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Roots in the Great Plains

The Applied Psychology of Harry Hollingworth

edited by Ludy T. Benjamin and Lizette Royer

Publication Year: 2012

Harry Levi Hollingworth was one of the pioneers in the field known today as industrial-organizational psychology. He was the author of more than 20 books and 100 scientific and theoretical articles. His honors were many, including serving as President of the American Psychological Association in 1927. In 1940, at the age of 60 and partly initiated by the sudden death of his wife, Hollingworth took stock of his life in an autobiography that focused on his origins and development in rural Nebraska and his subsequent career as a psychologist at Columbia University. For the first time, this autobiography is now available. An early research study funded by the Coca-Cola Company in 1911 propelled Hollingworth to fame and eventually considerable wealth as an applied researcher in the field of business psychology. Coca-Cola was being sued by the federal government under the recently passed Pure Food and Drugs Act for marketing a beverage with a deleterious ingredient, namely caffeine, and the company wanted research on humans to counter the government's claims. The story of this research and the trials that eventually led to the United States Supreme Court are part of the fascinating career described in this book. Hollingworth's success in applying the science of psychology to the problems of the business world opened many doors for other psychologists including many who worked full-time in business and industrial settings. This book provides an intimate account of the life and career of a very successful applied researcher who claims, in this autobiography, that the applied problems to which he devoted virtually his entire life were never of interest to him and that he did such work only for the money. The paradox of this claim offers considerable insight into the prejudices faced by applied scientists and how Hollingworth tried to separate himself from his own accomplishments.

Published by: The University of Akron Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-7

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pp. vii-9

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since publication of the inaugural volume in the Center for the History of Psychology Series. The series is designed to make available unpublished primary source materials from the Center’s collections. The response to the first volume, Walter Miles and His 1920 Grand Tour of European Physiology and Psychology Laboratories...

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pp. ix-xv

This is the first volume of Harry Hollingworth’s previously unpublished autobiography, which he wrote in 1940 at the age of sixty. The unexpected death of his wife, Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1886–1939), in November 1939, prompted this examination of his life. The Hollingworths had what psychologists today refer to as a companionate marriage, a relationship...

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Editorial Note

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pp. xvii-xviii

Harry L. Hollingworth’s two volume autobiography is part of the Harry and Leta Stetter Hollingworth papers housed in the Archives of the History of American Psychology at The Center for the History of Psychology, located on The University of Akron campus. The manuscript is reproduced here as an archival facsimile. The original is available for viewing at...

Originial Typescript

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pp. xxi-25

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pp. xxii-xxvi

The original motive for this volume was purely personal. It issued from a struggle for self reorganization at a critical period when the goals and values of a life-time were suddenly wrecked. The only justification for resorting to reminiscence was that I wished to do so; the only impediment was a conventional modesty, which was easily banished...


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pp. xxvii-xxx


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pp. xxxi-35

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Part I: Our Town

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pp. 1-75

In the days and place of which I write a boy's town was his world. His elders were little better situated, for that matter. Except for occasional long journeys by train, people of necessity kept close to home on the plains of Nebraska. A day's journey and back by team or horseback did not take...

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Part II: Public School Days

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pp. 76-173f

It was in the little town of DeWitt, Saline County, Nebraska, on May 26, 1880, that I first saw the light of day and the world had its first glimpse of me. The character and fate of this town made it such a typical prairie village that I have devoted to it a separate volume...

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Part III: Caught in a Trap

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pp. 174-251

The period of my life I now try to review in memory was,except for the present, the most discouraging of all. Throughout it I was baffled, thwarted and ignorant,- Simply caught in a trap,. and my flounderings to escape were wholly random and misguided. Had some intelligent mentor been available, such as the guidance experts now provided in many progressive schools...

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Part IV: On Board

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pp. 251a-334

The third period of my life was one of eager enthusiasm and high intellectual adventure. Midway in it there entered also a stream of affection. This at first thin current in time engulfed me in the profound depths of a partnership and a devotion such as it can be the privilege of a few men to know. In what shall be here written...


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pp. 336-339

Name Index

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pp. 340-342

Subject Index

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pp. 344-349

E-ISBN-13: 9781937378257
E-ISBN-10: 193737825X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781935603641
Print-ISBN-10: 1935603647

Publication Year: 2012