[APA World Wide Web Logo]

APA Historical Database: Selected Entries

On June 10:

1839 — The first county asylum in New York, the New York Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island in the East River, received its first patients. They had previously been housed in the almshouse and hospital at Bellevue. The grim conditions at Blackwell's Island were described in detail by Charles Dickens, during his tour of the United States in 1842.

1895 — Mary Whiton Calkins completed informal doctoral examinations at Harvard University. The university did not recognize her candidacy or formally award her degree because she was a woman. She later became president of the APA (1905). Later in her career, Calkins was offered a PhD degree from Radcliffe College in lieu of her Harvard degree, but she refused to accept it.

1897 — In a letter to Harvard University president Charles W. Eliot, William James asked that his title be changed from professor of psychology to professor of philosophy. Hugo Münsterberg had become professor of psychology and James wrote, "psychology is not a big enough subject to be represented in the titles of two full professorships." The change became effective on October 31, 1897.

1900 — Martin Scheerer was born. Scheerer was a Gestalt psychologist who worked with Kurt Goldstein to produce a series of tests of concept formation used in psychological assessment settings.

1931 — Gordon Allport and Philip Vernon's personality scale A Study of Values, more commonly known as the Allport-Vernon Scale, was published.

1935 — Dr. Bob Smith of Akron, Ohio began sustained abstinence from alcohol with the help of his wife Anne Smith and friend Bill Wilson. The date is considered the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose group meetings and 12-step program have been the model for many other mutual support therapeutic groups. The Smiths' house at 855 Ardmore is now a National Historic Landmark.

1960 — William Dement's article "The Effect of Dream Deprivation" was published in Science.

1964 — The American Psychologist published a brief but influential article by Diana Baumrind titled "Some Thoughts on Ethics of Research: After Reading Milgram's 'Behavioral Study of Obedience.'" Baumrind's criticisms of the treatment of human participants in Milgram's studies stimulated a thorough revision of the ethical standards of psychological research.

1965 — George K. Bennett, president of the Psychological Corporation, testified about the validity of the MMPI before a U.S. Senate committee on the constitutionality of nonvoluntary psychological testing by employers.

1986 — In Rivers v. Katz, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that patients involuntarily committed to a state mental hospital cannot be forced to take antipsychotic drugs without a court order.

1993 — President Clinton's signature established the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research within the National Institutes of Health. The relevant legislation was Section 203 of Public Law 103-43, the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act.

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.

Choose Another Day
How to Cite This Page in APA Style