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Posts Tagged ‘history of psychology’

contributed by Allan Christopher, Amanda Leach, Sarah Riddle, M. Rose Stull (students in the Museums & Archives Certificate Program).

The Marianne Simmel papers consist of the primary research, patient files, correspondence and publications of psychologist Dr. Marianne Simmel, as well as her work/research with the performers Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin.

Picture of Dr. Marianne Simmel in Paris, Early 1950’s. Located in Box M6613, Folder 11.

The primary focus of her research was the phantom limb phenomenon, and she also dabbled in cognitive neuropsychology. Her work with phantom limbs focused on adults and children with neurological defects. Amputations were a large focus, and she also did work with mastectomy patients. She explored animacy and the human instinct for storytelling, which led to an extensive collection following the work of Charlie Chaplin and Marcel Marceau.

Dr. Simmel, pictured second from left, conducting research at the University of Illinois. Located in Box M6613, Folder 11.

Dr. Simmel’s work with phantom limbs included various tests meant to induce/test sensation where the missing body part once was, such as experiments with heat and cold.

Sample of test sheets Dr. Simmel gave to her patients. Located in Box M6613, Folder 7.

She corresponded with Dr. Jean Piaget, a renowned child psychologist of the time. Much of this correspondence is  in French and, considering she was born in Germany, it is reasonable to assume she was trilingual.

Simmel also published several studies on the phantom limb phenomena, including the physical and psychological effects on patients of various circumstances and health conditions. One of the ways Simmel did this was by studying the human capacity for symbolic art form, particularly by working with performers Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin. She would often go on tour with Marceau, giving lectures after his initial performance in order to make her point.

Playbill featuring Marcel Marceau. Located in Box M6630, Folder 3.

While going through her research files, we also found representations of the Homunculus, which shows the relative extent of symmetric motor and sensory representation in the cerebral cortex.

Blind Child (Fig. 1), An Example of Bad Art (Fig. II) and Homunculus (Fig. III).

To learn more about the contents of this collection, view the finding aid. You can view the collection in person at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, located in Akron, Ohio.

The processing of this archival collection fulfilled requirements for students enrolled in the course Foundations of Museums and Archives, I.

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– contributed by Lizette R. Barton, reference archivist & facial hair aficionado.

Movember is a charitable organization that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention. One way they raise money is by encouraging men to enlist donations from friends and families as they grow moustaches throughout the month of November. It’s like a walkathon or a telethon. It’s a facial-hair-athon.

The Movember Foundation isn’t supporting this post or anything. But it’s a good reason as any to highlight some of the truly majestic moustaches from psychology’s history. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Alfred Binet. The O.G. of intelligence testing. Check out that twirly moustache. I bet it has an intelligence quotient of at least 140.

Alfred Binet, CCHP Still Images collection

Genius moustache with near-genius accompanying beard!

 

Wikipedia tells me Floyd H. Allport, “…played a key role in the creation of social psychology as a legitimate field of behavioral science.” Whoa. Serious stuff from a serious ‘stache.

This individualistic moustache is a social force all its own

 

Check out Raymond Dodge’s moustache. Even that gigantic model brain on his Wesleyan University desk looks tiny in comparison.

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This is where I tell you Dodge was the mentor of my historical boyfriend Walter R. Miles. Miles was clean-shaven. I won’t hold that against him.

 

Speaking of Raymond Dodge, take a look at all the moustaches in his 1896 class at  the University of Halle.

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Old school moustaches. And plenty of them.

 

And more new school – check out the amazing goatees on these two 1979-1980 Nassau County Psychological Association executive board members.

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Goatee AND pinstripes? Get outta here!

 

And as long as we’re kickin’ it (more…)

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– contributed by CCHP graduate assistant Arianna Iliff.

Most of my coworkers here at the CCHP know that I am an animal lover, and that I’ll gladly show you pictures of my cats, Star and Nimbus, if you let me. In fact, I featured my favorite item in the collection in a previous blog post—a chalk drawing created by Molly Harrower portraying her own dearly adored cats. I do not always know why my pets do what they do—why they love playing with leaves but can’t hunt a stinkbug, for instance–which is why I am grateful for the work of John Paul Scott, an animal behaviorist who studied a variety of creatures, including goats, sheep, birds, and dogs.

In the collection, there is a huge variety of materials from Scott’s career, including his famous text Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog. Scott also maintained connections with a variety of breeding clubs for breeds such as the doberman, the yorkie, or the unique little creature called the telomian—considered to be a link between a basenji and a wild dingo. One article described these dogs as “The Missing Link With The Worried Look.”

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Who’s a scholastically relevant boy? Is it you? It’s you! Good boy!

You can also find memos and correspondence discussing new puppies and answering questions of dog behavior.

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“A spoiled, lovable, useless pet.” What more could a dog lover want?

Scott died in 2000 and was described with honor by Bowling Green State University. His relative obscurity to the mainstream is curious, given that so much of what we know about dog behavior is derived from his research. If nothing else, we certainly have a vast collection to speak of, with Scott’s wide-reaching discussions of animal psychology. Now, if only I could figure out why Nimbus is obsessed with my yoga mat?

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A four-month-old telomian. The reverse of this photo indicates her name is “Princess.” Precious!

 

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-contributed by student assistant Anthony Pankuch.

The complete Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports is now available through the Cummings Center online database. The collection includes over 400 reports from asylums throughout 32 U.S. states and dating back to as early as 1832. These reports are open to the public and viewable in their entirety.

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Reports cover asylums across 32 states, reflecting treatment practices in all regions of the United States.

These reports contain financial records, floor plans, patient intake statistics, and day-to-day details from asylums throughout the nation. They provide information on the historic classifications of diseases and their treatment, from melancholy to mania to nostalgia. They are a vital resource for scholars of institutional care throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as for anyone with an interest in the history of psychology, psychiatry, and medicine.

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Many reports include illustrations of the interiors and exteriors of these institutions, along with floor plans and architectural information.

Of particular interest are the reports of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, which were written by the noted physician Dr. Thomas Kirkbride. Kirkbride was the founder of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (precursor to the modern American Psychiatric Association) and the creator of the “Kirkbride Plan” of asylum architecture. Kirkbride served as superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane from 1840 to 1883. The collection contains 18 reports from Kirkbride’s time as head of the institution.

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Reports include information on the primary staff members of institutions, patient statistics, and more.

The collection was donated as a permanent loan to the Cummings Center from the Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University, facilitated by Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. It was digitized and uploaded to the online database over the course of one year by student assistants Emma Grosjean and Anthony Pankuch. Excluded from the online database are several reports still in need of archival repair. Aside from these documents, the complete collection is now available for public access.

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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 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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