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Posts Tagged ‘primary sources’

contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

Welcome back for the fourth installment of CCHP Pandemic Projects.

First of all, let me be the first to say that there is no substitute for working with physical archival materials in the Charles L. and Marjorie S. Brewer reading room. But since we can’t do that right now we are trying our best to provide some meaningful archival projects suitable for remote learning.

I think one misconception about teaching with archival materials is that you have to have all the pieces of the puzzle and you have to tell a complete story. In all reality, for instructors and students just getting started with primary sources, that can be a bit overwhelming.

Let me share a CCHP pro tip – one of the best ways to get started with primary sources is with a single letter or one page document. For real!

You’ll find everything for this project here: A Single Letter or Document Analysis.

Check out this one. It’s one of my favorites. I use it for onsite “introduction to archives” sessions all the time.

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 5

As you are probably aware, the meeting is a “Men Only’ affair, so for God’s sake, don’t bring along any women.

If you are into the history of psychology you likely know all about the Society of Experimental Psychologists (aka The Experimentalists) and their exclusionary history. They were the very definition of “an old boys’ club.” This letter is pretty excellent evidence for that so it’s perfect for helping to tell that story.

But you don’t have to be teaching a history of psychology course to use this letter in your coursework. You can use this letter to help tell the story of women in science in 1920s. You can use it for a lesson on presentism and have students consider how folks likely interpreted this letter in 1926 versus how it would be interpreted today. You can have your students use this letter as a jumping off point for a bit of research about the roles of women in America in general during this time period.

I have a general document analysis sheet available in our CCHP Pandemic Projects folder but remember, you can adapt it however you see fit. And don’t forget, the National Archives has some fantastic resources online for getting started with document analysis. See here: NARA Educator Resources.

How about another letter? This is another one of my favorites.

Walter & Catharine Cox Miles papers, box M1199.5, folder LHH-GS

It’s easy to determine who received the letter (Dr. Walter Miles at Stanford University) but who sent it? If nothing else, this is a great lesson on the time it can take to decipher handwriting in the archives.

So, who wrote the letter? Can you tell? You can find the answer here.

Now that you know it’s First Lady Lou Henry Hoover you can use the letter in a variety of ways. Use it as evidence of her involvement with the Girl Scouts of America. Use the letter to help teach about the history of Girl Scouts or for biographical research on Lou Henry Hoover. Maybe dig deeper and try to determine whether or not there is some kind of connection between Walter R. Miles and Lou Henry Hoover. Hint – there is a connection.

And finally, how about we move away from correspondence? Check out the cover page of the “Gay Issue” of the Psychologists for Social Action‘s Social Action (1975) newsletter.

CCHP Special Interest collection, folder “Psychologists for Social Action”

The front page of this newsletter has two pieces, a note to readers and also a note from the editor. Both are powerful statements and can really help facilitate some critical thinking about who is doing the research. Remember, homosexuality wasn’t removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) until 1973. In the DSM-I (1952) being gay was a sociopathic personality disturbance and in the DSM-II (1968) being gay was considered a sexual deviation.

Were LGBTQ+ psychologists and psychiatrists doing the research and creating those labels or were heterosexual psychologists and psychiatrists creating those labels? Did LGBTQ+ folks consider themselves mentally ill prior to 1973? Who determines what ends up in the DSM anyways? Talk about that with your students!

People assume that men can write about women and whatever applies to men can also apply to women (in a direct or reverse fashion)….As we have had to learn in traditional psychological literature, our knowledge about males does not really tell us anything about females, except with the possible exception that this literature has clued us into the extensiveness and nature of the suppression of women. So read on, but keep a good check on your thinking.

So read on, but keep a good check on your thinking. I love that. How can you facilitate a discussion with your students to help them keep that in mind as they conduct literature reviews and as they work to consider sources as evidence throughout not only your class but throughout their lifetime?

And who were the Psychologists for Social Action? Are they still around? Did they morph into another group? What else were they doing in the 1970s?

I assume, like me, you think the first page of the newsletter isn’t nearly enough. I know! I know! This is supposed to be an analysis of a single page but I’m a “see more” kind of gal so I just can’t help myself. Access the entire 1973 newsletter here.

Go ahead and get started teaching with archives. Start small, work your way up, and get your students engaged with primary sources. Even a single letter can spark interest and provide an opportunity for critical thinking.

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

To access more CCHP remote learning materials click here: CCHP Pandemic Projects and for specific questions please email me directly – lizette@uakron.edu.

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton

Welcome to the third installment of CCHP Pandemic Projects. These fully digital learning projects give students a way of engaging directly with primary source, historical material. They are useful for teaching history, historical research skills, history of psychology, information literacy…the sky is the limit!

Volume I tackled Asylums and Epidemic Diseases and in volume II we tackled Eugenics and the Census. Both of those projects were geared more towards college students. Volume III is more adaptable to K-12 students but also works for college students. Critical thinking knows no bounds!

In this next installment, we explore something many of us are intimately familiar with right now: being alone, slowing down, taking a pause.

So let’s dig in.

Psychologist Martin Reymert (1883-1953) was an immigrant from Norway. He immigrated to the United States in 1925 to serve as the head of the psychology department and director of the psychology lab at Wittenberg College in Springfield, OH. He moved on to Mooseheart, IL in 1930 to establish the Mooseheart Laboratory for Child Research and he remained the lab’s director until his death in 1953.

Martin Reymert in his office at the Mooseheart Laboratory.
Martin Reymert papers, box M1228, folder 6

Reymert’s manuscript collection is very interesting for several reasons, including the insight it provides about immigration and American life from an immigrant’s viewpoint.

Martin Reymert was interviewed by a Minneapolis radio station on this topic and the three page transcript is the document we will analyze for this project. You can access all the materials you need for this project including a document analysis instructor’s guide, a document analysis sheet, and the radio transcript in full text here: American Psychosis and Creative Laziness.

The reason I selected this radio transcript for a Pandemic Project is because it provides a perfect opportunity for us to talk to our students about isolation during the current health crisis.

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…average Americans are afraid to be alone….we are always rushing into some one crowd or another…it takes an awful lot of mental sanity to squarely face ones’self in solitary moments….

Martin Reymert papers, box M2896, folder 4

…creative laziness….apparently doing nothing and experiencing the sacred moments of inspiration, new ideas, etc.–in short, the sort of things that are the actual dynamos for the world’s progress.

The COVID19 health crisis has forced us to face ourselves in solitary moments. How are we handling it? And almost more importantly, how are our students handling it? Can we use this transcript from the Martin Reymert papers to reach out to our students and check on them under the guise of an archival document analysis project? I like to think so.

We can use Reymert’s ideas of “American psychosis” (inability to be alone) and “creative laziness” (inspiration by way of solitary reflection) as the starting point for a discussion with our students about how THEY are coping. Of course, the difference here is that we are in isolation through shelter-in-place directives and social distancing, rather than simply choosing to be isolated.

The document analysis sheet I created for this project can (and should) be adapted to best suit your needs as an instructor. This project can be adapted for use with middle school and high school students or undergraduate and graduate students. If you’d like a bit of help with that reach out to me directly. I am happy to help! (lizette@uakron.edu).

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

To access more CCHP remote learning materials click here: CCHP Pandemic Projects.

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contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

The United States conducts a census every ten years with the goal of counting every single resident of the U.S. The data is used to determine disbursement of all kinds of federal monies and even more importantly, it determines the number of representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. Participating in the census is super important so if you haven’t done it yet, get to it for pete sakes! See here.

So census data is used for distributing money and determining representation – good things! – but could that same data be used for not-so-good things? What do you think?

I did a search for “census” across our collections and ended up going way, way down the rabbit hole.

It all started here:

Journal of Heredity, CCHP Books & Periodicals collection

What is the Journal of Heredity? It’s the official journal of the American Genetic Association, a group that is still very much active today researching genetics. Of course, “American breeding and eugenics” has long since left their journal, their research, and their mission but in 1919 eugenics was considered true science by many and its influence on politics and policy, along with numerous other facets of America life, can’t be denied.

First things first, how to access this journal. We have a short run of this title in the archives’ Books and Periodicals collection. We digitized the pre-1923 volumes and they are available in full-text in the online repository here. These early journals are really incredible in regards to plant variety and genetics (seriously, do a search for pawpaws!). And they’re also very interesting in regards to the history of immigration and American life. Do some browsing and have some fun!

Ok, back to the census and the article I want you to read. You can access it via a shared OneDrive folder here,- The Journal of Heredity, May 1919, Vol. X, No. 5. (skip ahead to page 18 of the pdf).

Laughlin, H. H. (1919). Population Schedule for the Census of 1920.

I think this article is an excellent jumping off point to have a discussion with your students about eugenics and eugenicists’ influence on American life, especially immigration policy.

I mentioned a shared OneDrive folder above. In that folder you’ll find The Journal of Heredity and document analysis sheets for each of the following project ideas. Access everything here: CCHP Pandemic Projects: Eugenics and the Census.

Project 1: Have your students read the article and report back. What was most interesting? What was surprising? What would you like to know more about? What questions do you have?

Project 2: Focus on the census. What data was collected on the 1920 census versus the data being collected on the 2020 census. Is the same data being collected? If not, what is different? Any ideas why certain questions are no longer asked?

Project 3: What was the ERO lobbying for to be included on the census and why? Why would “pedigree studies” be important to eugenicists?

Here is a clue:

Project 4: A document analysis that is less about the content of this particular article and more about Harry H. Laughlin and the Eugenics Record Office. And if that’s something of interest you could also assign this article (It is excellent!) – Allen, G. E. (1986). The Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, 1910-1940: An Essay in Institutional History. Osiris, Vol. 2, 225-264.

Project 5: An investigation of how census data and eugenics influenced and shaped the Immigration Act of 1924 (aka the Johnson-Reed Act). For those of you that didn’t know, the Johnson-Reed Act enacted quotas on immigration, not to mention it banned immigrants from Asia all together. How does the census fit in? The quotas on immigrants were based on census data! Specifically, 2% of the U.S. population of immigrants from their country of origin as recorded via the 1890 census was used as the basis of the quota of immigrants that would be accepted from that country starting in 1924.

Allen (1986) is a valuable resource for this one too since it dives deep into Laughlin’s “lobbying” on behalf of eugenics, notably that he testified before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. You could also read Milestones, 1921-1936 from the Office of the Historian . And check out this awesome resource from DOCSTeach via the National Archives – The Impact of the Immigration Act of 1924. This is more geared towards students in grades 7-12 but it’s pretty cool and all of us, regardless of age, could benefit from that resource.

Some things to think about and ask your students:

(1) Why did they go all the way back to the 1890 census to get those population numbers instead of more recent data? Ask your students to do some initial research on immigration in the United States between 1890-1924. Were there large influxes of immigrants coming from specific countries?

(2) What was the effect of these quotas on immigration numbers? Were some countries more affected than others? How did those 1890s numbers affect specific groups?

(3) Were these quotas adjusted throughout the 1930s and 1940s in order to take into account the mass exodus of people fleeing Nazi Germany? Most folks would say, “Yes. of course. The United States wouldn’t keep these quotas and turn away Jewish immigrants.” But is that the truth? Ask your students to answer that question.

(4) Are there any parallels today? I’m sure your students can dig up examples of how both so much, and so little, has changed in the discussion of immigrants and immigration in America.

A note to instructors and students: we would love to hear back from you if you have used any of these projects in class. Your feedback helps us as we continue to develop archival projects that can be completed remotely.

As always, if you’d like to work together to create a more concrete project using the Journal of Heredity please reach out to me directly – lizette@uakron.edu. I’m happy to help!

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  • contributed by Lizette Royer Barton.

I’d like to revisit what the CCHP can offer to remote users, especially instructors, during these bizarro times in which we are living. I’m being ambitious and making this a series of blog posts. First up, the asylum reports.

A few months ago I wrote an invited column for The General Psychologist, the newsletter for the Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1) titled, “Primary Sources in the Classroom: Project Ideas for Investigating Mental Health Care in the United States Through Digitized Asylum Reports.”

You can read my Division 1 column for numerous project ideas using our Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports. Remember, our asylum reports are digitized and available as full-text, word-searchable PDFs in our online repository. You can take away some ideas from that column or you can work on creating your own projects. Maybe you’re just bored and want to research asylum reports for the heck of it – do it!

All that being said, I’d like to introduce a specific project and provide some resources and ideas for how you can make it work with your students.

Asylums and epidemic diseases

We are living through a global pandemic right now but disease and illness in the enclosed, often overcrowded spaces of asylums was common. I did word searches for keywords like pandemic, epidemic, influenza, small pox, cholera, and a few others. I went through my hits and decided to focus on two specific asylums – Topeka State Hospital in Kansas (1915, 1919, 1923) and the Government Hospital for the Insane, also known as St. Elizabeth’s, in Washington, DC (1914, 1921, 1926). I took the date of the reports in my searching into account and selected reports before and after the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Topeka State Hospital, 1919

You can access the reports through the links above. You can also access the reports in a shared OneDrive folder here. Download the PDFs from either location and get to work!

Reports typically provide statistics, including physical illness and death, about the patients in their care so that is a great place to start.

Identify epidemic diseases (influenza, small pox, typhoid, etc.) in the reports. Look for how many patients contracted one of those diseases and how many died from it. Compare the data from one report to the next. What changed during the years in between? Did the population of patients increase or decrease? Did the illnesses within the asylum mirror what was happening outside of the asylum? Did vaccinations increase? Were they vaccinating? Did vaccinations for the disease in question even exist?

If a report specifically mentions the 1918 Influenza Pandemic – what does it say? How widespread was influenza within the asylum? How did it compare to the illness outside the asylum? What steps were taken to mitigate the spread of disease? Were staff affected?

Both Topeka State Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s were designed according to the Kirkbride Plan – an architectural design that included numerous wings for patients and patient activities. This design may have provided less opportunity for distancing as compared to another asylum style known as the Cottage Plan. Have your students do a bit of research on these two design styles in order to determine the pros and cons of each during an epidemic.

If you are digging any of these ideas and would like to work together to create something a bit more concrete for use in your class please reach out to me directly – lizette@uakron.edu. I’m happy to help.

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– contributed by Lizette R. Barton.

Recently the CCHP served as host for the 50th anniversary conference of everyone’s favorite international society for the history of the behavioral and social sciences – Cheiron. It was a pleasure to have so many great historians here in Akron and I figured since we’d have them in town we might as well share what we are doing in regards to archival education and instruction here at the Cummings Center. Thankfully the committee accepted my submission and they put me on the program.

We host visiting classes at the Center from the University of Akron and around the country. And we offer a variety of hands-on archival projects and activities – namely document analysis exercises. So even for a room full of historians I started with the basics.

I annotated the scanned letter below in order to draw attention to some of things we want the students to notice and I waxed poetic about just how much we can get from a single document.

 

AbrahamMaslowPapers_StagnerLetter_BoxM4495_folder3_IntermediateMarkup

Abraham Maslow papers, box M4495, folder 3

Just look at this gem of a letter between Ross and Abe! It’s got all my document analysis favorites – it’s missing last names, it provides societal context (The Goodyear Rubber strikes), it references someone who eventually changed their name (Krechevsky aka David Krech), it mentions the very beginnings of an unnamed psychological society (SPSSI), and it provides information on what both the receiver and writer of the letter were working on at the time (anthropology, fascist attitudes, and social psychology).

Next up – analyzing a photograph.

Coover_Houdini_Miles_1924Stanford_Page_1

Coover_Houdini_Miles_1924Stanford_Page_2

Walter and Catharine Cox Miles papers, box V43, folder “Yale”

We discussed challenges associated with analyzing photographs. And we discussed issues specific to this image including how to interpret handwriting and what had been written by the owner of the image (names and dates) and what had been added later by other parties (M1199.16 is the box number from which his photograph came).

After all this talk it was time to let the Cheironians do some analyzing of their own so I reused a project we created for a UA sociology professor and her Social Inequalities class.

DavidGrantPapers_M1024_folderCorr1957I_1pg (man)_WM_Redacted_PRESENTATION

DavidGrantPapers_M1023_Corr63I_1pgs (woman)_Redacted_PRESENTATION_Redacted

David Grant papers, boxes M1023 and M1024

I distributed redacted, but unannotated copies of each of these two letters to the Cheironians and asked them to work in groups to complete a document analysis sheet. The analysis sheet first asks participants to list adjectives used to describe each candidate followed by questions including, “What do you notice about the similarities and differences in the language used to describe each candidate?”; “What might account for the differences?”‘ and “What if this same language was used in reference letters in 2018?”

I gave the groups about 15 minutes or so to work and and just like when we worked with the UA students on this project we had a great discussion! The historians had all kinds of theories. It was excellent!

For our last group project I distributed copies of Operations of the Government Hospital for the Insane (1857) – the second annual report of the first government asylum in the United States that would become known as St. Elizabeth’s – and another analysis sheet. This was a riff on a project we created for another UA sociology professor’s Sociology of Health and Illness class.

participants

Look at all these Cheironians doing history! So awesome!

The analysis sheet asked participants to locate illnesses and conditions for which patients were hospitalized. It asked participants to determine if the language describing any of the illnesses had changed over time and how similar illnesses or conditions would be described and treated today. The sheet also asked participants to look for costs associated with the running of the hospital and statistics regarding patients. And finally, “What did you find out from this document about mental health and mental health treatments you had not already known?”

Whew! What a discussion! It was excellent.

I think the coolest part was that so many people asked poignant questions regarding the history of mental health care in American and state hospitals. I took that as an opportunity to point out that while I didn’t know the answers to the majority of their question these are exactly the kinds of questions a project like this should evoke and it’s why we often let visiting instructors lead the discussion. We at the Cummings Center are experts in access but the instructors we work with are the content experts. That’s why we make such a great team!

The best part of this activity was that I was able to share with the Cheironians they could do this one with their own students since we are actively working on upload our entire collection of Cushing Memorial Library Collection of Asylum Reports to our digital repository in full-text as downloadable PDFs. Woohoo!

Cheiron was such a great time and I was so pleased to be able to share the educational work we do at the Cummings Center with such an engaged and supportive group. If you’re interested in learning more about the projects discussed here and/or working together to create an archival project please contact us at ahap@uakon.edu.

 

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Contributed by Jodi Kearns & Hillary Nunn.

We went hunting in the estimated 200,000+ postcards in the David P. Campbell Postcard Collection for a Valentine to post today, and we found this card sent on New Year’s Eve 1920 and postmarked in Akron, Ohio at Firestone Park Station. What a gem!

postcard006

postcard007

The message reads: “12-31-20 Hellow got to Akron seven thirty am. All well but I am sleepy. Ha Ha had the blues after I left you dont think I will get over it. How are you feeling since I left you sure miss the [illegible] but [illegible] I can [illegible] over it. good by will write tomorrow Tom

postcard008

CCHP staff have written about this postcard collection in past blogs, such as this one about women’s right to vote and this one about National Postcard Week.

The collection is so full of gems that we are co-teaching an unclass for students to investigate this postcard collection. The collection is housed primarily in binders categorized by the Dr. David Campbell. Students will be digitizing postcards in selected binders, and making them available on the digital repository. Additionally, students will be researching related topics of their choosing, which –so far– include topics such as the suffragette movement, privacy, code breaking, postmarks, transcription, and card images that don’t “match” card messages (like Tom’s Valentine postcard sent to Huldah on New Year’s Eve).

To learn more about the postcards, the unclass, and the students, please follow along with the unclass postcard project on the Institute for Human Science and Culture Blog, where students will be posting regularly. The inaugural post introduces the project: In an Unclass of its Own.

The unclass is supported by the EXL Center. Digital Humanities in the Archives is taught in the English Department and hosted at the Cummings Center.

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