How’s Your Wife… 70 Years Ago?

The APA’s Monitor on Psychology has published an article by Nick Joyce and David B. Baker (both of U. Akron) on a test from the 1930s called the “Marital Rating Scale — Wife’s Chart.” The test was

developed in the late 1930s by George W. Crane, MD, PhD, (1901–95) of Northwestern University, who ran a counseling practice, wrote a syndicated national newspaper column called “The Worry Clinic” and started his own matchmaking service.

Among the various “demerits” the test identifies in wives are “wears red nail polish” and “slow in coming to bed.” By contrast, the “merits” list includes “has meals on time” and “let’s husband sleep late on Sunday and holidays.”

Joyce and Baker write:

Although most people who read the test today find it humorous and obviously dated, Crane did attempt to make it scientific. His method was to interview 600 husbands on their wives’ positive and negative qualities. Then he listed the 50 demerits and merits that arose most frequently.

The ubiquitous Mind Hacks picked up the story a few days ago, whence it was repeated by Boing Boing, a reader of which discovered that she owned the complete scale and has since posted it on Flickr.

About Christopher Green

Professor of Psychology at York University (Toronto). Former editor of the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. Creator of the "Classics in the History of Psychology" website and of the "This Week in the History of Psychology" podcast series.

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