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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

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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– contributed by Rhonda Rinehart

This month’s selection is by Rhonda Rinehart, Manager of Special Collections.

BOOK: Better Living Booklets for Parents and Teachers: Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets, Published by Science Research Associates, Inc./Grolier, New York

Among CHP’s thousands of books, you will find tucked between larger, more prominent volumes, a smattering of thin, nearly undetectable booklets on parenting and child development.  Written by various authors for the Better Living Booklets series produced by the Science Research Associates, Inc. throughout the 1940s and 1950s, these booklets focus mainly on advising adults and caregivers on helping children adjust to the many social situations they will encounter on the road to adulthood.  Many more were also written specifically for children and adolescents to help them understand feelings they may be experiencing as they grow up and preparing them for decisions they will need to make as they adjust to becoming adults.  And still a few were written with the idea of helping adults understand themselves and their life situations.  Authors include child psychologist Mary Louise Northway; children’s author Doris Gates; essayist Sidonie M. Gruenberg; education specialist Ruth Strang; and novelist Hilda Sidney Krech.

As tools for comparison, these booklets offer a wealth of ideas and attitudes that can help us place psychology within its historical context.  Although many of the ideas portrayed in these booklets would certainly be considered outmoded, all of the topics are still relevant today.  Learning, development, feelings and emotions, relationships, and social issues are all topics that are discussed and written about today.  How we have come to understand these topics culturally, socially and professionally, is very different from attitudes in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Cover images of Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets

Cover images of Junior Life Adjustment Booklets/Life Adjustment Booklets

The historical context in which these booklets were written places them firmly within an era that was beginning to see changes that would guide movements of the 1960s and 1970s.  Sex and gender roles, both common topics of these booklets, were steeped in traditional thinking about men and women, but the fact that these subjects were beginning to be discussed at all rather than the common practice of hiding them away indicates changing attitudes about these often-considered taboo subjects.

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Not every idea presented in this series is completely outmoded or naive, however.  Consider modern views about popularity, managing money, and educational testing and it could be argued that though our culture and society have changed in attitude about these topics, is it necessarily an improved, advanced or “better” one?

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As with any of the materials at the CHP, studying these booklets can allow us to see where we’ve been, compare where we are now and hopefully help us learn for the future.

The entire catalog list of Better Living Booklets titles available at the CHP can be viewed here:  http://tinyurl.com/mguwwgx

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