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Posts Tagged ‘Special Collections’

-contributed by Arianna Iliff.

As a Graduate Student Assistant here at the CCHP, I get to explore our collections for researchers and find resources to assist them in their research. In the process of doing so, I find some truly interesting gems, and record them in a word document called “Nifty Surprises.” I thought I would share some with you today:

Harrower_SquareDancing_OS67_MapCaseDrawer5

Molly Harrower papers, OS67, map case 5

 

I’ve had the chance to get to know Molly Harrower: not just as a psychologist, but as a person. She was a skilled writer, and throughout the Harrower papers, you can even find snippets of poetry. But did you know that we have her “Bachelor of Square Dancing” degree?

OS67, Map Case 5 (molly's cats 2)

Molly died in 1999. If Molly were alive today, I bet she’d get a huge kick out of internet cat videos–clearly a gal after my own heart. Molly Harrower papers, OS67, map case 5.

How about this lovely chalk drawing of her cat? That’s one thing that I’ve enjoyed about my time here: when you have access to data, manuscripts, and unexpected errata such as this, history becomes more tangible than anything you could read in a textbook.

Maslow_M4413_folder7 (Huxley pamphlet)

I wish my favorite author would send me an autographed pamphlet. I’m not bitter though. Abraham Maslow Papers, box M4413, folder 7.

Finding this gem made my jaw drop: “THE Aldous Huxley? Sci-fi writer extraordinaire?” Oh yes! Abe Maslow and Aldous Huxley were indeed friends, due to their mutual interest in peak experiences and the Human Potential Movement. Interestingly, one of my favorite family therapists, Virginia Satir, was also a part of the movement!

V37_folder 2 (furiosa and max)

 Henry H. Goddard papers, V37, folder 2.

Stay with me on this one: okay, have you seen Mad Max: Fury Road? You know that scene where Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa aims a shot off of Max’s shoulder? My first thought when I found this image in the Goddard Papers was of exactly that!

Unfortunately, this image is not labeled with names or any such identifiers, and we don’t know who these people were in relation to Goddard. So when I think of this image, I just think of it as “that picture of early 20th century Max and Furiosa.”

V35_folder6 (D Johannsen, M Crook, R Leeper, Bony)

Three grad students, studying at a table with a model human skeleton. Caption: Caption on reverse states “graduate student life at Clark,” listing the names Dorothea Johannsen (Crook), Mason N. Crook, Robert W. Leeper, and Bony. AHAP Still Images collection, V35, folder 6.

When I came across this photo in our photo archives, I think that as a second-semester graduate student, I related to Bony the skeleton on a spiritual level. I felt that this photo needed a hilarious caption, such as “I’m coping with the workload just fine,” or “finals week is a real killer,” or perhaps ”I choose the sweet embrace of death over one more day in this program.”

On a serious note, I’ll say this: as an undergraduate, I chose studying sociology over psychology because for some reason, the sociological perspective was easier for me to connect with. However, since I’ve been working at the CCHP, I’ve had the opportunity to physically touch history, learning while helping others learn. Most people are surprised when I tell them the only place like this in the world is in Akron, but the fact of the matter is that the famous psychologists we learn about in 100-level classes, or whose research we draw upon, are more than just vague, long-deceased monoliths, but human beings who lived, worked, and thought. It excites me tremendously that you, too could experience history like I have, once our museum re-opens to the public. I hope you’ll stop on by!

 

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– 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 Emily Gainer.

Which psychologist would have letters from Paul Newman, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and E.B. White?  Frank Barron, whose work included creativity research, collected these letters (and more).  The Frank X. Barron papers are now available for research at the CCHP.

Frank X. Barron, 1969. Box M5404, Folder 16

Frank X. Barron, 1969. (Box M5404, Folder 16)

Francis Xavier Barron (1922-2002) was a psychologist with a specialization in creativity research. He developed standardized tests to measure the characteristics of a creative person. These tests included the Inventory of Personal Philosophy, the Ego-Strength Scale, and the Barron-Walsh Art Scale. Barron’s major publications include Creativity and Psychological Health: Origins of Personal Vitality and Creative Freedom, Creativity and Personal Freedom, and Creative Person and Creative Process.

The Frank X. Barron papers, which contain 94 boxes of archival materials, include biographical files, correspondence, administrative files, teaching files, tests, research files, and written works. The files document Barron’s wide variety of research interests, including creativity, twins, nuclear war, and artists.

Of special note are the files relating to Barron’s creative writers study (1957-1958). In this study, Barron interviewed and tested numerous notable writers, including Truman Capote and Normal Mailer. Some files are restricted.

Author E.B. White's response to Frank X. Barron's invitation to participate in a creative writers study (1957). Box M5422, Folder 11

Author E.B. White’s response to Frank X. Barron’s invitation to participate in a creative writers study, 1957. (Box M5422, Folder 11)

Letter from Truman Capote to Frank X. Barron regarding Capote's participation in a creative writers study, 1957. Box M5422, Folder 7

Letter from Truman Capote to Frank X. Barron regarding Capote’s participation in a creative writers study, 1957. (Box M5422, Folder 7)

The Written Works series includes published and unpublished works, including unpublished notes and drafts of “The Sacred Mushroom in Harvard Yard” and “A Baby Named Death”. Both were autobiographical works; “The Sacred Mushroom in Harvard Yard” was a memoir of Barron’s relationship with Timothy Leary.

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

 

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Contributed by Jon Endres

In my job as the main media digitization person here at the Cummings Center, I have the opportunity to hear and see things that sometimes have not been seen or heard in decades or longer. This is one of my favorite aspects of the job – outside of being able to actively do a service for the study of history – and sometimes we find things that we did not know we had, or even existed.

My most recent project involved digitizing audio recordings from wire spools. On these spools,  Dr. David Pablo Boder recorded fascinating things, from interviews with people displaced by the 1951 Kansas City Flood to speeches and radio programs.

IMG_1120.JPGThe three boxes of spools in the AHAP collection

Boder’s most famous work was done in 1946 when he traveled across Germany, Italy, France, and Switzerland and collected interviews with displaced persons–many of them Holocaust survivors–in the aftermath of World War II. Most of the recordings were uncovered in the late 1990s between the Library of Congress and the Illinois Institute of Technology, spurring much interest in Boder’s work.

Boder off trainFrom a 16mm film of Boder in Germany

There was one wire spool that was never found, being referenced in his work but not found in the various Boder collections. This spool was of Jewish songs from a displaced persons camp in Henonville, France.

As I went through the three boxes of spools that we have at the archives I began to take stock of what we knew we had on spools versus what we had no idea about. Among these “confused” wire spools was the one below.

henonville.JPG

 

The spool above had been erroneously entered into the finding aid as “Heroville Songs” when the collection was originally processed in the 1960s. It did not take me long to realize that the tin says “Henonville? Songs.” But this was no guarantee that this was the content on the spool. Even the tin itself seemed a bit unsure about its own content.

It took me a few days to get comfortable enough with the medium to put the Henonville Songs on to digitize – these are very fragile and I did not want to risk destroying history – but when I did I was blown away.

These are the missing songs Boder recorded from those survivors, recorded more than 60 years ago. The feeling of knowing what I had found and the understanding that I was  listening to something few before me had heard was a very different and personal thing for me. It felt like I was helping in some way to bring these voices to the present, voices that had become somewhat lost to the historical record.

The discovery of this single canister holding a lost recording means that  these songs can be heard again, they can be studied, and they can inform us in a new way about the experiences, the joys, and the frustrations of these displaced persons.

Below are several samples from the Henonville Songs spool. Please give them a listen, they’ve been waiting a long time.

Dr. Boder’s Introduction: Song Clip 1:Song Clip 2:Song Clip 3:

[Note: If you’re interested in hearing or using Boder’s work for research, please contact us at ahap@uakron.edu.]

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– contributed by Cate Conley, Museums & Archives Certificate student.

 

“We shape our buildings, therefore they shape us.” – Winston Churchill

 

When looking at the buildings that make up The University of Akron, most people will immediately recognize the newer structures on campus, such as Infocision Stadium, the Student Union, Stile Athletics Field House, and the new dorms.  But, not many people think of the buildings that existed on campus before they were considered University property and their roles in shaping not only The University of Akron, but the community of Akron, Ohio as a whole.  As students, faculty, and staff at the University or as members of the community, we have an obligation to ourselves and to those who have yet to experience Akron, to participate in the discussion of what shapes us… what shapes our city.

On May 7, 2016 from 3-5pm students will hold an opening reception to unveil an exhibit within the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Special Collections showcase titled The University of Akron Repurposes Akron History: Polsky’s, Quaker Square, Roadway, & St. Paul’s. The exhibition highlights the significance and value of these buildings to the University, the community, and Akron’s history. The exhibition opening is free to the public, so come visit and tell us what you think! We ask you to participate in the conversation of preservation  and the adaptive reuse of these historical buildings.  Their continued use and/or demolition shapes our future not just as students, but as members of this community.

This exhibit opens during with May’s Akron Art Walk and will be available for viewing during the Akron-Summit County Public Library, Main Library (60 S. High Street, Akron, OH 44326) from May 7 through August 21, 2016. You can visit during regular library hours.

[This exhibit is designed and installed by students participating in the Museums and Archives certificate program run by the Institute of Human Science and Culture (IHSC) at the Drs. Nicholas & Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology (CCHP). For more information about enrolling in the program, please contact Dr. Jodi Kearns, jkearns@uakron.edu.]

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Contributed by Rhonda Rinehart. This is the first installment of the “Psychology of…” book of the month blog series.

It has been said that we are what we eat.  Can the same be said for clothes?  Are we what we wear, or does what we choose to wear have implications beyond mere style or utilitarianism?  And ultimately, how is our identity defined by what we wear?

Two books at CCHP turn to psychology to answer these sometimes philosophical questions.  Fashion, it turns out, has a checkered past.  Revolutions, tyrannies, martyrs and reformers have all put their respective stamps on the humble act of covering the human body.  But is it really such a humble act?  The Psychology of Dress: an Analysis of Fashion and its Motive, published in 1929, paints a rather tawdry picture of fashion’s history and the mostly ego-driven reasons pushing it forward.  The Psychology of Clothes, published twenty-one years later, focuses on the more clinically-defined psychological factors behind the clothing choices people make.  These factors borrow ideas from Thorndike and Freud but project an equally nefarious history of clothing.

Page from The Psychology of Clothes, emphasizing the relationship between clothing and well-being.

Page from The Psychology of Clothes, emphasizing the relationship between clothing and well-being.

As with anything involving Homo sapiens and our big brains, the mere act of dressing oneself is at once complex and complicated.  People follow fashion, according to author Elizabeth Hurlock in Dress, for fear of ridicule and scorn.  And if you’ve ever experienced either (ask me sometime about my clothing-related experience as a high school sophomore), you know this to be a true assertion. Fear plays a huge role throughout fashion’s narrative as a catalyst for larger historical movements, largely movements in which fear of belonging or fear of rejection play a role.

The price of not following fashion trends – from The Psychology of Clothes.

The price of not following fashion trends – from The Psychology of Clothes.

Historically, women suffered many health problems at the hand of fashion, regulatory laws prevented social “inferiors” from copying clothing of the aristocracy, and clothing marked one’s social status.  These events all ended in rebellion and eventually, reform.

These two popular trends in hair and clothing represented of prosperity and wealth – both images from The Psychology of Dress.

These two popular trends in hair and clothing represented of prosperity and wealth – both images from The Psychology of Dress.

image4                                  

In Clothes, J.C. Flugel names nine different individual differences, or personality types, that he states control our clothing choices.  Do you find yourself in one of these categories when you get dressed in the morning (or in the afternoon)?

  • The rebellious type.
  • The resigned type.
  • The unemotional type.
  • The prudish type.
  • The duty type.
  • The protected type.
  • The supported type.
  • The sublimated type.
  • The self-satisfied type.
Diagram from The Psychology of Clothes depicting gender choices in clothing.

Diagram from The Psychology of Clothes depicting gender choices in clothing.

So we’ve come full circle.  That same riddle is still perhaps unanswered: Are we what we wear, or do our choices in clothing define us?  Whether we are fashion pioneers or fashion followers has a lot to do with our experiences and our socioeconomic status.  So perhaps that answer lies with the ability to make choices; and it is power that determines whether we get to make those choices or whether they are made for us.

Both titles from the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. library at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology.

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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

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TableContent1

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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

 

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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!

 

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

Published: 1921, 1923

 

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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.

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