Printer Friendly

The Psychological Record: rebirth in 1956.

Publication of The Psychological Record was resumed in 1956 after a lapse of many years. Its new life was created almost singlehandedly by Paul Swartz, then a junior member of the faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York. There were no graduate students, there was no department secretary. In some years one or two students might go on for graduate study in psychology, and the same was true for some other departments. But for the most part the post-baccalaureate schools of interest on the campus were medicine, law, and theology. It was an old school with fewer than a thousand students - and a meager endowment. Salaries for faculty and staff were low. But the college had a tradition for scholarship and a faculty enriched by scholars who had fled Europe in the Hitler era.

The department had good resources for teaching experimental psychology and for research; psychology had long been a favored discipline. When the first professionally trained psychologist joined the faculty in 1908, the department already included two members (Constitution, 1908) of the infant 209-member American Psychological Association. The two were L. C. Stewardson, president of the college, and J. P. Leighton, professor of philosophy. (The latter doubled as chaplain and college pastor; Hobart had its beginnings in 1822 under the sponsorship of the Episcopal church.)

Psychology was grouped with mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology in the division of natural sciences. In the 1920s the laboratory had been fitted out with a lot of gadgets in the Titchener-approved fashion. (Forrest and Claire Dimmick, who taught most of the psychology courses until after WWII, were Cornell doctorates.) Motors in the attic furnished compressed air and 110-volt direct electrical current, and there were amenities such as a soundproof room, two darkrooms, a room with special lighting for Forrest Dimmick's color research, and a large shop fitted with metal-working lathe, drill press, and jig-saw. In the 1950s the department enjoyed modest support from the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation and more instruments were acquired. Research and teaching assistance was supplied by undergraduates and undergraduate honors research flourished. Publication was encouraged but not mandatory for faculty in the college. But it was the habit for psychology. That psychologist hired in 1908 was still publishing in 1947 (Boswell, 1947). The department was research oriented but instruction of undergraduates was the dominant concern.

It was to this setting that Paul Swartz came in 1951, directly from receiving a Master's degree at Stanford and subsequently a PhD at Rochester. Susan Bartlett, Shelton MacLeod, and I made up the rest of his department. Paul's office was across the hall from that of Foster Boswell, who, though lame and retired, every weekday morning clumped up the two flights of stairs to his office. He had earned his degree at Harvard in 1904 with Munsterberg. His 1908 appointment at Hobart was his first academic post. In the interim he had served a year as a postgraduate assistant at Wisconsin and then at Missouri, and for the next two years studied in Germany at his own expense - a harbinger of the current lot of many newly minted doctorates (Bartlett, 1994). Boswell had little communication with Paul - or indeed with anyone else in the building. He would grump "good morning," go into his office, and shut the door. He had little to say but the devotion to work of the little old man served as a model for the younger faculty and the students.

The following summer (1952) Paul spent at Indiana to be with J. R. Kantor. This is from a recent letter (Swartz, 1996) "I actually met little with him, but at his suggestion I began to revise his Survey of the Science of Psychology. Suffice it to say, I failed to meet his expectations . . . . he was a hard man - always looking for 'mentalisms' - he called them 'spooks' - in someone's thinking." He was in correspondence with Kantor and Kantor's devoted students, and eventually decided to obtain permission to publish The Psychological Record again. "The first issue had a mailing list of 15-20 names, obtained through Paul Mountjoy, Kantor's graduate assistant. There were no commitments to subscribe and pay. I was motivated by regard for the man and the wish to provide a forum for those with interbehavioral interests. I was young, rabidly behaviorist" (Swartz, ibid). For content he solicited articles from Kantor and from Kantor's former students. Copies were run off on a mimeograph machine and mailed at the college post office. Paul cut the stencils on his manual typewriter. The first issue (Vol. 6, No. 1) is dated January 1956 and contains 11 pages. Paul Swartz, Hobart College, is listed as editor with Paul Mountjoy, Sweetbriar College, J. R. Kantor, Indiana University, and N. H. Pronko, Wichita University, as associate editors. Kantor contributed 5 of the 11 pages; Mountjoy, 3; and Stanley C. Ratner, 2. The subscription price is listed as $3.00. Volume 6, No 4 (October) shows Paul at Wichita University and notes that the multilith masters were typed on an IBM Executive typewriter, thus lending the Record a regular journal format. "I gave up the Record after two years, when the load became too heavy and the idea of doing an introductory textbook began to germinate. This was at Wichita . . . in 1959. The book appeared in 1963 as Psychology, the Study of Behavior, published by Van Nostrand." (Swartz, ibid). The Spanish language edition, Psicologia: El estudia de la conducta, is in its 12th printing and still carried in bookstores in Mexico.

Paul left Hobart for Wichita in 1956. "My reasons for going were (a) the department at Wichita was basically interbehavioral . . . (b) the salary at Wichita was measurably better, (c) I wanted the experience of a bigger university" (Swartz, ibid). In 1965 he transferred to the University of Alberta. He retired in 1991 and he and his wife live on their 32-foot sailboat for a major part of the year. He is still writing; but now the product is a novel.


BARTLETT, N. R. (1994). Octopuses and students. History of Psychology Newsletter, 26, 2, 37-51.

BOSWELL, F. P. (1947). Trial and error learning. Psychology Review, 54, 282-296.

CONSTITUTION of the American Psychological Association (with appended Members of the American Psychological Association). (1908). Printed at Smith College, Northampton MA and distributed to the members by the secretary, A. H. Pierce. 4 pages. American Psychological Association, Washington DC.

SWARTZ, P. (1996). Letter to Neil Bartlett, 19 May. (Bartlett, personal files).
COPYRIGHT 1997 The Psychological Record
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Bartlett, Neil R.
Publication:The Psychological Record
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Previous Article:Another new journal? The Psychological Record: volumes I-V; 1937-1945.
Next Article:Experimental analysis of childhood psychopathology: a laboratory matching analysis of the behavior of children diagnosed with attention-deficit...

Related Articles
Rebirth of a radiotelescope.
Tesco 'corner shops' to create 4000 jobs.
A special anniversary issue. (Editor's Note).
Reviews: Grab your hanky for a tale of survival and friendship; DVDs.
The Psychological Record: reaffirming the past and embracing the future.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters