Amy Tanner: more than G. Stanley Hall’s assistant

Mike PettitIn a recent issue of History of Psychology, 11(3), Michael Pettit (pictured right) contributed a new chapter to the history of women in psychology.

Amy E. Tanner pursued a series of ventures on the margins of the discipline of psychology from 1895 through the 1910s. As a midwesterner and a woman, she found herself denied opportunities at both research universities and elite women’s colleges, spending the most visible phase of her career as G. Stanley Hall’s assistant at Clark University. A narrative of Tanner’s life furnishes more than a glimpse at the challenges faced by women scholars in the past. As an investigator engaged with the debate over the mental variability of the sexes, an active class passer in the name of social reform, and a spiritualist debunker, her broad interests illuminate how broadly the proper scope of the new psychology could be constituted. Throughout her writing, Tanner offered an embedded, situated account of knowledge production.

AHP has previously posted several notes about the history of women in psychology.  For those interested in this topic specifically, we have created a “tag” that organizes like stories into a single thread: “women.”  (This will automatically update every time a new article is posted with that tag.)  We have also recently added the Division 35 history page, Society for the Psychology of Women Heritage Site, to our links (see the sidebar under “Resources”).

If you have suggestions for additional resources that other readers may find useful, please contribute these thoughts below as a comment. (Click here to do so now.)

About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.