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Archive for the ‘Stories from the Stacks’ Category

– contributed by Chelsea Chamberlin, Doctoral Candidate, University of Pennsylvania.

CCHP: Dates of on-site research visit at CCHP:

CC: June 25, 2018 – July 13, 2018

CCHP: What led you to the CCHP?

CC: Having completed my comprehensive exams in the spring, the CCHP was my first big research trip for my dissertation. I first learned about the archives in Akron from the citations in Paul McReynolds’s biography of Lightner Witmer while writing a research paper in my first year. A quick search of their catalog revealed they had the papers of so many people I knew would appear in my dissertation! Little did I know that McReynolds would provide even more exciting information in the archive itself.

CCHP: What were you looking for and why?

CC: The CCHP has the personal collections of a number of psychologists who are important figures in my dissertation, among them Henry Herbert Goddard, J.E. Wallace Wallin, and Leta Stetter Hollingworth. Although I had read some of these psychologists’ published works, I was hoping that their collections would hold more insight into their day-to-day lives, and especially how their professional and personal lives intersected with each other.

CCHP: What did you find?

CC: These collections did not disappoint. I gained a much better understanding of each of these psychologists’ ideologies, personalities, and personal and professional networks.

The person I feel I got to know best was J.E. Wallace Wallin. Very little has been written about Wallin; his reputation as an educational psychologist celebrates the sheer number of diagnostic clinics and “special school” systems that he established throughout the US. His correspondence, though, indicates that this accomplishment was no intentional plan of Wallin’s, but rather a consequence of his quite cantankerous personality. He was rarely happy where he was, and the people around him were rarely happy either. And so, he shuffled about the country from position to position, looking for administrators who wouldn’t infuriate him and the reputation he felt he deserved. This isolation and discontent, I suspect, helped him speak out against the spread of and reliance on intelligence testing, despite the fact that testing’s founder and advocate, H.H. Goddard, was one of his mentors. Indeed, Goddard and Wallin corresponded regularly, though often with frustration as Wallin complained and Goddard told him to sit tight and suck it up. Perhaps my favorite find was a line in a letter when Goddard finally lost his temper, writing: “The fact is, Wallin, there are several points of resemblance between you and a jack-ass.” Quite a surprise coming from the otherwise mild-mannered Quaker!

CCHP: Were there any fun, interesting, or unexpected surprises?

CC: This question brings me back to Paul McReynolds, whose papers are also held at the CCHP. These papers are mostly the physical manifestations of his research method for the Witmer biography. They not only provided an enlightening (for me) look at how one did research before the internet age, they also revealed a separate collection that had not been accessed in over a decade, and which had not shown up in my catalog searches. Lightner Witmer founded the nation’s first Psychological Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania in 1896, and in his research McReynolds had accessed the records of that clinic. The records had been placed on microfilm and sent to the CCHP, and the originals at Penn destroyed. A letter between McReynolds and John Popplestone, the founder and then-director of the archives, mentioned this microfilm. I showed the letter to Lizette Barton, who set upon a search and found the microfilm! These case records can shed light on some of the central questions of my project: What motivated parents to bring a child to a clinic? How did they narrate their child’s perceived disability? What factors shaped the diagnoses and treatment recommendations given, and how did parents implement or ignore those recommendations?

CCHP: Any let downs? 

CC: The microfilm raised new and important ethical questions. These clinic records contain the lives of real people, and because visitors were often young children, some of them may still be alive. Archivists are stewards of not only paper records, but the lives and dignity of the people contained within them. Historians, too, are responsible for honoring the lives and personhood of our subjects, and this means respecting their privacy as much as we can. For me, this duty is magnified by the nature of how my subjects entered the historical record: as often involuntary patients, as children, many of whom were institutionalized. The let down, then, was discovering that the records exist, and then deciding with the archivists that these ethical considerations meant I could not look at them–yet.

CCHP: What’s next?

CC: Because the names of these patients must be protected, the CCHP is working to find out how the records can be duplicated and redacted. This way, these valuable sources can be accessed, not only by me, but by other researchers as well, while keeping identifiable information out of the public record.

CCHP: Have any final thoughts?

CC: I want to thank the CCHP, especially Lizette Barton and Arianna Iliff. Three weeks is a long time to spend in one archive, and they pulled an absurd number of boxes without complaint. Lizette shouldered the task of finding the microfilm, unearthing it’s provenance (where it came from), and determining how to balance privacy with access. All the staff at the CCHP were welcoming and helpful–even loaning me a bike so I could explore Akron and commute to the archive each day! And they did all of this immediately after hosting a conference, a daunting and exhausting tasks. Thank you!

ChelseaChamberlin2018_WM

Chelsea working in the reading room during her visit – summer 2018

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Contributed by Stacy Young, University of Akron student/CCHP Student Assistant.

CCHP: What led you to us?

SY: I previously attended the Museums and Archives class that is offered by the University of Akron and the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

CCHP: What were you looking for and why?

SY: We were assigned to go through contentDM and browse through the artifacts. We were then to choose four artifacts that we liked the best. One of the objects that I chose was titled “Unidentified”, but it was part of the Walter Miles collection. I was hoping that within searching his collection I would come across documentation pertaining to the object.

CCHP: What did you find?

SY: Searching the collection I came across a diary that Walter Miles kept. Within this diary, there was a chapter that dated to the exact date that was located on the tag of my artifact.

Diary page from the Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1160, Folder 2.

Diary page from the Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1160, Folder 2.

 

CCHP: Were there any fun, interesting, or unexpected surprises?

SY: The diary gave interesting information that not only pertained to the day, but also to the artifact. In the chapter Miles stated that he was sending a piece of the object back to Rudolph due to it being dull. With further research I was able to find out that during the 1930s O.C. Rudolph was not only an inventor, but creating and manufacturing polarimeters here in the United States. By researching the polarimeters and comparing it to the artifact I have found that my artifact was constructed similar to O.C. Rudolph’s polarimeter and the manufactures mark is located on top of the artifacts case.

CCHP: What’s next?

SY: The next step I took was bringing all of my research to my peers, Dr. Kearns, and Fran who were as excited about the find as I was. My peers and I were able to include all of the research that was obtained into our exhibit. Since then Dr. Kearns and Emily have informed me that the contentDM will be changed from reading “Unidentified” to reading “Polarimeter”.

CCHP: Any other thoughts?

SY: Although researching the object was an assignment for our project, it was extremely exiting to find and I encourage everyone that is able to include research from an archives to do so. Being able to do research at an archives not only gives you an opportunity to have primary sources of information, but it also gives you an opportunity to observe the object yourself.

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Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Every day researchers gather materials from the archives to tell all kinds of different stories. The stories don’t all make it into academic publications and in fact many are not destined for publication anyways – some research is just for funsies!

As the reference archivist here at the Cummings Center I get to hear these stories and some are so great I share them with the rest of the staff. This got us thinking that maybe all of you would like to hear some of these great stories, so we’re starting a new series to highlight the Stories from the Stacks.

Stories from the Stacks Vol. I: Searching for Molly. 

Michael F. Vogel, M.S.Ed. – CAGS is a self-employed financial trader and former mentee of psychologist Molly Harrower.

CCHP: What led you to us?

MFV: Trying to locate Molly Harrower’s  home/office in New York city.

CCHP: What were you looking for and why?

MFV: Molly’s street address on New York’s upper east side. I like to visit the sites where great psychology happened.

CCHP: What did you find?

MFV: I found it and discovered that Woody Allen is currently living there!

[Reference Archivist note: I located a piece of Molly Harrower’s letterhead, scanned it, and sent it to Michael as proof of her address.]

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Molly Harrower papers, box M842, folder “Misc. 1”

CCHP: Were there any fun, interesting, or unexpected surprises?

MFV: Yes!  Woody Allen could have known Molly and possibly was her patient!

CCHP: Any let downs?

MFV: None.

CCHP: What’s next?

MFV: A return to Orgonon –  Wilhelm Reich’s  home/office/observatory in Rangeley Maine.  I have been there many times.

CCHP: Any other thoughts?

MFV: Pilgrimages to the locations where the master practitioners of psychology  practiced keeps them alive within oneself.  I was once the Director of Psychology Services in the Pediatric rehabilitation hospital where Dr. Jonas Salk developed the Polio Vaccine.  Three (3) Months into this position I learned from the Hospital Administrator that my office was Dr. Salk’s Office !!!  I met him several times when he would return.  He lives within me (as does his original vaccine).   This is probably why I enjoy my pilgrimages.

[Reference Archivist note: CCHP houses the  Lee Salk papers – brother to Jonas Salk!]

mollys-house

Michael paying tribute to his mentor Molly Harrower and keeping her alive in his heart at 118 East 70th St.

 

 

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