add some of the interesting signatures and bookplates in the collection. During this process, I came across a bookplate that caught my eye from Kurt Koffka.


The bookplate was inside two unpublished carbon copy notes on lectures given by Carl Stumpf at the University of Berlin; the first Psychologie Winter Semester 1906/1907 and the second Logik & Erkenntnis Sommer Semester 1907.

Title page 1

Title page 2

The notes belonged to Kurt Koffka and were taken from a class in psychology and the second in logic and epistemology. Both sets of bound notes include not only his bookplate, but hand corrections made by Koffka. Among other things, he added page numbers to the table of contents.

Table of contents

Koffka went on to become one of the cofounders of Gestalt psychology along with Wolfgang Köhler and Max Wertheimer, who all studied at the University of Berlin. Koffka finished his PhD in 1909, completing his thesis under Stumpf’s guidance. Gestalt psychology,a school of thought focused on perception, emphasizes the idea that people see the whole of something independently of its individual parts. These ideas have changed the way perception is viewed, and it is very exciting to get to see the beginning of that through Koffka’s class notes.

contributed by Danielle Bernert.

As some of you may know, the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. While this is quite an accomplishment, I am troubled by the fact that my own one month anniversary here at the CCHP has somehow been overlooked. Don’t worry, if you act quickly and get your cards to me by next week, I promise to still act surprised.

Speaking of surprises, I cannot believe that it has already been over a month since I began work on the CCHP archives collection. Fifty years can accumulate a great amount of material, and I have spent most of my time here trying to figure out what items really capture the mission and essence of CCHP. I have sorted through floorplans, numerous newspaper articles, employee training manuals, and (my favorite) a personalized letter to AHAP founder Dr. Popplestone from a “world-famous” hypnotist, listing a complete breakdown of his show and subsequent charges. I don’t know if Dr. Popplestone ever replied.

Early plans for the AHAP space in the Polsky Building.

Early plans for the AHAP space in the Polsky Building.


Early plans for the AHAP space in the Polsky Building.

Early plans for the AHAP space in the Polsky Building.

I have since moved on from the gleaning process to organizing selected materials. This involves complex and standardized actions such as sorting the objects into categories, wrestling with putting together the archival boxes, and organizing materials into these boxes. Folding archival boxes aside, the most challenging part of this process has been deciding upon the best theme of organization. What is the best way to divide up these materials? I decided to focus more on the topic rather than type of object, with category topics such as “Finances” and “Publicity”. I felt as though centering certain materials on the topic would better serve researchers, as it would be much easier to find a certain event in the “Events” section, rather than a box marked “Pamphlets”. Dividing by topic may also help the CCHP employees, as the organization’s digital files are divided similarly on the server. These broad-themed divisions are called “series” in the archival world, with subsequent smaller groups that can be measured in boxes, folders, items, etc.

Example of smaller group items within a collection; in this case AHAP phone messages from 1990-1999.

Example of smaller group items within a collection; in this case AHAP phone messages from 1990-1999.

I was advised to keep the series fairly general, as this collection will continue to grow with the organization. This type of mindset is based off of the principles of extensible processing, a term discussed heavily in the book Extensible Processing for Archives and Special Collection: Reducing Processing Backlogs by Daniel A. Santamaria (2015). Extensible processing revolves around an attitude of “iterative rather than linear and one size fits all” processing, meaning that there is no set routine of steps. Rather, the archivist adjusts as the collection develops and grows. This collection is unique as it (unlike many collections) is not one square, completed amount of material. Rather, it will be added to and re-organized multiple times.

Well-known visitors to AHAP from earlier years.

Well-known visitors to AHAP from earlier years.


Well-known visitors to AHAP from earlier years.

This idea of a fluid collection is somewhat new to me, as I am used to something much more static with definite boundaries. This new assemblage contains no such limits and is not so easily defined. It contains items that date from 1965 to less than a month ago. While the beginning date is clear, the end is left open, leaving room for further specification and growth. My responsibility in this extensible process to make sure there is a stable structure of organization for others to build upon yet still allowing room for flexibility and adjustment. As this project progresses and I continue to work on the creation of a finding aid and online companion, I will have to keep this idea of an extensible collection first and foremost in my mind.

Contributed by Devan Murphy.

The Josef Brožek papers (21.12 linear feet; 67 boxes) are now open to researchers at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. Josef Brožek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1913, but traveled a lot over the course of his lifetime—growing up in Poland and Siberia, earning his Ph.D. in Prague, and immigrating to the United States in 1939, where he became a professor in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene at the University of Minnesota and later chaired the Department of Psychology at Lehigh University. His involvement with education did not stop there: he organized two six-week summer institutes on the History of Psychology for College Teachers in 1968 and 1971.


Brožek at age eighteen (June 1932). Box M4337, Folder13

Brožek at age eighteen (June 1932). Box M4337, Folder13

His devotion to the history of psychology spurred him to translate the foreign works of many different psychologists into English—languages translated include Czech, Dutch, French, Spanish, German, and Russian, among others.

Josef Brožek was a skilled guitar player (1955).  Box M4337, Folder13

Josef Brožek was a skilled guitar player (1955). Box M4337, Folder13

Brožek is also well known for his research on starvation. He focused on the psychological effects of malnutrition, working in conjunction with the Minnesota Semistarvation-Nutritional Rehabilitation Study in 1944 and 1946. Brožek published more than 160 books and articles throughout his career. He died in 2004.

Brožek and his wife, Eunice (undated).  Box M4337, Folder12

Brožek and his wife, Eunice (undated). Box M4337, Folder12

The Josef Brožek papers include biographical materials, correspondence, written works, research notes, academic files, and professional organizations files. Topics of particular note are starvation and nutrition research and the history of psychology research and publications. Brožek’s interest in international psychology is also reflected in the collection.

-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.

Danielle's workspace.

Danielle’s workspace.

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.

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!)

Danielle “working” with CCHP artifacts (don’t worry – these are extras!)

– 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 ahap@uakron.edu.)

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.


– 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

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

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

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, page 127

An Illustrated History of American Psychology,  pages 148-149

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.

-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.

IMLS_Logo_BlackThe 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.

Finger Maze 2

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.

Form Board 1

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.

Army Alpha

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.



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