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Posts Tagged ‘manuscripts’

– contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

April is National Poetry Month.  In recognition of all of those terrible poems you wrote in high school, and in honor of armchair poets everywhere, CCHP is posting a blog about creativity.

with painted clothes upon a bridge, she was not iodined with garnishes; those

passing there, seared and grotesque.  did she jump, or wail, or swing on other

clothes?  did she spread her teeth inventing whistles for the quaying bikes, or

stiff snouters turned in grey?  she did not, nor did she cow or pace about in

ruins, or tray her hiked up shoes more nearly like galosh or spidern heels she

cut among the grass.

[Excerpt from untitled poem written by ‘Larry’ (Laurence d’A. M. Glass), from the Silvan Tomkins papers, Cummings Center for the History of Psychology]

What makes “good” poetry, and how do you know when you see it?  Can poetry be judged on simple merits of being good or bad?

Whether the above poem elicits provocative imagery or just annoys the reader with a bunch of made-up words and awkward sentence structure (the spellcheck was practically shouting at me while typing), we can probably agree that something creative like poetry is indeed quite subjective.  And like other creative endeavors, writing poetry is an intensely personal act.  But so is reading it.  The exact elements of Glass’s poem that make us appreciate it or shrink from it, are creativity in action.  No rules.  No inhibitions.  As Dan Wieden so famously (and creatively) proclaimed for Nike, “Just do it.”

Plenty of CCHP collections possess poetry written by psychologists; still others contain poems from colleagues and family members, like this one from the L. Joseph Stone papers about adolescence, from the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

If poetry is subjective and arcane, why would we attempt to judge it by a simple scale of good or bad?  Or by a right way or wrong way of writing it?  Maybe it’s an attempt to make the unscientific more scientific.  Perhaps the more pressing question is, should we judge it from those perspectives at all?

Two professors – one of education and one of English – developed “A Measure of Ability to Judge Poetry” in 1921, to assist students in acquiring an “increased ability to tell good [poetry] from bad, and increase preference for the good”.  To do this, original poems were sampled, accompanied by sets of varying versions of the original that represented sentimental, prosaic, and metrical forms of writing.  From there, it was simply a “which do you prefer?” choice.  Similarly, “Literature Tests to Accompany Adventures in Prose and Poetry”, a test developed by Rewey Belle Inglis, asks students to determine prevailing emotions of various poems from a given set of emotions.

Test preamble and sample poem for “A Measure of Ability to Judge Poetry (Exercises in Judging Poetry)” by Allan Abbott and M. R. Trabue, 1921; from the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology Test Collection

 

Test page from “Literature Tests to Accompany Adventures in Prose and Poetry” from the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology Test Collection

But making constrained decisions about something that is personal and subjective from pre-selected lists and writing samples feels a little restrictive.

Instead of right and wrong answers, or answers that are compared to regulated determinates, tests like “The Symbolic Equivalents Test”, allow for more fluctuation in the answers.  Rather than judging one’s ability to recognize the good and the bad from staid lists, the test-taker is asked to think of his or her own ways to answer each sample.  Answers might feel less like straight answers, and more like cleverness and ingenuity.  Indeed, creative writing (in the form of poetry or prose) should feel this way.

“The Symbolic Equivalents Test” with some imaginative notes, from the Frank X. Barron papers; Cummings Center for the History of Psychology

Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, Elizabeth Starkweather conducted research on the subject of creativity, particularly in school children.  She describes creativity as something that cannot be coerced, and in order to take place, it must happen in an environment of free expression without inhibition.

Excerpt from a paper on creativity by Elizabeth Starkweather; from the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology Special Interest Collection

Whether taking a test on one’s own abilities or judging others’ creative abilities, we might be wise to ruminate on the ideas posed by Starkweather, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and others who recognized that creativity has a lot to with the act and less to do with judging other creators’ works.  Think, too, about how the act of creating serves an important purpose in those self-actualization theories.  Your poems may get published, you may get recognized for being a great talent; but probably not.  Write them anyway.  In the mechanized grind of life, creativity helps us to feel human.

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Contributed by Devan Murphy.

The Josef Brožek papers (21.12 linear feet; 67 boxes) are now open to researchers at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology. Josef Brožek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1913, but traveled a lot over the course of his lifetime—growing up in Poland and Siberia, earning his Ph.D. in Prague, and immigrating to the United States in 1939, where he became a professor in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene at the University of Minnesota and later chaired the Department of Psychology at Lehigh University. His involvement with education did not stop there: he organized two six-week summer institutes on the History of Psychology for College Teachers in 1968 and 1971.

 

Brožek at age eighteen (June 1932). Box M4337, Folder13

Brožek at age eighteen (June 1932). Box M4337, Folder13

His devotion to the history of psychology spurred him to translate the foreign works of many different psychologists into English—languages translated include Czech, Dutch, French, Spanish, German, and Russian, among others.

Josef Brožek was a skilled guitar player (1955).  Box M4337, Folder13

Josef Brožek was a skilled guitar player (1955). Box M4337, Folder13

Brožek is also well known for his research on starvation. He focused on the psychological effects of malnutrition, working in conjunction with the Minnesota Semistarvation-Nutritional Rehabilitation Study in 1944 and 1946. Brožek published more than 160 books and articles throughout his career. He died in 2004.

Brožek and his wife, Eunice (undated).  Box M4337, Folder12

Brožek and his wife, Eunice (undated). Box M4337, Folder12

The Josef Brožek papers include biographical materials, correspondence, written works, research notes, academic files, and professional organizations files. Topics of particular note are starvation and nutrition research and the history of psychology research and publications. Brožek’s interest in international psychology is also reflected in the collection.

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– Contributed by Adam Beckler.

Richard Walk (1920-1999) is best known for his research with the visual cliff, which he invented in collaboration with Eleanor J. Gibson. However, Walk had a curious mind and a wide range of interests that extended well beyond the visual cliff. The full scope of his work is documented in the Richard D. Walk papers, which are now open for research at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

Richard D. Walk, 1960s

Richard D. Walk, 1960s

The visual cliff apparatus, developed by Walk and Gibson at Cornell University in the 1960s, was used to study depth perception in humans and animals. The visual cliff created the illusion of a cliff by connecting transparent glass to an opaque patterned surface. On one side of the apparatus, the patterned cloth is immediately below the glass, and on the other side it is several feet below the glass. Walk’s experiments studied depth perception in human infants and a variety of animal species by examining the factors that determined whether or not the subject would cross the threshold of the “cliff.”

Baby on Visual Cliff

Baby on Visual Cliff

Goat on Visual Cliff

Goat on Visual Cliff

Interested in all kinds of visual perception, Walk studied how humans perceived emotion in body language. He conducted experiments in which the subjects would try to identify emotions based on body language alone.

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Emotion Perception Image

Walk, an Army veteran, also studied fear and anxiety in Army paratroopers during test jumps. Not content to take a hands-off approach to his research, Walk himself performed a test jump in order to fully understand the process.

The Richard D. Walk papers contain research and writing on a wide variety of subjects, including depth perception, art perception, emotion perception, fear and anxiety in paratroopers and athletes before competition, as well as experiments in wine tasting. The papers also document Walk’s time as a professor and student mentor, his published works, and his correspondence with other psychologists. Search the finding aid for more information.

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Contributed by Emily Gainer.

Werner Wolff (1904-1957) was a man of many interests – psychology, anthropology, graphology, and religion. Gordon W. Allport wrote to Wolff on March 24, 1952: “In fact, I think you are the broadest-gauged psychologist alive” (Box M4845, Folder 4). Wolff’s research and writing in these areas are documented in the Werner Wolff papers, which are now open for research at the CHP.

 

Werner Wolff portrait, 1944.  Box M4844, Folder 1.

Werner Wolff portrait, 1944. Box M4844, Folder 1.

Wolff was born in Germany and completed his doctorate under Max Wertheimer at the University of Berlin in 1930. He was a Lecturer of Psychology at the University of Barcelona and Madrid from 1933-1936, before coming to the United States in 1939. Wolff taught at Bard College in New York from 1942 until his death in 1957.

Wolff’s German passport. Wolff left Germany in 1933.  Box M4844, Folder 2.

Wolff’s German passport. Wolff left Germany in 1933. Box M4844, Folder 2.

 

Wolff may be most remembered as the originator of experimental depth psychology. His first book in English was The Expression of Personality: Experimental Depth Psychology (1943). Additionally, he studied expressions and graphic form, specifically that unconscious movements and handwriting are keys to an individual’s personality. He also translated the hieroglyphics of the ancient natives of Easter Island and the Mayans.

 

Wolff studied “forms of expression (expressions of personality)”, part of which was to take a person’s portrait, then split the portrait down the middle and reverse half the face.  The new portrait of the person’s “right” and “left” face was shown to the person, who was asked which face he preferred.  This type of study reached a general audience when it was covered in Life magazine on January 18, 1943.

Wolff studied “forms of expression (expressions of personality)”, part of which was to take a person’s portrait, then split the portrait down the middle and reverse half the face. The new portrait of the person’s “right” and “left” face was shown to the person, who was asked which face he preferred. This type of study reached a general audience when it was covered in Life magazine on January 18, 1943.

 

Wolff’s research and involvement in the psychology field brought him in contact with some notable individuals. For example, the papers contain correspondence with art and artists, such as Langston Hughes, Louise Bogan (Poet Laureate), and Archibald MacLeish (Pulitzer Prize winner).

 

A letter from Langston Hughes to Wolff, 1951. Box M4869, Folder 4.

A letter from Langston Hughes to Wolff, 1951. Box M4869, Folder 4.

 

Letter from Vice President Richard Nixon responding to Wolff’s proposal for an Inter-American Institute of Psychology, 1957. Box M4898, Folder 2.

Letter from Vice President Richard Nixon responding to Wolff’s proposal for an Inter-American Institute of Psychology, 1957. Box M4898, Folder 2.

 

Wolff placed this 1955 letter from Helen Keller in a folder titled, “Handwriting”.  One of Wolff’s main areas of study was how handwriting and signature relate to one’s personality. Box M4857, Folder 4.

Wolff placed this 1955 letter from Helen Keller in a folder titled, “Handwriting”. One of Wolff’s main areas of study was how handwriting and signature relate to one’s personality. Box M4857, Folder 4.

 

For more information about the contents of the Werner Wolff papers, search the finding aid. Please contact us to view the manuscript materials.

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Stephanie_ M Harrower - Headshot-B wm

Molly Harrower, 1906 – 1999

 

-Contributed by Stephanie Cameron.

Stephanie Cameron has volunteered and worked at the Center for the History of Psychology for several years and is currently processing photographs from the Molly Harrower papers.

Molly Harrower (1906-1999) received her Ph.D. in 1934, working with E.G. Boring, Arnold Gesell, and Kurt Koffka. Over the course of her career, she focused on  electrical brain stimulation, the Rorschach test, psychodiagnostics, consulting, and psychotherapy. She also served as a Military Consultant for the United States Air Force and Army.

Medical Field Service School

Medical Field Service School

As one of the first women to practice psychology in a male dominated profession, Harrower experienced the effects of prejudice and inequality by men and women. Refusing to waver in her aspirations, she accomplished many of her goals and became the first woman to dine in the Montefiore Hospital doctor’s dining room.

Stephanie_ M Harrower - Panel-B wm

At the age of 61, Harrower joined the University of Florida as a faculty member and taught Clinical Psychology.

Stephanie_MHarrower - Tubing - B wm

Harrower, tubing with her students.

 

While Harrower dedicated her life to the field of psychology, research, practice, and writing, she had several hobbies. She was passionate about animals and their care, writing poetry, swimming, and golfing. For her 80th birthday, she took an opportunity to swim with manatees.

Stephanie_ M Harrower - 80th b-day-B wm

Stephanie_M Harrower - Cubs -B wm

Based on the interpretation of the rich Molly Harrower collection housed at the Center for the History of Psychology, Harrower would have encouraged us to work past our barriers, think outside of the box, and to LIVE!

As she said in 1946, “Life, you will lose a lover when I die!” (cited in Harrower, 1946, Time to squander, time to reap. New Bedford, MA: Reynolds)

Stephanie_ M Harrower-Life-B wm

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Contributed by Emily Gainer.

In a 1986 paper given at an APA convention, Erika Fromm wrote, “I have pioneered quite a bit in my professional life, taken on joyfully many a challenge and explored novel things. Now I am at an advanced age, but nonetheless I hope to continue to investigate new things and to fight for what I believe in for some time to come” (Psychoanalysis and Hypnoanalysis: A Professional History and a Challenge, Box M5197, Folder 9).  Fromm’s pioneering, challenging, and novel contributions to the field of psychology are documented in her manuscript papers.  These papers are now available for research at the CHP.

Erika Fromm (1910-2003) was born to a Jewish family in Germany.  During 1933, she received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Frankfurt, studying under Max Wertheimer.  After fleeing Nazi presence in Germany and Holland, Fromm immigrated to Chicago in 1938.  She worked as a research assistant, held a private psychotherapy practice, and began teaching in higher education. In 1961, she became a professor in the psychology department at the University of Chicago, where she would remain until her retirement.

Erika Fromm at an SCEH event in Newport Beach, 1973. Box M5135, Folder 10

Erika Fromm at an SCEH event in Newport Beach, 1973. Box M5135, Folder 10

Fromm is considered a pioneer in the use of projective psychological testing in the United States. Fromm’s greatest impact is in the fields of psychoanalysis and hypnosis. During her career, she published over 100 scholarly articles, trained thousands of clinicians, and gave workshops across the United States. Fromm continued her work well after retirement, publishing her final book in 2000.

In an early draft of her contribution to the book “Models of Achievement: Reflections of Eminent Women in Psychology, Vol. 2” (1987), Fromm summarizes her experiences as a psychologist.  Box M5198, Folder 3

In an early draft of her contribution to the book, Models of Achievement: Reflections of Eminent Women in Psychology, Vol. 2 (1987), Fromm summarizes her experiences as a psychologist. Box M5198, Folder 3

The Erika Fromm papers document the professional life of a psychoanalyst and clinical educator. The papers include correspondence, course materials, research files, and publications. Topics of particular note are hypnosis, self hypnosis, hynotherapy, hypnoanalysis, intelligence, dreams, and brain trauma.  They also document Fromm’s professional positions and involvement in professional organizations, notably the IJCEH and the SCEH.  Files relating to the self-hypnosis study conducted by Fromm are also found in this collection.

Caption: The Erika Fromm papers contain extensive files on Fromm’s self-hypnosis study.  Study participants kept diaries of their experiences (1976).  Box M5222

The Erika Fromm papers contain extensive files on Fromm’s self-hypnosis study. Study participants kept diaries of their experiences (1976). Box M5222

Diaries from the self-hypnosis study were also transcribed (1976). Box M5220, Folder 14

Diaries from the self-hypnosis study were also transcribed (1976). Box M5220, Folder 14

Search the finding aid for more information.  Please contact us to view the manuscript materials.

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contributed by Emily Gainer.

Reflecting on his career, Sigmund Koch wrote this: “psychology is populated by a vast hypersufficiency of heroes but as yet not a single anti-hero…It is important that someone step in to fill the anti-heroic void in psychology.  I herewith submit my credentials” (Vagrant Confessions of an Asystematic Psychologist: An Intellectual Autobiography, 1977, page 2, Box M5042, Folder 1).  In his unique style of wit and reflection, Koch outlined his views of psychological theories and how they differed from the mainstream views of mid-century.  Researchers can explore these “credentials” and many other primary sources in the Sigmund Koch papers, which were recently processed and now open for research.

Sigmund Koch, 1993 (Box M5124)

Sigmund Koch, 1993 (Box M5124)

This noteworthy collection, consisting of 105 boxes (34.31 linear feet) of archival material, documents nearly 60 years of Koch’s professional career.  Sigmund Koch (1917-1996) was a professor of psychology at Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Boston University.  He was also director of the Ford Foundation’s Program in the Humanities and the Arts for three years.

Sigmund Koch, circa 1950s (Box M5124)

Sigmund Koch, circa 1950s (Box M5124)

In 1952, he was asked by the American Psychological Association to direct and edit an analysis of psychology at mid-century.  A significant amount of material relates to Koch’s editor files for this six-volume set, Psychology: A Study of a Science (1959-1963).  As Koch describes, this study “brought me into contact with most of the influential psychological theorists of our times” (Vagrant Confessions, page 3, Box M5042, Folder 1).  Files related to this important publication include planning, correspondence with contributors and those who declined to contribute, drafts, and Koch’s Volume 7 files – a volume that he never completed.

In addition to the archival papers, the CHP houses the six-volume set, Psychology: A Study of a Science, 1959-1963.

In addition to the archival papers, the CHP houses the six-volume set, Psychology: A Study of a Science, 1959-1963.

Turning from the mainstream psychological theories of the mid-twentieth century, Koch argued a more humanistic approach to psychology, countering the trends of behaviorism. Later in his career, he researched psychology as related to the humanities, specifically artists and creativity.

The collection contains correspondence with some of the most influential psychologists during mid-century.  The papers also document Koch’s professional positions as a teacher and administrator, his involvement in APA, his research files containing handwritten notes, his publications, and his speaking engagements. Search the finding aid for more information.

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