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Posts Tagged ‘Knight Dunlap’

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

While working in the Walter and Catharine Cox Miles papers recently I came across a string of correspondence from 1928 between Walter Miles and Margaret Floy Washburn in which they reference a “motion picture film taken at Carlisle.”

I’ve always known this film as the “Titchener Film” due to the first two minutes taken at the 1927 meeting of the Experimentalists but there are 11 minutes of footage post Titchener and it’s really good stuff.

This blog was supposed to be a fluff piece for Women’s History Month to show Margaret Floy Washburn on film. But instead, and you know this is coming if you’ve read any of my contributions to this blog, I went down the rabbit hole….

I Googled, experimental psychology + Carlisle and the second hit was a 2010 History of Psychology journal article by my friend Jim Goodwin titled, “The 1928 Carlisle conference: Knight Dunlap and a national laboratory for psychology.”

And a bonus – on page 379 he appears to reference the film in question, “…a brief film, with most scenes featuring Margaret Washburn walking around the Dickinson College campus in the company of various clusters of male attendees.” 

I watched the film and noticed this.

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Walter & Catharine Cox Miles papers, Film 5-5

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Walter & Catharine Cox Miles papers, Film 5-5

Johnson…Johnson…that name was familiar….

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“I consider it [the film] very flattering, except for the indoor view of Miss Johnson and myself, and there it is comforting to observe that the beautiful and comparatively youthful Miss Johnson also suffers from the poor illumination.”  Walter & Catherine Cox Miles papers, M1121, folder 13

Due to the context of the times and the fact that Goodwin wrote that of the 32 attendees Washburn was, “...the only woman invited to the Carlisle meeting….” I assumed the woman in the still frame above was a Mrs. Buford Johnson – the wife of a man named Buford Johnson who joined him at the conference. I went back to Goodwin’s article and the footnote on page 388 includes Buford Johnson as a conference attendee. But in the letter above Margaret Floy Washburn refers to a MISS Johnson not a MRS. Johnson.

I pulled the 1928 APA Directory (the year of the Carlisle Conference) from our reference library and found Buford J. Johnson listed as an APA member. Johnson was at Johns Hopkins (as was Knight Dunlap – organizer of the Carlisle Conference) and experimental psychology was listed as an interest which would make sense for a psychologist attending a conference centered around the creation of a National Laboratory of Experimental Psychology.

But then I noticed Johnson was a graduate of LaGrange College.

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Wait a minute? Wasn’t LaGrange a women’s college? Wikipedia confirmed my suspicions. LaGrange was a women’s college until  1934 and Johnson earned an A.B. in 1895.

A quick google search of “Buford Johnson” + LaGrange and I was rewarded with a fantastic blog by two LaGrange College librarians titled, “Interesting Alumni: LC’s Extraordinary Women of the Past.”

Extraordinary WOMEN of the past? Was Buford J. Johnson a woman?!

I went back to the APA directories and started leafing through all of them until I hit pay dirt in 1948.

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It turns out Dr. Buford Jeannette Johnson earned her PhD at Hopkins in 1916 and in 1924 became the first woman to be appointed professor of psychology in the department. She was also the founding editor of the journal Child Development and the first woman to be elected president of the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

I did a search across our collections for Buford Jeannette Johnson and besides the film and letter in which she is mentioned in the Miles papers there was only one other hit – a postcard from 1929 from Johnson to Sarah Dunlap (Knight Dunlap’s daughter) in the Knight Dunlap papers.

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“I am…going to a reception tonight… for the International Congress of LIBRARIANS.”  International Congress of Librarians? Oh my goodness! Buford Johnson is too good to be true! Knight Dunlap papers, M569, folder “Postcards”

Buford Jeannette Johnson died in 1954 at the age of 74. Her death certificate, located by my genealogical-research savvy colleague Dr. Jodi Kearns, indicates Johnson died of acute nephritis with antecedent causes of cerebral arteriosclerosis and “nervous breakdown from excessive study.”

Reading her death certificate broke my heart a little bit. Realizing Dr. Buford Jeannette Johnson is darn near invisible in the history of psychology broke my heart a lot.

What are Buford Jeannette Johnson and Margaret Floy Washburn talking about in this film? Did their laughter stem from the gallows humor almost certainly necessary for  women in the field of experimental psychology in the 1920s? Or maybe it was lighter than that. Maybe they were just friends. Or simply colleagues.

In any case, here are two incredibly talented and bright psychologists sharing a laugh.

 

 

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Contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Yesterday was Parents’ Day and since psychology and parenting go hand in hand, I was charged with writing a blog for the occasion.

As I mother, I thought I could kill a couple of birds with one stone and gather helpful information about motherhood from the archives, use that information in my own life, and then blog about it. But then I realized I’m winging this whole parenting thing, so even if I found “helpful” information, I wouldn’t use it anyways.

Next I considered digging into the collections to see what I could unearth about “refrigerator mothers,” but then I realized I am sick and damn tired of mom guilt.

Then I thought, maybe parenting alongside the history of child development might be cool, but I remembered that I am currently embroiled in the almost-terrible-twos and the absolutely-infuriating-threes and I am learning plenty about independence milestones at home.

Then it came to me. Beyond the theories and the research and the publications, psychologists have parents. And some were even parents themselves.

So instead of an intellectual blog, I give you this fluff piece: psychologists are parents too.

Did you know that Knight Dunlap had a mother? It’s true!

Sure, he was at Johns Hopkins alongside John B. Watson and he helped established the Journal of Comparative Psychology and and he went on to chair the psychology department at UCLA, but he had a mother! Not only that, but she wrote letters to him and in 1906 offered to butcher one of her best chickens for him. If that doesn’t scream good parenting, I don’t know what does.

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“Did you remember that your birthday was this week and Thanksgiving comes next week? I should be glad to kill one of my best chickens for yours. Turkey is 20⊄ per pound and very scarce at that.” Knight Dunlap papers, box M570, folder “Personal”

 

Lillie Lewin Bowman had a mother. And before she patented the pour spout, she was just a gal graduating from Berkeley with a mother who believed in her.

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Lillie Lewin Bowman papers, box M92.2, folder “Professional”

 

Lois B. Murphy had a mother. And a father. And when she was born in 1902, they started this adorable baby book for her.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box M1258, folder “Certificates”

 

Later, Lois Barclay married fellow psychologist Gardner Murphy and guess what? They became parents! Here’s an image of Gardner with one of their children in 1953.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

Other psychologists were also parents.

Check out this 1936 (or maybe 1937) newspaper announcement of Rosemary Young’s third birthday party. Her father was psychologist Paul T. Young. Sure, he was one of Titchener’s doctoral students and he spent a year on the streets of Berlin with his pseudophone, but he was also a dad who knew how to throw a birthday party.

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Paul T. Young papers, box M100, folder “Miscellaneous” 

 

And here’s a photo of renowned social psychologists Carolyn & Muzafer Sherif with one of their children.

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Gardner and Lois B. Murphy papers, box V40, folder 2

 

And finally, we all know Abraham Maslow as the psychologist at the very heart of humanistic psychology who devised the well-known and oft-cited theory of the hierarchy of needs.

He was someone’s dad.

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Abraham Maslow papers, box M4439, folder “Biographical 3”

 

 

 

 

 

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