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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On December 29:

1858 — Alfred Georg Ludwig Lehmann was born. Lehmann was a Danish student of Wilhelm Wundt whose major works dealt with color aesthetics and superstition. He began the first experimental laboratory in Denmark, at the University of Copenhagen.

1892 — The Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Psychological Papers," described the first annual convention of the APA, identified as the "National American Psychological Association." A brief description of Edmund C. Sanford's paper on dreaming was followed by titles and authors of other papers. The article concluded with the dates and location of the 1893 convention.

1896 — In a presentation to the annual meeting of the APA, Lightner Witmer first used the term psychological clinic. Witmer's presentation, titled "The Organization of Practical Work in Psychology," described his psychology clinic, the first of its kind, at the University of Pennsylvania.

1897 — The APA made its first financial commitment to an activity other than its own administration. The Committee on Physical and Mental Tests was given a budget of $100, a significant portion of the association's assets of $669.

1904 — With the election of Mary Whiton Calkins of Wellesley College to the presidency of the APA, the APA became the first American scientific society to elect a woman president.

1909 — Robert M. Yerkes proposed to the APA annual meeting that the APA publish a journal of animal behavior, to be supported by a fee of $1 per member. This would have been the first APA journal, but the APA declined, feeling that competition with privately published journals would be inappropriate and unfair.

1915 — The first program committee for the APA annual meeting was appointed, "to avoid in the future congestion of the program due to an oversupply of titles." Madison Bentley, Robert Ogden, and Guy Montrose Whipple made up the committee.

1915 — The APA passed its first resolution regarding practitioner standards. The APA discouraged "the use of mental tests for practical psychological diagnosis by individuals psychologically unqualified for this work." The resolution was written by J. E. Wallace Wallin and sponsored by Guy M. Whipple.

1919 — The American Association of Clinical Psychologists (AACP), formed by discontented APA members in 1917, merged with the APA and became the Clinical Section, the first special interest division within the APA. Arnold Gesell of the AACP and Bird T. Baldwin of the APA chaired the committee that founded the Clinical Section. Francis N. Maxfield of Ohio State University chaired the Clinical Section during its first 3 years.

1930 — The APA voted to poll its members on whether, in alternate years, first consideration for a site of the annual meeting be given to "institutions located in the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains." Members were also asked about changing the traditional December dates of the annual meeting to dates in the fall. The new fall schedule was adopted for the 1931 Toronto meeting.

1987 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the antidepressant drug Prozac (fluoxetine; Eli Lilly) for use. Fluoxetine was discovered in 1972 and clinical trials began in 1976. It seems to work by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. A controversy developed about the possibility of higher rates of suicide associated with the use of Prozac.

1987 — The APA sold its headquarters building at 1200 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC to the American Restaurant Association (ARA) for more than $17 million. For the next 5 years the APA rented its office space from the ARA and purchased two buildings in Arlington, Virginia before moving to the 750 First Street, NE, location.

1988 — The G Place Limited Partnership was formed between the APA and the Trammell Crow Company. The partnership built and managed the APA headquarters building at 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC. G Place, now renamed Psychology Place, is the street that borders the south side of the building.

1989 — The antiobsessional and antidepressant drug Anafranil (clomipramine; CIBA Pharmaceutical) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Clomipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant, possibly operating by inhibiting reuptake of the transmitter substances serotonin and, to a lesser extent, norepinephrine.

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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