Posts Tagged ‘Rare books’

-contributed by Emily Gainer.

Sometimes, a book is more than a book.  It’s a storage container for an archival gem that surprises and delights everyone at the CCHP.  While working on a shelving project for the CCHP book collection, I opened a copy of Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist by John B. Watson, 1919.  On the inside cover, Watson signed and inscribed the book to Mr. Arthur Hays.  While this is an interesting discovery, the best was yet to come.

The book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by John B. Watson, includes a signed inscription.

This copy, donated by Edward Girden, also includes a handwritten letter from Watson to Hays.  The letter is dated October 20, 1920.  As we know, this is an important time in Watson’s life and career.  Read, in Watson’s own handwriting, some details from that time period!

A handwritten letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” by Watson. See the next photograph for a closer scan of this letter.


The letter from John B. Watson to Mr. Hays is adhered to the inside of the book, “Psychology: From the Standpoint of a Behaviorist”. The book and letter are housed at the CCHP.

Transcript of letter:

Dear Mr. Hays,

Many thanks for the letter – for a wonder my non-legal mind took it in.  No further word – no letters.  Have not been served with papers. Have been unable to get into touch with my wife.  Probably out of town.

Rosalie left for Baltimore for a visit.

I understand that I am to be honored with an invitation to accept a professorship of psychology in the new school along with John Dewey – Arthur Robinson and Veblen. I meet with the representatives Friday evening. This would immediately “rehabilitate” me. I hope it is true for Rosalie’s sake.

With kindest regards to Mrs. Hays. Sincerely yours

John B. Watson

Oct 20/1920


Finding an important document inside the pages of a book serves as a good reminder to be alert while working in the archives.  You never know where the next gem will be found!

Read Full Post »

contributed by Emily Gainer.

This month’s Book of the Month continues “The psychology of…” blog series.

This time of year in the United States, most everyone is very aware of advertisements.  The election has dominated our daily lives through TV commercials, flyers, radio ads, yard signs, and bumper stickers for weeks, if not months.  And just when you think you will find relief after Election Day on November 8th, a new type of advertising takes over – the holidays!

In recognition of this election and holiday season, the November/December book of the month is Walter Dill Scott’s The Psychology of Advertising (1908).


In his introduction, Scott wrote, “advertising has as its one function the influencing of human minds” (page 2).  We may understand that advertisers are trying influence our buying choices during the holidays.  We may not realize how much our own emotions influence our decisions.  When outlining the feelings and emotions involved in advertising, Scott wrote, “In pleasure our minds expand.  We become extremely suggestible, and are likely to see everything in a favorable light” (page 24).  In this book, Scott further outlined suggestibility based on emotions, sympathy, and instincts.


Think of your favorite holiday commercial or print advertisement.  Was it the Folger’s waking up commercials, the Coca Cola polar bears, or the Budweiser Clydesdales?  How did it make you feel?  Keep your eyes – and your emotions – ready for this year’s holiday advertising campaigns.

Read Full Post »

Contributed by Christina Gaydos.  Christina is a Kent State Library and Information Science student, completing her Spring practicum before graduation in May 2016. Christina is focusing on cataloging, assisting in cataloging print and manuscript collections, among other projects, including ContentDM.

Etiquette. The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group. AKA Manners. For a two year old, two phrases that often appear in our tiny memory banks of phrases are “Please” and “Thank you”. Manners and polite behavior, generally, were instilled upon us by our parents at an early age, so that by adulthood, we could use these skills without thinking. This training is not new, and will–fingers crossed–continue into the future. A small price to pay for continued civility within our society, right?

Now, take a step back in time with me. Manners and etiquette have not always been this cut and dry: Please and Thank you. Holding a door open. Inside voices. Sharing. Exchange of pleasantries. While cataloging a number of items from the CCHP print collection, I came across a large number of etiquette books for men, women and children. Etiquette books, really? Flip one open and you will quickly see just how complex being a polite member of society would have been some 100 or so years ago!

I am providing three interesting examples of etiquette books. The first is solely for the polite gentlemen, the second an educational read for boys and girls, and the third for both men and women alike. Be sure to look over the table of contents to see the many ways in which correct etiquette could be applied to your lives!

[1] The gentlemen’s book of etiquette and manual of politeness, being a complete guide for a gentleman’s conduct in all his relations towards society—Containing Rules for the etiquette to be observed in the street, at table, in the ballroom, evening party, and morning call, with full directions for polite correspondence, dress, conversation, manly exercises, and accomplishments. From the best French, English, and American authorities— by Cecil B. Hartley

Published: 1860





Yes, this is the whole title! As the Introduction will so kindly point out, gentlemen in society must effortlessly be able to assess a situation and conduct themselves accordingly– “To make your politeness part of yourself, inseparable from every action, is the height of gentlemanly elegance and finish manner” (p.4). For those of you who are curious, “manly exercises” include maintaining one’s health through riding [horses], driving, boxing, sailing, hunting, skating and cricket.


[2] A book for boys and girls; Our business boys / by Rev. F.E. Clark. Art of good manners / by Mrs. S.D. Powers. Business openings for girls / By Sallie Joy White

Published: 1884, 1895





Composed of three booklets written in an “instructive and entertaining way” to educate children on proper etiquette, our particular copy was a Christmas present to a “Clarence” From Aunt Leola Xmas 1924. Cannot help but feel overwhelming disappointment at this Christmas gift—or was our little Clarence that much of a trouble maker? We will never know!




[3] Book of Etiquette Volume I and II By Lillian Eichler

Published: 1921, 1923







The first thing you will notice with these volumes is the extent to which they go into detail on every aspect of important doings in society. Seemingly endless ways to subdivide proper etiquette from Dress to Traveling, Weddings to Invitations. One of the authors actually notes how ridiculous some of the codes of etiquette have become. She uses the example of a gentlemen about to save a drowning man, but upon realizing he has not been formally introduced, he continues on– leaving the man to drown, happy to have avoid a social faux pas.

The overarching goal of etiquette in these volumes, was the same– good manners and etiquette are important because they improve everyone’s quality of life and create a more polite environment. A nod to all those lovely ladies on PBS’s Downton Abbey, I certainly would have given up a long time ago.

Read Full Post »

Contributed by Breanna Arnold

Among the multitude of volumes that grace the shelves of the CCHP library sit three of the seven notable volumes by renowned British physician, psychologist and pioneering sexologist, Henry Havelock Ellis.  Studies in the Psychology of Sex is the moniker, etched with a golden touch onto each of these works.

DSC_8021.wmk       DSC_8016.wmk

Born in 1859, during the Victorian Era, Ellis challenged Victorian taboos by publicly discussing human sexuality.  He lived an unconventional lifestyle, beginning with his ‘open marriage’ to an English writer, Edith Lees, who was openly lesbian.  With the controversial publication of this series, his friends chuckled at his expertise on sex due to his own impotence and speculation of his never engaging in sexual intercourse.  Ellis caused quite a pandemonium with his alternative approach to human sexuality.


In the first few pages of each work, Ellis includes the titles for each of the six volumes of Studies in the Psychology of Sex.  Shift your gaze to the bottom of the left page: it mentions how these works are the only editions published in English with Ellis’ permission; this is a unique commonality for volumes I, II and IV that are housed here at CCHP.


The above excerpt is typical for the Victorian era, when menstruation was seen as a medical illness that impaired a woman’s mental and physical abilities.  Because these “monthly discharges” rendered women “unwell or out of order”, feelings of disgust and shame were considered to be common among women.

Ellis placed an additional emphasis on “auto-eroticism”—spontaneous sexual emotion produced in the absence of an external stimulus.  In this excerpt, the reader learns of a Japanese form of autoeroticism. Interestingly enough, this craft originating in Japan has transcended down the line to what are now known as “Ben Wa Balls”—muscles inside of the female vagina hold them in, stimulating movement and/or vibration.

He believed that it was possible for an individual to be in love with themselves; onanism, day-dreaming, self-abuse, orgasm during sleep and masturbation were phenomena he sought to include on the autoerotic spectrum.


Ellis also discussed the legal implications of sexual acts. In Volume II of the series—Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversionhe describes punishment of homosexual practices within England.  Ellis coined the term “homosexual” although he claimed no responsibilities for it.  I found it to be unique that Volume II of this series was considered by some to be the first medical textbook on homosexuality.  Because this work placed a heavy emphasis on homosexuality, it was deemed “obscene,” leading to its ban from publishing in Britain.  However, an American publisher released this book as the second volume that followed volume I—The Evolution of Modesty.

Ellis’ goal was to demystify human sexuality while remaining transparent with the public about these taboo topics.  Though Victorian views hindered this effort, The Studies in the Psychology of Sex provided a platform for public dialogue about human sexuality.

Breanna Arnold is a student assistant at the CCHP. She is a psychology major at The University of Akron.

Read Full Post »

contributed by Nicole Merzweiler.

Eugenics is a controversial word in psychology, but it has a slightly more humble beginning, as seen in Sir Francis Galton’s book, Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences.

Galton Picture 1

Galton, a mathematician who was interested in individual differences, wrote Hereditary Genius in 1869. It was one of the first attempts to study genius and greatness from a social science perspective. He believed that genius was passed down by parents and was primarily the product of inherited nature rather than environment. He supported this argument by showing that it tends to run in families. Interestingly enough, he was the cousin of Charles Darwin, so his own family may have had an influence on his thinking. Galton who coined the phrase “nature vs. nurture,” would also go on to combine the Greek roots of the words “beautiful” and “heredity” to create the term eugenics. Galton focused on what is sometimes referred to as ‘positive’ eugenics, programs to promote selective breeding to create a healthier and more intelligent population. Despite his focus on positive eugenics, Galton’s ideas were influential in ‘negative’ eugenics in the form of sterilization programs in Europe and the United States

The copy of this book held at the CCHP is especially interesting because it was the personal copy of James McKeen Cattell, and even includes his signature.

Galton Picture 3

Galton Picture 2

In 1886, Cattell became the first American to receive a doctoral degree under Wilhelm Wundt. After this, Cattell briefly worked with Galton at Galton’s laboratory in London. In 1888, Cattell would be offered the first chair in psychology in the United States, at the University of Pennsylvania. There he established his own laboratory and began conducting mental tests on students. Cattell would go on to help legitimize the field of psychology in America, publishing prolifically and founding The Psychological Corporation in 1921 to help promote applied psychology in industry and business. Cattell’s time at Galton’s laboratory studying individual differences may have influenced his direction in psychology, and the way in which psychology became perceived in the United States.

Read Full Post »

-contributed by Rhonda Rinehart.

I’m not a psychologist, I don’t play one on TV, and I certainly don’t make for the best conversationalist on the topic. And yet here I am, attempting to prove how the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology can be connected to an author of a rather obscure piece of literature in the most abstract way.

I go boldly forth only because I do know a little about American literature (English major turned librarian here), and I think I can successfully prove a relationship between a small, unassuming booklet written by an early 20th century novelist and the CCHP, with Banned Book Week and David Shakow thrown in for good measure.

So, first question: What’s the connection? Since most of us like visuals, here’s a chart of this particular Six Degrees theory, which I will explain in the following text.six degrees.jpg

What can you say about America, its neurotic state, its collective sex impulse, and its national character without making a stop for collaborative materials at the CCHP? What can you say about America, its neurotic state, its collective sex impulse, and its national character without consulting more than one source? If your answer is “Not much” (and it should be if you’re playing along), then you’ve come to the right blog.

The author of controversial novels Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy (both of which are college English-class staples) dabbles in some non-fiction with his Neurotic America and the Sex Impulse And Some Aspects of Our National Character, part of a larger work titled Hey Rub-A-Dub Dub: A Book of the Mystery and Terror and Wonder of Life.  Theodore Dreiser had a reputation for penning tales about displaced people getting themselves into bad situations, and the general downfall of early 20th century society.

Dreiser attempts to answer all of the above questions in one short, tiny adapted booklet. Its physical stature is slight – only 5” tall by 3 ½” wide – and 62 pages long, but Dreiser’s commentary is robust as he postulates on the intricacies of sex and the shortcomings of American constitution.

Next question: So what’s this little book doing in the psychology archives?


You won’t have to look too closely to see David Shakow’s name printed on the top right of the title page and make the obvious connection:

David Shakow was a clinical psychologist.

The CCHP houses the personal and professional manuscript papers of over 350 psychologists.

The CCHP holds the David Shakow papers.

The book was in the David Shakow papers.

See where I’m going here? Six Degrees theory proven.

Now, we can only surmise why David Shakow owned a copy of this Little Blue Book No. 661. Did he take the sentiments between the pages seriously? It’s doubtful, since Rub-A-Dub-Dub, from whence it was adapted, was severely panned by critics and fellow authors alike for failure to sustain its arguments on a variety of philosophical ideas.


Though panned, it still seems quite possible that Shakow could have taken an interest in Dreiser’s citing of those quite familiar with schizophrenia in this adapted version. Dreiser references Freud, as did many authors, but he also notes another psychoanalyst of the day, H. W. Frink, in exploring the idea that the “sexual factor [is] dominant in every neurosis.”


If we explore more of David Shakow’s library of 1,039 books that he donated to the CCHP, we would find many titles that discuss neuroses in some aspect: Abnormal psychology: a clinical approach to psychological deviants; The abnormal personality; The psychology of functional neuroses; The analysis of fantasy; Annual review of the schizophrenic syndrome, Psychopathology of the psychoses, and so on. [Click here to view all of David Shakow’s books at the Cummings Center].

So I’ve made the connection between CCHP and Theodore Dreiser but let’s not forget there’s an entire second part of his little book – Some Aspects of Our National Character – and this is where I think the true controversial nature of this book lies. It’s easy to say neuroses and sex were taboo topics in 1920, and that might be true, but the sexual revolution of the Roaring ‘20s was on its way with Flapper girls at the helm, and it would seem more likely that controversy could very well be in the thoughts and ideas behind any outlook on America that didn’t seem patriotic.   I could easily create a second Six Degrees chart for Banned Book Week and Little Blue Book No. 661; I could even fairly easily create a new twist on the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon parlor game (with CCHP as the subject), but I won’t do that. I will simply leave you with these pages from Dreiser’s book that may have been a difficult and controversial pill to swallow in 1920.


dreiserbook5[Please add comments to suggest your own version of “Six Degrees of the CCHP” or to contribute a title for Banned Books Week]

Read Full Post »

– Contributed by Jodi Kearns

This summer, we ran a list of all the pre-1800 books in the Cummings Center rare book collection. You can read the full list here: CCHP_pre1800_books. One title on this list is Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere written by Francesco Redi in 1664. For a reason I cannot entirely explain, this book stood out to me from the others on this impressive list. This book can be found in several libraries around the world, and it usually holds the subject heading “Snakes.” [vipere (Italian) = viper, poisonous snake.] An approximate English translation of the title is Observations About Snakes. I took to Google to learn more.

Osservaxioni Intorno Alle Vipere by Francesco Redi 1664

Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere

The Encyclopædia Britannica biography on Francesco Redi (1626-1697) describes Redi as an Italian physician and poet. It seems he spent time researching and writing to debunk commonly held beliefs about the natural world, including a study in 1668 showing that maggots on putrefying meat are from eggs laid by flies, and do not spontaneously generate. This he concluded after a series of experiments that are recognized as one of the earliest experiments to use proper controls like those used in modern scientific methods.

The Embryo Project Encyclopedia recounts an earlier Redi experiment published in 1664 that contested a popular belief by demonstrating that snake bites and venom are separate and that venom was only effective if it entered the bloodstream with a bite. This work was published in Osservazioni Intorno Alle Vipere in 1664.

Francesco Redi, 1664

That a book survives 350 years and ends up in a collection specializing in the history of psychology and related human sciences fascinates me. The Cummings Center copy has an even greater distinction among surviving copies: it is inscribed by this 17th Century scientist and author. The inscription is to “Paolo Abrams” from the Author [d’Autore (Italian)]. The trail runs cold during my search for information about a Redi contemporary named Paolo Abrams.

Osservaxioni Intorno Alle Vipere by Francesco Redi 1664

inscribed to Paolo Abrams by Francesco Redi 1664

The Embryo Project Encyclopedia claims root of the field of experimental toxicology in Redi’s work. A 1997 article in the French journal Histoire des sceince médicales claims the field of experimental parasitology also began with Redi’s work.

[This volume came to the Cummings Center with the David Shakow papers.]

Read Full Post »

– Contributed by Franklin Fitch.

Wilhelm Wundt (1832- 1920) and William James (1842 – 1910) are considered by many to be two of the most central figures in the establishment of experimental psychology. Both saw the discipline through its early stages as it branched off from the philosophical discourse of the time and became a field of its own. Both  established psychology labs during the very same year. These labs were the first of their kind, focused on the measurement and analysis of sensation, perception, and introspection. The historical narratives of these two early psychologists have been intertwined, due both to their historical proximity to one another and the role each filled in building the foundation of a discipline that was new in name, but had in truth existed for thousands of years. Wundt founded the first official laboratory and institute for psychology in Germany. James is said to have taught the first psychology course in the United States and published one of the first American textbooks in the field. Both laid the groundwork for a field of science that now spans the globe. Taking all that into account, the text at hand becomes particularly significant. Housed within the Cummings Center’s collection is this particularly spectacular artifact, one that establishes a material link between these two giants of modern thought.

front cover of Wundt book

The book is a first edition copy of Wilhelm Wundt’s Vorlesungen uber die Menschen- und Tierseele which translates to “Lectures about Human and Animal Psychology.” Wundt is recognized as a pioneer of experimental and comparative psychology.

spine of Wundt book

spine of Wundt book

The artifact itself is beautiful; the pages are thick and smell of years past (and are in good shape, all things considered). The interior portion of the binding is covered in a web of red and blue ink the likes of which I have never seen. It’s a wonderful example of turn of the 20th century craftsmanship and attention to detail.

inside front cover of Wundt book

inside front cover of Wundt book

Aesthetics aside, this copy has something that makes it extremely special. This particular copy belonged to William James himself!

William James' signature with date from first pages of Wundt book

William James’ signature with date from first pages of Wundt book

One can almost feel the weight of history when turning through the pages. On the back page, there is a list of annotations written by James. The staggering significance of the piece shines through when you flip to one of the pages mentioned in James’ personal index.

index of annotations in William James' handwriting

index of annotations in William James’ handwriting

For example, on page 136 James has written a paragraph worth of reaction to Wundt’s ideas. He notes, “… from the entire mass of comparative measurements absolute norms emerge.”

James' annotations of Wundt book, pages 136-137

James’ annotations of Wundt book, pages 136-137 (click to enlarge)

I feel honored to have the privilege of examining and commenting on this text. I can think of few artifacts that have such a personal and historical significance to the field of psychology. One founder of the field commenting on the work of another. This unique text, housed in the Cumming’s Center collection, serves as a tangible record of their interaction with each other. While the text is in many ways in remarkable condition, the pages are separating significantly from the binding. As always, your donations help preserve artifacts just like this one!

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 Charity A. Smith.

I used to think owning a dog-eared copy of the Portable Beat Reader made me pretty hip…and then I was asked to write a blog on one of the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology’s newest acquisitions. Sadly, I now realize I’m about as hip to the jive as Alex P. Keaton or one of those Brady Bunch kids. Why? Because I was finally given a taste of the LSD: The Ludlow-Santo Domingo Library.



Prior to his death in 2009, Julio Mario Santo Domingo, Jr. amassed a wealth of objects and texts related to altered states of mind; mind-blowing music memorabilia; and obscure works of art—the contents of which would make your mother blush. Thus making the LSD (yes, that’s really what it’s called), the world’s largest collection of all things counter-culture. Although Julio’s full collection is permanently housed at Harvard University, former home of Timothy Leary’s Psilocybin laboratory, the CCHP was recently gifted a limited edition anthology (only 500 copies printed, in true counter-culture fashion), containing highlights from his famed (and often infamous) life’s work.

This two-volume, 900-page reduction of the LSD is a true testament to this rule-breaker spirit and it shows—well before turning a single page. The vibrance of Julio’s collection cannot be contained by mere binding, spilling a rich world of color into the box in which the tomes are housed. In terms of living history, this thing clearly has a pulse.


cover open

cover bookplate

box bookplate


The only thing more metaphoric than opening volume one to an illustration of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, is the realization that you are looking at the tell-tale perforations of an LSD blotter. This image, much like the memorabilia housed in the pages that follow, is indicative of not one, but many trips through the looking glass.



volume transparency


With a table of contents that reads much like a wrap-sheet or weekend bender at Altamant, each section promises to be a wild ride through hidden parts of history, while also revealing Julio’s obsessional bent to acquire all things taboo—including empty opiate bottles (old and new); McDonald’s coffee stirrers, turned cocaine spoons; a hand-typed copy of Woody Guthrie’s essay on Leadbelly; and the whiskers of none other than Mick Jagger. And on these promises, it most definitely delivers. From his collection of Chairman Mao buttons to manuscripts penned by the original beat writers, this anthology doesn’t just catch the eye—it holds it, with a voyeuristic intensity that, much like its contents, verges on criminal.





“’Julio was a rockstar, he just didn’t play an instrument,’” ~Lenny Kravitz (p. 255)


I tip my hat to you, Mr. Kravitz; you nailed it—there is truly no better way to describe the most eclectic collector of the counter-culture, than this. Rock on, Julio; rock on.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »