-Contributed by Emily Gainer & Cathy Faye
June’s feature is unlike any of our previous Book of the Month selections. It isn’t even housed with the books or in the library catalog. Then why is it part of Book of the Month?
Because it is a book – just not in its final form. It is B. F. Skinner’s galley proof pages of The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis (copyright 1938).
The Behavior of Organisms, Skinner’s first book, was a landmark publication in the field of psychology. In this work, Skinner laid out his novel ideas about operant behavior and the study of behavior change. These ideas would eventually impact not only psychology, but also education, industry, animal training, and other fields of work.
The proof pages were donated to the CHP by Marian Breland Bailey and Bob Bailey. Marian and Keller Breland were students of Skinner’s at the University of Minnesota.
The CHP also houses a number of copies of the book in its published form. Of special note on those other copies, copy three is inscribed “To Robert Kantor with gratitude and affection, Fred Skinner” (donated by J. R. Kantor), and copy 4 is one of 800 of the first printing (donated by Abram Amsel).