This is part of a special series of posts on the digital history of psychology from members of the PsyBorgs Lab at York University, in Toronto, Canada. The full series of posts can be found here.
Read Mapping Science & Reform: The First Generation of Chicago-Trained Female Social Scientists, Part I, here.
Employment: Academic & Social Services
The self-identified locations of the first cohort of Chicago-trained female social scientists during the years of the alumni directories show that whether or not it was their place of origin, the East Coast was, not surprisingly, where the majority would end up working. This was particularly the case for the early generation in the cohort (pre-1906).
The following three maps illustrate the locations for the pre-1906 generation as identified in the three directories (1906, 1913, 1919):
The pre-1906 individuals move around quite a bit, but as can be seen, the general layout is strikingly similar, with the majority clustered in the North and Mid- East Coast, a contingent in Chicago, and a few scattered in Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and California.
Compare that consistency with these following two maps for the post-1906 generation:
There are notably more throughout the Midwest, fewer in Chicago, a couple in the South, a couple on the West Coast, and by 1919 there are none in the greater New England region. There does not seem to be any general association between discipline of doctorate and region, or discipline and institution of employment.
Note: two individuals of the total cohort mapped above were involved in private enterprise and so are not included in the following maps for academia and the social services. In 1919, the directory entry for Mary Holmes Stevens Hayes, who had earned her psychology doctorate in 1910, simply listed “The Scott Company” which was a brand new advertising firm in Chicago that year. Anna Louise Strong was entered in 1913 as working for the National Child Welfare Exhibition Commission in New York City, had by 1919 moved to Seattle and was working as editorial staff for the Daily Union Record Newspaper there.
Employment in Academia
An interesting pattern on the academic employment map is that five of those working at post-secondary institutions in the Midwest hold professorships, and all of those who do attended Midwestern institutes for their undergraduate education (June Etta Downey, at the University of Wyoming, also did her undergrad there; Florence Ella Richardson and Cecil Clare North, who completed their undergrads at the University of Nebraska, professed at Drake and DePauw universities respectively; Ella Harrison Stokes, at Penn College had attended Ohio Weslyan University; and Dagny Gunhilda Sunne, at Oxford College, had studied at the University of Minnesota).
In contrast, the group who end up working at the Seven Sisters colleges was not a clear cut return of alumni to their network of undergraduate alma maters, and includes as many individuals from Midwestern schools as Eastern. The women employed at these schools begin in lower level positions with titles such as reader, instructor and lecturer. The only individual of the pre-1906 generation whose first listing was a professorship is Amy Eliza Tanner, at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
There are numerous speculative possibilities for these discrepancies between the cohort generations and regions and academic opportunity, including the higher level of competition on the Eastern Seaboard as the heart of North American academia, the expansion of the post-secondary education system in general, and increasing inclusion of women in the academic industry through the years between the directories. Nonetheless, academic career trajectories were fairly precarious for all: two of those in that group of Midwestern professors who listed a new place of employment between directories had moved at the cost of a demotion (Flora Ella Richardson and Cecil Clare North), and Amy Eliza Tanner also struggled, moving from Wilson College to Clark University in 1913, where her title went from prof to ‘writer.’
Precisely half of the entire cohort reported being employed in the post-secondary academic industry. Six of those 19 stayed at one place of employment throughout the years between 1906 and 1919—two began as instructors and advanced to professorships, two only managed to secure horizontal advancement, and two maintained their positions as professors that they had achieved upon entry. Four taught in state normal schools or other teacher’s colleges, and three reported working in educational administration. Four identified their work as being research (two of those, Frances Gardner Davenport and Edith Abbott were funded by Carnegie, although only Davenport provided more specification, which was that she was an assistant in the department of historical research at the Carnegie institute in D.C.)
Employment in Social Services
Only seven individuals reported working outside of the academy:
This group (discounting the two in private industry, noted above) became employed in the burgeoning progressive reform era social services sector. None centred in Chicago or sustained an official connection with the Hull House Settlement as may have been expected.
Elizabeth Kemper Adams, who had worked her way up from instructor in philosophy and education at Smith College in 1906 to professor there in 1913, had by 1919 taken the position of Assistant Chief of the U.S. Employment Service, in D.C. In 1913, Helen Bradford Thompson Woolley, upon her return from the Philippines was the director of the Child Labor Division, Public School Bureau of Research in Cincinnati.
Three of them worked together: by 1906 Katherine Bement Davis, who graduated in 1900 in political economy and sociology, had become the first superintendent of the New York State Reformatory for Women in Bedford Hills. In 1913 she was joined by Clara Jean Weidensall, a 1910 psychology graduate and Julia Jessie Taft, a newly minted 1913 philosophy graduate as lab director and assistant superintendent, respectively. By 1919, all three had moved on—Weidensall was an instructor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and Taft had become the director of the Seybert Institute for Poor Boys and Girls in Philadelphia. Bement Davis was now listed as “Secretary,” but this provides a good example of the limitations of using the alumni directories as a primary data source, because we know from external sources that she was at this point head of Rockefeller’s Bureau of Social Hygiene.
The concluding section of Mapping Science & Reform will be posted on May 5. Come back then for further elucidation of individual career trajectories within the reform movement, and discussion of the limitations and advantages our research processes.