The November 2017 issue of the American Psychologist is devoted to the 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association. AHP readers will be especially interested in an article exploring this 125 year history:
“125 years of the American Psychological Association,” by Christopher D.Green and Robin L. Cautin. Abstract:
The American Psychological Association (APA) began 125 years ago as a small club of a few dozen members in the parlor of its founder, G. Stanley Hall. In the decades since, it has faced many difficulties and even a few existential crises. Originally a scientific society, it spent the decades between the world wars figuring out how to accommodate the growing community of applied psychologists while still retaining and enhancing its scientific reputation. After World War II, with an expanded mandate, it developed formal training models for clinical psychologists and became an important player in legal cases pertaining to civil rights and other social justice issues. With practitioners taking an ever-greater role in the governance of the organization in the late 1970s, and the financial viability of the association in doubt in the 1980s, many psychological scientists felt the need to create a separate organization for themselves. The 1990s and early 2000s brought more challenges: declining divisional memberships; a legal dispute over fees with practitioners; and a serious upheaval over the APA Board of Directors’ cooperation with governmental defense and intelligence agencies during the “war on terror.” These clashes appear to have precipitated a decline in the association’s membership for the first time in its history. The APA has faced many storms over its century-and-a-quarter, but has, thus far, always ultimately found a way forward for itself, for its members, and for the wider discipline of psychology.
It began humbly enough. In 1892, Granville Stanley Hall, professor of psychology and president of Clark University, invited 26 American psychologists to join him in forming a psychological association. A dozen invitees attended the first organizational meeting, in Hall’s office, on July 8, 1892. There, they founded the American Psychological Association. The participants learned that many psychologists who could not attend the meeting, such as John Dewey and Lightner Witmer, had agreed to join, and they selected two psychologists who had not been originally invited, Hugo Münsterberg of Harvard and Edward Titchener of Cornell. They elected Hall as the first president and scheduled their first meeting, at the University of Pennsylvania, for December of that year.
From its inception, membership in the APA was inclusive, at least with respect to religion and gender. The charter members included Edward Pace, a Catholic, and Joseph Jastrow, a Jew, who devised conventions for reporting that evolved into APA style. Two women, Mary Calkins and Christine Ladd-Franklin, were elected members in 1893.
But membership did not guarantee equal standing. Calkins studied at Harvard under James and Münsterberg, who judged her dissertation on learned paired associates to be the best produced in the Department of Philosophy. Yet Harvard declined to award her a degree because Harvard did not then grant degrees to women. Calkins went on to found her own laboratory and psychology program at Wellesley College. She became the first woman elected to the American Psychological Association (1905) and to the American Philosophical Association (1918). (In 1902 Harvard grudgingly offered her a degree from Radcliffe College, which she declined as “second-best.”)
G. Stanley Hall founded this journal as The Pedagogical Seminary in 1891. The title was changed under the editorship of Carl Murchison in 1924 to The Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology, and then in 1954 the shift to its new focus was completed by reduction of the title to its current iteration.
The periodical has celebrated its history with a special volume that focuses on Stanley Hall, pedagogy, and the early 20th century field of developmental research. Abstracts for the included articles follow after the jump:
“Hall’s developmental theory and Haeckel’s recapitulationism,” by Christopher D. Green. The abstract reads,
G. Stanley Hall was one of the leading American psychologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He is best known today for his administrative accomplishments—founding the first psychology research laboratory in the US, launching the American Journal of Psychology and other journals, presiding over Clark University, and assembling the American Psychological Association, among other things. In his time, though, he was also well known for his pioneering work in what came to be called developmental psychology. The theoretical foundation of this research was the recapitulationist evolutionary theory of his contemporary, Ernst Haeckel. Whereas Haeckel proposed that the embryonic development of each organism follows the evolutionary history of its species, Hall argued that the postnatal developmental path of the child’s mind and behaviour follows the evolutionary path of the human species as a whole. Thus, according to Hall, children are psychologically similar to “primitive” humans, and “primitive” humans are psychologically akin to our children of today. This article explores the relationship between Hall’s work and Haeckel’s.
The American Journal of Psychology (AJP) was the first academic journal in the united states dedicated to the “new” scientific form of the discipline. But where did the journal’s founding owner/editor, G. Stanley Hall, find the “psychologists” he needed to fill the pages of such a venture 1887, when he was still virtually the only professor of psychology in the country? To investigate this question we used the substantive vocabularies of every full article published in AJP’s first 14 volumes to generate networks of verbally similar articles. These networks reveal the variety of research communities that hall drew on to launch and support the journal. three separate networks, corresponding to 3 successive time blocks, show how hall’s constellation of participating research communities changed over AJP’s first 17 years. Many of these communities started with rather nebulous boundaries but soon began to differentiate into groups of more distinct specialties. some topics declined over time, but new ones regularly appeared to replace them. We sketch a quasievolutionary model to describe the intellectual ecology of AJP’s early years.
The Winter 2014 issue of the American Journal of Psychology is now available online. The issue’s “History of Psychology” section includes two articles of interest to AHP readers. Robert Proctor and Rand Evans discuss the complicated relationship between Edward Titchener and female psychologists, given that he trained a number of early American female psychologists, yet excluded women from his society the Experimentalists. In another piece Serge Nicolas and Jacy Young (full disclosure: the latter is the author of this blog post) introduce a translation of a French description of the psychology laboratory at Clark University from 1893. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“E. B. Titchener, Women Psychologists, and the Experimentalists,” by Robert W. Proctor and Rand Evans. The abstract reads,
A well-known fact is that E. B. Titchener, a major figure in psychology in the first quarter of the 20th century, excluded women from the group known as the Experimentalists, which he formed in 1904. This fact provides the basis for depicting him as a misogynist. Less well known and publicized is that he was arguably the strongest advocate for women psychologists in the United States throughout his academic career. He supervised the graduate study of Margaret Washburn, the first woman to receive a PhD in psychology in the United States, directed more than 20 dissertations for women psychologists, most of which were published in The American Journal of Psychology, and influenced and befriended others who were not his PhD students. The purpose of this article is to make psychologists more aware of the prominent role Titchener played in the education of early women psychologists and to reconcile this contribution with his position that the Experimentalists should be restricted to men.
The November 2013 issue of History of Psychology is now online. Included in this issue is an article on the sex scandal that led James Mark Baldwin (right) to resign from Johns Hopkins University in 1909. Written by longtime Baldwin scholar Robert Wozniak (along with Jorge Santiago-Blay), the piece describes in detail the circumstances surrounding Baldwin’s arrest in a Baltimore bordello. The issue also includes a digital exploration of the contents of G. Stanley Hall’s American Journal of Psychology and Pedagogical Seminary (by AHP bloggers Jacy Young and Christopher Green), a piece documenting the conceptual history of Einfühlung (or empathy), and an article on the research possibilities of the Society for the History of Psychology’s History of Psychology Newsletter. Full titles, authors, and abstracts follow below.
“Trouble at Tyson Alley: James Mark Baldwin’s arrest in a Baltimore bordello,” by Robert H. Wozniak and Jorge A. Santiago-Blay. The abstract reads,
In June 1908, James Mark Baldwin, then Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and at the pinnacle of his career, was arrested in a Baltimore house of prostitution. Although he insisted on both his legal and moral innocence and all legal charges against him were dismissed, the threat of scandal led Hopkins authorities to demand Baldwin’s resignation and Baldwin to remove himself and his family permanently to France. While this is one of the most notorious events in the early history of American psychology, almost nothing has been known about the incident itself, because both Baldwin and Hopkins took great pains to keep these details private. Based on court records, contemporary newspaper accounts, and archival materials in the Presidential Records at Hopkins and elsewhere, it is now possible to reconstruct the events of 1908 and their aftermath in detail. This article describes these occurrences; places them in the context of Baldwin’s life, personality, and career; presents newly obtained information on the immediate consequences of the arrest, including circumstances leading to Baldwin’s forced resignation; and describes the long-term impact of Baldwin’s removal from the United States. Although no definitive conclusion with regard to Baldwin’s guilt or innocence can be reached, we conclude by contrasting the treatment received at the hands of his colleagues in psychology with the lifelong support received from his wife and family, and suggest that Baldwin may have been the victim of a premature rush to judgment.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the American Journal of Psychology, the first North American journal of the new scientific psychology. Founded by psychologist G. Stanley Hall in 1887, the American Journal of Psychology continues to publish to this day. To mark its 125th anniversary, the Spring 2012 issue of the journal includes an article outlining the publication’s history. Title, author, and abstract follow below.
“125 Years of The American Journal of Psychology: A Historical Overview,” by Alfred H. Fuchs. The abstract reads,
The American Journal of Psychology celebrates 125 years of publication this year. From its inception, the Journal has attempted to record and communicate the results of research conducted in laboratories of psychology. It has also provided its readers with laboratory plans and designs for apparatus for research and demonstrations and described experimental procedures to facilitate the conduct of research. Its attention to reviews of books over a wide range of psychological topics and its inclusion of articles that provide historical perspectives on the development of psychology and its concerns broaden the context in which laboratory research is carried out. This brief overview of the Journal’s history offers a perspective on the role of the Journal in, and its contributions to, the development of scientific psychology.