Frank Parsons's enablers: Pauline Agassiz Shaw, Meyer Bloomfield, and Ralph Albertson.Frank Parsons was not the 1st American to recognize or address the need for vocational guidance vocational guidance: see guidance and counseling. . Why he, rather than his predecessors, is credited with initiating the field can be attributed to the largely overlooked contributions of 3 other persons: Pauline Agassiz Shaw, Meyer Bloomfield, and Ralph Albertson. The author calls attention to the contributions of these 3 remarkable individuals, and several others who supported them, in enabling and perpetuating Parsons's work.
As every counselor knows (e.g., Brewer, 1942; H. V. Davis, 1969; Gummere, 1988; Jones, 1994; Pope & Sveinsdottir, 2005), Frank Parsons established the field of career counseling Noun 1. career counseling - counseling on career opportunities
counseling, counselling, guidance, counsel, direction - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action (then called vocational guidance; Pope, 2000) by becoming the founding director and vocational counselor of the Vocation Bureau of Boston on January 13, 1908. He held this position until his untimely death on September 26 of that year. Parsons, however, was by no means the first American First American may refer to:
This article posits that it was the largely unheralded contributions of three other people that saved Parsons from the oblivion that enveloped en·vel·op
tr.v. en·vel·oped, en·vel·op·ing, en·vel·ops
1. To enclose or encase completely with or as if with a covering: "Accompanying the darkness, a stillness envelops the city" Richards and Davis. Without the participation of Pauline Agassiz Shaw, Meyer Bloomfield, and Ralph Albertson, Parsons's work in this field would almost certainly not have come to fruition nor have survived him. The names of these three persons (plus, of course, Parsons's name on the title page, followed by the erroneously attributed degree of PhD) are the only ones that appear within the prefatory pref·a·to·ry
Of, relating to, or constituting a preface; introductory. See Synonyms at preliminary.
[From Latin praef pages of Parsons's (1909) posthumously published book, Choosing a Vocation. Shaw was the person to whom the book is dedicated, Bloomfield was holder of the copyright, and Albertson was author of the introductory note to the book. This article seeks to correct the lack of recognition of the seminal role of these three individuals in the historical memory of the field of career counseling. In doing so, it also notes the contributions of several other persons who both facilitated the work of Parsons's three principal enablers and, in their own right, helped establish and perpetuate Parsons's work.
Pauline Agassiz Shaw
Parsons, his enablers, and those who supported them were all active participants in the social reform movement that flourished in liberal intellectual circles in Boston around the turn of the 20th century (Mann, 1954). Among these individuals, however, Pauline Agassiz Shaw (1841-1917) uniquely possessed the combination of wealth and foresight needed to fund the realization of Parsons's ideas about vocational guidance. Pauline Agassiz was born in Switzerland, a daughter of the world-famous Swiss naturalist Jean Louis Jean Louis (born Jean Louis Berthauldt, October 5, 1907, Paris, France - April 20, 1997, Palm Springs, California, USA) was a U.S. costume designer and multiple Academy Award nominee in Costume Design. Rodolphe Agassiz. Soon after her father immigrated to the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. to take the position of chair of Zoology zoology, branch of biology concerned with the study of animal life. From earliest times animals have been vitally important to man; cave art demonstrates the practical and mystical significance animals held for prehistoric man. and Geology at Harvard University Harvard University, mainly at Cambridge, Mass., including Harvard College, the oldest American college. Harvard College
Harvard College, originally for men, was founded in 1636 with a grant from the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. , he brought his family to Cambridge, Massachusetts This article is about the city of Cambridge in Massachusetts. For the English university town, see Cambridge, England. For other places, see Cambridge (disambiguation).
Cambridge, Massachusetts is a city in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts, United States. . About 10 years later, in 1860, Pauline Agassiz married Quincy Adams Shaw, a wealthy Boston financier. She and her husband had five children, which led her to an interest in early childhood education. Consequently, in 1877, she opened two model, professionally supervised kindergartens in the Boston area, thereby initiating the kindergarten movement in the eastern United States. These two prototypes were so successful that by 1883, she was supporting 31 free kindergartens throughout Boston. Simultaneously, she started a day nursery school, which she later expanded to seven more locations around Boston. These activities led her to an interest in settlement houses as purveyors of education. Among those she established and funded was the Civic Service House. (Preceding information is from Ancestry.com, 1997.) For the job of director of the new Civic Service House, Pauline Agassiz Shaw chose a young man whose work at Jacob Hecht Club for boys (another Boston settlement) had particularly impressed her, Meyer Bloomfield (Solomon, 1956). Thus, Pauline Agassiz Shaw established the setting in which Parsons's ideas about vocational guidance were to be realized and hired as its director the person who encouraged Parsons to develop these ideas there. Subsequently, she provided the funding needed to establish the Vocation Bureau that implemented Parsons's ideas.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. his obituary in The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times ("Meyer Bloomfield," 1938), Meyer Bloomfield (1878-1938) was born in Rumania and immigrated to the United States in his youth. His first years in America were spent in the Eastern European Jewish enclave on New York's lower East Side. This account conflicts with the one given by Philip Davis
Philip Rivers Davis (born December 7, 1952) is an Australian politician. (1952), Bloomfield's closest colleague and successor as director of the Civic Service House, who stated that Bloomfield was "the American son of immigrant parents ... [b]orn on the East Side" (p. 122). Unfortunately, this conflict is not resolved by Bloomfield's Social Security death record, which leaves blank his place of birth, nor by the Ellis Island Ellis Island, island, c.27 acres (10.9 hectares), in Upper New York Bay, SW of Manhattan island. Government-controlled since 1808, it was long the site of an arsenal and a fort, but most famously served (1892–1954) as the chief immigration station of the United immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. records, in which his name is not listed. In 1899, Bloomfield graduated from the College of the City of New York The College of the City of New York was the former name of New York University's undergraduate college when the university was named "University of the City of New York". It was also the informal or erroneous name for the later arriving colleges in the public university system for (CCNY CCNY City College of New York (obsolete)
CCNY Collector's Club of New York (philatelic group) ). He then moved to Boston and attended Harvard University. Brewer (1942), himself a Harvard faculty member, and Braverman (2005), in a history of the Boston Jewish community of that period, stated that Bloomfield graduated from Harvard College Harvard College is the undergraduate section and oldest school of Harvard University, founded in 1636 by the Massachusetts Legislature. The College is instructed by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which also instructs the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. . Because these statements conflicted with Bloomfield's obituary, I checked with the Harvard Alumni Records Office and found that there is no record of Bloomfield having received a degree from that institution. To further complicate this issue, however, I recently found that the flyleaf fly·leaf
A blank or specially printed leaf at the beginning or end of a book.
pl -leaves the inner leaf of the endpaper of a book
Noun 1. of his 1915 book, Readings in Vocational Guidance, in the library of the Harvard Graduate School of Education The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) is a graduate school at Harvard University, and is one of the top schools of education in the United States.
It offers six doctoral concentrations and thirteen masters programs. is inscribed in·scribe
tr.v. in·scribed, in·scrib·ing, in·scribes
a. To write, print, carve, or engrave (words or letters) on or in a surface.
b. To mark or engrave (a surface) with words or letters. by Bloomfield: "To the Harvard Union from Meyer Bloomfield '01. May, 1924." Whether or not Bloomfield graduated from or just attended Harvard, in 1905 he did graduate from Boston University Boston University, at Boston, Mass.; coeducational; founded 1839, chartered 1869, first baccalaureate granted 1871. It is composed of 16 schools and colleges. Law School. Coincidentally, from 1892 to 1905, Frank Parsons taught insurance law at Boston University Law School (Mann, 1954), so Bloomfield may have first encountered Parsons in that venue. In Boston, Bloomfield's first occupation was social service, which led him, in turn, into vocational guidance, personnel management, and labor law labor law, legislation dealing with human beings in their capacity as workers or wage earners. The Industrial Revolution, by introducing the machine and factory production, greatly expanded the class of workers dependent on wages as their source of income. .
When Pauline Agassiz Shaw started the Civic Service House in 1901 and hired Bloomfield to direct it, her aim was to establish a settlement that focused on educating and acculturating adult immigrants, rather than the youths who were the target population of most other settlement houses. The North End of Boston, where the Civic Service House was located, was known by social workers as
"Boston's classic land of poverty." ... [I]t had become, since the 1840's, the first place of settlement of the poorest immigrants, who, on prospering, sought more desirable quarters in the city. As fast as the prosperous moved out, the depressed from overseas crowded in. (Mann, 1954, p. 4)
Although there was considerable overlap, the principal waves of immigrants to the North End were Irish (1840-1870); Eastern European Jews, primarily from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Rumania (1870-1900); and from 1900 on, Italians (Nichols, 2003; Ross, 2003). Thus, at the time the Civic Service House was founded, its clientele were preponderantly pre·pon·der·ant
Having superior weight, force, importance, or influence. See Synonyms at dominant.
pre·ponder·ant·ly adv. Eastern European Jewish and Italian immigrants. The program of the settlement focused on teaching English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. , civics civics, branch of learning that treats of the relationship between citizens and their society and state, originally called civil government. With the large immigration into the United States in the latter half of the 19th cent. , and acculturation acculturation, culture changes resulting from contact among various societies over time. Contact may have distinct results, such as the borrowing of certain traits by one culture from another, or the relative fusion of separate cultures. to American society. "Among the civic-minded Bostonians who contributed their services to this worthy enterprise we find Frank Parsons" (Brewer, 1942, p. 57). H. V. Davis (1969) stated that Parsons's friend, "Ralph Albertson, personnel director of Filene's and teacher at Civic Service House, was responsible for bringing Parsons into the work at Civic Service House" (p. 110). Parsons's involvement in that activity is rather surprising in light of his history of outspoken opposition to unrestricted immigration, based on "his fear that the Eastern European would pollute the Anglo-Saxon blood of America" (Mann, 1954, p. 137). As recently as 1904, Parsons "proposed that immigrants pass an English literacy test Literacy Test refers to the government practice of testing the literacy of potential citizens at the federal level, and potential voters at the state level. The federal government first employed literacy tests as part of the immigration process in 1917. before admission and that they wait twenty-one years for naturalization naturalization, official act by which a person is made a national of a country other than his or her native one. In some countries naturalized persons do not necessarily become citizens but may merely acquire a new nationality. papers" (Mann, 1954, p. 137). These views, which appear draconian today, were shared by many of Parsons's liberal contemporaries. Nonetheless, in 1905, working with Ralph Albertson, Parsons established an educational program at the Civic Service House that they named Breadwinners' Institute. This program was modeled on one that had been started in England called Workingmen's Institute (Mann, 1954). Breadwinners' Institute offered evening and Sunday afternoon courses on history, civics, English language and composition, literature, science, economics, applied psychology, and music (Brewer, 1942). Of course, the establishment of this program at the Civic Service House required the active support of its director, Meyer Bloomfield. Among those who taught in this program were Parsons; Albertson; Bloomfield; Bloomfield's wife, Sylvia; and his cousin Therese Weil Filene (Brewer, 1942; Ross, 2003).
According to Brewer (1942), in the late spring of 1907, Bloomfield invited Parsons to address the graduating class of a Boston evening high school on a topic that he had presented to the Economic Club of Boston during the prior year: the need of youth for help in choosing a vocation. The response of the audience to his presentation was so overwhelmingly positive that Bloomfield encouraged Parsons to develop a proposal for a vocational guidance bureau at the Civic Service House. This account differs from that given by Bloomfield (1911):
An experiment with a group of high school boys shortly before their graduation three years ago revealed a need for vocational guidance which led to what is probably the first vocation bureau in this country. Sixty or more boys were invited to a reception on the roof- garden of the Civic Service House in the North End of Boston, to talk over their future plans with the late Prof. Frank Parsons and several other workers of that neighborhood house. (p. 29)
The majority of the boys had either unrealistic career goals or no career direction at all. As a result of whichever of these two events actually took place, Bloomfield encouraged Parsons to draft a proposal for a vocational guidance bureau to present to Pauline Agassiz Shaw. Parsons did so in the fall of 1907, and Mrs. Shaw agreed to provide start-up financial support for the project (Brewer, 1942). Consequently, in January 1908, "an office was opened to give those who so desired an opportunity to talk over their vocational problems with a sympathetic and skilled economist. Professor Frank Parsons was put in charge of the Civic Service House Vocation Office" (Bloomfield, 1911, p. 30). Thus, with encouragement and a venue provided by Bloomfield and with funding provided by Pauline Agassiz Shaw, the Vocation Bureau of Boston opened with Parsons as its director. Among those who joined the board of the new Vocation Bureau were Ralph Albertson and his employer, A. Lincoln Filene (Brewer, 1942). Filene was manager of Filene's department store and husband of Bloomfield's cousin, Therese Weil Filene, who taught music at the Civic Service House (Ross, 2003).
Bloomfield was clearly invested in the work of the Vocation Bureau. For a 6- or 7-month period following Parsons's death, David Stone
In 1917, Bloomfield left the Vocation Bureau when President Wilson appointed him head of the industrial service department of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, which managed the emergency ship building program for the war effort ("Meyer Bloomfield," 1938). The Vocation Bureau was transferred to the Division of Education at Harvard University, where it was renamed the Bureau of Vocational Guidance and was eventually headed by Professor John M. Brewer (Brewer, 1942). After the war, Bloomfield worked as a consultant on industrial relations industrial relations
Relations between the management of an industrial enterprise and its employees.
the relations between management and workers and practiced labor law in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. . In 1922, President Harding sent him to Russia to report on industrial conditions there. In 1929, Bloomfield returned to vocational guidance, becoming career adviser to seniors and professor of vocational guidance at his alma mater, CCNY, a position he held for the rest of his life ("Meyer Bloomfield," 1938). Thus, Bloomfield provided the venue and the encouragement for Parsons's realization of his ideas about vocational guidance and, after Parsons's death, carried on and expanded his work.
The third of Parsons's enablers was Ralph Albertson (1866-1951), Parsons's closest personal friend and confidant in Boston (Pope & Sveinsdottir, 2005). As indicated in the brief biographical preface to the Yale University Yale University, at New Haven, Conn.; coeducational. Chartered as a collegiate school for men in 1701 largely as a result of the efforts of James Pierpont, it opened at Killingworth (now Clinton) in 1702, moved (1707) to Saybrook (now Old Saybrook), and in 1716 was Library's collection of Albertson's papers (Roach, 1999), he studied at Oberlin College Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio; coeducational; opened 1833 as Oberlin Collegiate Institute, became Oberlin College in 1850. It includes a college of arts and sciences and a well-known conservatory of music. and Theological Seminary and was ordained or·dain
tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
b. To authorize as a rabbi.
2. a Congregationalist con·gre·ga·tion·al·ism
1. A type of church government in which each local congregation is self-governing.
2. Congregationalism minister in 1891. In 1895, he left the ministry to found a utopian community in Georgia, based on the principles of Christian Socialism Christian socialism, term used in Great Britain and the United States for a kind of socialism growing out of the clash between Christian ideals and the effects of competitive business. . When that community dissolved 5 years later, he founded another short-lived utopian community in rural Massachusetts. He then became personnel manager for Filene's department store in Boston, which had an exceptionally progressive employee relations program.
In his association with Parsons, Albertson helped organize the Breadwinners' Institute and cotaught several courses with him there. Albertson served as secretary to the Vocation Bureau board of trustees board of trustees Politics The posse of thugs who oversee an institution's administration. See Board of directors. . Standing in for Parsons, who died just before the course was scheduled to begin, Albertson conducted the first training course for vocational counselors, held under the joint auspices of the Vocation Bureau and the YMCA YMCA
in full Young Men's Christian Association
Nonsectarian, nonpolitical Christian lay movement that aims to develop high standards of Christian character among its members. (Brewer, 1942; Pope & Sveinsdottir, 2005). Most important for the history of vocational guidance, Albertson acted as Parsons's literary executor and prepared the manuscript of Choosing a Vocation (Parsons, 1909) for publication following Parsons's death (Pope & Sveinsdottir, 2005).
During World War I, Albertson served as a YMCA representative to American troops in Russia. After the war, Albertson became head of a mercantile concern in New York, the position he held for the remainder of his career. As summarized by Brewer (1942),
Ralph Albertson was Parsons' constant intellectual companion and co- organizer with him of the Breadwinners' Institute. He served as secretary to the board of trustees of the Vocation Bureau, conducted the first [agency-based] course for the preparation of [vocational] counselors ... and prepared Choosing a Vocation for publication.(p. 65)
Two other individuals should be recognized for the roles that they played in facilitating the work of Parsons's three principal enablers and for their own contributions to the realization and perpetuation of Parsons's ideas. Paul H. Hanus was a professor of education at Harvard University, and A. Lincoln Filene was general manager of Filene's department store. Since 1905, these two men had served together on the Massachusetts State Commission on Industrial Education. From the inception of the Vocation Bureau, Hanus served as chair of its board of trustees, and Filene served as a very active board member.
Because of his professorial position at Harvard, Hanus lent academic credibility to the fledgling Vocation Bureau. He was also instrumental in arranging for the first university course in vocational guidance to be offered at Harvard Summer School in 1911 (Brewer, 1942). As indicated earlier, Bloomfield was the instructor in this course.
Filene served as a nexus for relationships among those more centrally involved in enabling Parsons's work. As a fellow Boston philanthropist with Pauline Agassiz Shaw, he provided financial support to the nascent Vocation Bureau. He was Bloomfield's relative by marriage and Albertson's employer. Filene, Parsons, Bloomfield, and Albertson were also strongly linked through their early advocacy of progressive personnel management (Berkley, 1998; Roach, 1999; Witzel, 2000).
adj. also par·en·thet·ic
1. Set off within or as if within parentheses; qualifying or explanatory: a parenthetical remark.
2. Using or containing parentheses. , Filene appears to have transmitted his interest in career development to his daughter Catherine, thereby further perpetuating and building on Parsons's work. While an undergraduate, Catherine organized a series of conferences to promote jobs for educated women. She then worked as assistant to the chief of the Women's Division of the U.S. Employment Service. In 1920, she published a book titled Careers for Women (Filene, 1920), with a second edition in 1934. In 1926, as the first woman to chair the board of the Federal Prison for Women, she instituted job training programs for inmates; and in 1929, she founded the Institute for Women's Professional Relations, which organized national conferences on opportunities for college-educated women ("Catherine Filene Shouse Catherine Filene Shouse (June 9 1896 - December 14 1994) was a researcher and philanthropist. She worked for the Women's Division of the U.S. Employment Service of the Department of Labor, and the Democratic National Committee. ," n.d.).
It is safe to say that without Pauline Agassiz Shaw's financial support, Meyer Bloomfield's providing the venue for and subsequent direction of the Vocation Bureau, and Ralph Albertson's wholehearted whole·heart·ed
Marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm: wholehearted approval.
whole participation in Parsons's endeavors and preparation of his manuscript for posthumous publication, career counseling would not be what it is today nor would career counselors necessarily regard Frank Parsons as the founder of their profession. Moreover, it must be recognized that other individuals played important roles in supporting, facilitating, and expanding on the enabling contributions of Shaw, Bloomfield, and Albertson. (A portrait of Pauline Agassiz Shaw can be seen online at Harvard University Library The Harvard University Library system comprises about 90 libraries, with more than 15 million volumes. It is the oldest library system in the United States and the largest academic library system in the world. Visual Information Access [http://via.harvard.edu; search for WRC-1045a-1], and photographs of Albertson and Bloomfield can be found in Brewer, 1942, facing page 66.)
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David B. Hershenson, Professor Emeritus, The University of Maryland, College Park The University of Maryland, College Park (also known as UM, UMD, or UMCP) is a public university located in the city of College Park, in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., in the United States. . He is now at the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, University of Massachusetts The system includes UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth (affiliated with Cape Cod Community College), UMass Lowell, and the UMass Medical School. It also has an online school called UMassOnline. at Boston. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David B. Hershenson, 70 Park Street, Apt. 42, Brookline, MA 02446 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).