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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On May 15:

1817 — The first private mental hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was opened for the admission of patients. Isaac Bonsall was the hospital's first superintendent. During the first year, 19 patients were admitted. The facility's name is now Friends Hospital.

1848 — Carl Wernicke was born. Wernicke gained fame with his work on the neurology of aphasia, which he published in 1874 at the age of 26. Wernicke's aphasia, as one form came to be known, was attributed to temporal lobe damage, resulting in impairment in speech comprehension and, by extension, speech production. The critical area of the temporal lobe is now known as Wernicke's area.

1854 — The first treatment facility for alcoholism in the United States was organized. The United States Inebriates Asylum, at Binghamton, New York, was established "for the reformation of the poor and destitute inebriates." Its cornerstone was laid on September 24, 1858. In May 1879, the New York legislature converted the institution into a general mental hospital named Binghamton Asylum and now named Binghamton Psychiatric Center.

1889 — Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, a 72-year-old professor of medicine at the College de France, injected himself with an extract of guinea pig testicles. A month later he announced to the Societé de Biologie that he had found a drug to rejuvenate elderly men. Although Brown-Séquard had experienced a placebo effect, his report eventually led to the discovery of sex hormones.

1889 — The Wyoming Territorial Insane Asylum, Wyoming's first public mental hospital, was opened in Evanston. The first patient was admitted 6 days later. William A. Hocker served as superintendent of the institution for its first two years. After Wyoming became a state in 1890, the name of the hospital was renamed Wyoming State Hospital for the Insane (1895) and is now named Wyoming State Hospital.

1915 — Raymond Dodge and Francis G. Benedict's extensive studies of the effects of alcohol and performance were published by the Carnegie Nutrition Laboratory in Boston. Dodge, an experimental psychologist, later presented some of this work to the National Academy of Sciences on November 2, 1915, in a paper titled "Neuromuscular Effects of Moderate Doses of Alcohol."

1917 Eleanor Emmons Maccoby was born. Maccoby's works include studies of child rearing, sex differences, public opinion, and the effects of television viewing. Her books Patterns of Child Rearing (1957, with Robert Sears and Harry Levin) and The Psychology of Sex Differences (1974, with Carol Jacklin) are frequently cited. She received awards for distinguished scientific contributions from the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development. In 1993, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and in 1996, she received the American Psychological Foundation's Gold Medal Award for Lifetime Achievement.

1917 — The first U.S. military pilot selection tests, conducted by the Physical Examining Unit of the U.S. Army Signal Corps Aviation Section, began at the University of Pennsylvania hospital. By the fall of 1917, 67 units were conducting examinations. The 33-item test battery included tests for stereoscopic vision, equilibrium, and color vision. The testing program was later administered by the Air Service Medical Research Laboratory, established in October 1917.

1930 — The journal Child Development was first published by the Society for Research in Child Development. Buford J. Johnson was the first editor.

1949 — John A. Glover was born. Glover's research centered on two areas: the development of problem-solving and creative abilities, and factors affecting information processing and recall of text materials.

1952 — The APA was granted a permit by the Washington, DC, zoning board to purchase its first office building, at 1333 16th Street, NW.

1962 — The term learning disabilities first appeared in print in the first edition of Samuel A. Kirk's book, Educating Exceptional Children.

1976 — The first Symposium on Chicano Psychology began, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the University of California, Irvine. The keynote speaker was Alfredo Castaneda of Stanford University.


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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