New Issue of History of Psychology

The latest issue of the journal History of Psychology (vol. 11, no. 1) features three original articles.

The first, by Richard L. Golden, is about the famed Canadian medical professor (McGill, U. Penn., Oxford), William Osler and his theory of the role of that “modern life” played in the increased “nervousness” he believed he saw in women of the early 20th century.

The second, by Bella Kotik-Friedgut (Achva Academic College, Jerusalem) and Theodore H. Friedgut (Hebrew University, Jerusalem) traces Jewish influences on the work of the influential Russian developmentalist Lev Vygotsky.

The third, by Elizabeth Johnston (Sarah Lawrence College, NY) and Ann Johnson (U. St. Thomas, MN) looks for the “second generation” of American women psychologist (after the generation of Calkins, Washburn, Ladd-Frankln, et al.)

History of Psychology is published by the Educational Publication Foundation of the American Psychological Association and is closely affiliated with the Society for the History of Psychology (APA, Div. 26). The journal is edited by James Capshew of Indiana U.

Abstracts of all three articles can be found below.

Golden, Richard L. (2008). William Osler’s “The nervousness of American women.” History of Psychology, 11, 1-14. Almost a century ago, William Osler, the foremost physician of his time, was approached by a leading periodical to write a series of articles on the health of the American woman. Osler, then the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, wrote an essay dealing with the psychological stresses affecting the “new woman” of the early 20th century at varying stages of her development and the “nervousness” that ensued. The article was never published as a result of his belated reservations on the propriety of a professional writing for a lay journal. Osler’s thinking frequently reflected the spirit of his Victorian-Edwardian era, although at times he demonstrated advanced and prescient ideas about sexuality, not often the subject of discussion, even in circumspect form, in contemporary nonprofessional literature.

Kotik-Friedgut, Bella & Friedgut, Theodore H. (2008). A man of his country and his time: Jewish influences on Lev Semionovich Vygotsky’s world view. History of Psychology, 11, 15-39. Lev Semionovich Vygotsky created the cultural-historical school of psychology, yet all too few of those writing about his work take into account the family, education, and cultural tradition from which he came. The authors contend that the Jewish nature of these elements was of some importance in forming his personality and his consciousness. The 1st part of the article traces his early upbringing, describes the Jewishness of his environment, notes 3 instances in which his “otherness” was imprinted on his consciousness, and points to the sources of his determination to forge a harmonious synthesis with his environment. The 2nd part examines his writings, both earlier journalistic and mature psychological, and points to evidence of the influence of his Jewish upbringing and environment on his work.

Johnston, Elizabeth & Johnson, Ann (2008). Searching for the second generation of American women psychologists. History of Psychology, 11, 40-72. As a consequence of the groundbreaking work of E. Scarborough and L. Furumoto (1987), the contributions of the pioneering first generation of American women psychologists are now well recognized within the history of psychology; however, the generation that followed the pioneers is less well known. The lack of recognition that most women psychologists of the interwar era experienced during the majority of their working lives resulted from sexism institutionalized through practices such as anti-nepotism rules that effectively excluded many married women from the academy, informal hiring practices operating in “old-boy network” fashion, and exclusion from certain key graduate training centers. Yet, many women were productive psychologists during this era and contributed to the growth and expansion of the discipline. Examination of published literature generated biographical information for 107 eminent women; C. A. Murchison’s (1932b) Psychological Register provided a less detailed but more inclusive inventory to yield data on a total of 320 women. This article recounts our systematic search for this “lost generation” and emphasizes the extent and diversity of their contributions to psychology.


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.