Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Ludy T. Benjamin Jr’

Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

Chances are if you had a question, Little Blue Books had an answer.  Actually, many answers.  On any topic.  For everyone, everywhere.  Little Blue Books were your local library.  They were the 1920s version of Wikipedia.  And they kept the post office in business.  At 5-10 cents a pop, Little Blue Books weren’t free but they were cheap, and they could be shipped to any address in the world for nothing.  Always 3 ½” x 5 ½”, these tiny tomes of paper and staples were easily transportable, whether you were delivering them or reading them.

Emanuel Haldeman-Julius hoped to find a place, even if a small one, in the annals of literary history.  More specifically (and more colorfully), he said this:

At the close of the 20th Century some flea-bitten,

sun-bleached, fly-specked, rat-gnawed,

dandruff- sprinkled professor of literature

is going to write a five-volume history of the books

of our century. In it a chapter will be devoted to

publishers and editors of books, and in that chapter

perhaps a footnote will be given to me.

With apologies to professors of literature, Haldeman-Julius did indeed carve out a place of his own among the publishing world.  What was once an earnest (and successful) endeavor to provide affordable and accessible reading to the entire world population (for real!) has now become a collector’s delight.

Early advertisement for Little Blue Books

 

In the areas of psychology, psychiatry and self-help, Little Blue Books offered a surprisingly large selection of titles that ranged from topics like autosuggestion to testing to animal behavior.  Fairly cutting-edge stuff for the general public of the early 20th century.

Some of the Little Blue Books on psychoanalysis, a gift of Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr.

 

The small collection of 34 Little Blue Books donated to the Center by Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr., contains several titles on psychoanalysis in the ever-popular “know thyself” format.  Courtesy of the Haldeman-Julius publishing company, you can learn how to psychoanalyze yourself, and you can read along as a popular author psychoanalyzes himself and the entire United States.

Psychoanalyzing yourself

Psychoanalyzing yourself

 

But what’s even more fun than psychoanalyzing yourself (at least for this archivist) is making a connection from something as broad and far-reaching as the nearly two thousand Little Blue Books titles to something very specific located right here in the archives at the Cummings Center.

New Experiments in Animal Psychology (Little Blue Book No. 693) features work from all the well-worn and heavy-hitting names of those early pioneers of animal psychology – Thorndike, Yerkes, Watson, Witmer – and then suddenly hits the reader with an illustration on page 19 (something quite rare in Little Blue Books) – a depiction of Ivan Pavlov’s famed drooling dog experiment, demonstrating classical conditioning.

Illustration in Little Blue Book No. 693 of  Pavlov’s Conditioned Reflex Apparatus monitoring animal responses to stimuli

 

Now comes the good part.  The Center’s collection of objects and artifacts has a very small replica of the set-up that Pavlov used in his experiments to measure a dog’s salivary response to certain stimuli like food or later, the sound of a metronome or a buzzer.  Like a miniature laboratory, this cute and portable likeness of the real thing was used for teaching about those conditioned responses without the mess of a drooling dog in the classroom.

Simulated chamber with dog model used to simulate conditioning experiments

 

And that’s what is so fun about working, studying, and researching here at the Center.  There are those moments that happen when a connection is made and you light up and say, “Yes!  I’ve seen that before” or “This was on TV last night!”  Even if you don’t have a background in psychology (I’m raising my hand here), there are so many objects, so much media, and mountains of written and published works that relate to everyday life to be found at the Center – you will not only be able to psychoanalyze yourself, you’ll be able to recognize the science behind a drooling dog.

Search the finding aid for more information.  Please contact us to view these Little Blue Books.

Read Full Post »

Contributed by Emily Gainer.

It’s the time of year for resolutions, new beginnings, a clean slate, and…self-help books. When choosing a self-help book, how do you know that the author is who he says he is and is an expert on the chosen topic?

January’s book of the month is a bit of a cautionary tale. When I picked up these two books to catalog, I trusted that Theron Q. Dumont was an “Instructor in the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Paris, France” as written on the title pages. As part of the cataloging process, I checked the Library of Congress name authority records and discovered that Theron Q. Dumont is a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson (1862-1932).

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) are both written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) was written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) are both written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) was written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

Atkinson has an interesting, if somewhat mysterious, history; he wrote under a number of other pseudonyms, including Yogi Ramacharaka, Magus Incognito, and Swami Panchadasi. Under these various names, he wrote about New Thought, Hinduism, mental fascination, self-healing, and yoga.

However, it doesn’t appear that Atkinson (even when acting as Dumont) was ever an instructor in Paris. He was a lawyer before leaving the profession to become an editor and writer.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Adkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Atkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Adkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Atkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

Today, we can quickly use the internet to Google a person’s name for more information. In 1913, how would a reader know that someone isn’t who he says he is? I wonder who turned to these two books to improve their “personal magnetism” and what did they think of Dumont’s advice.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism are part of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Library and are available to view in the CCHP reading room.

The front covers of each book are similar in style and design.

The front covers of each book are similar in style and design.

Read Full Post »

~ contributed by CHP student assistant Adam Beckler.

Saturday, May 17th marked the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. This landmark Supreme Court case overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal” that was established by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896. The Supreme Court’s unanimous 9-0 decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” Brown v. Board of Education was the central starting point for ending segregation in American schools and marked a major victory for the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

Kenneth B. Clark

Kenneth B. Clark

The Supreme Court’s decision was influenced by the work of social psychologist Kenneth B. Clark. Clark and his wife Mamie studied the psychological effects of skin color on young black students.

From the Center for the History of Psychology’s exhibit on Psychology and Social Change:

“The Clarks examined the racial preferences of 253 African-American children from segregated nurseries and public schools. The children were presented with four dolls – two black and two white. They were asked which doll they would like to play with or which doll they liked best. More than 65 percent of children chose a white doll.”

“Testimony given by Kenneth Clark and other psychologists was used in Brown v. Board to argue against segregation in the schools…This was the first time that social science research was explicitly cited in a Supreme Court decision. “

 

Exhibit in CHP Psychology Museum

Exhibit in CHP Psychology Museum

Part of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. book collection, Racial Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth B. Clark edited by Gina Philogène uses Clark’s work as a foundation to discuss the role of racial identity in the ongoing struggle for equality for African Americans. Racial Identity in Context examines topics including, but not limited to, racial integration today, the role of racial identity in managing daily racial hassles, resilience and self-esteem in African-Americans, and immigration.

Radical Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth B. Clark

Radical Identity in Context: The Legacy of Kenneth B. Clark

The Brown v. board case was significant in the social history of the United States and it was also important in psychology’s history. As Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. and Ellen M. Crouse suggest in the book’s conclusion, the Brown v. Board of Education decision “marks the public validation of psychology as a science.”

Read Full Post »

Contributed by Leah Schmidt.

During Summer 2013, Leah worked at the CHP for her culminating experience to earn her MLIS from Kent State University School of Library and Information Science. She graduates in Fall 2013.

I spent time with the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection, during the summer of 2013, as a Kent State MLIS student completing a Culminating Experience Project. Admittedly, the idea of unpacking, sorting, inventorying, indexing, and re-housing 1,367 magazines was initially a little intimidating. However, once I started to unpack and sort the psychology magazines, I began to really appreciate and enjoy the experience.

Popular Psychology magazine organization and rehousing

Popular Psychology magazine organization and rehousing

After about 100 hours, I finished rehousing the collection, according to archival standards, and the finding aid and collection are now available for use by patrons of the Center for the History of Psychology.

Popular Psychology magazines processed and rehoused

Popular Psychology magazines processed and rehoused

I was and remain amazed at the extensiveness of Dr. Benjamin’s collection. The magazines date from the late nineteenth century through the twenty-first century, and the range of titles is astounding. I was also surprised at who I found among the contributing authors, such as Sherwood Anderson, James S. Coleman, and Jonathan Kozol.

My favorite find, in the collection, is a series of four comic books from 1955, Psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis, 1955

Psychoanalysis, 1955

The artwork on the covers of many of the magazines is fascinating. To me, the cover art is not only beautiful, but it is also a reflection of the social, cultural, and economic climate of the period.  As I went through the magazines, I thought that a study of the collection’s cover art would make an outstanding research project.

Why, 1954 Psychology Today, 1978 Personality, 1928 Character Reading, 1936

Why, 1954
Psychology Today, 1978
Personality, 1928
Character Reading, 1936

While working with the collection, I came up with an idea for an assignment for a course I teach for Kent State, Education in a Democratic Society. The complete assignment will be available as part of the online exhibit that I am developing for the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Popular Psychology Magazine Collection. My students have already begun to work with articles they selected from a shortlist I provided from this collection, and the feedback has been positive.

Finally, Shelley Blundell, a Kent State Doctoral Student from the College of Communication and Information, approached me about co-presenting at the October 2013 ALAO conference. We met and discussed our ideas, and Shelley put together an outstanding proposal. The proposal was accepted and we will soon be presenting our ideas about archival literacy in the round table discussion “Using Collaborative Strategies to Meet Common Core Primary Resource Requirements.”

Read Full Post »