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Archive for the ‘Manuscripts’ Category

  • contributed by CCHP student assistant Isabella Pieri with an introduction from reference archivist Lizette R. Barton

INTRODUCTION

The Archives has a lot of material – a lot – in a variety of formats, in different housing, on multiple floors of the building. It can be intimidating. The best way to get to know AHAP is to just spend some time perusing, which is why I like to give my new student assistants a scavenger hunt on their first day on the job. Isabella’s task was to locate 10 different items in the building. I tried to select items from all the different collections. Isabella had no trouble at all cracking my scavenger hunt and she was able to familiarize herself with the building and the collections all while getting a bit lost in the coolness of archives. I think we’re going to get along just fine. – Lizette R. Barton

A SCAVENGER HUNT THROUGH THE CCHP’S ARCHIVES: A FIRST WEEK ADVENTURE

Cultural nuances and histories have held my interest since a young age, stemming from an obsession with the religious beliefs and mythology of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Native American tribes (which are present, today). Entering my fourth year of study as an Anthropology major an perusing a minor in History as well as a certificate in Museum and Archival studies, an opening for a Student Assistant to the Reference Archivist at the CCHP was an opportunity I had to take. To help better acquaint myself with the innerworkings of the institution and the layout of the archives, my first assignment was a scavenger hunt!

I was overwhelmed with how much material I had access to and often found myself getting sidetracked by an interesting title or curious looking box. I really took my time to wander through the stacks, explore each shelf, and familiarize myself with the layout of everything. The CCHP’s archives are home to an incredibly diverse collection, as it’s the world’s largest repository of documents, media, and artifacts pertaining to the history of psychology and other related human sciences. To be totally honest, I did get lost once (or twice), but who’s counting?

Between finding a Kansas State Insane Asylum Report from 1919, a children’s questionnaire about their attitudes, a recipe for a Kaffee Klatsch cake, and letters between a congressman and a psychologist discussing shared interests, I found a curious thread that connected a few of the other items on my list.

What could a book, a collection with a reference to General Mills Inc., and a photograph of a chicken have in common? Animal psychology, apparently (at least in this situation).

One of the items on my docket was a book by the name of The Animal Mind by Margaret Floy Washburn (1917). Washburn upheld the notion that the animal mind could be inferred by observing and recording their behavior and used her own research as well as the experiments of other psychologists and physiologists to support this notion.

Seeing an opportunity in the behavioral principles that were developed by way of these experiments, Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE) began to train animals for commercial use. General Mills was an avid customer ­- being producers of cereal, granola, and grain – and often used ABE’s animals to advertise their products. Below is a letter from J.L. Coulombe of General Mills’ advertising to Marion Breland, one of the founders of ABE, listing some of the peculiar requests they have for “acts” and “units”, including that of a fortune telling chicken.

Scanned letter from J. L. Coulombe of General Mills, Inc. to Marion Breland requesting the shipment of several chicken "acts"
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box M4288, folder 2

For a screen reader compatible version of this document, click here.

There was also a pencil sketch of an idea for a chicken playing baseball act.

Top-down diagram on lined notebook paper of a miniature baseball field arrangement designed to be operable by a chicken. The device includes a bat for the chicken to peck at and a feeder to supply food to the chicken.
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box M4288, folder 2

The chicken would complete an action in exchange for a snack, triggering a mechanism to achieve the desired result and entertain the people watching. Below are two photos of a machine that was used in an act that shares a similar function to the drawing.

Two black and white photos. The first is of a chicken standing on the edge of a miniature baseball field display. Tiny figurines of baseball players are arranged on the field, and a large bat is connected to the batter with a lightweight ball positioned in front of it. The second is of a mechanical box with wires connected to make the baseball display work.
Animal Behavior Enterprises papers, box V115, folder 9

Overall, a very interesting and informative first week on the job looking through the archives here at the CCHP. I’m excited to get more assignments and continue become more comfortable working with the archives!

(And hopefully not get lost again).

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton. For a screen reader compatible pdf of this post and documents contained within, click here.

I asked my colleagues who their favorite women were in our collections. Here are a few of the responses.

Processing Archivist Emily Gainer replied with Erika Fromm. Emily processed the Fromm papers a few years ago and you can review the finding aid for the 115-box collection here: Erika Fromm finding aid. Emily told me, “At one point, she [Erika Fromm] had a student harassing/stalking her.  Campus admin told her if he called, not to answer.  She said she would answer, because that’s what she does – help people.”

Erika Fromm (1909-2003) earned her PhD in experimental psychology in 1933 from the University of Frankfurt while studying with Max Wertheimer (Emily processed those papers too); worked as a research associate in clinical psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Wilhelmina Gasthuis (University Clinics), Amsterdam; established the first psychology laboratory in a Dutch state hospital; fled the damn Nazi’s; and eventually emigrated to Chicago, IL where she established a private psychotherapy practice and became a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Being a foremost expert on hypnosis and hypnoanalysis, Erika Fromm was approached by psychologists in Germany requesting permission to translate some of her work to German. The Erika Fromm papers contain several folders of correspondence with the journal editors and correspondence she received from readers (both positive and negative) regarding her decision not to allow the translation. Instead, she wrote a paper titled, Personal Feelings of a Nazi Refugee: Why I do not Want to be Honored by Germans, which was published in the German journal Hypnose Und Kognition instead of her translated work on hypnoanalysis. Fromm considered the translation of her work an honor, but was deeply conflicted about receiving such an honor from a German journal. Her paper is hard to read and harder still to fathom what she survived. And while we all hold our own feelings about forgiveness, perhaps sometimes, we have to simply respect when a person just can’t do it.

Erika Fromm papers, box M5199, folder 10

Dr. Cathy Faye, Director of the CCHP, couldn’t give me just one name.

“I’ve always liked Ruth Cruikshank Bussey. Mostly because I liked the photos of her in the collection. I think there were a couple good ones of her from her time in the WAVES and personal journals and scrapbooks. I just remember browsing those and liking her a lot. I’d love to know more about Jewish psychologist Sylvia Scribner….early on, she was quite a union activist, I think. Not sure if the collection reflects any of that.”

Ruth Cruikshank Bussey (1911-2007) earned her BA at Elmira College and went on to earn her MA and PhD from Brown University. During the Second World War she served in the Air Service Command (ASC) and later enlisted with the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), a division of the Navy. She continued her work in psychological testing at the Psychological Corporation. And Cathy was right, the scrapbooks and journals in this collection are incredible. Bussey has letters, report cards, clippings, announcements, and more glued and taped to the pages alongside her handwritten words in scrapbooks and journals from her time in high school well into old age. There are hundreds of treasures but this assignment from her Elmira College course, “Life Work Choice” is among my favorites. The assignment was for students to list their first three choices for work to which Ruth Cruikshank answered, “My work must be with science…I know of its hardships for I have a family none too eager to see me as a woman doctor, stepping in a career belonging only to men.”

Ruth Cruikshank Bussey, box M4963, folder 6

Sylvia Scribner (1923-1991) was the valedictorian of her class at Smith College in 1943 and went to work as the research director for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. She later returned to school, earning her MA from the City University of New York (CUNY) and a PhD from the New School of Social Research in 1970. She was on the faculty at CUNY, worked as a senior research associate at Rockefeller University, the associate director of the National Institute of Education, and as a senior scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics. She focused on cultural literacy and learning, worker’s rights, women’s issues in society and the workplace, minority concerns, and labor practices and the more I learned about her, the cooler she became.

Scribner took up a research project at a dairy processing plant to study learning and knowledge through recall between different groups at the dairy – customers, office workers, warehouse workers, and delivery drivers. The collection has detailed interview notes and materials from the study. In her published work from the study, Scribner writes that the observations at the dairy were useful in that they, “…stimulate new ways of thinking about knowledge and practice that avoid the old entrenched dualisms” and “social knowledge is differentiated from, but not opposed to, individual knowledge.” Scribner conducted similar recall research studies in Liberia and concluded, “…recall output tends to reflect the organizational structure subjects impose on material” and regardless of culture, age, or geography these processes seemed to be universal.

Notation on back: 1/15/1977. Sinkor. Hamidu Getaweh and Sylvia
Sylvia Scribner papers, box V81, folder 8

In describing Scribner’s research to Dr. Faye she said to me, “It’s the human and social element. Each place has its own society and its own forms of social knowledge that work for that place and those people.”

Dr. Jodi Kearns, Director of the Institute for Human Science & Culture told me Molly Harrower was her favorite because, “she seems badass.” Also, when asked by T. Kraweic in his oral history series about her philosophy of life, Dr. Kearns told me that Harrower gives the “Best. Answer. Ever.”

Molly Harrower (1906-1999) took some psychology classes while at Beford College, University of London with Beatrice Edgell but never earned a psychology degree. She worked with Charles K. Ogden and with a helpful letter from him, Harrower arrived at Smith College on a fellowship to work with Kurt Koffka. She earned her PhD in 1934 and went on to work with Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute, established a private practice and did work in psycodiagnostics and psychotherapy, consulted in the military, served as Research Director of the Children’s Court of Manhattan, wrote poetry, and eventually joined the faculty at the University of Florida, teaching clinical psychology until her retirement.

The Molly Harrower papers include numerous still images and I asked Dr. Kearns to pick a couple of her favorites.

Molly Harrower papers, box V53

And Dr. Kearns was right. When T. Kraweic asked at the end of an hour long oral history interview her philosophy of life, she laughed and gave the best answer ever. “I practically have no prohibitions….If it isn’t fun, what is it? There are millions of things you can do and doing one you don’t like doesn’t help anybody….If you can harness all your energy and all your enjoyment and all your creativity into some form of action that’s what you should take. And that’s what I try to do.”

Hearing Molly say these words is mostly certainly better than reading them.

So listen here:

Theophile S. Krawiec collection, box A13, tape 40

There are numerous inspiring and important women in the collections here at the Cummings Center. Women who changed the course of the history of the field. But when it comes down to brass tacks, “numerous” isn’t actually very accurate. Of the 466 processed manuscript collections we house, just 81 of them are the personal papers of women. So, who is my favorite woman in the collection? I’m not sure and maybe her papers aren’t here yet.

To twist Molly’s words a bit, “If history isn’t inclusive, what is it?”

Happy Women’s History Month.

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 contributed by Tony Pankuch. For a screen reader compatible pdf of this post and documents contained within, click here.

As discussed in the CCHP’s recent video, Robert V. Guthrie and the Search for Psychology’s Hidden Figures, little work had been done prior to the 1970s to seriously spotlight the scientific contributions of Black psychologists in the United States. In the 1950s, Black psychologists remained marginalized in a field that had historically contributed to their societal oppression. Yet circumstances leading up the 1957 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association led to a purposeful effort among APA leadership to solicit the opinions of the organization’s Black members. In doing so, they collected valuable documentary evidence of marginalization in the nation’s top professional psychological organization.

Backing up for a moment, the situation surrounding the 1957 APA Convention began seven years earlier, in 1950, when the APA resolved that its meetings would henceforth be held only in institutions, hotels, and establishments which did not discriminate on the basis of race or religion. Two years later, following instances of racial discrimination during the 1952 Convention in Washington, D.C., the APA passed an additional resolution vowing not to return the convention to Washington “until additional progress has been made towards democratic treatment of minority groups.”

Fast forward to 1954, and the APA’s Council of Representatives had just voted to hold the 1957 Convention in Miami Beach, Florida—a segregated city in an extremely segregated state. APA Executive Secretary Fillmore H. Sanford explained the situation in Miami Beach somewhat optimistically:

(Click each document to enlarge.)

Document 1: See link at beginning of post.
1956, May 4. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Note the phrase, “these are predictions and not actualities.” No one at APA could know exactly what might happen if they were to host an integrated convention in Florida. The events in Washington, D.C. had shown that, despite assurances from hotels and other establishments, racist harassment and violence remained likely in any highly segregated city.

In the years leading up to the convention, votes were held and public comments were solicited from APA members, depicting a wide range of opinions. The arguments in favor of hosting the convention in Miami Beach did not dismiss the racial segregation of the city and state. Rather, proponents believed that hosting an integrated convention in the South would actually help to advance democracy in the region. As argued by Convention Manager Jack A. Kapchan:

Document 2: See link at beginning of post.
1956, May 18. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Kapchan’s letter was circulated among APA membership, and his argument gained the enthusiastic backing of many who cited it in their own comments. Votes were cast indicating strong support for holding the convention in Miami Beach.

Five days after Kapchan wrote his letter, Sanford drafted a written request to be sent to 37 Black psychologists who were APA members. It read:

Document 3: See link at beginning of post.
1956, May 23. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

Should APA hold its 1957 meetings in Miami Beach? Would the cause of democracy be served better by going, under the conditions described, or by refusing to go? Would you yourself go to the meeting in Miami Beach? Would you plan to attend the 1957 meetings if they were held, say, in Boston. You can see where answers to these and related questions will be of material assistance to the Board in making a sound decision on this matter.

The responses that Sanford received came from a who’s who of notable Black psychologists, some of whom would later be profiled by Robert V. Guthrie in his landmark book Even the Rat Was White. James A. Bayton, for instance, characterized a Miami Beach convention as “a mighty big risk”:

Document 4: See link at beginning of post.
1956, June 18. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box V59, Folder 2.

Herman G. Canady, who notably studied racial bias in IQ testing, offered a longer response, holding the APA accountable to its 1950 and 1952 resolutions and placing the situation within a larger social and historical context:

Document 5: See link at beginning of post.
1956, June 18. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4.

Like Canady, Roger K. Williams offered an important justification for his refusal to attend a Miami Beach convention: the danger of interstate travel.

Document 6: See link at beginning of post.
1956, June 23. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4.

Williams’s point is an important one. To reach Miami Beach by driving, members would have to pass through the heart of the Deep South, states like Alabama and Georgia where white supremacy, segregation, and anti-Black violence were legally enshrined. This was the era of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide which identified the all-too-rare hotels, restaurants, and other businesses where African Americans could safely stop during their travels cross-country. Even with the Green Book in hand, Black travelers still put themselves in immense danger travelling through unknown towns and cities in the Deep South.

Not all respondents to Sanford’s letter were opposed to a Miami Beach convention, however. Martin D. Jenkins supported the location, so long as the APA held true to the principles of its 1950 and 1952 resolutions:

Document 7: See link at beginning of post.
1956, June 20. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4

Howard E. Wright agreed with Kapchan’s letter in his response, citing a Miami Beach convention as a “desirable social strategy”:

Document 8: See link at beginning of post.
1956, June 18. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4.

Yet perhaps the most stirring response to this matter came from Mary A. Morton:

Document 9: See link at beginning of post.
1956, July 2. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4.

You state in your letter that “The issues are almost paralyzing in their complexity.” For me, as an individual, the issues are simple: (1) Will Mary Morton feel secure in joining in any and all proposals for joint activity or will she have to wonder if the particular place involved will welcome her along with all others in the group? … If she is going to have to be concerned about things like these, she stays at home. … Conventions should be intellectually stimulating but they should also be relatively carefree.

… Miami Beach may really become an oasis in a desolate region for purposes of the 1957 meeting, but my acute awareness of how desolate is the region would prevent my enjoying any sojourn into the oasis. Local newspapers and radios would certainly be constant reminders that I was in hostile territory.

In her response, Morton clearly addressed the privilege of both Sanford and the APA’s Council of Representatives. They could easily distance themselves from the dangers of a segregated city, focusing largely upon high-minded principles and potential ideological victories. For Black psychologists like Morton, attending a Miami Beach convention meant putting themselves in “hostile territory,” risking their safety and the safety of their loved ones for the sake of a convention that could just as easily be held in a Northern city.

In June of 1956, a committee of four was assigned to visit Miami Beach to gather further information. Stuart W. Cook represented APA’s Board of Directors and chaired the committee, and was joined by psychologists Robert Kleemeier, Arthur Combs, and S. O. Roberts. Roberts had already voiced his opposition to a Miami Beach convention in no uncertain terms:

Document 10: See link at beginning of post.
1956, May 31. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron. Photo from the Robert V. Guthrie papers, Box M3533, Folder 4.

The committee carried out a review of dining facilities, hotels, recreational facilities, and transportation. They met with representatives from other organizations, including the American Library Association, who hosted integrated meetings in Miami Beach. In his final report, approved by the rest of the committee, Cook testified that the group encountered no instance of discriminatory behavior. Yet the group could not eliminate all possibility of discrimination, nor could they deny that many Black attendees would feel uncomfortable staying in Miami Beach due to the culture of the South. Cook concluded:

Document 11: See link at beginning of post.
1956, July 3. Stuart Cook papers, Box M2331, Folder 2, Archives of the History of American Psychology, The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron.

The 1957 Annual Convention of the APA was held in New York City from August 30th to September 5th. The convention would not be held in Miami Beach until 1970, six years after the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally prohibited discrimination on the basis of race.

The prolonged nature of this controversy and the responses of Black members of the APA highlight the tangible ways that marginalization can occur in psychology and other professional fields. In pushing for a Miami Beach convention as part of a “social strategy,” supporters of the location were not entirely misguided. All major civil rights movements in the United States have required their participants to assume some risk of personal harm. Yet it was largely white psychologists who concocted this social strategy, not the Black men and women who were asked to put themselves in harm’s way. Further, most of those Black psychologists were not seeking to take part in an act of defiance against Southern racism—rather, they were simply trying to participate in their professional community and attend a conference for the benefit of their careers and their field.

Had the 1957 APA Conference been held in Miami Beach, Black psychologists who rightly feared for their safety in the South would have been denied access to the largest psychological conference in the United States. The comments of these psychologists helped push the APA to remain true to the principles of racial equality and integration, yet the resolutions of 1950 and 1952 should have invalidated this controversy from the beginning. Circumstances such as these were far from the only systematic barriers faced by Black psychologists in the mid-20th century, but they clearly illustrate how well-meaning policies and resolutions could, and still do, overlook the complexities of racial injustice.


Additional materials on the 1957 APA Convention are available for research in the Stuart Cook papers at the Archives of the History of American Psychology at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. To request additional materials from these papers, please contact ahap@uakron.edu.

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~ contributed by Jodi Kearns & Abigail Williamson; Abby is a University of Akron history major who worked with the Wispé collection for her Museums & Archives Studies certificate Capstone Experience.

In the early 1950s, Lauren G. Wispé set out to study social and psychological factors associated with eminence in the field of psychology by analyzing selected psychologists’ responses to a 12-page questionnaire asking about family, early education, and socioeconomic backgrounds. If you want to read Wispé’s results, have a look at Traits of Eminent American Psychologists published in Science in 1963.

The Cummings Center has a small collection of the returned questionnaires, which have some coding marks from the data analysis, and no additional research materials.

Some of the questions ask about parents’ ages at the psychologist’s birth, parents’ professions, and family members’ achieved levels of education. Questions cover work experience, mentors and influences, promising students, and prominent research and publications. The collection is a trove of eminent psychologist autobiography and self-awareness.

Even one seemingly simple question opens a rabbit hole one can fall into for hours, such as the question, Have there been any handicaps or factors which have interferred [sic] with your career?

Some wrote that there were financial factors interfering with their careers:

Henry Edward Garrett
Chauncey McKinley Louttit
Floyd L Ruch

Some interfering factors were physical health:

Roger Garlock Barker
Arnold L Gesell
Gardner Murphy

Some factors were matters of personality and mental health:

Floyd Allport
Donald George Marquis

Writer’s block:

Dale Benner Harris

Mediocre conversationalist:

Stanley Smith Stevens

Unattractiveness:

Mitchell Dreese

Insufficient education was quite a common factor:

Charles William Bray
Donald Wallace MacKinnon
Walter Richard Miles

Cultural handicaps? Absolutely.

Samuel Weiller Fernberger
George Wilfred Hartman
David Krech
Lawrence S Rogers
Max Wertheimer

Too many assigned administrative responsibilities? Of course.

Carl I Hovland
Clifford Thomas Morgan

Some psychologists listed many factors:

Harold Mowbray Hildreth
Abraham Harold Maslow
Lewis Madison Terman
Robert Mearns Yerkes

And many fortunate fellows had none:

Gordon W Allport
Harry Frederick Harlow
Laurance Frederic Shaffer
Burrhus Frederic Skinner
Donald Edwin Super

And then there are these mid-20th Century vaguebookers:

Louis Leon Thurstone
William Clark Trow
George Richard Wendt

The Wispé questionnaires are both a chronical of self and a database of whimsy, which hold innumerable research projects and social media posts. We’re investigating the best way to make these digitized surveys and transcriptions fully available to you, while we await the time-consuming completion of the project.

Want to read what E.G. Boring wrote about E.B. Tichener being “adequate” and that Harry Harlow found his professors “moderately competent?” Want to read how E. C. Tolman named David Krech as an outstanding student and Krech listed Tolman as an academic mentor?

This collection has the tea, in psychologists’ own handwriting, and we’re excited to spill.

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 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

When I set out to write a post for the CCHP blog in celebration of Pride Month, I knew that I wanted to focus on documents written by rather than about members of the LGBTQ+ community. Like many marginalized groups, LGBTQ+ individuals are often depicted as passive participants in our own struggle for equal rights. Without diminishing the important work of allies such as Dr. Evelyn Hooker, it is important to remember that there were also psychologists within the LGBTQ+ community speaking up and working tirelessly in support of themselves and their loved ones.

So, imagine my delight upon finding numerous materials relating to the Association of Gay Psychologists (AGP).

The AGP was created in 1973 in response to the 1972 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (APA). Founding member Dr. Steven Morin provided some background on these events in the AGP’s inaugural newsletter:

Association of Gay Psychologists Newsletter. June, 1973

NOTES ON THE FORMATION OF AGP (Steve Morin)

At the 80th Annual Convention of the APA in 1972, the only scientific discussion of homosexuality was presented by division 13 in a symposium entitled "Psychotherapy and Homosexuality in the Seventies: Divergent Views." The panel was chaired by Robert A. Harper, Washington D.C.; other participants were Hedda Bolgar, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, California; Albert Ellis, Institute for Advanced Study in Relational Psychotherapy, New York, New York; 
and Harold Greenwald, San Diego, California. 
TOPIC AREAS: Some of the topic areas covered were: Are homosexuals sick? Should sexual orientation be changed? Which psychotherapy approach shows the most promise for treating homosexuals? Are treatment and prognosis different under changed social conditions for female as well as male homosexuals? 
NO GAY PANELISTS: The panel included no gay psychologists as members, and the chairperson remarked during the proceedings that although this was unfortunate, the panel had no knowledge of gay psychologists within APA and/or were not willing to request that 
any psychologist jeapordize his/her career by making an appearance as a homosexual on the panel. 
LANGUAGE AND LABELING: The language and labeling used by the panel indicated an extremely low level of consciousness about gay issues. The chairperson was overheard referring to the symposium as the "Homo Panel". The panel's general knowledge about gay life styles was minimal at best. The audience, which included a large number of gay persons, was outraged by the entire symposium. During the open discussion period which followed, many gay people stood to protest the lack of representation on the panel and the general nature of comments that had been made. 
Alternatives: The 1972 APA had very little to offer in terms or alternatives to the opinions expressed by the distinguished clinicians on the panel. Chuck Silverstein from Identity House in New York had a series of organized discussions in his suite during the week. When I arrived for one session, Chuck was busy organizing a protest with the tranvestites of Hotel Street. I am not sure of the exact extent of these meetings nor of their eventual outcome.
AFTERMATH: That evening and the evenings that followed, a 
number of gay psychologists met at a gay bar adjacent to the Convention Headquarters. Most of the people there had been to the afternoon symposium, and the depression that many felt earlier in the afternoon had been transformed either to sarcastic humor or genuine anger. This was my first APA, and I was just feeling disappointed and tired.
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Archives, Box 754, Folder 6

The panel [on homosexuality] contained no gay psychologists as members, and the chairperson remarked during the proceedings that although this was unfortunate, the panel had no knowledge of gay psychologists within the APA and/or were not willing to request that any psychologist jeapordize [sic] his/her career by making an appearance as a homosexual on the panel.

That evening and the evenings that followed, a
number of gay psychologists met at a gay bar adjacent to the Convention Headquarters. … This was my first APA, and I was just feeling disappointed and tired.

1972 was a big year for psychology, psychiatry, and the gay liberation movement. It was the year that Dr. John E. Fryer, otherwise known as “Dr. Anonymous,” concealed his identity to speak at the American Psychiatric Association’s panel on homosexuality. Tensions over the continued classification of homosexuality as a mental illness within the DSM-II were nearing their peak. Take a look at the language used by Boston’s Gay Male Liberation in their 1972 statement to the Eastern Psychological Association:

Statement & Demands of Boston's Gay Male Liberation to the Eastern Psychological Association, April, 1972
Eastern Psychological Association records, Box 1037, Folder 3

In presenting demands to you, members of the EPA, we compromise in asking anything other than your immediate disbanding and the complete destruction of bourgeois clinical institutions as well as the positivist, behavioralist orientation of modern psychology.

Strong words. It was in this post-Stonewall environment of vocal activism that Morin, along with Dr. Martin Rogers and Barbara Bryant of Sacramento State College, set out to form the AGP.

So what did they do? To get the rest of the narrative, we can turn to the January 1975 Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. It’s the “Gay Issue.”

Cover of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. Features a cartoon of a skeleton in a large floral hat exiting a closet. Headline: "Gay Psychology Coming Out!"
Cummings Center for the History of Psychology Special Interest, “Psychologists for Social Action – Newsletters”

Personal aside: As a nonbinary trans person, I’ve never felt more represented in the archives than I do by this newsletter’s fanciful skeletons.

The newsletter contains a full history of the AGP up to that point.

Two-page spread of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action. Features a cartoon skeleton stating "Of course, we know there are no Gay Psychologists." A crowd of skeletons respond: "Just wait till the next convention." "And who does he think is going to teach the Gay Studies program"

There’s a lot happening here, so let’s break it down piece by piece (setting the skeletons aside for the moment).

GAY CAUCUS 
A Gay Caucus met at the Western Psychological Association meetings in Anaheim in April 1973. There was considerable debate about issues concerning the Association of Gay Psychologists. While most of the SO people present urged the foundation of the organization, no consensus was reached about the name of the group, membership, or the goals of the organization. The Name: Association of Gay Psychologists of Gay Psychological Association or a more "neutral" name which would permit those individuals who are not ready to be public about their sexuality to join? Membership: only Ph.D. psychologists, or Masters level psychologists, too? Can Gay graduate students join? What about membership for para-professionals working in gay community service centers? Goals: Research, of course. Establishing a consulting network. Lobbying with APA and American Psychiatric Association. How politically involved should the organization be? Would involvement detract from its professional status? Nothing was resolved until the Fall APA meetings in Montreal.

The Western Psychological Association meetings of 1973 were the AGP’s first major planning session. As you can see above, things didn’t go smoothly. A number of issues arose, but one that stands out immediately is the concern over “outing” gay psychologists.

In the early 1970s, it was hard to speak out for gay liberation as an openly gay psychologist, because psychologists just weren’t supposed to be gay. Many in the profession sincerely viewed homosexuality as an illness incompatible with psychological or psychiatric practice. This is why John E. Fryer was forced to speak in disguise as “Dr. Anonymous” in 1972. Publicly outing himself would have amounted to the end of his career.

It took until the Fall 1973 APA Convention for the AGP to really come together. Here, they succeeded in making a radical improvement in gay representation:

NO MORE LIES 
Although the APA program had included sessions on Homosexuality in the past, and the organization has been subject to protests by Gay students and non-members, the Fall '73 convention was the first time that Lesbian and Gay male psychologists openly confronted their professional organization. A symposium, Homosexuals as Persons chaired by Dr. Martin Rogers, filled the room with 400 delegates. The First University based Gay Studies Program in the country was described by Barbara Bryant, masters candidate in psychology.
Dr. Steven Morin of California State College, San Bernadino argued that "there has been none of the work done for Gays that has been done for blacks and women, and no studies on methods of changing society's attitudes." Dr. Mark Freedman of San Francisco Northeast Community Mental Health Center discussed the successful Gay Counseling Service in his city. At the symposium, many psychologists in the audience stated they had learned more about Gay people during the symposium than during all of their graduate school training.

Day two got even better…

ZAP 'EM
During the second day of the convention, there was an "action" by 25 Lesbian and Gay male psychologists. Alerted by the Association of Women in Psychology that a film Behavior Therapy for Homosexuality was being shown, the Gay people contacted Dr. Richard Evans, in charge of APA' s film program and demanded a preview. Evans agreed after receiving assurances the film would not be stolen. Following the viewing the group worked through the night writing a critical statement entitled, A Clockwork Lavender? 
Immediately prior to the scheduled showing the statement was distributed to the 500 people present. Martin Rogers informed the audience that "the time has passed when APA can present programs about homosexually oriented persons without using Gay psychologists as consultants or discussants." 
He asked them to view the film critically and to focus on the points made in the statement. To the surprise of the Gays present, he received considerable applause. A guerilla theatre drama was staged after the film showing, with Jesse Miller, doctoral student at UC Berkeley parading in radical drag as Miss Demeanor, Playboy's APA Bunny and Mark Freedman in tow as her ''cured'' companion.

That’s right. The AGP responded to the offensive film Behavior Therapy for Homosexuality with not just a critical statement, but with a whole guerrilla drag performance. “Miss Demeanor, Playboy’s APA Bunny.” I am in awe.

From there, the AGP formulated a list of objectives for their organization and demands for the APA. Among their objectives was “to eliminate the conception of homosexuality as a clinical entity and encourage the reconceptualization of human sexuality in terms of its diversity and potential.”

Did they succeed? In part, yes.

DISORDERED, NOT DISORIERED, DISORDERED? 
There was no response from the APA for several months, and when a response did come from the Board of Directors, it was mostly evasive and shirking of responsibility for direct action on the demands. In the meantime, on December 15, 1973 the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders. AGP knows this action was the direct result of pressure from Gay organizations on APA. For present actions, read on in this Newsletter.

The actions of the AGP and other Gay Liberation groups demonstrate the importance of direct action, visibility, and community in effecting social change. The collective action of these groups strengthened the voices of their individual members, allowing them to speak out openly for themselves. Their fate was no longer exclusively in the hands of their straight colleagues. Though there was still much more progress to be made for the LGBTQ+ community in the mental health fields (particularly for members of the transgender community), the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the DSM-II was a landmark accomplishment.

The AGP would continue to work for further progress for the LGBTQ+ community, and in 1983 changed its name to the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychologists (AGLP). Their full archival records are currently held by Cornell University Library. Steve Morin went on to became an important figure in HIV/AIDs research, serving as director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). You can read a 2017 retrospective on his career here.

So in the future, if anyone ever tries to tell you…

Cartoon of a seated skeleton stating, "Of course, we know there are no gay psychologists."

…give them a little history lesson about Dr. Morin and the AGP.

If you’d like to see more of the 1975 “Gay Issue” of the Newsletter of Psychologists for Social Action, you can read the full document here.

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton

Welcome to the third installment of CCHP Pandemic Projects. These fully digital learning projects give students a way of engaging directly with primary source, historical material. They are useful for teaching history, historical research skills, history of psychology, information literacy…the sky is the limit!

Volume I tackled Asylums and Epidemic Diseases and in volume II we tackled Eugenics and the Census. Both of those projects were geared more towards college students. Volume III is more adaptable to K-12 students but also works for college students. Critical thinking knows no bounds!

In this next installment, we explore something many of us are intimately familiar with right now: being alone, slowing down, taking a pause.

So let’s dig in.

Psychologist Martin Reymert (1883-1953) was an immigrant from Norway. He immigrated to the United States in 1925 to serve as the head of the psychology department and director of the psychology lab at Wittenberg College in Springfield, OH. He moved on to Mooseheart, IL in 1930 to establish the Mooseheart Laboratory for Child Research and he remained the lab’s director until his death in 1953.

Martin Reymert in his office at the Mooseheart Laboratory.
Martin Reymert papers, box M1228, folder 6

Reymert’s manuscript collection is very interesting for several reasons, including the insight it provides about immigration and American life from an immigrant’s viewpoint.

Martin Reymert was interviewed by a Minneapolis radio station on this topic and the three page transcript is the document we will analyze for this project. You can access all the materials you need for this project including a document analysis instructor’s guide, a document analysis sheet, and the radio transcript in full text here: American Psychosis and Creative Laziness.

The reason I selected this radio transcript for a Pandemic Project is because it provides a perfect opportunity for us to talk to our students about isolation during the current health crisis.

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…average Americans are afraid to be alone….we are always rushing into some one crowd or another…it takes an awful lot of mental sanity to squarely face ones’self in solitary moments….

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…creative laziness….apparently doing nothing and experiencing the sacred moments of inspiration, new ideas, etc.–in short, the sort of things that are the actual dynamos for the world’s progress.

The COVID19 health crisis has forced us to face ourselves in solitary moments. How are we handling it? And almost more importantly, how are our students handling it? Can we use this transcript from the Martin Reymert papers to reach out to our students and check on them under the guise of an archival document analysis project? I like to think so.

We can use Reymert’s ideas of “American psychosis” (inability to be alone) and “creative laziness” (inspiration by way of solitary reflection) as the starting point for a discussion with our students about how THEY are coping. Of course, the difference here is that we are in isolation through shelter-in-place directives and social distancing, rather than simply choosing to be isolated.

The document analysis sheet I created for this project can (and should) be adapted to best suit your needs as an instructor. This project can be adapted for use with middle school and high school students or undergraduate and graduate students. If you’d like a bit of help with that reach out to me directly. I am happy to help! (lizette@uakron.edu).

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

To access more CCHP remote learning materials click here: CCHP Pandemic Projects.

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  • contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

I’d like to revisit what the CCHP can offer to remote users, especially instructors, during these bizarro times in which we are living. I’m being ambitious and making this a series of blog posts. First up, the asylum reports.

A few months ago I wrote an invited column for The General Psychologist, the newsletter for the Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1) titled, “Primary Sources in the Classroom: Project Ideas for Investigating Mental Health Care in the United States Through Digitized Asylum Reports.”

You can read my Division 1 column for numerous project ideas using our Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports. Remember, our asylum reports are digitized and available as full-text, word-searchable PDFs in our online repository. You can take away some ideas from that column or you can work on creating your own projects. Maybe you’re just bored and want to research asylum reports for the heck of it – do it!

All that being said, I’d like to introduce a specific project and provide some resources and ideas for how you can make it work with your students.

Asylums and epidemic diseases

We are living through a global pandemic right now but disease and illness in the enclosed, often overcrowded spaces of asylums was common. I did word searches for keywords like pandemic, epidemic, influenza, small pox, cholera, and a few others. I went through my hits and decided to focus on two specific asylums – Topeka State Hospital in Kansas (1915, 1919, 1923) and the Government Hospital for the Insane, also known as St. Elizabeth’s, in Washington, DC (1914, 1921, 1926). I took the date of the reports in my searching into account and selected reports before and after the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Topeka State Hospital, 1919

You can access the reports through the links above. You can also access the reports in a shared OneDrive folder here. Download the PDFs from either location and get to work!

Reports typically provide statistics, including physical illness and death, about the patients in their care so that is a great place to start.

Identify epidemic diseases (influenza, small pox, typhoid, etc.) in the reports. Look for how many patients contracted one of those diseases and how many died from it. Compare the data from one report to the next. What changed during the years in between? Did the population of patients increase or decrease? Did the illnesses within the asylum mirror what was happening outside of the asylum? Did vaccinations increase? Were they vaccinating? Did vaccinations for the disease in question even exist?

If a report specifically mentions the 1918 Influenza Pandemic – what does it say? How widespread was influenza within the asylum? How did it compare to the illness outside the asylum? What steps were taken to mitigate the spread of disease? Were staff affected?

Both Topeka State Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s were designed according to the Kirkbride Plan – an architectural design that included numerous wings for patients and patient activities. This design may have provided less opportunity for distancing as compared to another asylum style known as the Cottage Plan. Have your students do a bit of research on these two design styles in order to determine the pros and cons of each during an epidemic.

If you are digging any of these ideas and would like to work together to create something a bit more concrete for use in your class please reach out to me directly – lizette@uakron.edu. I’m happy to help.

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

In case you haven’t been following along, we’ve been been highlighting the first five women presidents of the American Psychological Association for a series in honor of Women’s History Month. Working in reverse order we’ve blogged about Florence Denmark and Leona Tyler.

Up next: Anne Anastasi.

Anne Anastasi (1908-2001) served as the third woman president of APA in 1972 – a full 50 YEARS after Margaret Floy Washburn, the second woman president of APA, served in 1921.

Anastasi started college at Barnard at 15-years-old. She earned her PhD from Columbia in just two years at 21-years-old. She chaired the psychology department at Queens College CUNY before she was 35 and she was a full professor at Fordham University in 1951 at the age of 43.

Anne Anastasi was a BOSS. As illustrated by this photograph.

Anne Anastasi, 1967, David P. Campbell Still Images collection

Anastasi is most well known for her work in psychological testing and the psychology of individual differences. The New York Times dubbed her the “Test Guru of Psychology” in her obituary. She wrote THE book on psychological testing, titling it simply Psychological Testing (1954).

The Anne Anastasi papers contain lot about testing and a lot of material from her time in various roles of APA governance. But you guys already know that about her so how about something else?

In 1936 Anastasi started a research project titled, “An Experimental Investigation of Artistic Behavior in the Insane.”

Anne Anastasi papers, box M4812, folder 3

In 1938 she applied for additional grant funding to continue the project. She asked for $3,800. They gave her $1,000 and she made it work.

Anne Anastasi papers, box M4812, folder 2

“Experimental Approaches to the Psychology of Art” included 4 angles from which to gather materials. Let’s take a closer look at angle 4.

The fourth angle was an “experimental investigation of the drawing behavior of insane patients under controlled conditions….” The patients were provided with crayons and paper and asked to draw: (1) a free choice drawing; (2) an abstract subject; (3) a concrete subject; and finally (4) to copy a sample design.

Here are the specific instructions the investigators used.

Anne Anastasi papers, box M4812, folder 7

The abstract subject was danger and the concrete subject was a man.

During the years Anastasi was working on this project alongside fellow psychologist (and husband) John P. Foley, there was a lot of interest in art done by patients with mental illness, specifically those in asylums. There was interest in art as a form of therapy and also interest in the public exhibition of art created by patients.

In fact, the Federal Art Project, a division of the the Works Progress Administration, held an exhibition titled, “Art and Psychopathology” in Harlem in 1938. The art exhibited was created by patients at Bellevue Hospital and speakers at the formal opening included staff from Bellevue, the WPA, and the Harlem Community Art Center.

Anne Anastasi papers, box M4812, folder 7

Following the research project, Anastai and Foley eventually wrote a manuscript titled, “Artistic Behavior in the Abnormal” complete with numerous full-color examples of patient art. I was so excited to learn that but as I dug through the folder I saw rejection letter after rejection letter. Every publisher said the same thing, the book would simply be “too expensive” with all of the full-color art. Anastasi and Foley published several articles about the research but to the best of my knowledge a large-scale full-color manuscript never came to be. What a bummer.

Anne Anastasi did so much in her long career. I cannot even begin to scratch the surface in a blog. I didn’t even mention her work in vocational guidance and culture-free testing (to which she said there was no such thing!).

Instead I’ll end with this.

In 1967 Anastasi was granted an honorary doctorate from the University of Windsor and at the convocation she presented a paper titled, “The Special Role of Psychology in a Liberal Education.”

Anne Anastasi papers, box M4822, folder 12

The purpose of the paper, I think, was to convey the importance of the scientific method and how psychology can teach that to a variety of students in a variety of ways. And while I did read the whole paper I just couldn’t get that first paragraph out of my head.

It stuck with me though likely not for the reasons Anne Anastasi may have wanted. In describing the field of psychology she also perfectly describes womanhood. Just sub the word “women” for psychology and you’ll see what I mean.

It is a curious paradox that society expects both too much and too little from psychology. One one hand, too much is expected in ways that are fanciful and unrealistic….On the other hand, too little is expected insofar as the genuine contributions that psychology can make to the development of responsible and effective members of society remain largely unrecognized.

Happy Women’s History Month, Dr. Anastasi.

Anne Anastasi, 1992. Donald Dewsbury Still Images collection, V118, folder 3

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

If you read my last blog, Go with the Flo!, you’ll remember that I’m working backwards and highlighting the first five women presidents of the American Psychological Association for a series of blogs in honor of Women’s History Month.

Up next, Leona Tyler.

Check out this wonderful letter Edna Heidbreder sent to Tyler congratulating her on her election to APA President in 1971 (Tyler served as president in 1973).

Leona Tyler papers, box M415, folder 2

I confess that there is enough of the old-fashioned feminist in me to account for some of my pleasure, but not all of it! It is a satisfaction to know that your widely and highly respected contributions to the field have been recognized in this way.

Leona Tyler (1906-1993) is most well known for her work in counseling psychology and her research on individual differences and development. She did her graduate work at the University of Minnesota under Donald G. Paterson and her dissertation, an extension of research done for her master’s thesis, focused on the development of interests in adolescent girls.

Leona Tyler papers, box M412, folder “Written Works”

Most of us associate interest inventories with Edward K. Strong and the Strong Vocational Interest Inventory (SVI). The SVI was first published in 1927 – just for dudes – and an inventory for women wasn’t published until 1933.

Interestingly, higher level occupations weren’t included on the women’s version and women who seemed to lean more towards those occupations were simply given the men’s scale.

Like Leona.

Leona Tyler papers, box M415, folder 17

The best part is the little handwritten note at the bottom. Check this out.

“This norm is the male norm, there is no female norm.”

Well if that doesn’t just wrap up women’s history month in a nutshell!

As I went through Tyler’s papers I found so much good stuff.

Like this address she delivered in 1970 titled, “Counseling Girls and Women in the Year 2000.”

Leona Tyler papers, box M410, folder “Counseling Girls and Women”

One of the traits that most consistently shows up as feminine in research studies…is sensitivity to people….The main reason I should like to see greater equality of representation of women in politics and diplomacy is that I think these fields could use an infusion of this quality. If a larger proportion of the people in high level government positions were people who knew how to think about human individuals in all their concreteness rather than just as abstractions…I think we would all be better off.

Word, Leona Tyler. WORD!

And I love how she ends the talk. That last line works in all kinds of situations, “Let’s start right now.”

“Counseling Girls and Women in the Year 2000”

The right we must insist on above all others is the right to contribute….This is what counseling is all about, in 1970, in 2000, or in 2070. Let’s start right now.

Tyler spent her entire career at the University of Oregon, eventually being promoted to Dean of the Graduate School in 1965.

Thanks goodness Tyler saved the clippings around the announcement so we can all “enjoy” them during Women’s History Month in 2020.

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

She will become one of the few women in the nation to hold a major academic post in the graduate field….MISS Tyler, a silver-haired professor professor of psychology with a national reputation….

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

“…Those who know the most agree it is, to say the least, highly unusual that a woman would be named dean of a graduate school, especially at a coeducational university….Already a leader in a field where women do not often excel, MISS Tyler finders her appointment greeted with almost universal approval from her male colleagues.”

The dean is a lady. GASP!

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

Not until someone sent her a clipping from an out-of-town newspaper about another woman graduate dean (“only woman known to hold such a position”) had the though ever occurred to her. But it’s the position, not the woman, that’s important, she says.

Leona Tyler, an unmarried woman and leader in her field, was named the dean of the graduate school on June 1, 1965. But just before that was official the Eugene Register-Guard published the following piece on May 23, 1965.

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

A single woman may do as well as a man, but there may be some discrimination – usually indirect – against a married woman.

Indirect? Really? Check out the last couple of lines from this same newspaper article.

Welcome to the faculty club, ladies. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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– contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

I have to start by saying that every day I am in awe of young people, both in the history of psychology and their presence in the pressing issues of today. Change is slow, painfully slow at times, and thankfully we have young people who are willing to fight the long, painful fights from which we eventually all benefit.

In digging through the SPSSI records recently I unearthed some materials regarding the early history of the Black Students Psychological Association (BSPA), a group of young Black psychology students who took matters into their own hands and demanded change. In honor of Black History month and in honor of young people, specifically young people of color, let’s talk a little bit about BSPA and recognize the group’s importance in the history of psychology.

SPSSI_Box743_Folder6_BSPA1971ConventionProgram_BlackUnityImage

BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

You may have heard the story the story about a group of Black psychology students disrupting George Miller‘s presidential address at the 1969 American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Washington DC. Students disrupting the “old guard” makes for a good story after all, but what happened after that? Heck, what happened before that?

Gary Simpkins was a undergraduate psychology student at California State College in Los Angeles (now known as California State University, Los Angeles) when he took a psychology course with Dr. Charles Thomas, a founding member of the Association of Black Psychology (ABPsi) who at the time was serving as co-chairman of the group. With Dr. Thomas serving as a faculty adviser Simpkins and his fellow students started the Black Students Psychological Association.

According to Simpkins & Simpkins (2009), early BSPA meetings took place at Thomas’ home and a community mental health center, and Thomas arranged for members of ABPsi to meet regularly with the students. With the support of ABPSi, BSPA decided to attend the Western Psychological Association (WPA) convention in Vancouver, British Columbia June 18-21, 1969.

The image below is a May 1969 letter from BSPA secretary-treasurer Rita Boags to SPSSI executive secretary Caroline Weichlein seeking travel funds for BSPA members to attend WPA in Vancouver. Notice Boags hand written “Dr. Zimbardo” in the first paragraph. Following receipt of the letter, SPSSI secretary-treasurer Robert Hefner contacted Zimbardo to inform him that SPSSI did not have the funds for the request.  The CCHP also has a copy of Philip Zimbardo’s June 9, 1969 response to Rita Boags in which he informs her that SPSSI is unable to grant the funds.

SPSSI_743_folder1_BSPA_TwoPageLetter_WATERMARKED

SPSSI records, box 743, folder 1

But funding aside, let’s take a closer look at Boags’ letter and BSPA’s goals for attending the WPA convention at the top of page 2.

SPSSI_743_folder1_BSPA_TwoPageLetter_CROP2

Boags to Weichlein, page 2, SPSSI records, box 743, folder 1

Simpkins & Simpkins (2009) wrote that Thomas helped to get them onto the convention program and they scheduled a panel titled, “Racism in Organized Psychology.”

I took to the WPA records and located the 1969 program.

WPA_490_folder1_1969_programcover_WATERMARK

Western Psychological Association records, box 490, folder 1

I scoured the program but did not find a panel titled, “Racism in Organized Psychology.” However I did find two sessions of interest – Social II: Black Americans and Challenge and Change in 1969: Black Perspective in Psychology.

WPA_490_folder1_1969_program_BSPA1_CROP

WPA_490_folder1_1969_program_BSPA2_CROP

1969 WPA convention program, WPA records, box 490, folder 1

Perhaps the panel Simpkins is referring to was ABPsi’s nearly three-hour symposium, “Challenge of Change in 1969: Black Perspective in Psychology.”

Did BSPA members present their papers during this time?

WPA_490_folder1_1969_program_BSPA2_ABPsiPanel)CROP

1969 WPA convention program, WPA records, box 490, folder 1

From the materials housed here at the CCHP I could not determine whether or not that was the case. Does anyone know?

BSPA seems to have been founded in either later 1968 or early 1969. The annual Western Psychological Association convention was June 18-21, 1969. The American Psychological Association convention in Washington DC – the meeting where Gary Simpkins and BSPA members interrupted APA president George Miller’s presidential address – was in September of 1969. Those students got to work quickly!

BSPA addressed the APA Council the following day (September 2, 1969) and outlined five specific concerns and their plans for implementation: (1) the recruitment of Black students into psychology; (2) the recruitment of Black faculty members into psychology; (3) the gathering and dissemination of information concerning the availability of various sources of financial aid for Black students; (4) the design and provision of programs offering meaningful community experience for Black students in the field of psychology; and (5) the research and development of terminal programs at all degree levels that would equip Black students with the tools necessary to function within the Black community.

You can go out on your own and find what happened next regarding APA (start with David Baker’s (2003) “The challenge of change: Formation of the Association of Black Psychologists” in Freedheim & Weiner (Eds.) page 492). The gist is that APA President George Miller and President-Elect George Albee agreed to meet with members of BSPA and ABPsi to work out details. They met in Watts in Southern California for two days and in October a specific plan was reported back to APA Council.

BSPA members Gary Simpkins and Phillip Raphael wrote a report detailing the events at the 1969 annual convention, the meeting with APA Council, and the subsequent meeting with Miller and Albee. It was published as a “special insert” in the American Psychologist (1970) –  Black Students, APA, and the Challenge of Change . 

SPSSI_743_folder6_BlackStudentsAPAChallengeOfChange_WATERMARK

SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

One year later, the Black Students Psychological Association had a national office in Washington, DC and they held their first national conference in Atlanta, GA.

SPSSI_743_folder6_BSPA_1971conventionprogram_cover_WATERMARK

BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

The program was innovative and really cool.

There were team activities, special activities, and specific area activities organized around the following themes: politics, education, religion, housing and urban renewal, job training and employment, drug education, mental health, culture and the arts, crime and delinquency, our aged [senior citizens], family, mass media and communication, research methodology, and economics. The specific area activities were held all around Atlanta with local leaders hosting and participating.

SPSSI_Box743_Folder6_BSPA1971ConventionProgram_SpecificAreas_watermark

BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

SPSSI_Box743_Folder6_BSPA1971ConventionProgram_BLOG_WATERMARK

BSPA 1971 National Convention program, daily schedule, SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

This wasn’t just academics reading papers with audience members asking “questions” (AKA not really asking questions but rather telling everyone in the room what they already know. You guys know what I’m talking about). This was an engaged group of people, mostly students, tackling real issues in the community with psychology.

Awe inspiring.

The SPSSI records also include a bit of information about the BSPA’s second national convention in 1972 on the Bronx Campus of New York University but that is where our archival trail runs cold.

According to Bertha Garret Holliday (2009), “In that same year [1971], an ideological-political chasm began to emerge between ABPSi and BSPA. Meetings focused on effecting a merger between the organizations met with little success.”

And in a very brief chapter by Simpkins in Robert L. Williams (2008) History of the Association of Black Psychologists: Profiles of Outstanding Black Psychologists, Simpkins asserts that BSPA “…continued to exist for a number of years as an affiliate of ABPSi. Later, BSPA made a transition to the now existing ABPSi Student Circle.”

I want to know more. I want to know about this group and its members and how the BSPA may have shaped their careers in psychology. I want to know what came out of that first meeting in Atlanta. I want to know more about the “ideological-political chasm” between ABPSi and BSPA. I want to know more about ALL OF IT!

But alas, I have reference requests in my inbox and my “real job” to attend to. My references are below. Someone take up this project and get back to me. And in the meantime, let’s hear it again for the young people who always have and always will be the change makers!

References

(Some of these sources are cited above but others are not. Many are available in full-text via PsycNet. All of them are good so go read them.):

(Jul 1969). Black Students Demand Changes in Psychology. SPSSI Newsletter, 3.

(Jul 1970). BSPA opens office in APA building. The Washington Report, 6(7), 1, 3.

Baker, D. B. (2003). The challenge of change: Formation of the Association of Black Psychologists. In D. K. Freedheim & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of Psychology, Volume I: History of Psychology (pp. 492-495). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 

Blau, T. H. (1970). APA Commission on Accelerating Black Participation in Psychology. American Psychologist, 25(12), 1103–1104.

Holliday, B. G. (2009). The history and visions of African American Psychology: Multiple pathways to place, space, and authority. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15(4), 317-337.

Jones, R. L. (Ed.). (1991). Black psychology.  Cobb & Henry Publishers.

McKeachie, W. J. (1970). Report of the Recording Secretary. American Psychologist, 25(1), 9–12.

Nelson, B. (1969). Searching for social relevance at an APA meeting. Science, 165(3898), 1101-1104.

Sawyer, J. (1970). Why women, Black people, students, and other interest groups should be represented in the APA. American Psychologist, 26(6), 557-558.

Simpkins, G., & Raphael, P. (1970). Black students, APA, and the challenge of change. American Psychologist, 25(5), xxi–xxvi.

Simpkins, G. and Simpkins F. (2009). Between the Rhetoric and Reality. Lauriat Press.

Thomas, C. W. (1970). Psychologists, psychology, and the black community. In F. F. Korten, S. W. Cook, & J. I. Lacey (Eds.), Psychology and the problems of society (pp. 259–267). American Psychological Association.

Warren, J. (Apr 1971). BSPA still struggling to define relationship with APA. APA Monitor, 2(4), 1, 11.

Williams, R. L.  (2008). History of the Association of Black Psychologists: Profiles of Outstanding Black Psychologists. AuthorHouse.

Williams, R. L. (2008). A 40-year history of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPSi). Journal of Black Psychology, 40(3), 249-260.

CCHP Archival Collections:

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Archives records

Western Psychological Association records 

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