Archive for December, 2012

-Contributed by Cathy Faye and Lizette Royer Barton.

The holiday season is here! That gives us a good excuse to spend some fun time digging through our collections for holiday-themed gems. As per usual, Lizette worked her searching magic and dug out these gems: several 1920s and 1930s playbills from the annual Christmas play put on by the children at the Training School at Vineland.

Playbill covers, from 1932 to 1937.

Playbill covers, from 1932 to 1937 (click for a larger view).

In 1929, the children performed Robin Hood!

In 1929, the children performed Robin Hood!

1933's feature was "Poor Little Rich Boy."

1933’s feature was “Poor Little Rich Boy.”

In case you were wondering what "Poor Little Rich Boy" was about...

In case you were wondering what “Poor Little Rich Boy” was about…

Santa Claus, featured on the back of the playbill.

Santa Claus, featured on the back of the playbill

And, in case this leaves you wanting more psychology themed holiday gems, check out our recent post featuring E. G. Boring as Santa Claus and last year’s post featuring children’s ideas about Santa Claus. Happy holidays from all of us at the CHP! We look forward to sharing new gems from the collections in 2013!

Read Full Post »

-Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Recently, Jodi brought several students from her Information Literacy course to the Center to learn about archives and primary source materials. One goal was to show the students that even though they may not be majoring in psychology or history they could still locate materials relevant to their field of study at the CHP.

Jodi put me on the case and the result was an afternoon of interesting archival materials and the realization that “Wow. Psychology really is everywhere!”

One student is a business major so I talked a little about psychology’s place in the history of advertising and I showcased some materials from the Harry L. and Leta Stetter Hollingworth papers.


Another student is majoring in social work, a field that is very connected with psychology. We looked at field and case notes written by Elizabeth Jewel and Elizabeth Kite in the 1920s from the Vineland Training School papers and we talked about the importance of having good interviewing skills when working with clients. This led to a brief discussion of one of psychology’s earliest experimental methods – introspection.


There was a student interested in studying law so I decided that one of the best examples was psychology’s role in the landmark Brown v. Board Supreme Court Case. Kenneth and Mamie Phipps Clark’s work was specifically presented to the court but psychologists were also involved in several desegregation cases that led up to and were eventually part of the 1954 case. Here is a great example from the Stuart Cook papers referencing a desegregation case in Prince Edward County, Virginia.


I was really excited to search for relevant materials for the student majoring in the culinary arts. We talked about the CHP blog post where we highlighted dinner menus and how food trends seem to constantly be changing. We also talked about wartime work done by psychologists Josef Brozek (starvation studies) and Kurt Lewin (wartime food habits). Exhibited here is a report by Lewin for the Committee on Food Habits and a book from the CHP Book Collection about a symposium held on wartime nutrition for soldiers.


Two of the students in the class are studying computer networking so I dug into the CHP Artifacts collection to share examples of early computers. We started with an original Sidney Pressey Teaching Machine (pictured below) and moved on to the 1984 Apple II. Then we had a conversation about how fast technology changes!


And finally there was the student who is majoring in nursing. In searching the collections I located numerous references to psychiatric nursing. We took a look at 1950 newsletter of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry and a questionnaire that was created by the group’s Committee on Psychiatric Nursing.

SpecialInterest_GAPnewsletter_watermarkedIt’s always pretty amazing–even to us–to see the reach of psychology into all corners of society and Jodi’s class visit just reinforced for us the importance of preserving the CHP collections and making them available to the widest audience possible.

Read Full Post »

-Contributed by Emily Gainer

Emily Gainer has been the Special Collections Librarian at the CHP since May, 2012. A big part of her job is processing manuscript collections. Here, she gives us a first-person perspective of what that job looks like. 

When an archivist begins processing (organizing and making available) a collection, it is similar to setting off on a journey.  What is underneath the lids of those boxes?  What new historical information will be discovered?  How long will it take to finish?

This month, I began processing the Sigmund Koch papers.  Koch (1917-1996) was a psychologist known for his critical perspective on psychological theories and approaches. In the mid-twentieth century, he advocated a less reductionist and more humanistic approach.  Among other publications, Koch edited the six-volume set Psychology: A Study of a Science (1959-1963) and A Century of Psychology as Science (1985).

V27_F5_007 w

Edna Heidbreder and Sigmund Koch, undated photograph

The first step in processing is to segregate all the boxes into a workspace.  I need plenty of room, especially for these 61 boxes.  As I pull boxes off the shelf, I look for clues written on the boxes, such as numbers or topics.  Unfortunately, the Koch boxes had little or no information.  That means I will go through each box and determine what is inside, and then decide how it should be organized.

Each box weighs between 35-45 pounds, so a sturdy table or cart is important.

Each box weighs between 35-45 pounds, so a sturdy table or cart is important.

Some boxes have clues on them – notice “Century” written on the lid.  After evaluating the contents, I clipped the note on the front.

Some boxes have clues on them – notice “Century” written on the lid. After evaluating the contents, I clipped the note on the front.

The next step is to pop the lid off all 61 boxes and take a look inside.  Mainly, I am looking for dates and what types of materials, such as correspondence, teaching files, or publications, are inside the boxes.  Immediately, I identified at least eight different types of materials.  These will form the basic organization structure.  The main goal of organizing the files is to help researchers find what they are looking for.  For example, all of the teaching files will be organized into one series.  All the research files relating to the manuscript A Century of Psychology as Science will be organized and inventoried.

I look for clues both outside and inside to identify what each box contains.

I look for clues both outside and inside to identify what each box contains.

The initial steps on the journey also reveal interesting information about Koch as a person.  For example, there were many photographs of dogs.  He must have owned and/or liked dogs.  It also leads to some fundamental questions.  Is this a young Koch?  The photographs are not labeled. Perhaps our readers can help!

These 1940s photographs are not identified.  Is this Koch (around the age of 30) with his dog?

These 1940s photographs are not identified. Is this Koch (around the age of 30) with his dog?

In 1945, Sigmund Koch would have been 28 years old.  Can anyone tell if this is him?

In 1945, Sigmund Koch would have been 28 years old. Can anyone tell if this is him?

The next phase of processing is pulling like materials and start organizing.  This involves delving further into each box.  Considering the size of the collection and the current organization, I estimate the processing will take up to 6 months.  Look for more blog entries as the journey continues!

Read Full Post »

-Contributed by Michelle Breckon.

Michelle Breckon has now completed her internship working with still images at the Center for the History of Psychology. In today’s blog posting, she shares one last gem with us!

Edwin Garrigues Boring was born on October 23, 1886 and died July 1, 1968. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was raised as a Quaker. He attended Cornell University where he received a degree in electrical engineering. He later returned to Cornell to get a degree in physics, but was fascinated by psychology, so he stuck with it, becoming a psychologist.


He and his wife, Lucy M. Day had four children together. During World War I, Boring did intelligence testing for the army intelligence program. He worked at Harvard for 27 years and also served as president of the American Psychological Association.

During his career, Boring worked in many different subject areas, including figure-ground phenomena, tonal brightness, and the moon illusion. During World War II he wrote a textbook on military psychology.

Today, Boring is known as being one of the earliest historians of experimental psychology. His first book was A History of Experimental Psychology in 1929. He left his mark on the world of psychology, through his writings, mentorships, and service on countless committees.


But did you know that in 1940 Edwin Garrigues Boring dressed up as Santa Claus for the Harvard Christmas party?


He makes a good looking Santa Claus, doesn’t he?


Read Full Post »