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Archive for the ‘Special Interest’ Category

 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

Browsing the contents of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, one is likely to come across some eyebrow raising titles and headlines from throughout the 20th century. The contents of the collection range from field standard publications like Psychology Today to the long-running Fate magazine, which featured parapsychological phenomena and headlines like “The Severed Head Spoke“. Yet as a queer person interested in the history of psychology and the LGBTQ+ community, the collection provides a fascinating opportunity to explore how LGBTQ+ individuals understood and sought to express their identities in relation to dominant psychological ideologies.

Article headline titled "A Lesbian Speaks Her Mind: An inside account of the feminine side of the female homosexual." Black and white photograph shows a woman placing a hand on another woman's shoulder.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 33, No. 3, October 1966, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

If you’re familiar with the broad strokes of psychology’s historical relationship to the LGBTQ+ community, you likely know that prior to the 1970s there was little opportunity for the open expression of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities within the mental health fields. As explored by works like Henry L. Minton’s Departing From Deviance and the CCHP’s online exhibit A Clockwork Lavender, LGBTQ+ identities were viewed as disorders to be cured rather than legitimate expressions of human diversity.

Yet in popular sexology magazines, articles featuring the firsthand testimony and perspectives of LGBTQ+ individuals were not altogether uncommon prior to the 1970s. In an era when criminalization, medicalization, and inhumane treatment of LGBTQ+ identity was common in the U.S. and abroad, individuals were able to use the space in magazines to advocate (often anonymously) for their own humanity. An early example of this sort of article appeared in the September, 1934 issue of Sex: Sane Sex Standards:

Article excerpt titled “An Interview with An Invert” by Kemit Riedner. Excerpt text included below.
Sex: Sane Sex Standards, Vol. 4, No. 3, September 1934, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

After hearing my case, can you safely say that I have committed any crime by acting in a way that to me is normal? If God created us any different from other people. He must have had a purpose in my view, and I think that the inverts of the world will join me in asking that we be given a chance to live as He sees fit to create us. We do not appreciate the efforts His usurpers have spent in improvising on His handiwork.

In this article, author Kemit Riedner interviewed an “intelligent, educated man” who identified himself as an “invert” (a common sexological term for homosexuality at that time). In the excerpt above, the anonymous man challenges the idea that homosexuality is abnormal or worthy of criminal status. The last portion of this excerpt, in particular, seems targeted at those who sought to “cure” LGBTQ+ identities through conversation therapies.

By the 1960s, articles of this nature had begun to appear regularly in Sexology magazine, which was founded in 1933 and paired sensational headlines and occasionally scandalous imagery with educational articles on a wide variety of topics. Take for instance this 1967 article from the pseudonymous “Rod Chase”:

Article excerpt titled "Inner Thoughts of a Homosexual: Autobiographical notes of a young man's experiences with the "straight" world" by Rod Chase. Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 33, No. 11, June 1967, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

I see sad homosexuals in gay bars and the only thing comparable is sad heterosexuals in normal bars. I see many unhappy heterosexuals, many unhappy marriages. Look at the divorce rate! Look at the wretched destructive marriages! But from this I do not conclude that heterosexuality is an illness.

On the other hand, in spite of prejudice, there are many homosexuals who are free human beings and who have capacity for love. They are creative and not sorry for themselves. They are never considered when doctors write about homosexuality.

Sexology provided LGBTQ+ contributors and interview subjects an opportunity to speak out emphatically to an audience that was, by nature of the magazine’s existence, likely to be sympathetic or at least open to the diversity of human sexual experiences. In this way, it followed in the footsteps of early sexology researchers like Havelock Ellis and Richard von Krafft-Ebing. As explained by Henry L. Minton in Departing From Deviance, “for many homosexual research participants, the research process became a proactive vehicle for changing public opinion and constructing more empathic and realistic understandings of homosexuality.” Though this research may have still contributed to pathological understandings of queer identity, research participants were able to exercise agency through their participation and testimony.

Article excerpt titled "Why I became a Lesbian" by "E. N." Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 31, No. 8, March 1965, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

What went ‘wrong’ with me? From my point of view, nothing. When I was 19 and a college student, I met a girl nearly my own age with whom I developed an intense friendship. We were happy only when we were together and miserable when we were apart. As soon as we were able to earn our own livings we went to live together and enjoyed our first serious physical contacts. We have loved one another ever since.

It wasn’t just gay and lesbian writers who wrote to Sexology. Transgender contributors were featured, as in the August 1960 issue:

Article excerpt titled "'Sex Change' Operation: The difficult and costly ordeal of surgery is not an 'open sesame' to happiness for the 'female in a male body.'" by Lana. Photo depicts a transgender woman seated in a long flowing dress. Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 27, No. 1, August 1960, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

Many of us, who feel that we are ‘females in a male body,’ are willing to pay whatever price is necessary. For many like myself, the surgery offers an opportunity to emerge from a world of shadow in which there is no possibility of happiness.

Although we cannot bear children, we are as much female as any man could wish, physically and emotionally. Doctors declare us to be women, and the law allows us to become so legally.

Let us hope that, in time, an understanding public will also sympathetically accept us as such.

Despite the ominous introduction—”surgery is not an ‘open sesame’ to happiness”—the article focused on physical recuperation and societal prejudice rather than any sort of psychological distress associated with trans identity, and Lana described herself as having “absolutely no regrets” for pursuing life as a transgender woman. This open and positive tone toward transgender identity makes sense for Sexology; for decades the magazine’s Board of Medical and Sexological Consultants included Dr. Harry Benjamin, a pioneer in gender-affirming surgery for transgender people, who wrote the introduction to Christine Jorgensen’s autobiography.

I’ll leave you with one more article, contributed by Lorynca Rome, from November, 1950:

Article excerpt titled "I'm Glad I'm a Homosexual!" Excerpt text included below.
Sexology magazine, Vol. 17, No. 4, November 1950, from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

I do not feel as if my mind were ‘sick or diseased.’ I do not feel repressed or frustrated nor emotionally starved, nor that I am any of the terrible things that homosexuals are supposed to be. And yet, things have not always been as perfect in my life as I have longed them to be—perhaps they never will be. But I have no regrets, for I have had some of the happiest of moments—days—years. And I am glad that I was born a homosexual!

Through these articles, LGBTQ+ contributors challenged the dominant narrative that queer life was abnormal and unfulfilling. They expressed themselves as individuals comfortable in their identities and without shame. They were, in a very literal sense, celebrating Pride.

Browse the finding aid to the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection.

Explore more materials on the history of LGBTQ+ psychology from the Cummings Center.


References

Jorgensen, C. (1967). Christine Jorgensen: personal autobiography. P. S. Eriksson.

Minton, H. L. (2010). Departing from deviance. University of Chicago Press.

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~ contributed by Nicole Orchosky based on her Capstone project for completion of the Museums & Archives Studies certificate. Know Thyself serves as an intro to an online exhibition Nicole has also prepared.

Toward the end of the 1700s, a young Franz Joseph Gall sat in a schoolroom and glanced around at his fellow classmates. Gall caught on to a trend that fascinated him–he noticed that the students with excellent memorization skills often had prominent eyes and large foreheads. This discovery led Gall to hypothesize that the physical structure of one’s head may correspond to one’s personality traits in consistent and predictable ways. As Gall grew older he began to lecture on the subject, he expanded his theory into the science of phrenology, which quickly gained traction in Europe before spreading overseas to America by way of Gall’s own student Johann Kaspar Spurzheim [1]. 

Franz Joseph Gall, credited as the creator of phrenology.
Image credit: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Franz Joseph Gall 1758-1828).” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 25 Nov. 2016.

Phrenology, now considered pseudoscience, was widely popular in the 19th century among the general public as a way to make sense of human behavior. Middle class Americans were drawn to phrenology as one may be drawn to the predictions of astrological horoscope. They took comfort in the notion that something as unpredictable and subjective as the human psyche could now be quantified by a series of cranial measurements. The skull was divided into regions called “organs,” and the physical measurement of an organ would determine if you exhibited more or less of the personality trait corresponding to that organ. Gall theorized that the more developed the trait, the larger the organ, and the larger a protrusion it formed in the skull [1].

Phrenological bust from Fowler and Wells’ Phrenological Cabinet showing the “organs” of the brain and labelled with corresponding characteristics. Visit the National Museum of Psychology to see a phrenological bust up close.
Image credit: National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Phrenology, By L. N. Fowler.” Smithsonian Learning Lab. 29 Jan. 2020. Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. 06 Dec. 2020.

As soon as brothers Orson and Lorenzo Fowler learned of the theory from visiting lecturer Spurzheim, they turned Phrenology into their life’s passion and joined with fellow phrenological enthusiast Samuel R. Wells to establish America’s most prominent phrenological hub, The Phrenological Cabinet in New York City [2]. The storefront functioned as a museum, medical office, and publishing house all in one. Busts, both real and replica skulls, and phrenological diagrams and literature were displayed and sold here. Anyone could walk in and have their own skull measured and examined to gain a better sense of self as well as discover ways in which they could correct their negative behaviors. Magazines like The Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated were published and distributed here, including writings by the Fowlers themselves, who spent much of their time lecturing about their theories all over the country.

Samuel R. Wells, Charlotte Fowler Wells, and Lorenzo N. Fowler stand in the doorway of S.R. Wells & Co., The Phrenological Cabinet, with two other men.
Image credit: Fowler and Wells families papers, #97. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

While the Fowlers gallivanted around America on lengthy lecture tours, who was left to take care of the family business? Samuel R. Wells oversaw the publishing side of The Phrenological Cabinet, but it was primarily the three men’s wives who took on the managerial and sometimes medical responsibilities within the office. Phrenology allowed women a sense of autonomy by allowing them a better understanding of their own mind and body, and for many women phrenology was a socially acceptable entry point to begin to seek out scientific knowledge.  Abigail Fowler-Chumos, wife of Orson Fowler, became “Orson’s business manager, property manager, publisher, and phrenologist-in-training” [3]. Charlotte Fowler Wells, wife of Samuel Wells and sister to the Fowlers, “was the firm’s longstanding and highly respected business manager” and was even known as the “Mother of Phrenology” [3]. Lydia Fowler Wells, wife of Lorenzo Fowler, “was the second woman to receive an M.D. in the USA, after [British] Elizabeth Blackwell,” making her the first American woman to receive an M.D. [4]. When it came to the business of phrenology, middle-class American women were not only the number one consumers; they ran the show. 

Lydia Folger Fowler, M. D, was the first American female doctor of medicine. She was also the first female professor at an American medical college.
Image credit: “The Late Mrs. Lydia F. Fowler, M. D.” Wheaton College, c. 1880. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lydia_Folger_Fowler.jpg#metadata

During the Civil War, women stepped up to run their households in their husbands’ absences. Women were not about to let go of their newfound autonomy during the following Gilded Age, and phrenology was one of the earliest scientific fields in which women could practice and participate. You would be surprised to learn how progressive the Fowlers were as they “combined the business of phrenology with the work of reform, linking the science to temperance, dress reform, diet reform, water-cure and women’s rights” [4]. 

You can learn more about phrenology and women’s role in the field in the “Know Thyself” virtual exhibition.

Thirteen complete issues of The Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated are now available as digital editions of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection.

Sources Used:

  1. Morse, Minna Scherlinder. “Facing a Bumpy History,” Smithsonian Magazine, 1997 Oct. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/facing-a-bumpy-history-144497373/
  2. “Orson S. Fowler,” The Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated, Vol. 84-85, pp. 196-198. 
  3. Lilleleht, Erica. “‘Assuming the Privilege’ of Bridging Divides,” History of Psychology, vol. 18, no. 4, 2015, pp. 414-432.
  4. Bittel, Carla. “Woman, Know Thyself: Producing and Using Phrenological Knowledge in 19th-Century America,” Centaurus, 19 April 2014, pp. 104-130.

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 contributed by Tony Pankuch.

What kind of reader are you? Are you the type who enjoys psychological quizzes and assessments? Are you a seeker of personal introspection in the form of multiple choice, “Yes or No” style questions? Or do you find these exercises to be a trivial bore? Read on to discover whether you fit the profile of a personality test aficionado!

Today, most of us have taken some form of personality assessment. The Myers-Briggs Test is one popular example of this, sorting people into one of 16 psychological categories based on the theories of Carl Jung. Other examples can be found all over the internet; consider the multiple choice “Which developmental psychologist are you?”-style quizzes that you might see shared on social media.

This sort of testing has its roots in the early 20th century, and one of the early enthusiasts of the format was William Moulton Marston, a psychologist best known for his lie detector prototype and the creation of Wonder Woman, the popular DC Comics superhero. A regular contributor to popular psychology magazines, Marston created a number of tests and self-assessments for recognizing personal defects and psychological “types.”

Let’s take a look at a few. First up, how shy are you? Follow the instructions for “The ? Test” and find your score, from 0 (most shy) to 100 (most outgoing, presumably).

To test yourself, answer the following questions prepared by William Moulton Marston., distinguished psychologist, educator, and author. Each question may be answered in three different ways. If your answer is an unqualified "No", score yourself 10 for that question. If it is "Yes", score 0. If it is "Sometimes", score 5. When several examples of the same type of shyness are included in one question, you may score yourself separately on each example, then average those part-scores together to get your complete score for the question. To arrive at your total score for the test, simply add the ten question scores.
If you want to know what impression you make on other people get your friends to score for you. 
1. Do you dread meeting people for the first time, attending parties or other social functions, or making calls on comparative strangers?
2. Do you hate to ask favors of people, to ask for a	job or a raise in pay, or to ask strangers to direct you when traveling?
3. Do you look enviously at a group of people who are laughing and talking together without making any effort to join them, and do you feel awkward and tongue-tied when you are a member of such a group?
4. Do you hesitate to return articles that you have bought just because they are not just right, and does it make you feel small to insist upon the salesperson giving you exactly what you want?
5. Are you afraid of policemen, lawyer's letters, prominent people, or your superiors in business?
6. Are you afraid of what barbers, manicurists, or waiters may be thinking about you?
7. When you express an opinion or idea, and someone says authoritatively that you are wrong, do you thereupon believe your own ideas worthless?
8. Do you make misplays in golf, bridge, or any favorite game when you know people are watching you?
9. Do you agree politely with opinions contrary to your own in order to avoid an argument?
10. Do you let acquaintances or business associates impose upon you rather than take them to task and insist upon your rights?
1913. J. Gustav White papers, Test Center

What was your score? Are you feeling confident in your personality? If not, maybe the Inferiority Detection Test will help you to understand why.

Answer the following questions frankly: this test is worthless unless you do. You must acknowledge, at least, the symptoms of your favorite inferiorities before you can begin to play the exciting game of defeating them. 
1. Do you privately resent or despise some business superior?
2. Do you avoid social contacts with some person, or group of people, who have, in your opinion, more money or social standing than you possess?
3. Do you frequently belittle a successful person mentioned in conversation or in news reports?
4. Do you often feel rage or hatred against individuals with whose political principles you disagree?
5. Are you convinced that the opposite sex has more faults and weaknesses than your own?
6. Are you intolerant of any religious or racial group to which you do not belong?
7. Do you resent the success of another person in your own field of endeavor who has educational standing which you lack, or who lacks educational training which you possess?
8. If you're a girl or wife, do you flare up spitefully and critically against women who interest the man you love?
9. If you're a man, do you resent feminine heart-flutter­ing over male movie stars, fiction heroes or attractive men in your own social set?
10. Do you feel that the world or people in it are unjust to you, that you aren't getting a fair chance in life?
Your Personality magazine, Fall 1944, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

According to Marston’s ratings, identifying 5-7 of these inferiorities in yourself should serve as a “warning,” while holding 8 or more is a sign that “your personality situation is precarious.” If you’re feeling like you need to take action, you might consider pursuing some of Marston’s “Suggestions for Self-Changing Practice” (featuring another short set of tests).

1. Observe these danger signals: Are you so filled with hatred and fear of marauding, map-changing nations that you are unable to concentrate upon the necessary changes to be made in our own national life? 
Do you associate and converse mostly with people whose opinions agree with yours? 
Do you rise and go to bed every day at the same time, eat the same things for breakfast and generally let the clock control you? 
Do you believe that your salary should be raised for staying in the same, unchanging job a long time? 
Do you avoid reading, radio and conversation on topics you are not in the habit of thinking about? 
2. If the above tests show your personality is ossifying, begin limbering up your character as follows: Change all your physical habits for a week and repeat the prescription once a month. Rise earlier or later, eat different meals, walk if you usually ride or vice versa, alter every item on your daily schedule which lies within your power to 'change. 
Expose yourself to new ideas. Buy a different newspaper, read unaccustomed books, attend lectures and hold conversations on subjects totally foreign to your present mental habits. 
Adapt socially to unfamiliar people. Invite new acquaintances to the house, share sports with new companions, make a card index of everybody you know and see a different person on your list every week. 
Do new work. Volunteer at the office to help on work in advance of your own. Do some business studying, reading, take some courses. 
Change your home attitudes. Give your wife or husband a treat they have always wanted but never had; visit some new place every day; let each member of the family, on Sunday morning, prescribe something for another member to do which he or she has not done for a month or more; spend one evening a week, in suitable domestic seclusion, without clothes.
Your Life magazine, September 1940, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

Some of these suggestions may feel a bit outdated, unless you’re a big fan of card indexes. Alternatively, you might be eager for some more definitive personality “types,” rather than vague psychological weaknesses. In that case, you’re in luck.

Type D 
1. If your way through the woods were blocked by a bramble patch, would you force your way through rather than detour half a mile?
2. Would you rather be a prominent person in Skeedunk than a little known individual in New York City?
3. When you start a thing do you pride yourself on finishing it?
4. Would you break the string on a bundle, if you could do so easily, rather than go for scissors?
5. Do you get tired of hearing about much-publicized people and feel an impulse to belittle them? 
6. When someone says a thing is impossible do you want to do it?
7. If you fell going down hill on skis, would you want to try that hill again immediately?
(Alternative: If a closet containing something you want immediately were locked and the key lost, would you break the door open?) 

Type C:
1. Do you obey "Keep Off the Grass" signs? 
2. Do you like to make careful preparations before beginning a task? 
3. Would you rather keep a purchase that is slightly defective than go back and argue about it with the store clerk?
4. Would you wear an unbecoming hat, because it was stylish?
5. Would you rather keep your job at your present salary than risk it by asking for a raise?
6. Would you give in to a child rather than endure his temper tantrums?
7. Would you rather live in a less commodious house in a fashionable neighborhood, than in a more adequate one "across the tracks?"
(Alternative: If your boss wanted you to do something in a way you believed inefficient, would you do it without protest?)
Your Life magazine, September 1939, Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection

This is Part One of Marston’s test to reveal “Your True Self.” Your answers above will reveal whether you are Dominant, Compliant, or Desireful.

  • If you answered “yes” to more of the “Type D” questions, you are a Dominant personality type–an independent master of your own fate. Marston writes that the “surest way to get you interested in something is to tell you it can’t be done.”
  • If you answered “yes” to more of the “Type C” questions, you are a Compliant personality type–timid and cautious. According to Marston, you “prefer security to prestige and safety to triumph.”
  • Lastly, if you answered “yes” to an equal number of both question types, you have a Desireful personality. Marston suggests that “your purposes in life should contain a happy blending of dominance and compliance.” He goes on to argue that those occupying this category have a blend of qualities suited to overcome most any obstacle in life.

Interestingly, two of these categories mirror Marston’s “DISC” model of behavioral expression, which sorted behaviors into four categories: Dominance, Inducement, Submission, and Compliance. DISC theory would later be adapted into a form of personality assessment, but not by Marston. The DISC model was used for personnel selection by industrial psychologist Walter V. Clarke, who slightly altered the four categories to describe four personality factors that he observed in his own studies.

So how are you feeling? Have you learned anything about yourself? Personality psychology has changed considerably since Marston’s popular work. Today, the APA recognizes personality assessment as a proficiency in professional psychology that involves “empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles.” Regardless, anecdotal tests like these, popularized by Marston in magazines, can be a fun way to pass time and think a little bit deeper about our personalities. They can help us to better understand how we and our friends function in our social environment.

Just don’t take them too seriously!

Citations:

Scullard, M., & Baum, D. (2015). Everything DiSC Manual (pp. 185–187). Wiley.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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

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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.

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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.”

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Woman & Man (1971)

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

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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

 

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*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.

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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.

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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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