Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Special Interest’ Category

 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.

Read Full Post »

contributed by CCHP graduate assistant Arianna Iliff.

Conference season is upon us, and between all the seminars, workshops, forums, keynotes, poster sessions, and opportunities for continuing education credit, psychologists like to have fun too. Today, in honor of National Anti-Boredom month, we explore some gems from the AHAP special interest collection, specifically from a variety of professional conference programs.

Professional conferences offer not only educational presentations for psychologists, but also opportunities to network and socialize with fellow professionals. For some, the big annual conference of their favorite organization might be the only time during the year that they get to meet up with particular friends and colleagues. Even in 1967, conference planners with the Tri-State Group Psychotherapy Society were responsive to this with various social activities.

SpecialInterest_GroupPsychotherapyMisc_TriStateGroupPsy1967_editedwatermarked

 

Sometimes, this looks like a simple “social hour,” for others, this might be a coffee-and-donuts session or other informal gathering.

American Psychological Society

The organization Association for Psychological Science, formerly the American Psychological Society, is known for its focus on the advancement of quality research and good scientific practice in psychology. However, their ability to create conferences with a breadth of interesting activities is also worth mentioning. In 1992, a two-part film festival with topics relevant to psychology was part of the conference activities.

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_1992cover_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_1992filmfest1_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_1992filmfest2_editedwatermarked.jpg

In 2003, APS took advantage of Atlanta’s great zoo, offering the opportunity to “hang out with your friends (human and animal alike),” which I imagine is a nod to the animal behaviorists among them.

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_2003cover_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_APS2003_p66_editedwatermarked

The year 2004 offered a chance to enjoy comedy at Chicago’s Second City.

SpecialInterest_APSConferencePrograms_2004cover_editedwatermarked

 SpecialInterest_APS_2004convention_p12_editedwatermarked

The Association for Behavior Analysis

The psychologists of the ABA, or currently the ABAI, are evidently a lighthearted bunch. Two conference programs show evidence of fantastic entertainment. The 1979 conference dedicated several program events to fun activities: the “behavioral boogie,” a mini-marathon, a performing arts talent show with a focus on behavioral science, and even a banquet with two key figures in behaviorism! I can only imagine the kind of academic fandom that participants felt. What I wouldn’t do to meet some of my professional idols!

SpecialInterest_ABAConferencePrograms_1979cover_editedwatermarked.jpg

SpecialInterest_ABAConferencePrograms_1979p18-19_editedwatermarked.jpg

Their 1990 conference in Nashville included a grand dance and banquet featuring a Grammy-winning country-western artist. Like APS, they chose to take advantage of the spirit of their conference location. Additionally, when pulling this program from our collection, you can find a ticket to Jacksonville State University’s after-dinner hospitality suite—very fancy.

SpecialInterest_ABAConferencePrograms_1990cover_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_ABAConferencePrograms_1990p107-108_editedwatermarkedjpg

SpecialInterest_ABAConferencePrograms_1990hospticket_editedwatermarked

 

Clinical Hypnotism

When I found these materials, I showed our Digital Projects Manager, Dr. Jodi Kearns. When I expressed my amusement at the fun activities available to clinical hypnotists, she quipped, “they know how to relax.” Clearly! The 1975 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis dedicates a full page of their program to enjoying the sights during their Seattle-based proceedings. With a luncheon at a waterfall, a Seattle harbor cruise, a dinner theater event that includes “kosher turkey,” a champagne brunch at the Space Needle, and a glamorous party that includes dancing until “____”. Anyone knows that when the invitation puts a blank space where the end time should be, it’s going to be a good time. The art on the front page of the program accurately describes these events: “Great! Useful! Worthwhile! Timely!”

SpecialInterest_Div30NonAPAPromoCon_AmPsyClinHypnosis75_frontpage_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_Div30NonAPAPromoCon_AmPsyClinHypnosis75_events_editedwatermarked

As the pièce de résistance, let’s end our exploration of conference fun here: at the Seminars for Hypnosis cruise. With a full itinerary of academic and fun activities both in and out of port, participants had access to the whole of the ship. I’ve heard it whispered that some people treat conferences like their vacations, but it seems that Seminars for Hypnosis didn’t even try to hide it.

SpecialInterest_Div30NonAPAPromoCon_SeminarsforHyp_cover_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_Div30NonAPAPromoCon_SeminarsforHyp_itinerary_editedwatermarked

SpecialInterest_Div30NonAPAPromoCon_SeminarsforHyp_scenery_editedwatermarked

 So for those of you headed to conferences this summer and fall, I wish you easy travel, good knowledge, and great fun!

Read Full Post »

In 1968, Joe South sang “Oh the games people play now.  Every night and every day now.  Never meaning what they say now.  Never saying what they mean.” The Sixties was a vibrant and volatile decade, often called a decade of ‘promise and heartbreak.’  It featured a greatly expanded public interest in psychology, with popular psychology manifested in a host of new magazines, books, movies, and television shows that focused on the fascination with human behavior.  The decade also ushered in a new generation of psychological games: board games and party games.  These games promised to reveal hidden personality traits, to help players get in touch with their “true selves,” to expose prejudices, to enhance empathy, and to reward psychological strategies in solving problems.  There was the “Group Therapy” game, released in 1969 that helped players “open up, get in touch, feel free.”  And there was “Insight” which appeared in 1967, a game intended to reveal a person’s personality.

At the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron, one of our jobs is to preserve the historical records of psychology for scholars and others who want to understand psychology in all of its forms.  To that end we are working to build a collection of these psychological games.  One of our blogs in January 2015 described three psychology games from the 1970s and asked for individuals who might own those games to consider donating them to the Center.  Alas we have not received any of those.  From a search of ebay listings over the past several years we know that at least 50 psychology games have been marketed in the past century, and the actual number may be much higher than that.  The oldest psychology game we have identified is a game that features palm reading that was released in 1919.  We have this game in our collection (see photo).  But this is the ONLY such game, thus it is a very small “collection” to say the least.

hand

Psychology of the Hand, 1919

Here are a few of the other games out there that we hope to acquire:

 

Person-Alysis is a game from 1957 that uses inkblots similar to those in the Rorschach Test to reveal a person’s personality.  There are perhaps a dozen games on the market that use inkblots in this way.

personalysis

Person-Alysis, 1957

There is the Woman & Man game from 1971 that explores gender differences in a board game that allows men and women to stay in their gender roles or to switch so that “men can learn what it is like to be a ‘mere female,’ to compete in a world that caters to men.  And women will get a taste of male supremacy, and compete in the sweet certainty that the world is made in a male image.”

womanman

Woman & Man (1971)

And there is Psychologizer from 1987 “for the people watcher in all of us.”

psychologizer

Psychologizer, 1987

So perhaps you are preparing to clean out your attic or just reduce some clutter.  If your cleaning leads you to discover such games, we would welcome them as additions.

Or, if you’re interested in making a charitable donation, some psychology games are available for purchase on ebay. You can have them sent directly to us at Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, The University of Akron, 73 S. College Street, Akron, Ohio, 44325-4302. You can contact us at ahap@uakron.edu.

Here is a list of psychology games we have identified.

  • 1919    Psychology of the Hand
  • 1937    50 Million Faces
  • 1942    Profiles
  • 1957    Guys and Gals
  • 1957    Person Alysis
  • 1957    React-O
  • 1967    Insight
  • 1969    Group Therapy
  • 1969    The Robot Game
  • 1970    Body Talk
  • 1970    Blacks and Whites
  • 1970    The Cities Game
  • 1971    Perception
  • 1971    Psych Out
  • 1971    Society Today
  • 1971    Woman Man
  • 1972    The Feel Wheel
  • 1972    The Ungame
  • 1976    Roll-a-Role
  • 1976    Social Security
  • 1978    Bonkers
  • 1979    Gone Bananas
  • 1981    Assert with Love
  • 1986    Stress Attack
  • 1986    Therapy – The Game
  • 1987    Ink Blotz
  • 1987    Psychologizer
  • 1987    PSI – Psychology, Slander, Intuition
  • 1990    True Colors
  • 1993    Imagine
  • 1998    Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
  • 1998    Rorshock
  • 2000    Think Blot
  • 2004    Dr. Playwell’s Anger Control Games
  • 2004    Psychobox – A Box of Psychological Games
  • 2012    Psych-a-Doodle
  • 2012    Psychopoly
  • 2013    Therapy Flashcards
  • 2015    Better Me
  • 2015    Doodle Therapy
  • (no date) Mindfulness Matters
  • (no date) Mixed Emotions

 

Read Full Post »

*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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.”

Read Full Post »

-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.

Read Full Post »

-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.

Read Full Post »

-Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

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

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

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

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!

120

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

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

Read Full Post »

-Contributed by 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!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »