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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On May 2:

1777 — Franz Mesmer was expelled from the practice of medicine in Vienna. The precipitating incident was Mesmer's treatment of a Fräulein Paradies, a 17-year-old pianist who had been blind since the age of 3. Mesmer claimed that his use of "animal magnetism" had restored her sight, but only when she was alone with him.

1822 — The Fellows of the Connecticut State Medical Society voted to petition the state legislature for an act of incorporation and funding of a public institution for the care of people with mental illness. The legislature did so and, on January 27, 1823, the Society voted to locate the facility at Hartford, on land owned by Ira Todd. The Connecticut Retreat for the Insane, later named the Hartford Retreat, opened for the admission of patients in 1824.

1889 — Edgar Arnold Doll was born. Doll's work in assessment extended from prison populations to children. He developed the Vineland Social Maturity Scale.

1896 — Sigmund Freud presented his psychogenic theory of hysteria to the Society of Psychiatry and Neurology in Vienna. Psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebbing declared, "It sounds like a scientific fairy tale." The paper was almost the last one Freud ever read in Vienna; the only other one was read 8 years later.

1910 — The founding meeting of the American Psychopathological Association was held at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, at the same time as the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association. Morton Prince was the first president of the American Psychopathological Association.

1927 — In the Carrie Buck case, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Virginia statute allowing sexual sterilization of institutionalized individuals suffering from "hereditary forms of insanity that are recurrent, idiocy, imbecility, feeble-mindedness, or epilepsy." Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

1929 — Rene A. Ruiz was born. Ruiz's interests were primarily minority issues such as minority mental heath services, care for elderly Hispanic clients, counseling and psychotherapy for Hispanics, and minority children. Ruiz helped form the National Hispanic Psychological Association.

1935 — Carl Murchison's first A Handbook of Social Psychology was published.

1941 — The drug chloral hydrate, manufactured by Kremers-Urban, was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Chloral hydrate is a nonbarbiturate sedative used in the treatment of anxiety. Noctec is a contemporary trade name for chloral hydrate.

1951 — S. S. Stevens's classic Handbook of Experimental Psychology was published.

1952 — Fritz Redl and David Wineman's Controls From Within was published.

1956 — In a paper titled "Current Developments in Complex Information Processing," Allen Newell announced the invention of the first computer program to simulate human problem solving to a meeting on computers and automation in Washington, DC. The computer program was written by Newell and Herbert A. Simon.

1958 — The petition to create APA Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology) was submitted to the APA Council of Representatives.

1967 — The Nebraska legislature passed the state's original psychologist licensing act. D. Craig Affleck was the chairman of the first board of examiners.

1975 — Biochemist John Hughes, working at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, announced the discovery of the first endogenous opiate (endorphin), which he called enkephalin. Endogenous opiates are naturally occurring pain reducers whose action is mimicked by morphine.


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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