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Posts Tagged ‘history of psychology’

  • contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Dr. David B. Baker, Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology, is retiring.

Let’s recap shall we?

Dave came to The University of Akron in 1999 to take over as the director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology when founding director Dr. John Popplestone retired. At that time the archives, AHAP as it was known, was housed in the basement of an old department store, the Polsky Building. No world class reading room. No National Museum of Psychology. No hands-on museums and archives certificate program for students. No online History of Psychology course.

Heck, there weren’t even windows.

But the artifacts and the manuscript collections were there and Dave’s vision was there. And in his 21 years at The University of Akron, Dr. David Baker was able to turn his vision for the archives into a reality.

Dave’s dedication, leadership, and relentless fundraising efforts produced the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology – a world-renowned archival research center and home to the Institute for Human Science and Culture and the National Museum of Psychology

Dr. David B. Baker’s legacy is secure.

And sure, professional success and accolades are wonderful. But what really counts in life is whether a person is kind, honest, genuine, and a friend. And Dave was all those things, and more, to so many. A mentor, a colleague, a professor, a friend, a boss, a golf buddy. Dave is the real deal and we sure are going to miss him.

We asked many of his close friends and colleagues to record a short video to thank Dave and wish him well on his retirement. As you can see from the resulting video, a lot of people are going to miss him.

All that’s left for Dave to do now is ride – or boat – off into the sunset.

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

If you read my last blog, Go with the Flo!, you’ll remember that I’m working backwards and highlighting the first five women presidents of the American Psychological Association for a series of blogs in honor of Women’s History Month.

Up next, Leona Tyler.

Check out this wonderful letter Edna Heidbreder sent to Tyler congratulating her on her election to APA President in 1971 (Tyler served as president in 1973).

Leona Tyler papers, box M415, folder 2

I confess that there is enough of the old-fashioned feminist in me to account for some of my pleasure, but not all of it! It is a satisfaction to know that your widely and highly respected contributions to the field have been recognized in this way.

Leona Tyler (1906-1993) is most well known for her work in counseling psychology and her research on individual differences and development. She did her graduate work at the University of Minnesota under Donald G. Paterson and her dissertation, an extension of research done for her master’s thesis, focused on the development of interests in adolescent girls.

Leona Tyler papers, box M412, folder “Written Works”

Most of us associate interest inventories with Edward K. Strong and the Strong Vocational Interest Inventory (SVI). The SVI was first published in 1927 – just for dudes – and an inventory for women wasn’t published until 1933.

Interestingly, higher level occupations weren’t included on the women’s version and women who seemed to lean more towards those occupations were simply given the men’s scale.

Like Leona.

Leona Tyler papers, box M415, folder 17

The best part is the little handwritten note at the bottom. Check this out.

“This norm is the male norm, there is no female norm.”

Well if that doesn’t just wrap up women’s history month in a nutshell!

As I went through Tyler’s papers I found so much good stuff.

Like this address she delivered in 1970 titled, “Counseling Girls and Women in the Year 2000.”

Leona Tyler papers, box M410, folder “Counseling Girls and Women”

One of the traits that most consistently shows up as feminine in research studies…is sensitivity to people….The main reason I should like to see greater equality of representation of women in politics and diplomacy is that I think these fields could use an infusion of this quality. If a larger proportion of the people in high level government positions were people who knew how to think about human individuals in all their concreteness rather than just as abstractions…I think we would all be better off.

Word, Leona Tyler. WORD!

And I love how she ends the talk. That last line works in all kinds of situations, “Let’s start right now.”

“Counseling Girls and Women in the Year 2000”

The right we must insist on above all others is the right to contribute….This is what counseling is all about, in 1970, in 2000, or in 2070. Let’s start right now.

Tyler spent her entire career at the University of Oregon, eventually being promoted to Dean of the Graduate School in 1965.

Thanks goodness Tyler saved the clippings around the announcement so we can all “enjoy” them during Women’s History Month in 2020.

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

She will become one of the few women in the nation to hold a major academic post in the graduate field….MISS Tyler, a silver-haired professor professor of psychology with a national reputation….

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

“…Those who know the most agree it is, to say the least, highly unusual that a woman would be named dean of a graduate school, especially at a coeducational university….Already a leader in a field where women do not often excel, MISS Tyler finders her appointment greeted with almost universal approval from her male colleagues.”

The dean is a lady. GASP!

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

Not until someone sent her a clipping from an out-of-town newspaper about another woman graduate dean (“only woman known to hold such a position”) had the though ever occurred to her. But it’s the position, not the woman, that’s important, she says.

Leona Tyler, an unmarried woman and leader in her field, was named the dean of the graduate school on June 1, 1965. But just before that was official the Eugene Register-Guard published the following piece on May 23, 1965.

Leona Tyler papers, box M409, folder “Graduate School Appointment”

A single woman may do as well as a man, but there may be some discrimination – usually indirect – against a married woman.

Indirect? Really? Check out the last couple of lines from this same newspaper article.

Welcome to the faculty club, ladies. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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– contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

I have to start by saying that every day I am in awe of young people, both in the history of psychology and their presence in the pressing issues of today. Change is slow, painfully slow at times, and thankfully we have young people who are willing to fight the long, painful fights from which we eventually all benefit.

In digging through the SPSSI records recently I unearthed some materials regarding the early history of the Black Students Psychological Association (BSPA), a group of young Black psychology students who took matters into their own hands and demanded change. In honor of Black History month and in honor of young people, specifically young people of color, let’s talk a little bit about BSPA and recognize the group’s importance in the history of psychology.

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BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

You may have heard the story the story about a group of Black psychology students disrupting George Miller‘s presidential address at the 1969 American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Washington DC. Students disrupting the “old guard” makes for a good story after all, but what happened after that? Heck, what happened before that?

Gary Simpkins was a undergraduate psychology student at California State College in Los Angeles (now known as California State University, Los Angeles) when he took a psychology course with Dr. Charles Thomas, a founding member of the Association of Black Psychology (ABPsi) who at the time was serving as co-chairman of the group. With Dr. Thomas serving as a faculty adviser Simpkins and his fellow students started the Black Students Psychological Association.

According to Simpkins & Simpkins (2009), early BSPA meetings took place at Thomas’ home and a community mental health center, and Thomas arranged for members of ABPsi to meet regularly with the students. With the support of ABPSi, BSPA decided to attend the Western Psychological Association (WPA) convention in Vancouver, British Columbia June 18-21, 1969.

The image below is a May 1969 letter from BSPA secretary-treasurer Rita Boags to SPSSI executive secretary Caroline Weichlein seeking travel funds for BSPA members to attend WPA in Vancouver. Notice Boags hand written “Dr. Zimbardo” in the first paragraph. Following receipt of the letter, SPSSI secretary-treasurer Robert Hefner contacted Zimbardo to inform him that SPSSI did not have the funds for the request.  The CCHP also has a copy of Philip Zimbardo’s June 9, 1969 response to Rita Boags in which he informs her that SPSSI is unable to grant the funds.

 

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SPSSI records, box 743, folder 1

But funding aside, let’s take a closer look at Boags’ letter and BSPA’s goals for attending the WPA convention at the top of page 2.

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Boags to Weichlein, page 2, SPSSI records, box 743, folder 1

Simpkins & Simpkins (2009) wrote that Thomas helped to get them onto the convention program and they scheduled a panel titled, “Racism in Organized Psychology.”

I took to the WPA records and located the 1969 program.

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Western Psychological Association records, box 490, folder 1

I scoured the program but did not find a panel titled, “Racism in Organized Psychology.” However I did find two sessions of interest – Social II: Black Americans and Challenge and Change in 1969: Black Perspective in Psychology.

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1969 WPA convention program, WPA records, box 490, folder 1

Perhaps the panel Simpkins is referring to was ABPsi’s nearly three-hour symposium, “Challenge of Change in 1969: Black Perspective in Psychology.”

Did BSPA members present their papers during this time?

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1969 WPA convention program, WPA records, box 490, folder 1

From the materials housed here at the CCHP I could not determine whether or not that was the case. Does anyone know?

BSPA seems to have been founded in either later 1968 or early 1969. The annual Western Psychological Association convention was June 18-21, 1969. The American Psychological Association convention in Washington DC – the meeting where Gary Simpkins and BSPA members interrupted APA president George Miller’s presidential address – was in September of 1969. Those students got to work quickly!

BSPA addressed the APA Council the following day (September 2, 1969) and outlined five specific concerns and their plans for implementation: (1) the recruitment of Black students into psychology; (2) the recruitment of Black faculty members into psychology; (3) the gathering and dissemination of information concerning the availability of various sources of financial aid for Black students; (4) the design and provision of programs offering meaningful community experience for Black students in the field of psychology; and (5) the research and development of terminal programs at all degree levels that would equip Black students with the tools necessary to function within the Black community.

You can go out on your own and find what happened next regarding APA (start here, Baker page 492). The gist is that APA President George Miller and President-Elect George Albee agreed to meet with members of BSPA and ABPsi to work out details. They met in Watts in Southern California for two days and in October a specific plan was reported back to APA Council.

BSPA members Gary Simpkins and Phillip Raphael wrote a report detailing the events at the 1969 annual convention, the meeting with APA Council, and the subsequent meeting with Miller and Albee. It was published as a “special insert” in the American Psychologist (1970) –  Black Students, APA, and the Challenge of Change

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SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

One year later, the Black Students Psychological Association had a national office in Washington, DC and they held their first national conference in Atlanta, GA.

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BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

The program was innovative and really cool.

There were team activities, special activities, and specific area activities organized around the following themes: politics, education, religion, housing and urban renewal, job training and employment, drug education, mental health, culture and the arts, crime and delinquency, our aged [senior citizens], family, mass media and communication, research methodology, and economics. The specific area activities were held all around Atlanta with local leaders hosting and participating.

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BSPA 1971 National Convention program,  SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

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BSPA 1971 National Convention program, daily schedule, SPSSI records, box 743, folder 6

This wasn’t just academics reading papers with audience members asking “questions” (AKA not really asking questions but rather telling everyone in the room what they already know. You guys know what I’m talking about). This was an engaged group of people, mostly students, tackling real issues in the community with psychology.

Awe inspiring.

The SPSSI records also include a bit of information about the BSPA’s second national convention in 1972 on the Bronx Campus of New York University but that is where our archival trail runs cold.

According to Bertha Garret Holliday (2009), “In that same year [1971], an ideological-political chasm began to emerge between ABPSi and BSPA. Meetings focused on effecting a merger between the organizations met with little success.”

And in a very brief chapter by Simpkins in Robert L. Williams (2008) History of the Association of Black Psychologists: Profiles of Outstanding Black Psychologists, Simpkins asserts that BSPA “…continued to exist for a number of years as an affiliate of ABPSi. Later, BSPA made a transition to the now existing ABPSi Student Circle.”

I want to know more. I want to know about this group and its members and how the BSPA may have shaped their careers in psychology. I want to know what came out of that first meeting in Atlanta. I want to know more about the “ideological-political chasm” between ABPSi and BSPA. I want to know more about ALL OF IT!

But alas, I have reference requests in my inbox and my “real job” to attend to. My references are below. Someone take up this project and get back to me. And in the meantime, let’s hear it again for the young people who always have and always will be the change makers!

 

References

(Some of these sources are cited above but others are not. Many are available in full-text via PsycNet. All of them are good so go read them.):

(Jul 1969). Black Students Demand Changes in Psychology. SPSSI Newsletter, 3.

(Jul 1970). BSPA opens office in APA building. The Washington Report, 6(7), 1, 3.

Baker, D. B. (2003). The challenge of change: Formation of the Association of Black Psychologists. In D. K. Freedheim & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of Psychology, Volume I: History of Psychology (pp. 492-495). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 

Blau, T. H. (1970). APA Commission on Accelerating Black Participation in Psychology. American Psychologist, 25(12), 1103–1104.

Holliday, B. G. (2009). The history and visions of African American Psychology: Multiple pathways to place, space, and authority. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15(4), 317-337.

Jones, R. L. (Ed.). (1991). Black psychology.  Cobb & Henry Publishers.

McKeachie, W. J. (1970). Report of the Recording Secretary. American Psychologist, 25(1), 9–12.

Nelson, B. (1969). Searching for social relevance at an APA meeting. Science, 165(3898), 1101-1104.

Sawyer, J. (1970). Why women, Black people, students, and other interest groups should be represented in the APA. American Psychologist, 26(6), 557-558.

Simpkins, G., & Raphael, P. (1970). Black students, APA, and the challenge of change. American Psychologist, 25(5), xxi–xxvi.

Simpkins, G. and Simpkins F. (2009). Between the Rhetoric and Reality. Lauriat Press.

Thomas, C. W. (1970). Psychologists, psychology, and the black community. In F. F. Korten, S. W. Cook, & J. I. Lacey (Eds.), Psychology and the problems of society (pp. 259–267). American Psychological Association.

Warren, J. (Apr 1971). BSPA still struggling to define relationship with APA. APA Monitor, 2(4), 1, 11.

Williams, R. L.  (2008). History of the Association of Black Psychologists: Profiles of Outstanding Black Psychologists. AuthorHouse.

Williams, R. L. (2008). A 40-year history of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPSi). Journal of Black Psychology, 40(3), 249-260.

 

CCHP Archival Collections:

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Archives records

Western Psychological Association records 

 

 

 

 

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contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

Humans are perhaps the only species that finds a need to not only define what love is, but to categorize it, measure it – and dare I say – celebrate it with cheap chocolates and stuffed animals.  In our search for meaning, love is at the top of the list.  And for all of our searching, we have a really hard time agreeing on what love is or how it’s manifested.

But wow do we try.

So let’s take a look at some highlights from Cummings Center collections on the topic of love and its many iterations.

 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Below are several visitor answers to “What Makes Us Human?” exhibit at the National Museum of Psychology at the Cummings Center.

 

The National Museum of Psychology invites museum visitors to delve into the human condition in an exhibit titled, “What Makes Us Human?”  Visitors are encouraged to write their thoughts and comments on what makes homo sapiens tick, and what separates us from other animals.  To date, there are 104 responses that include “love”, 63 instances of “empathy”, and 5 responses each for “sex” and “sympathy”.  There are no instances of Valentine’s Day yet. 

People have a lot to say about relationships, and where love fits into the human experience.  Feelings of love, empathy, sympathy, passion, and other forms of strong emotions and their manifestations toward other living (or not) things are quite arguably only attributed to people.  But don’t let that stop you from weighing in on this question!

 

Will This Be othe Test?

The Cummings Center test collection contains thousands of tests and assessments designed to help understand and determine human capabilities and functioning.  From popular self-assessment quizzes designed more for entertainment than self-discovery, to professional assessment testing, you can find most anything to satisfy your curiosity about yourself and others.

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This PsychoQuiz seems to attempt to determine a jealous personality type rather than how romantic a person might be.  How Romantic Are You?  From a regular column in Look magazine, 1947.

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With drawings by Walter Miles, this fill-in-the-blank story test boasts a battle of the sexes scenario with a twist answer!  Read the small print below the test to find out the answer.  How Well Do You Know the Opposite Sex? PsychoQuiz. From a regular column in Look magazine, 1947.

 

Can We Talk?

If it’s at a conference venue, and it’s about love and attraction – then yes, let’s talk!  The International Conference on Love & Attraction, held in 1977 at the University of Swansea in Wales, tackled such diverse and complex topics as sexual dysfunction, personality characteristics of types of desire, contraception, relationship equity, and non-verbal intimacy.

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International Conference on Love & Attraction program, G. Marion Kinget papers, Box M3307

 

Conference participant, G. Marion Kinget, discussed “a crisis” in the conceptions of modern romantic love as it pertained at the time to redefining gender roles.

 

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International Conference on Love & Attraction, G. Marion Kinget papers, Box M3307

 

Is It All Just Sex?

Nope.  Romantic love is the biggest part of selling Valentine’s Day, but certainly not the only kind of love to be celebrated.  So tell your step-mom, your kid, your dad, your friend and anyone else that means a lot to you how much you care for them.  Hug your pet, therapy animal, shelter animal, or any sentient being that brings you joy.  Talk to your plants if you want.  It’s been said that they respond to verbal communication, too!

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Postcard from the David B. Campbell postcard collection, Institute for Human Science and Culture, Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

 

 

 

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– contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

The American Psychological Association was founded in 1892 and in the organization’s 128-year history the membership has elected just 18 women presidents. From 1905 to 1980 they elected five women. 88 years. 88 presidents. 5 women.

Is this really all that surprising to anyone who has been paying attention, in general, to like everything in the world? Not really.

So who were those first 5 women presidents anyways? Mary Whiton Calkins (1905), Margaret Floy Washburn (1921), Anne Anastasi (1972), Leona Tyler (1973), and Florence Denmark (1980).  Yes, you saw that correctly. There really was a 51 year gap between the second and third women presidents. Believe it or not, women did exist in the field of psychology during those years and our friends over at Psychology’s Feminist Voices have these super helpful timelines so you can see for yourself: Women, Gender, Feminism, and Psychology in the United States and Canada 1848-1850s and 1950-Present

No doubt you’ve seen Mary Whiton Calkins and Margaret Floy Washburn in your introductory textbook, your history textbook, and probably elsewhere too. We all know the story of how Calkins took classes with William James, Josiah Royce, and Hugo Munsterberg all while Harvard refused to admit her as a “real” student. We all know the story of how she took an “unsanctioned doctoral examination” and knocked her committee’s damn socks off while doing so, and yet was still denied the degree by Harvard because she was a woman. We know this story.

We know that Margaret Floy Washburn was the second woman president of APA and the first woman to earn a PhD in psychology (1894). We know she studied with E. B. Titchener at Cornell and while he praised her abilities he also sure did a lot to keep women out of experimental psychology by banning them from The Experimentalists. We know this story.

If you’ve been paying attention maybe you know that Anne Anastasi earned her PhD from Columbia University when she was just 21 years old, took on psychological testing, and was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1987. Maybe you know that Leona Tyler studied individual differences, devised the Choice Pattern Technique (it’s still used today), and was devoted to public service. APA Division 17 named their highest honor the Leona Tyler Award for Lifetime Achievement in Counseling Psychology for goodness sakes. And maybe you know Florence Denmark taught the first doctoral level Psychology of Women course (1970), co-authored the first women’s studies textbook (1983), and was a co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology.

Maybe you know these stories. Hopefully you know these stories.

But I want to share some other stories. Namely, the way in which women have promoted each other and worked together in order to get more women into the field. Sure, the good ol’ boys network was flourishing (still is!) and there are a zillion examples here in the archives of Mr. So-And-So writing to Mr. What’s-His-Name about this young up and comer Mr. New-To-The-Field and voilà! The next thing you know New-To-The-Field has a prime academic position and is running a lab at a well-known university. Just like that. Almost like magic.

But you know what is even more magical? Women advocating for themselves and other women when the odds are stacked against them.

Let’s work backwards and start with Florence Denmark, the fifth woman president of APA (1980). We will start with Florence because she is awesome and January 28th is her birthday. Happy Birthday, Florence!

Florence Denmark is well known for her work in leadership and mentoring. She quite literally co-wrote the book on mentoring – A Handbook for Women Mentors (2010).

I headed to the basement to dig through Florence’s unprocessed donated materials and discovered box after box of awards – many of them in recognition of her mentoring of students and young professionals.

This one caught my eye.

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Florence Denmark papers, unprocessed

Plaques and awards are nice, sure, and Florence is very much deserving of every single one. But I was on the hunt for something more. I found it in spades.

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Florence Denmark papers, unprocessed

“I would like to thank you for writing a letter that helped with my promotion…. thank you for your effort on my behalf.”

“This is the first time I’ve experienced our “buddy system” at this level. Thank you.”

“I continue to be amazed at all you do for others….Thanks so much for all your efforts on my behalf with the graduate faculty.”

Florence Denmark has spent her career uplifting other women to the great benefit of the field of psychology. Just listen to psychologist Rhoda Unger introduce Florence as the invited speaker for the 1982 Psi Chi/Johns Hopkins G. Stanley Hall Lecture.

 

Happy Birthday, Dr. Denmark.

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APA Board of Directors, 1981. [Cummings Center Still Images collection, box V81]

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Florence Denmark, 1989, APA Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana [Donald Dewsbury Still Images collection, V120, folder 4]

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Florence Denmark, 2009, Cummings Center Colloquium Series, The University of Akron [Cummings Center Still Images collection]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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– contributed by CCHP Reference Archivist Lizette Royer Barton.

The much loved and much anticipated academic winter break is upon us. Shall we celebrate with some Cummings Center archival gems?

Let’s start with this postcard addressed to Edgar A. Doll. I don’t have much to say about it other than I think it’s a beautiful winter photograph and beautiful, moonlit nights during the Ohio winter make all the snow and cold and grey a bit more bearable. (Note to self: tune in to more moonlit winter nights in 2020).

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Edgar & Geraldine Doll papers, box M4268.2.

 

It wouldn’t be the holiday season without a little guilt, am I right? The 15-year old says he’s not interested in religion and wants to skip Christmas Eve church services for a party at his friend’s house. His parents want to keep the Christmas Eve family tradition alive.

What to do? Write to McCall’s for advice and guidance from a real live psychologist, of course!

 

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Lee Salk papers, M2412, folder 15

 

Personally, I am with the 15-year-old on this one (party!) but psychologist Lee Salk thought differently.

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Since we are talking about family fun – check out the Wertheimers. I want to build a snow fort with Max, Anni, and the gang. Each snowball coming together to build a fort greater than the sum of its snowballs. So fun!

 

A scholarly side note, The Wertheimer Family papers are processed and ready for researchers. IT IS AN AWESOME COLLECTION. Come use it in 2020.

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Wertheimer Family papers, M6695, folder 8

 

If there is one family I want to (pretend to) hang out with even more over winter break than the Wertheimers it’s the Miles family. In my own archival day dream, I envision Catharine and Walter (and me) sitting back sipping eggnog and sharing laughs while the little ones play around the Christmas tree. Also, I love tinsel.

 

And if you’re looking for a laid back, humorous, sports-themed Hanukkah how about this fantastic golf bag menorah?

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Lee L. Forman Bag Collection, IHSC, Item ID HFL2007.001.0004

 

Holiday gift giving can be a challenge sometimes. Perhaps that is why James V. McConnell phoned it in and sent Omaha steaks to 79 people to the tune of nearly $3,500.

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James V. McConnell papers, M2064, folder 2

 

The Rene Spitz collection contains numerous films, including several “home movies.” This has to be one of my favorites – the family trudging through the snow, a kid bringing up the rear, the beautiful winter scenery, and the live-action skiing footage (watch until the end). I just love it. I don’t even like skiing but the Spitz family has me (almost) wanting to hit the slopes.

 

So however you decide to spend these next couple of weeks – holidays or not – remember to enjoy yourself. Slow down, spend time with the people you care about (or don’t!), eat something delicious, sit in front of a fireplace, read a book, and maybe take stock of 2019 and consider what you can do to be an even better human in 2020.

Happy Holidays and for those of us on academic winter break – Happy Week Between!

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contributed by Emily Gainer and Anthony Greenaway.

The Wertheimer Family Papers are now open to researchers! The papers, consisting of 141 boxes, document the life and work of Max Wertheimer and his son, Michael.  The papers include correspondence, research files, academic files, written works, family materials, and photographs.

Max Wertheimer (1880-1943) first studied psychology at the Friedrich-Wilhelm University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wurzburg in 1904. Max began his career as a faculty member at the University of Frankfurt. He was a lecturer at the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin from 1916 to 1929, before returning to Frankfurt as a full professor until 1933. Along with Wolfgang Köhler and Kurt Koffka, Wertheimer established Gestalt psychology, challenging common analytic approaches to the study of experience. Fleeing Germany shortly before the Nazis came to power, Max and his family immigrated to the United States in 1933. He taught at the New School for Social Research in New York from 1933 until his death in 1943.

Max Wertheimer, undated. (Box M6695, Folder 16)

Max Wertheimer with cat, 1934-1935. (Box M6695, Folder 1)

Michael Wertheimer (1927- ) received a B.A. in psychology from Swarthmore College in 1947, a M.A. in psychology from The Johns Hopkins University in 1949, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Harvard University in 1952. Michael has held the position of Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado since 1993, where he first became a professor in 1961. His work centered on the areas of cognition, perception, psycholinguistics, and the history of psychology.

Michael Wertheimer, 1976. (Box M6781, Folder 11)

Michael Wertheimer, 1977. (Box M6781, Folder 11)

The papers are organized into two series: Max Wertheimer papers and Michael Wertheimer papers. They are further organized into subseries within. The papers not only document the professional work of Max and Michael, they also provide information about the personal and family lives of the Wertheimers. Researchers can find information about their experience fleeing Germany and immigrating to the United States.

Materials from other family members are also included in the collection, including Max’s parents, brother, and children. Of special note are the boxes of Anni (Wertheimer) Hornbostel’s correspondence, dating from the 1920s through the 1980s.

Anni Wertheimer Hornbostel playing the violin, 1924. (Box M6695, Folder 6)

Of special interest is Max’s correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by last name. Correspondents include Albert Einstein, Kurt Koffka, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Lewin. Researchers should note that a majority of Max’s material is written in German. A small portion of materials in Michael’s materials are in German. Correspondence to Anni is mainly in German.

Max Wertheimer lecturing in Frankfurt, 1929-1930. (Box M6695, Folder 10)

The collection was donated to the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology by Michael Wertheimer. During processing, materials were identified as originating with Max or Michael; however there may be overlap between the two.

Researchers can view the Wertheimer Family papers finding aid for the full collection description.  Hundreds of photographs and three scrapbooks from the papers have been digitized and are available online.  Contact the CCHP reference archivist for access to the papers.

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