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Contributed by Jillian Phipps, Pennie Fordham, and Katherine Gray.

Have you ever wondered where the idea that positive actions should be rewarded came from? Have you ever wondered where the concept of bad behavior being its own punishment came from? If so, then check out the Sidney Bijou papers, which are now available for research at the CCHP.

Sidney Bijou (1908-2009) was a psychologist who specialized in child psychology, behaviorism, and studies on autism. Many of Bijou’s studies showed that encouraging good behavior led to more good behavior, more so than when bad behavior was punished. Bijou traveled all over the world to give symposiums on his research.

Sidney Bijou towards the start of his career, undated. From box M6303, Folder 6

 

Sidney Bijou later in his career, undated. From box M6303, Folder 6

 

Name badge from the Portage Conference in Hiroshima in 1998. From box M6292, Folder 9

Some of Bijou’s major works include Behavior Analysis of Child Development (1993) and Childhood Development: The Basic Stage of Early Childhood (1976).   He contributed to other works, such as New Directions in Behavior Development and Behavior Modification: Contributions to Education, both with Emilio Ribes-Inesta.

The Sidney Bijou papers include his academic works, from when he was in college as a student to when he was teaching as a professor; his research files for his written works; manuscripts of the written works themselves; reference files that show what he was working on year to year; and biographical information on his career that he compiled himself. His papers contain 13 boxes of archival materials. These files contain most of his work in child psychology, behaviorism, and autism research.

Of special note in Bijou’s files is his work on effective teaching and treatment methods for autistic children (1990-1998). In these files, Bijou has different curricula, class designs, and possible ways to assist autistic children in integrating into the public school system.

Example of the worksheets Bijou used to assess how well schools were integrating autistic children. From box M6293, Folder 7.

 

The processing of this archival collection fulfilled requirements for students enrolled in the course Foundations of Museums and Archives I and was generously sponsored by the EX[L] Center at the University of Akron.

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-contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

When “Psychic Killer” was released in 1975, there wasn’t much on the surface to set it apart from other horror movies of the same ilk.  There was violence.  There was gore.  There was sex.  There were victims.  “He freed his mind and body to commit the most sensual and shocking acts imaginable!” promised the movie poster.

Such claims probably don’t mean all that much in the 40-something rearview mirror of Leatherface and Michael Myers but one thing did set “Psychic Killer” apart from other movies and that was The Kirlian Effect.  Based on a 1939 concept developed by Russian inventor Semyon Kirlian that all living things project an energy field, and these energy fields can be photographed, The Kirlian Effect received some attention; at best as a sort of pseudo-psychology and at worst as a complete myth.  The technique developed to capture these energy fields came to be known as Corona Discharge Photography, so named for the electrical discharge brought about by connecting an object to both a photographic plate and a high-voltage electrical source, and snapping a picture of the resulting electro-discharge.  And so Kirlian Photography, as it is also known, was born – and “Psychic Killer” was created in its wake.

Though the movie didn’t quite get it right – turns out the protagonist was astral projecting (a story for another blog) rather than discharging any coronal impulses – Kirlian Photography was indeed the muse for the film’s screenwriter and producer, Mardi Rustam, and, surprisingly, for a handful of psychologists in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

One of those psychologists, Willard Caldwell, was hanging out in a cute little cottage named Kipling Arms, tinkering with his own coronal discharge equipment around the same time that Rustam was conceiving his psychic killer.  While photographing electromagnetic discharges or “auras” of everything from lizards and grasshoppers to vials of his own blood, Caldwell wasn’t just playing a 1970s version of Dr. Frankenstein.

Vial of Willard Caldwell blood.

Willard Caldwell’s left and right frontal lobes.

Willard Caldwell’s hands.

Rather, Caldwell was developing techniques that would come to focus on the effects of magnetic fields upon behavior, schizophrenia, and neuropsychology.  Caldwell worked to incorporate the neuroscience of brain damage and schizophrenia through the use of Kirlian photography into a more serious application, though he did take time to further develop Kirlian photographic techniques for other living things.

Coronal discharge from a grasshopper.

Caldwell’s notes on handling the grasshopper during photography

Biting grasshoppers aside, the applications of Caldwell’s techniques were reported by him in numerous research papers on topics as diverse as cancer and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  Though mostly unpublished, Caldwell’s prolific research did get some academic attention, but Kirlian photography remains an outlier in health and psychological research.

But perhaps Kirlian, Caldwell and Rustam were on to something.  The brain, as we know, is a powerful tool.  It stands to reason that we would want to know more about how it works and how it relates to our being.  How we get there is up to us.  We can make movies or we can do research.  Either way, the result is only part of the journey.

Sketch of Kirlian photographic techniques, by Caldwell.

 

The Willard Caldwell papers are located at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron.  View the collection finding aid here: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/archives/ead/OhAkAHA0036.

Photographic equipment Caldwell used in his experimentation is also located at the Cummings Center: http://cdm15960.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15960coll7/id/1713/rec/1

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-contributed by Emily Gainer.

October is American Archives Month and National Family History Month.  Two important topics in one month!  In recognition, I wanted to share a little bit about how an archivist (me) thinks about storing family treasures.

Most people have important items that document their family’s history.  It might be photographs, diplomas, cookbooks, or a Bible.  The items may have historical value or sentimental value.  Whatever your treasured items are, there are some general tips for preservation.

General advice for preserving family treasures:

  • Store important items in a cool, dry area with a stable environment. This generally means no basements or attics.  Fluctuation in temperatures and humidity can be very damaging.
  • Store items away from water tanks, water pipes, humidifiers or anything else that introduce moisture to your historical materials.
  • Similarly, store items away from a heater, fireplace, or furnace. This includes displaying items by hanging them on the wall.  Don’t hang family photographs directly over a heating vent.
  • Store items away from light. Sunlight and light bulbs can cause photographs and ink to fade over time.  Before displaying items in your home, consider the amount of light they will be exposed to.
  • Store paper documents and photographs unfolded and unrolled. Folds can weaken the paper and cause tears over time.
  • Family treasurers are meant to be shared and enjoyed! When sharing those items with family during the holidays, use clean hands.  Wash lotions off, and keep the items away from the dinner table or drink glasses.  When handling photographs, wear cotton gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints and oils.

This oversize photograph at the CCHP was folded and rolled. You can see the damage it has caused. It is recommended to store items unfolded and unrolled. I’ve been working on unrolling this photograph by enclosing it an archival folder and placing heavy books on top.  Over time, it will relax but will never go back to its original state.

There are many resources available to provide more details about preservation.  The Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) publishes a series of preservation leaflets.  The Image Permanence Institute specializes in storage guides for photographs, including digital images.  Additionally, many archivists order archival supplies, such as folders, boxes, and photograph sleeves, from Gaylord.

White cotton gloves are recommended for handling photographs, negatives, and glass plates. No fingerprints! I keep a pair of gloves in my desk drawer at all times.

So this month, think like an archivist!  Look at your family history treasures and consider what you can do to ensure their long-term preservation.

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Contributed by Lizette R. Barton with plenty of media help from Jon Endres.

 

September is National Chicken Month.

Sure, it’s just a month co-opted by the chicken industry to get us all to go out and eat chicken but for me it is more than that. Chickens need a month to be celebrated – and not just for their delicious eggs, wings, breasts, legs, and thighs. And livers.

But also for their behavior, their ability to learn, their place in history of psychology and their general coolness.

Without further ado – chickens in the history psychology.

Eckhard Hess (1916-1986) worked with chickens. He used chickens as his subjects in his imprinting and visual perception research. I could watch those chicks in tiny helmets all day.

 

Richard Walk (1920-1999) and Eleanor Gibson (1910-2002) had a variety of animals and babies walk and crawl – or in this case strut – across the visual cliff.

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Richard D. Walk still images collection

 

Cora Friedline’s (1893-1975) Philosophy 13 class assignment,”The Mind of the Chicken,” is a staff favorite. The image below is just one page taken from her 20+ page report.

To quote Friedline, “It is my belief that we learn more by doing than by depending entirely upon books for our knowledge. Accordingly, when I selected the chicken as my subject, I decided I must have one. It was brought to me on Thanksgiving night, and proved to be a Plymouth Rock…whom I called Birdie….there was not a happier person in all of Lincoln than I was that night.”

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Cora L. Friedline papers, M259, folder 1

 

My search for “chicken” then led me to the William S. Verplanck  papers. Paul Mountjoy (1925-2001) asked to know more about “the chicken book” and Verplanck (1916-2002) obliged.

Hey! I know that book! Smith & Daniels “The Chicken Book” was one of the first books I picked up from the library when we decided to start raising chickens.

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William S. Verplanck papers, M1959, folder 9

 

Keller Breland, Marian Breland Bailey, Bob Bailey and their team worked with a variety of animals throughout the course of their careers at Animal Behavior Enterprises. They developed training techniques based on the psychological principles of positive reinforcement which have become the gold standard in animal training.

 

And they did some incredible work with chickens.

 

And finally, quite simply, chickens make really good friends.

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Lizette’s two-year-old son sharing snacks with a friend.

 

 

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-contributed by Emily Gainer.

Sometimes, a book is more than a book.  It’s a storage container for an archival gem that surprises and delights everyone at the CCHP.  While working on a shelving project for the CCHP book collection, I opened a copy of Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist by John B. Watson, 1919.  On the inside cover, Watson signed and inscribed the book to Mr. Arthur Hays.  While this is an interesting discovery, the best was yet to come.

The book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by John B. Watson, includes a signed inscription.

This copy, donated by Edward Girden, also includes a handwritten letter from Watson to Hays.  The letter is dated October 20, 1920.  As we know, this is an important time in Watson’s life and career.  Read, in Watson’s own handwriting, some details from that time period!

A handwritten letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by Watson. See the next photograph for a closer scan of this letter.

 

The letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of the book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist”. The book and letter are housed at the CCHP.

Transcript of letter:

Dear Mr. Hays,

Many thanks for the letter – for a wonder my non-legal mind took it in.  No further word – no letters.  Have not been served with papers. Have been unable to get into touch with my wife.  Probably out of town.

Rosalie left for Baltimore for a visit.

I understand that I am to be honored with an invitation to accept a professorship of psychology in the new school along with John Dewey – Arthur Robinson and Veblen. I meet with the representatives Friday evening. This would immediately “rehabilitate” me. I hope it is true for Rosalie’s sake.

With kindest regards to Mrs. Hays. Sincerely yours

John B. Watson

Oct 20/1920

 

Finding an important document inside the pages of a book serves as a good reminder to be alert while working in the archives.  You never know where the next gem will be found!

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Contributed by Jodi Kearns & Cathy Faye.

On June 29, 2017, we participated in a teacher workshop on immigration at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Stan Hywet offers an educational program called “Meet the Staff” for middle school students to come with their teachers and learn about the staff who, around a hundred years ago, did the baking, cleaning, groundskeeping, horse training, and other house and garden jobs. Stan Hywet is the name given to the mansion built and owned by the Seiberling family. F. A. Seibering  founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

We prepared a lesson with portable, fabricated test kits to support teachers who bring their students to participate in “Meet the Staff.”

To begin our portion of the workshop, Cathy gave a brief history of psychological testing at Ellis Island and demonstrated with a volunteer each of the four tests we brought with us. Entry into the United States between 1892 and about 1942 required examinations of immigrants, including psychology testing. Cathy told the teachers

To be admitted to the United States in the early 1900s, immigrants had to be free from physical illness. They had to be capable of earning a living. But they also had to be free of “mental defect” and possess adequate mental ability. In the early 1900s, US immigration officials were therefore looking for a way to screen out “mental defectives” among the more than 5,000 immigrants that sought entry into the United States every single day. Congress had passed laws that barred “lunatics,” “idiots,” “imbeciles,” and “the feeble-minded” from entering the United States. These labels, used today as insults, were at the time diagnostic categories, indicating varied levels of intelligence. For example, a “moron” was anyone who scored 70 or below on standard intelligence tests of the day.

After initial inspection, some immigrants were triaged into a separate line for further inspection, which involved a battery of psychological tests that were designed to be useful in cases where language skills were a barrier. The three tests used at Ellis Island that we demonstrated for the teachers are Cube Imitation Test; Form Board Test; and Feature Profile Test.

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An Akron-area teacher demonstrating the Form Board Test.

After a brief history and demonstration on the original artifacts, Jodi told the teachers that they would come to their classrooms and teach this lesson on Ellis Island psychological testing. In order to do this, we fabricated each of the tests using foam core and wood. Additionally, we recreated the tests with administration and scoring instructions on paper, so each students can have a turn being both tester and immigrant.

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To the left, a teacher works on the Form Board Test. To the top, another works on the Feature Profile Test. In the blue box, notice the edge of the Cube Imitation Test. This test kit shows examples of the fabrications of the original tests.

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Teachers working on the Feature Profile Test.

Finally, we wrote a full lesson plan and mapped the learning objectives to the Ohio Department of Education standards for social studies, to the American Library Association standards for information literacy, and to the American Psychological Association standards for teaching high school psychology. Teachers can use the lesson and test kits on their own, or invite us to come join them. Have a look at the lesson plan: EllisIsland_LessonPlan_Final.

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Contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Yesterday was Parents’ Day and since psychology and parenting go hand in hand, I was charged with writing a blog for the occasion.

As I mother, I thought I could kill a couple of birds with one stone and gather helpful information about motherhood from the archives, use that information in my own life, and then blog about it. But then I realized I’m winging this whole parenting thing, so even if I found “helpful” information, I wouldn’t use it anyways.

Next I considered digging into the collections to see what I could unearth about “refrigerator mothers,” but then I realized I am sick and damn tired of mom guilt.

Then I thought, maybe parenting alongside the history of child development might be cool, but I remembered that I am currently embroiled in the almost-terrible-twos and the absolutely-infuriating-threes and I am learning plenty about independence milestones at home.

Then it came to me. Beyond the theories and the research and the publications, psychologists have parents. And some were even parents themselves.

So instead of an intellectual blog, I give you this fluff piece: psychologists are parents too.

Did you know that Knight Dunlap had a mother? It’s true!

Sure, he was at Johns Hopkins alongside John B. Watson and he helped established the Journal of Comparative Psychology and and he went on to chair the psychology department at UCLA, but he had a mother! Not only that, but she wrote letters to him and in 1906 offered to butcher one of her best chickens for him. If that doesn’t scream good parenting, I don’t know what does.

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“Did you remember that your birthday was this week and Thanksgiving comes next week? I should be glad to kill one of my best chickens for yours. Turkey is 20⊄ per pound and very scarce at that.” Knight Dunlap papers, box M570, folder “Personal”

 

Lillie Lewin Bowman had a mother. And before she patented the pour spout, she was just a gal graduating from Berkeley with a mother who believed in her.

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Lillie Lewin Bowman papers, box M92.2, folder “Professional”

 

Lois B. Murphy had a mother. And a father. And when she was born in 1902, they started this adorable baby book for her.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box M1258, folder “Certificates”

 

Later, Lois Barclay married fellow psychologist Gardner Murphy and guess what? They became parents! Here’s an image of Gardner with one of their children in 1953.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

Other psychologists were also parents.

Check out this 1936 (or maybe 1937) newspaper announcement of Rosemary Young’s third birthday party. Her father was psychologist Paul T. Young. Sure, he was one of Titchener’s doctoral students and he spent a year on the streets of Berlin with his pseudophone, but he was also a dad who knew how to throw a birthday party.

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Paul T. Young papers, box M100, folder “Miscellaneous” 

 

And here’s a photo of renowned social psychologists Carolyn & Muzafer Sherif with one of their children.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

And finally, we all know Abraham Maslow as the psychologist at the very heart of humanistic psychology who devised the well-known and oft-cited theory of the hierarchy of needs.

He was someone’s dad.

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Abraham Maslow papers, box M4439, folder “Biographical 3”

 

 

 

 

 

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