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Posts Tagged ‘child development’

Contributed by Jillian Phipps, Pennie Fordham, and Katherine Gray.

Have you ever wondered where the idea that positive actions should be rewarded came from? Have you ever wondered where the concept of bad behavior being its own punishment came from? If so, then check out the Sidney Bijou papers, which are now available for research at the CCHP.

Sidney Bijou (1908-2009) was a psychologist who specialized in child psychology, behaviorism, and studies on autism. Many of Bijou’s studies showed that encouraging good behavior led to more good behavior, more so than when bad behavior was punished. Bijou traveled all over the world to give symposiums on his research.

Sidney Bijou towards the start of his career, undated. From box M6303, Folder 6

 

Sidney Bijou later in his career, undated. From box M6303, Folder 6

 

Name badge from the Portage Conference in Hiroshima in 1998. From box M6292, Folder 9

Some of Bijou’s major works include Behavior Analysis of Child Development (1993) and Childhood Development: The Basic Stage of Early Childhood (1976).   He contributed to other works, such as New Directions in Behavior Development and Behavior Modification: Contributions to Education, both with Emilio Ribes-Inesta.

The Sidney Bijou papers include his academic works, from when he was in college as a student to when he was teaching as a professor; his research files for his written works; manuscripts of the written works themselves; reference files that show what he was working on year to year; and biographical information on his career that he compiled himself. His papers contain 13 boxes of archival materials. These files contain most of his work in child psychology, behaviorism, and autism research.

Of special note in Bijou’s files is his work on effective teaching and treatment methods for autistic children (1990-1998). In these files, Bijou has different curricula, class designs, and possible ways to assist autistic children in integrating into the public school system.

Example of the worksheets Bijou used to assess how well schools were integrating autistic children. From box M6293, Folder 7.

 

The processing of this archival collection fulfilled requirements for students enrolled in the course Foundations of Museums and Archives I and was generously sponsored by the EX[L] Center at the University of Akron.

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– contributed by Lizette Royer Barton

The Cummings Center’s second installment of the 5 Minute History Lesson focuses on the life and career of Dr. Ruth Winifred Howard (1900-1997).

Dr. Robert V. Guthrie‘s (1976) Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology introduced many of us to Dr. Ruth Howard via a brief two-page biography. Lucky for all of us, during his early research, Dr. Guthrie was able to track down Dr. Howard and interview her for his book.

He called information and asked for a Chicago listing for A. S. Beckham (her husband was psychologist Albert S. Beckham). He dialed the number and Dr. Ruth Howard picked up the phone. They spoke for nearly an hour and Dr. Guthrie recorded the entire interview.

“Lo and behold I received a number; I couldn’t believe it.” 

The phone interview is one of just a handful of known original artifacts for Dr. Ruth W. Howard. She speaks candidly with Dr. Guthrie about her upbringing in Washington DC and her quest toward a doctorate in psychology that took her to numerous universities until she finally earned her Ph.D. in psychology in 1934 from the University of Minnesota. They discussed her work in private practice alongside her husband Dr. Albert S. Beckham as well as her independent work within the Chicago mental health community following his death in 1964.

Throughout the early part of the interview Dr. Guthrie repeatedly referred to her as Dr. or Mrs. Beckham. Finally after roughly 20 minutes she had enough.

“I would appreciate it if you could call me Dr. Ruth Howard….”

Gladly, Dr. Howard. Gladly.

See the 5 Minute History Lesson series on youtube.

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– contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

This month’s selection is by Rhonda Rinehart, Manager of Special Collections.

BOOK: Better Living Booklets for Parents and Teachers: Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets, Published by Science Research Associates, Inc./Grolier, New York

Among CHP’s thousands of books, you will find tucked between larger, more prominent volumes, a smattering of thin, nearly undetectable booklets on parenting and child development.  Written by various authors for the Better Living Booklets series produced by the Science Research Associates, Inc. throughout the 1940s and 1950s, these booklets focus mainly on advising adults and caregivers on helping children adjust to the many social situations they will encounter on the road to adulthood.  Many more were also written specifically for children and adolescents to help them understand feelings they may be experiencing as they grow up and preparing them for decisions they will need to make as they adjust to becoming adults.  And still a few were written with the idea of helping adults understand themselves and their life situations.  Authors include child psychologist Mary Louise Northway; children’s author Doris Gates; essayist Sidonie M. Gruenberg; education specialist Ruth Strang; and novelist Hilda Sidney Krech.

As tools for comparison, these booklets offer a wealth of ideas and attitudes that can help us place psychology within its historical context.  Although many of the ideas portrayed in these booklets would certainly be considered outmoded, all of the topics are still relevant today.  Learning, development, feelings and emotions, relationships, and social issues are all topics that are discussed and written about today.  How we have come to understand these topics culturally, socially and professionally, is very different from attitudes in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Cover images of Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets

Cover images of Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets

The historical context in which these booklets were written places them firmly within an era that was beginning to see changes that would guide movements of the 1960s and 1970s.  Sex and gender roles, both common topics of these booklets, were steeped in traditional thinking about men and women, but the fact that these subjects were beginning to be discussed at all rather than the common practice of hiding them away indicates changing attitudes about these often-considered taboo subjects.

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Not every idea presented in this series is completely outmoded or naive, however.  Consider modern views about popularity, managing money, and educational testing and it could be argued that though our culture and society have changed in attitude about these topics, is it necessarily an improved, advanced or “better” one?

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As with any of the materials at the CHP, studying these booklets can allow us to see where we’ve been, compare where we are now and hopefully help us learn for the future.

The entire catalog list of Better Living Booklets titles available at the CHP can be viewed here:  http://tinyurl.com/mguwwgx

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