Archive for July, 2012

-Contributed by Jodi Kearns

Many of you learned about Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in your basic Psych 101 course. But did you know Maslow was also an avid leisure reader?

The Center for the History of Psychology holds in its collection Maslow’s diaries where he made daily entries documenting his days, especially while he was a teen and an undergraduate student in New York. His 1926 diary lists, in Maslow’s own handwriting, all of the novels, nonfiction, and other literature he read from January through December of this year. He read 136 books in 1926 by his own count.

Abraham Maslow papers, Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron

This image of the first page of his list shows the dates he completed reading, whether he owned the book or borrowed it, and his personal assessment of the book.

Abraham Maslow papers, Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron

Here are some highlights.

In January 1926, for example, he completed the borrowed book “Wife of the Centaur” by Cyril Hume, and described it as “An absorbing story of a man in whom sex is predominant. Wonderfully interesting style.”

In March, he read a book he owned “Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert and commented: “Famous but I can’t see why. no story, but a style. Written in absolute detail.”

About “Jurgen” by James Cabell, also finished in March, Maslow wrote “Couldn’t understand it at all. Way over my head. Some kind of an allegory. An erudite work. Babyishly smutty and filthy in some places.”

In May, he completed his 55th book of 1926, Mark Twain’s “The Mysterious Stranger,” which he describes as “a glorified fairy story in which M. T. displays his dangerously socialistic philosophy. Easy and very interesting reading.”

An impressive list! Take this survey to see how many of Maslow’s 1926 reads are on your list of books read!

[The numbers don’t add up! Maslow frequently listed individual items in an anthology. We treat each title as a separate “book” in this list. For a few entries, incomplete or vague information is given that we cannot decode. We exclude these titles from this list. Books reread are listed once.]

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Contributed by Jodi Kearns. 

The Ohio State Penitentiary stood in downtown Columbus for 150 years and held the likes of poet O. Henry and Dr. Sam Sheppard.

The CHP Test Center houses several tests and guides that were developed, adapted, and used to assess psychological profiles of inmates in the Ohio State Pen. The tools I’m about to show you were implemented during the first few years of Sam Sheppard’s incarceration, specifically in the late 1950s.

This snippet from a sentence completion test shows the sorts of opinions an inmate could give about (#9) the men they bunk near, (#12) recreational time, and (#22) inmates in the Honor Dorm.

The first page of this guide describes Ohio’s Basic Penal Classifications, such as (#1) Psychotic Offender, which shows that inmates in an active state of psychosis  ought to be “tentatively classified as psychotic” and referred for further assessment. This classification schema was used for placement and treatment based on psychometric and psychodiagnostic evaluation.

Difficult to see, this guide is called “Degree of Supervision” and explains that an inmate in Maximum Security needs to be placed for work detail in a small area with restricted movement, open visibility, and close supervision, like in the prison’s knitting mill, school, or barber shop. An inmate in Minimum Security can be given more responsibility than the other levels of security, and may work in the hospital or commissary.

To see these assessment items in their entireties and to read the others in this collection donated by Dr. Alfred H. Fuchs, please visit CHP Test Center online.

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