Five College Archives and Manuscript
                        Collections
Home >> Smith College Archives >> Department of Psychology Records, 1876-1997
Smith College seal
Department of Psychology Records, 1876-[ongoing]
2 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Collection number: RG 52

Abstract:
Records contain information about the department's history, academic courses, syllabi, examinations, and finances. Also included is information on events sponsored by the department and on the students' Psychology Club. Types of materials include typescripts, photographs, and news clippings.

Terms of Access and Use: Restrictions on use:

Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright. Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives.

When requesting material at the Smith College Archives, see the printed finding aid for specific instructions on completing the call slip.

Smith College Archives
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

The first psychology course was offered at Smith College in the fall of 1878, but only to the senior class. It was a General Psychology course and was listed under the Department of Mental and Moral Philosophy until 1900, when the Department of Philosophy was created. At the same time, the first professor was hired to specifically teach psychology - Arthur Henry Pierce, after whom Pierce Hall, home to the Psychology Department offices for many years, is named. Advanced coursework started to be offered and included laboratory work, which is still an important aspect of psychology instruction at Smith today. During the 1910-11 year, the department moved from Seelye Hall to the top floor of College Hall.

In recognition of the growing interest and importance of psychology, the department title changed in 1916 to the Department of Philosophy and Psychology. The next year, David Camp Rogers was named the first Professor of Psychology. In 1922 an independent Department of Psychology was formed, with Rogers acting as chairman. The curriculum now included courses in educational psychology, social psychology, mental testing, abnormal psychology, and experimental psychology in addition to the introductory course.

Psychology soon became one of the most popular course topic at Smith, in great part because of the distinguished faculty. Three professors in particular contributed significantly to the field. James J. Gibson (1928-1942, 1945-1949) taught experimental psychology and later went on to write the influential The Perception of the Visual World (1950). Eleanor Jack '31 went on to teach at the college and later married Gibson. The two published collaborative papers, but Jack's focus was on infant perception. Kurt Koffka was one of the founders of Gestalt Psychology and came to Smith in 1927 as the first occupant of the William Alan Neilson Chair of Research. He was involved with the Society of Experimental Psychologists and wrote the important book Principles of Gestalt Psychology (1935). During the 1930s, he made Smith an intellectual center this for school of thought.

The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of change and growth as young professors were trained to replace the older generation. The department outgrew Pierce Hall and in 1964 moved into the new Science Center, where all the other natural sciences resided. Burton Hall was home to the Psychology Department until a move in 1995 to the new Bass Hall, where modern laboratories and observation areas had been constructed for student research.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Psychology Department papers, 1876 - 1997, contain materials relating to the department's history, academic courses, examinations, and finances. Course syllabi provide a useful overview of what topics were taught in the department. There is also information on the many events the department sponsored, such as speakers, and on the students' Psychology Club. Types of materials include typescripts, photographs, and news clippings.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on use:

Smith College owns copyright to any published material relating to college events and activities. Provenance and copyright ownership of other materials is unknown and researchers are responsible for determining any question of copyright. Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the documents must be requested from the Smith College Archives.

When requesting material at the Smith College Archives, see the printed finding aid for specific instructions on completing the call slip.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Smith College Dept. of Psychology, Box #, Smith College Archives.

History of the Collection

The Psychology Department Records were donated over a period of time from a variety of sources.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to the collection are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Christina Lehman


Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email: specialcollections@smith.edu
URL: https://www.smith.edu/libraries/special-collections
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Examinations
1876-1907

Box 1254: folder 1
Financial Records
1936-43, 1950-62

Box 1254: folder 2
Financial Records for Mimeographing
1936-37, 1940-42

Box 1254: folder 3
General


Box 1254: folder 4
History
1949, 1954

Box 1254: folder 5
Intelligence Examinations - clippings and press releases
1923-40

Box 1254: folder 6
Intelligence Examinations - exam booklets
1919-24

Box 1254: folder 7
Intelligence Examinations - exam booklets
1925-28

Box 1254: folder 8
Kay Redfield Jamison - "An Unquiet Mind"
1997

Box 1254: folder 9
Photographs
1946-90

Box 1254: folder 10
Psychology Club
1929-39

Box 1254: folder 11
Speakers
1925-95

Box 1254: folder 12
"Studies in College Grades"
1931

Box 1254: folder 13
Courses - PSY 11
1933-40

Box 1255: folder 1
Courses - PSY 12
1939-43

Box 1255: folder 2
Courses - PSY 22-29
1925-64

Box 1255: folder 3
Courses - PSY 31-38
1932-63

Box 1255: folder 4
Courses - PSY 39-101
1929-71

Box 1255: folder 5
Courses - PSY 210-278
1976-78

Box 1255: folder 6
Courses - PSY 310-342
1934-63

Box 1255: folder 7

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Psychology--Study and teaching (Higher)--Massachusetts --Amherst.
  • Smith College--History--Sources.
  • Smith College. Dept. of Psychology.


Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
Home | Help | About | Search