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Archive for the ‘Special Interest’ Category

*contributed by guest blogger Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr.

The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology is located at The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio.  There is a connection between Akron and Wilhelm Wundt’s most famous doctoral student.  In case you don’t know, Wundt was the founder of the science of psychology, pursuing experimental research on the subject in his laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany in 1879.  Wundt would supervise more that 180 doctoral dissertations in his long career at Leipzig but only one of those would grace the cover of Time Magazine.

The Cummings Center has a collection of Time Magazines that featured a psychologist or psychoanalyst on the cover.  Sigmund Freud appeared in 1924 and subsequently another four times. Psychologist and philosopher John Dewey was featured on a 1928 issue.  Psychologist James Rowland Angell was on a 1936 cover when he was president of Yale University.  Psychiatrist Carl Jung made the cover in 1955.  John Gardner was featured in 1967 when he served President Lyndon Johnson as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.  And B. F. Skinner appeared on a 1971 issue.  But none of these individuals was a student of Wundt.

Wundt’s famous student, perhaps his best know student historically, earned his doctorate in 1892 in experimental psychology.  His name was Hugo Eckener (1868-1954), and if you are saying to yourself, “I have never heard of this guy!”, then you are likely not alone.

eckener_timecover

Eckener never pursued a career in psychology. After graduation he entered military service in Germany and when that obligation was completed he worked as a journalist.  His journalistic work led him to an interest in Germany’s giant airships, the Zeppelins (named for Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin) and eventually to becoming an airship captain in 1911.  Eckener’s career as a Zeppelin commander was filled with many accomplishments, but the reason for his appearance on the cover of Time Magazine in 1929 was the fact that as Commander of the Graf Zeppelin, he had circumnavigated the globe, the only time that feat was ever accomplished by an airship.

graf-zeppelin-los-angele004a

And what was the connection between Eckener and Akron?  Well in 1929, while Eckener was flying around the world in the Graf Zeppelin, the USS Akron, was being built in Akron, Ohio by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation for the United States Navy.  The helium-filled USS Akron, which was the world’s largest airship at the time — longer than two and a half football fields — made it first flight in 1931.

The USS Akron didn’t enjoy a long life.  It crashed less than two years after its maiden flight.  The Graf Zeppelin fared better, flying from 1928 to 1937, and then it was scrapped for parts in 1940 for the German war machine.  Eckener had publicly opposed Hitler and the Nazi Party.  Likely only his reputation as a German national figure kept him from being killed or imprisoned when the Nazis came to power.  He died in 1954 at the age of 86.

*Archivist note – The University of Akron Archival Services houses a collection of Goodyear Tire and Rubber records that include plenty of information on the USS Akron and other aviation materials.

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contributed by Jodi Kearns

Can a board game save your life?

The Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection is a gift that keeps on giving. While digitizing the collection, I noticed order forms with vague descriptions and testimonials for three therapeutic games by the Kimm Company on the back covers of some 1977 and 1978 issues of Human Behavior.

The Ungame (for ages 8 to 108) with its tagline “Tell it like it is” suggests that by playing, you can give your friends a better understanding about who you are. “Can a game save a life? Prevent a bad marriage? Bring a father and son closer together?” Well, the publishers do not promise these results in every case, but claim to have received “cards, letters and even phone calls on a daily basis which prove The Ungame can and has improved the quality of life for thousands of people.” Do favors and give compliments and say what you really feel.

The Ungame Advertisement 1970s

Roll-a-Role (for ages 8 to 108) claims to be “A Life-Changing Experience!” that is entertaining, enlightening, non-competitive, and non-threatening. It’s a game of communication, dramatization, and improvisation by becoming new people and acting out situations rolled by the dice prompts and a talk topic.

Roll-a-Role Advertisement 1970s

Social Security (for ages 6 to 106) is about “getting along with people” by sharing opinions, hopes, humor, and dreams. Its disclaimer indicates no affiliation to a government program, but that playing the game offers a tax-free path to being socially secure. Players can visit places on the board like the Dynamite Solutions Juice Bar and the Feelings Fruitstand. Play this game for a “revelation in expression.”

Social Security Advertisement 1970s

Social Security Advertisement 1970s

People who have recently played these 1970s therapy games rank them between 1½ and 2½ stars out of 10 on boardgamegeek.com. You can’t win ‘em all, (so I guess it’s appropriate that these games of therapy are designed to have no losers.)

The CCHP would be pleased to archive your copies of these Kimm Company games. Kimm Company was a Division of Manson Western Corporation in Los Angeles, California. Please contact us at ahap@uakron.edu to initiate the donation process.

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Contributed by Leah Schmidt.

During Summer 2013, Leah worked at the CHP for her culminating experience to earn her MLIS from Kent State University School of Library and Information Science. She graduates in Fall 2013.

I spent time with the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, during the summer of 2013, as a Kent State MLIS student completing a Culminating Experience Project. Admittedly, the idea of unpacking, sorting, inventorying, indexing, and re-housing 1,367 magazines was initially a little intimidating. However, once I started to unpack and sort the psychology magazines, I began to really appreciate and enjoy the experience.

Popular Psychology magazine organization and rehousing

Popular Psychology magazine organization and rehousing

After about 100 hours, I finished rehousing the collection, according to archival standards, and the finding aid and collection are now available for use by patrons of the Center for the History of Psychology.

Popular Psychology magazines processed and rehoused

Popular Psychology magazines processed and rehoused

I was and remain amazed at the extensiveness of Dr. Benjamin’s collection. The magazines date from the late nineteenth century through the twenty-first century, and the range of titles is astounding. I was also surprised at who I found among the contributing authors, such as Sherwood Anderson, James S. Coleman, and Jonathan Kozol.

My favorite find, in the collection, is a series of four comic books from 1955, Psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis, 1955

Psychoanalysis, 1955

The artwork on the covers of many of the magazines is fascinating. To me, the cover art is not only beautiful, but it is also a reflection of the social, cultural, and economic climate of the period.  As I went through the magazines, I thought that a study of the collection’s cover art would make an outstanding research project.

Why, 1954 Psychology Today, 1978 Personality, 1928 Character Reading, 1936

Why, 1954
Psychology Today, 1978
Personality, 1928
Character Reading, 1936

While working with the collection, I came up with an idea for an assignment for a course I teach for Kent State, Education in a Democratic Society. The complete assignment will be available as part of the online exhibit that I am developing for the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection. My students have already begun to work with articles they selected from a shortlist I provided from this collection, and the feedback has been positive.

Finally, Shelley Blundell, a Kent State Doctoral Student from the College of Communication and Information, approached me about co-presenting at the October 2013 ALAO conference. We met and discussed our ideas, and Shelley put together an outstanding proposal. The proposal was accepted and we will soon be presenting our ideas about archival literacy in the round table discussion “Using Collaborative Strategies to Meet Common Core Primary Resource Requirements.”

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-Contributed by Cathy Faye.

The CHP received a couple pretty great gems today from historian of psychology, Benjamin Harris. The first is a comic about John Watson’s Little Albert study.

Albert front coverThe author describes innate and learned fear responses and gives an illustrated interpretation of Watson’s study.

Little Albert inner pageThe second item is a graphic novella, written in Italian and titled Six Degrees of Separation. The novella opens with a description of Milgram’s small world studies.

Six Degrees of Separation cover

Both were created by comic artist, Dr. Matteo Farinella. Farinella, who has a PhD in neuroscience, combines comics with science, resulting in a rather novel form of science communication. Farinella also recently teamed up with neuroscientist Hana Ros to create Neurocomic, a graphic novel that, according to the authors “takes the reader on an exciting and visually captivating adventure through the brain, populated by quirky creatures and famous neuroscientists.”

These two items will be added to the CHP Special Interest collection. You can view the Little Albert comic and the first four pages of the graphic novella (in English) online at Farinella’s blog.

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-Contributed by Shelley Blundell

Last semester, Kent State doctoral student Shelley Blundell spent each Thursday at the CHP working with the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine collection. Her work involved creating a long-term preservation and digitization plan for the collection. Shelley also got a chance to gain more insight on the collection by interviewing Dr. Benjamin.

Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. is a collector.  In fact, he prizes collecting so much that he believes it may be some kind of gene in his biological make-up.  Beginning with the standard “collection” fare of coins and stamps as a youngster, he later moved on to items germane to the field of psychology, where he made his academic and professional home.  In particular, as he was concluding his graduate studies in the 1970s, he became a collector of old psychology books, and spent a great amount of time scouring used book stores for them.  It was in these same stores that he began to amass what would later become the amazing (and purely accidental, he related) “Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine collection,” which is now housed at the Center for the History of Psychology.

The collection contains around 1,590 items at present and keeps growing, as Ben continues to collect magazines to later add to the collection.  Some magazines are older (as old as the late 1800s), some are “wiser” in terms of the content discussed while some are “fluffier,” and others create a great understanding for the ebb and flow of the societal tide during the 20th Century.  Ben believes that the biggest value of the collection lies in its function as a cultural snapshot of U.S. social history, particularly during the 1920s and the 1930s (when popular psychology became a very—well—popular topic).

Many of the magazines in the collection are visually and intellectually appealing and cover content as diverse as parenting, “fringe” sexual behavior, depression, aging, grief, stress, and relationships. Titles include Mesmeric Magazine, Success: The New Psychology Magazine, and The Psychogram: A Magazine of Christian and Practical Psychology.

CurrentPsychinPics_Oct_1937_Cover

Cover of a 1937 issue of Current Psychology in Pictures.

CurrentPsychinPics_Oct_1937_TofC

Table of Contents, Current Psychology in Pictures.

Herald of Psychology page1

Article in a 1922 issue of Herald of Psychology.

Ben believes that as much as “Honey Boo Boo” may inform future generations about early 21st Century social history, so too will these magazines provide valuable information on America’s social development over time.  However, let’s hope future scholars of social history think more highly of the history of psychology than they do of “Honey Boo Boo!”

I learned a great deal about popular psychology and U.S. culture through my Thursdays with Ben, and I’m sure you will find something of interest and/or value in the collection as well.

Listen to an excerpt from my interview with Ben here.

Browse titles from the collection here.

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-Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

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

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

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

Hollingworth_M3_SwissWatchAds_watermarked

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

Vineland_M921_JewelCaseNotes_watermarked

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

Cook_M2324_NAACP_watermarked

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

Lewin_WartimeFoodHabits_M2938_watermarked

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

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

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

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-Contributed by Cathy Faye.

Yesterday, we posted a visual quiz to the CHP facebook page, showing the image below and asking the pressing question: what is it?

I know, I know…the suspense has been killing you! Well, here’s the short answer: It is a technical manual on arithmetic, issued by the U. S. Army on May 14, 1943.

Now here’s the longer (dare I say, more interesting!) answer. Manuals like this were designed for recruits with below average reading, writing, and math skills. Without extra instruction, such recruits were deemed unfit for basic military training. Instead of being turned away, they were sent to Special Training Units, where they received basic educational instruction to get them up to speed in these areas. Recruits would first pass through a “Reception Center”, where they received their clothing, inoculations, primary classification interviews,  and a basic orientation to Army life.  Then, those that were deemed unfit due to subpar academic skills were transferred to Special Training Units.

At the Special Training Units, instructors used manuals and quizzes like this to improve recruits’ skills. Notice the reference to “Private Pete?” He was a recurring character throughout the learning materials. The manuals are full of really interesting images, which makes sense; they were designed to be rich with visual aids, since the majority of these recruits were categorized as having below-average reading skills.

Between June, 1943 and October, 1944, more than 180,000 recruits were sent to such Units. Training usually lasted about 8 weeks and those still deemed unfit at the end were honorably discharged. The success rate was about 85%. Here are some sample induction rates:

 

Interested in seeing more? The entire manual is available here in the CHP Digital Repository. Be sure to follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss these fascinating finds. Or, if you have the time and the inkling, go hunting through our vast collections yourself!

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