Tag Archives: archive

New History of Psychology: Reputation, Politics, and Archives

The May 2013 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Included in this issue are articles on the role of reputation in academic life via a study of psychologist Kenneth James William Craik, the intersection of science and politics in communist Germany, and the work of Italian Catholic psychologist Agostino Gemelli (left). Other pieces include a discussion of Gantt charts as a means of visually depicting history and a look at the Piaget Archives in Geneva, Switzerland. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.

“The reputation of Kenneth James William Craik,” by Alan F. Collins. The abstract reads,

Reputation is a familiar concept in everyday life and in a range of academic disciplines. There have been studies of its formation, its content, its management, its diffusion, and much else besides. This article explores the reputation of the Cambridge psychologist Kenneth Craik (1914–1945). Having examined something of Craik’s life and work and the content of his reputation, the article concentrates on the functions that Craik’s reputation has served, particularly for psychology and related disciplines. The major functions of that reputation are identified as being a legitimation and confirmation of disciplinary boundaries and discontinuities in the period shortly after World War II, an exemplification of how to be a modern scientist and of the values to embrace, a reinforcement of science as having a national dimension, an affirmation of psychology as a science that can serve national needs, and a creation of shared identities through commemoration. The article concludes that studies of reputations can illuminate the contexts in which they emerge and the values they endorse.

“Science in a communist country: The case of the XXIInd International Congress of Psychology in Leipzig (1980),” by Wolfgang Schönpflug & Gerd Lüer. The abstract reads, Continue reading

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David Boder’s Interviews w/ Holocaust Survivors

In the mid-1940s, in the aftermath of World War II, psychologist David Boder (left) undertook a series of interviews with survivors of the Holocaust, a project that ultimately resulted in over 90 hours of audio recordings. Boder himself published exerts from these interviews, alongside his analysis, in the 1949 book I Did Not Interview the Dead.

Boder’s work is now the basis of a digital archive, Voices of the Holocaust. The project aims “to provide a permanent digital archive of digitized, restored, transcribed, and translated interviews with Holocaust survivors conducted by Dr. David P. Boder in 1946, so that they can be experienced by a global audience of students, researchers, historians, and the general public.” To this end both audio and transcriptions of his interviews can be found on the site.

The Voices of the Holocaust website also features a biography of Boder, which includes discussion of how he came to undertake this project and what the interviews themselves involved. As the site describes,

Arriving in Paris in late July, Boder would spend the next two months interviewing 130 displaced persons in nine languages and recording them on a state-of-the-art wire recorder. The interviews were among the earliest (if not the earliest) audio recordings of Holocaust survivors. They are today the earliest extant recordings, valuable not only for the testimonies of survivors and other DPs, but also for the song sessions and religious services that Boder recorded at various points during the expedition.

…. Boder left Europe in early October, having recorded over ninety hours of material and completely used up the two hundred spools of wire that he had brought with him.

Most of the interviews were conducted with Eastern European Jews, and of these the majority were from Poland. Yet Boder was keen on speaking to many different kinds of groups: Western European Jews (including six Greek Jews that did not fit neatly in either category) number close to twenty. His interviewees thus covered the extreme ends of the spectrum of modern Jewish experience, from passionately Torah-observant Jews who hailed from great yeshiva centers in Lithuania, to assimilated German Jews married to non-Jewish spouses. Most, however, fell somewhere in between. When it came to war time experience, the greater part—whether Eastern or Western, Hungarian or Greek—had ended up in labor or concentration camps. The terrible rigors were what Boder believed his American audience needed an education about: “We know very little in America about the things that happened to you people who were in concentration camps,” was how Boder would orient his narrator to the task and purpose of the interview. But such a mandate did not stop Boder from interviewing over twenty Jews who had not been in the camps. Their stories—of enduring the privation of ghettos, of hiding in woods or on farms, of fleeing to or fighting for Russia—presumably qualified as the “not unusual stories” that Boder said he was seeking and could similarly perform the task of educating an audience across the ocean.

Tip ‘o the hat to the Center for the History of Psychology’s Facebook page for bringing this resource to our attention. Included in the Center’s collections is the Peirce Wire Recorder Boder used in his interviews.

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NYPL Acquires Timothy Leary Papers

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has purchased the papers (above) of psychologist and LSD proponent Timothy Leary. The library purchased the papers from Leary’s estate for $900,000 some of which will be donated back to the NYPL to help with the costs associated with processing the collection.

As announced by the New York Times, Leary’s papers consist of

335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more … The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.

The archive will not be available to the public or scholars for 18 to 24 months, as the library organizes the papers. A preview of the collection, however, reveals a rich record not only of Leary’s tumultuous life but also of the lives of many significant cultural figures in the ’60, ’70s and ’80s.

More details on Leary’s life and work, including photographs of some of the collection’s items, can be found here.

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Interview: Psychology’s Feminist Voices

AHP has the pleasure of presenting an interview with Alexandra Rutherford (right) on the ongoing online archive project Psychology’s Feminist Voices. Directed by Rutherford, Psychology’s Feminist Voices documents the contributions of female psychologists to the discipline, both past and present.

Rutherford is a faculty member in the History and Theory of Psychology graduate program at York University, a fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Society for the History of Psychology, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and the Society for the Psychology of Women and she was kind enough to grant AHP’s request for an interview.

AHP: Briefly, what is Psychology’s Feminist Voices?

AR: Psychology’s Feminist Voices is an Oral History and On-Line Archive Project that I launched in 2004. Although it started small, it has developed over the past 7 years into a multi-component collaborative initiative to document and preserve the voices and stories of feminist psychologists both for the historical record, and for feminist scholarship, teaching, and advocacy in psychology. To date, we have conducted over 100 interviews with self-identified feminist psychologists across North America and Europe. In 2010, we launched the Psychology’s Feminist Voices multimedia internet archive – http://www.feministvoices.com – at the American Psychological Association (APA) convention in San Diego, California. At that time, the site was officially endorsed by the Society for the Psychology of Women, Division 35 of the APA.

The internet archive features profiles of many of the participants in the oral history project, full transcripts and video excerpts from their interviews, and a 40-minute original documentary about the history of feminist psychology in the United States. And this is only half of it! The other half features profiles of women in the history of psychology who may or may not have identified as feminists, but who nonetheless made important contributions that need to be highlighted in our history. Continue reading

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BPS Archive Catalogue Now Online

The British Psychological Society’s History of Psychology Centre has just made available online its archive catalogue, through which individuals can now search the full contents of archive. Among the many collections in the archive are the papers of eminent psychologist Charles Spearman, perhaps best known for his work on human intelligence and factor analysis, and the dream research notebooks of Major Hopkins compiled during his time as a prisoner of war during World War II. Also available online, in the site’s image gallery, are a number of photographs. The official announcement of the online archive catalogue follows below.

The British Psychological Society’s History of Psychology Centre (HoPC) has made its archive catalogue available online. The catalogue contains descriptions of special collections and records held within the BPS archives. Users can now, for the first time, search the entire catalogue via their web browsers.

The archive includes not only records of the Society’s own history but also extensive collections of individual psychologists’ working papers, as well as visual and sound archives. Most of the photographs in the visual archive are viewable in the online catalogue.The catalogue website includes a ‘Showcase’ page that highlights some of the most significant collections in the archives and an ‘Image Gallery’ facility highlighting some of the images contained in the visual archive.

Dr Alan Collins, Chair of the History of Psychology Centre Committee said: ‘The online catalogue will make it easier for historians of psychology to locate important material in the Society’s archives, which are already a major resource for anyone doing research on the history of psychology. And as the History of Psychology Centre is committed to expanding the archives, they will increase in importance in the future. We also hope that anyone with access to valuable archive material will consider contributing it to HoPC so making the Centre one of the “first stops” for anyone seeking archival material relating to psychology and its history in Britain.’

The online catalogue is available at http://archives.bps.org.uk/CalmView

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Italian HoP Archive Now Online

A new website documenting the history of psychology in Italy has been launched.  The site, Archivi Storici della Psicologia Italiana (ASPI), provides online access to archival materials in the collections of a number of important Italian psychologists that are housed at The Reels (the Historical Archives of Italian psychology). The project is described as

an interdepartmental research center at the University of Milan-Bicocca aimed at conservation and development of primary sources relating to the history of Italian psychology, understood in all its manifestations: from the tradition of phenomenological psychology to legal psychology and social work to psychoanalysis and clinical psychology, psychology of cognitive processes to neuropsychology.

The Reels was created in 2005 following the first acquisition of the archive and library of Vittorio Benussi and Caesar Musatti. Later he acquired the important fund Giulio Cesare Ferrari and that of the sociologist Giancarlo Arnao.

The official unveiling of the site will take place on April 20th, at 5pm at the Palazzo Litta, Milan (Italy), Corso Magenta 24. The history of Italian psychology can be explored here.

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