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Posts Tagged ‘Archives of the History of American Psychology’

-contributed by Lizette Royer Barton, Emily Gainer, Rhonda Rinehart.

October is American Archives Month.  We thought this would be the perfect opportunity for you to “Meet the Archivists” at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology!

Lizette Royer Barton, Reference Archivist

What is your name? What do you do at the CCHP? I’m Lizette Royer Barton and I am the CCHP Reference Archivist. I spend my time helping researchers both on and off-site, creating and leading hands-on archival projects with visiting students, and going down the archival research rabbit hole.

How long have you worked at the CCHP? 14 years

How did you get started in your archives career? I took Dave Baker’s History of Psychology course as a UA psychology undergrad and began working as a student assistant in the archives. When I wasn’t accepted to a graduate program in psychology, Dave offered me a part-time job in the archives.  I discovered that archives and history were way cooler than biopsychology so I decided to go to library school instead. Upon receiving my MLIS I accepted a full-time position with the CCHP as the reference archivist.

What is your favorite part about working in the archives? Making new discoveries is always fun and I love engaging students on-site with the hands-on archival projects we create. My all-time favorite thing is probably the moment that a researcher finds something that really excites them. I love when someone gasps, stands up, claps, cheers, or runs over to my office to share their discovery (all of those things have happened in the reading room).

Describe the archives in 3 words: Content-rich, Accessible, Resourceful

 

Emily Gainer, Assistant Processing Archivist / Special Collections Cataloger

What is your name? What do you do at the CCHP? I’m Emily Gainer, and I’m the Assistant Processing Archivist/Special Collections Cataloger at the CCHP.  I spend about 70% of my time working on the archival collections, 20% cataloging books, and 10% managing the CCHP social media accounts.

How long have you worked at the CCHP? About 7 years.

How did you get started in your archives career? I started working in an archives when I graduated high school as a summer job.  I continued this summer job while getting an undergraduate degree in history.  Then, I earned an M.A. in Public History and completed 2 internships working in archives.  During my last semester of grad school, I was hired full time in an academic archives.  While working as an archivist, I also continued my education and earned an MLIS.  Including my student employment, internships, and professional experience, I’ve been working in archives for more than half my life!  I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your favorite part about working in the archives? I love, love, love working with historical documents.  My favorite part of my job is starting to process a collection and opening the boxes for the first time to discover what’s inside.  That feeling of discovery never goes away!  It may take many months to finish organizing and preserving the collection to get it ready for researchers to use, but that initial step is exciting.

Describe the archives in 3 words: Collaborative, Educational, Active

Rhonda Rinehart, Manager, Special Collections

What is your name? What do you do at the CCHP?  Rhonda Rinehart – Manager, Special Collections

I babysit the collections, and it can be a lot of work!  As any babysitter can tell you, kids are temperamental, and archival collections are no different.  They need love (proper care and handling); they need discipline (have you ever tried straightening out a panoramic photograph?); sometimes they lose things and I have to find them (“What happened to that folder of newsletters from 1979?”); I have to make sure they stay focused (finding aids need updated to give researchers the best idea of what our collections are all about); and as any parent/archivist knows, they need space to spread their wings (collections can be like growing teenagers – never enough room) with just enough supervision to eventually stand on their own (hello, processing!).

What all those metaphors really mean is that I make the information within our archival collections accessible to researchers and other people interested in what makes them special.  This is mostly done through processing, cataloging, teaching, and collections management.

How long have you worked at the CCHP? Since June 2005 when I transitioned from being a practicum student to a full-time, real-life archivist!

How did you get started in your archives career? By not knowing where I wanted my library career to go.  I didn’t know what area of librarianship I wanted to pursue, so Kent State University’s Special Collections and Archives department made the decision for me.  I had applied for a student assistant job there, and was called in for an interview.  They hired me on the spot, and it was such a great real-world experience that I decided to extend my time in the MLIS program at Kent from one year to two, and focus on archival work.  It was the best preparation I could have had for my job at CCHP.

What is your favorite part about working in the archives? I love figuring out mysteries from collections, and putting the pieces together to make the collection whole and ready for research.

Describe the archives in 3 words. History, Knowledge, Power.

 

Rhonda, Emily, & Lizette – just another day in the archives!

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– 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!

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

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– contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Recently the CCHP served as host for the 50th anniversary conference of everyone’s favorite international society for the history of the behavioral and social sciences – Cheiron. It was a pleasure to have so many great historians here in Akron and I figured since we’d have them in town we might as well share what we are doing in regards to archival education and instruction here at the Cummings Center. Thankfully the committee accepted my submission and they put me on the program.

We host visiting classes at the Center from the University of Akron and around the country. And we offer a variety of hands-on archival projects and activities – namely document analysis exercises. So even for a room full of historians I started with the basics.

I annotated the scanned letter below in order to draw attention to some of things we want the students to notice and I waxed poetic about just how much we can get from a single document.

 

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Abraham Maslow papers, box M4495, folder 3

Just look at this gem of a letter between Ross and Abe! It’s got all my document analysis favorites – it’s missing last names, it provides societal context (The Goodyear Rubber strikes), it references someone who eventually changed their name (Krechevsky aka David Krech), it mentions the very beginnings of an unnamed psychological society (SPSSI), and it provides information on what both the receiver and writer of the letter were working on at the time (anthropology, fascist attitudes, and social psychology).

Next up – analyzing a photograph.

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Walter and Catharine Cox Miles papers, box V43, folder “Yale”

We discussed challenges associated with analyzing photographs. And we discussed issues specific to this image including how to interpret handwriting and what had been written by the owner of the image (names and dates) and what had been added later by other parties (M1199.16 is the box number from which his photograph came).

After all this talk it was time to let the Cheironians do some analyzing of their own so I reused a project we created for a UA sociology professor and her Social Inequalities class.

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David Grant papers, boxes M1023 and M1024

I distributed redacted, but unannotated copies of each of these two letters to the Cheironians and asked them to work in groups to complete a document analysis sheet. The analysis sheet first asks participants to list adjectives used to describe each candidate followed by questions including, “What do you notice about the similarities and differences in the language used to describe each candidate?”; “What might account for the differences?”‘ and “What if this same language was used in reference letters in 2018?”

I gave the groups about 15 minutes or so to work and and just like when we worked with the UA students on this project we had a great discussion! The historians had all kinds of theories. It was excellent!

For our last group project I distributed copies of Operations of the Government Hospital for the Insane (1857) – the second annual report of the first government asylum in the United States that would become known as St. Elizabeth’s – and another analysis sheet. This was a riff on a project we created for another UA sociology professor’s Sociology of Health and Illness class.

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Look at all these Cheironians doing history! So awesome!

The analysis sheet asked participants to locate illnesses and conditions for which patients were hospitalized. It asked participants to determine if the language describing any of the illnesses had changed over time and how similar illnesses or conditions would be described and treated today. The sheet also asked participants to look for costs associated with the running of the hospital and statistics regarding patients. And finally, “What did you find out from this document about mental health and mental health treatments you had not already known?”

Whew! What a discussion! It was excellent.

I think the coolest part was that so many people asked poignant questions regarding the history of mental health care in American and state hospitals. I took that as an opportunity to point out that while I didn’t know the answers to the majority of their question these are exactly the kinds of questions a project like this should evoke and it’s why we often let visiting instructors lead the discussion. We at the Cummings Center are experts in access but the instructors we work with are the content experts. That’s why we make such a great team!

The best part of this activity was that I was able to share with the Cheironians they could do this one with their own students since we are actively working on upload our entire collection of Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports to our digital repository in full-text as downloadable PDFs. Woohoo!

Cheiron was such a great time and I was so pleased to be able to share the educational work we do at the Cummings Center with such an engaged and supportive group. If you’re interested in learning more about the projects discussed here and/or working together to create an archival project please contact us at ahap@uakon.edu.

 

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contributed by Anthony Pankuch and Arianna Iliff. Anthony is an undergraduate student assistant, and Arianna is a graduate student assistant at the CCHP.

Last Monday, the World Health Organization released an early version of the upcoming ICD-11 to the public, the first major revision of the organization’s health and disease guidelines in 18 years. Included in this edition are two victories for the LGBTQ community: the removal of gender identity disorder and the reclassification of gender incongruence, alterations made with the expressed intent of destigmatizing the lives of transgender and non-binary individuals.

This change comes five years after the removal of the gender identity disorder diagnosis from the DSM, a similar diagnostic manual utilized exclusively within the United States. Traditionally, the DSM has followed in the footsteps of the ICD, changing to reflect the latter publication’s broader directions. So why has this dynamic seemingly been reversed with the subject of gender identity?

The DSM-I, shown in an exhibit at the National Museum of Psychology. This first edition, published in 1952, categorized homosexuality as a “sexual deviation” and a “sociopathic personality disturbance.”

Diagnoses of homosexuality and gender identity first appeared in the ICD in 1948 and 1965, respectively. Both homosexuality and “transvestitism,” as it was then labeled, were categorized as sexual deviances. Their inclusion validated purported “cures” for homosexuality and gender non-conformance, including drug and electroshock therapies, castration, and lobotomy.

Popular psychology magazines such as “Sexology” sought to find both causes and cures for the “deviation” of homosexuality. Source: Ludy T. Benjamin Popular Psychology Magazine Collection.

The DSM-II, published in 1968, followed with matching diagnoses. However, with the rise of gay and transgender activism in the United States (remembered notably through the 1969 Stonewall Riots), the American publication became embroiled in controversy. A major protest against the American Psychiatric Association in 1970, combined with the efforts of researchers like Evelyn Hooker (1907-1996), led to a 1973 revision of the DSM-II and the gradual removal of homosexual diagnoses in the following decades.

Since then, the DSM has tended to be one step ahead of the ICD in diagnosing sexuality and gender identity. Psychology is a science of immense societal implications and an agent of social change, given its ability to classify and often stigmatize entire livelihoods. Even today, following the release of the ICD-11, activists have expressed a desire for further changes to the diagnosis of gender incongruence. The shifting nature of the DSM’s outlook on LGBTQ identities reminds us of this human element to psychology. The science, built upon a desire to better understand our human nature, continues to thrive not just through lab methods, but also through engagement with a diverse range of human perspectives.

The National Museum of Psychology features a unique exhibit on researcher Evelyn Hooker and the evolving diagnosis of homosexuality within the DSM.

This is the first in a series of blogs regarding the relationship between sexuality, gender identity, and psychology. Watch this space for additional posts.

Citations:

Branson, Helen Kitchen. “Can we prevent HOMOSEXUAL DEVELOPMENT?” Sexology, Nov. 1954, 245.

Drescher, Jack. “Queer diagnoses revisited: The past and future of homosexuality and gender diagnoses in DSM and ICD.” International Review of Psychiatry, vol. 27, no. 5, 2015, pp. 386-395. http://ezproxy.uakron.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2016-08809-004&site=ehost-live

Herek, Gregory M. “Sexual Orientation Differences as Deficits: Science and Stigma in the History of American Psychology.” Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 5, no. 6, 2010, 693-699. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/41613587.pdf

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-contributed by Emily Gainer.

The Victor D. Sanua papers are open for research! The collections of 135 boxes showcases Sanua’s variety of research interests. Sanua was a clinical psychologist who focused on cross-cultural issues of mental health.  Research topics included in the collection are: cross-cultural studies of mental illness; schizophrenia; autism; Jewish communities and Jews of Egypt; and prescription privileges. Documents in the collection include correspondence, administrative files, research files, written works, and photographs.

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Victor D. Sanua papers, Box M6359, Folder 1

Victor D. Sanua (1920-2009) was born in Egypt and attended American University at Cairo, graduating with two bachelor’s degrees in Social Sciences and Education in 1945 and 1947, respectively. He immigrated to the United States in 1950. Sanua continued his education at Michigan State University where he received his master’s degree in experimental psychology in 1953 and a doctorate in clinical psychology in 1956, with a minor in sociology and anthropology. Throughout his career, Sanua studied Jewish communities, including Egyptian Jews, and worked to preserve his family history as Jews of Egypt.

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Sanua at the International Council of Psychologists meeting, 1994. Box M6490, Folder 32.

Sanua started his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Social Relations (1958-1960). He also pursued post-graduate studies at New York’s Bellevue Hospital and New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical School. He also served as Director of Research at the Associated Young Men’s and Young Women’s Hebrew Association of Greater New York from 1960-1965.

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Sanua at a meeting of the Interamerican Society of Psychology (SIP), 1995. Box M6492, Folder 2.

Sanua was an associate professor at Yeshiva University in the School of Social Work and the School of Education (1960-1967). He then served a a professor at the City College of the City University of New York (1967-1976) and the Adelphi University School of Social Work (1976-1980). Finally, he was a professor of psychology at St. John’s University (1980-1990) and a research professor from 1990 until his death in 2009.

 

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contributed by reference archivist and mother – Lizette R. Barton 

One of my favorite things about working with archival collections is that I get a glimpse into the personal lives of the psychologists whose papers we house. Everyday I see reminders of real life – personal notes and letters, journals,  family photos and home videos.

Catharine Cox Miles (1890-1984) was a “supermom” well before that term even existed.

A student of Lewis Terman at Stanford, Catharine Cox earned her PhD in 1925 and her dissertation, focused on the assignment of IQ estimates of several hundred prominent figures who lived prior to IQ testing, was published in 1926 as the second volume in Terman’s Genetic Studies of Genius series. While working as Terman’s research assistant in 1927 she met Walter R. Miles (a widower).  They were married that same year and Catharine Cox Miles became the stepmother of three teenagers.

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Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, V57

In 1928 Catharine and Walter welcomed a daughter and a portrait of Catharine as a mother is preserved through a folder of personal letters between Walter and Catharine during their daughter Anna’s first year. Three cheers for (relatively) complete archival manuscript collections!

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Tomorrow is her birthday, 7 months. Thank thee, dear husband, for making me so happy and giving me this precious little person. [WR & CC Miles papers, M1129.25, folder 1]

The Miles family moved east in 1930 as Walter took a sabbatical from Stanford at the Institute of Human Relations at Yale. Catharine took a position in the Institute as well. The letter below is one of several seeking day care options for their young daughter. As a mother of a recent preschool reject myself, I appreciated the multiple letters and name dropping. Looks like some things never change.

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Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1123, folder 10

The Miles’s went back to Stanford but eventually returned to Yale in 1932 as Walter took a position at the Institute and Catharine accepted a professorship.

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Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1104, folder 1

While at Yale, Catharine continued work on a Masculinity-Femininity scale she had started with Lewis Terman at Stanford and in 1936 they published “Sex and Personality.”

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Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, M1104, folder 1

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1936 was a good year! Walter R. and Catharine Cox Miles papers, V55, folder 15

Catharine and Walter both retired from Yale in 1953. They traveled to Istanbul where Walter taught for several years and later returned to the United States to settle in Connecticut. Catharine Cox Miles died on October 11, 1984.

Catharine Cox Miles was a clinical psychologist, a professor, and a researcher. She is known for her work in intelligence and aging and the assessment of femininity-masculinity. She traveled the world.

And she managed all that while being a mom to four children. Happy Mother’s Day Catharine Cox Miles. I salute you.

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Walter and Catharine Cox Miles papers, V57

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– contributed by Kate Gray.

Kate describes the process of designing, researching, and installing an exhibition to fulfill course requirement for 1900:302 Foundations in Museums & Archives II. 

The concept of time has baffled the greatest minds in human history, while timekeeping devices originally left the students of Museums and Archives II equally bewildered. When beginning work on this exhibition, we were each given about seven or eight time pieces from the Cummings Center’s collections.

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The artifacts varied greatly in the background information already provided on them. Some of us had a manufacturer, date, and specific classification of the instrument. Others received pieces simply classified as “timers.” At times, this made research very difficult. However, all of us were up to the challenge.

We began by combing over the Cummings Center’s archives for any information on the pieces, manufacturers, or individuals who created them. Once we compiled that material, we then moved on to outside databases to supplement our findings. Our main goals were to track down what psychological experiments these time pieces were used in and who used them. When visiting the exhibit, you will learn about the time pieces themselves, the individuals who created them, and the psychologists who use them in their work.

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After discovering the desired information, we then moved on to planning how to display the time pieces and data. We debated artifact groupings, the objects’ placements, exhibit colors, and which display cases to use.

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As I write this blog, we are on the homestretch for this exhibit. We have already begun the to install the exhibition, finalize the displays, and have confirmed our color scheme. Through this experience, we learned about  the immense planning that goes into creating a museum exhibit. Everything from the font size to the display case choice impacts the success of the exhibition. This project led us on a challenging yet rewarding journey through time.

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Please Join Us for:

The Test of Time: Chronometry in 19th and 20th Century Psychological Laboratories

Opening reception:

  • May 10, 2018 from 2:30-4:30pm
  • Free admission for the opening event

After the opening reception, the exhibit will be open during regular hours of the National Museum of Psychology beginning June 28.  This temporary exhibit will be open June 28 through September 2018.

Location:

  • Gallery C / RDWY First Floor
  • Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology
  • The University of Akron
  •  Roadway Building
  • 73 S. College Street
  • Akron, OH 44325-4302

Contact: ihsc@uakron.edu; 330-972-7285

For More Information go to http://www.uakron.edu/chp/education/student-exhibit

Program info: This project fulfills the requirements for students in 1900:302, Foundations of Museums and Archives II at the Institute for Human Science and Culture.  Contact Dr. Jodi Kearns jkearns@uakron.edu for information about the Museums and Archives certificate program.

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