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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On January 1:

1796 — The first executive committee meeting of The Retreat, at York, England, was held. The York Retreat was founded in 1792 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) at the urging of William Tuke. The first patients were admitted in 1796. Tuke, his son John, Thomas Priestman, Timothy White, and John Fothergill served on the executive committee. The Retreat was one of the first institutions to provide humane treatment for people with mental illness.

1851 — Patients at the Utica State Asylum in Utica, New York, began publication of the nation's second regular newspaper produced at a mental institution. Its motto was "Devoted to Usefulness."

1879 — (Alfred) Ernest Jones was born. Jones was an early associate of Sigmund Freud, becoming a part of Freud's inner circle after the defections of Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. He introduced psychoanalysis in England and wrote the standard English-language biography of Freud's life and work.

1889 — James McKeen Cattell was made professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, becoming the first professor with that specific title in an American university.

1894 — Jean Walker Macfarlane was born. Macfarlane directed the longitudinal Berkeley Guidance Study, begun in 1928. Major themes in her work were the variety of paths of normal development, complex interactions among factors influencing adjustment, and human resourcefulness.

1900 — The Western Philosophical Association was founded in Kansas City. Philosophers and experimental psychologists were uncomfortable partners in the early APA, and this new independent philosophical association formalized the split. In 1901 the American Philosophical Association was formed in the eastern United States and merged with the western association in the 1910s.

1905 — Clifford W. Beers wrote a 15,000 word version of his autobiography in 3 days at the Yale Club in New York City. A second version was written a few weeks later at the Hartford Retreat during a brief voluntary commitment. The third version, which was to become A Mind That Found Itself, the manifesto of the mental hygiene movement, was begun on August 26, 1905.

1914 — Wolfgang Köhler assumed the directorship of the Anthropoid Research Station on the Spanish island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The station was financed by the Prussian Academy of Sciences. Köhler was confined to the island for the duration of World War I because the British Navy controlled the seas around Tenerife and he carried out his famous studies of insightful problem solving in chimpanzees during this time.

1925 — Psychologist John B. Watson was named vice president at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.

1925 — The APA made its first payment toward purchase of Howard C. Warren's Psychological Review Company. Warren's journals (Psychological Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Psychological Index, Psychological Monographs, and Psychological Bulletin) became the first to be published by the APA. The transfer was completed in 1929 by Warren's gift of his remaining 46% share.

1926 — Jack G. Wiggins was born. Wiggins has conducted research on depression, selective perception, and projective techniques. He helped found the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology and the Council for the Advancement of the Psychological Practices and Sciences and has advocated public funding of psychological services. APA President, 1992.

1927 — The journal Psychological Abstracts began publishing abstracts of psychological literature, previously published in Psychological Bulletin.

1979 — The American Psychological Association Office of Ethnic and Cultural Affairs first opened. Esteban Olmedo, former associate director of the University of California, Los Angeles Spanish-Speaking Mental Health Research Center, was the first director. This program is now named the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs.

1979 — The APA Monitor announced that the American Psychologist and the APA Monitor would be available in tape-recorded editions, primarily for use by blind persons.

1980 — The clinical classification system of the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) officially replaced the second edition (DSM-II) system.

1986 — The California legislature enacted the nation's first "duty to protect" law, limiting the liability of psychotherapists whose clients harm other people when the therapist may have prior knowledge of the client's intent to harm. The law was a response to the Tarasoff case, in which a psychotherapist was found liable for damages when his client murdered an ex-girlfriend.


Copyright © 1995, American Psychological Association. Web version by permission. Source: Street, W. R. (1994). A Chronology of Noteworthy Events in American Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. The American Psychological Association and Central Washington University have supported the development of the APA Historical Database.

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