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Posts Tagged ‘Mentoring’

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.

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.

Denmark_Unprocessed_HS_MentorshipAward_36-5-6_WM

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.

Denmark_Unprocessed_ThankYouNotesCollage_34-4-7_WM

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.

V81_folder10_APA_BoardOfDirectors_1981_WM

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

V120_F4_024_1989_DewsburyCollection

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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