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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On January 8:

1823 Alfred Russel Wallace was born. Wallace was stimulated by reading Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population to develop a theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin. Receipt of Wallace's manuscript, "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type" in June 1858 spurred Darwin to make public his own theory of evolution.

1885 — The American Society for Psychical Research was founded. The first president was Simon Newcomb, an astronomer at Johns Hopkins University.

1890 — William James's academic title at Harvard University was changed to professor of psychology. James began his career at Harvard as an instructor (1872) and assistant professor (1876) of physiology. His title was later changed to assistant professor (1880) and professor (1885) of philosophy. On October 31, 1897, his title reverted back to professor of philosophy.

1902 — Carl R. Rogers was born. Rogers pioneered "nondirective" or "client-centered" therapy, which is based on the principles of humanistic psychology. He won the APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1956 and the APA Distinguished Professional Contribution Award in 1972, the first years each of those awards was presented. APA President, 1947.

1918 — Sol L. Garfield was born. Garfield has concentrated on comprehensive surveys of psychotherapy research and the training of clinical psychologists. His Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (1971), edited with Allen Bergin, has been the definitive summary of the field for more than 20 years. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1979.

1923 — George D. Goldman was born. Goldman has advanced the profession of psychology by being a cofounder and clinic director of the Adelphi University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and by legally defending the right of clinical psychologists to conduct private psychotherapy. APA Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions, 1988.

1955 — The New York State Mental Hygiene Department reported that mental patients with varying diagnoses showed improvement after being treated with the new drugs Thorazine (chlorpromazine) and Serpasil (reserpine).

1971 — The Practice of Psychology Act for the District of Columbia (Public Law 91-657) was signed by President Nixon. This licensing legislation had been introduced in Congress by Senator Alan Bible (D-NV). Licensure legislation introduced in 1966 and 1967 had not been approved by Congress.

1975 — The drug Nembutol (pentobarbital sodium; Abbott Laboratories) was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The first approval of pentobarbital sodium was awarded on August 31, 1939, to Premo Pharmaceuticals. Pentobarbital is a barbiturate used as an antianxiety agent and as a sedative.

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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