Michael E. Rashotte
Florida State University
Based on a presentation made at the Department of Psychology's
Celebration of 100 Years of Psychology on Campus, April 5, 2003.


        William Dodd was the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Florida State College for Women (FSCW) from 1913-1944. Late in the 1950s, a decade after FSCW had become FSU, he wrote a 200 page document in longhand, "Florida State College for Women: Notes on the Formative Years". The Foreword to that document began:

At the dedication of the Campbell Stadium a few years ago, the Governor of Florida referred to the Florida State College for Women as a "little woman's college with 1800 students". The Governor had his figures wrong, but the words "little", and "woman's", and "college", were amply able to carry the weight of his scorn. The implication was plain: compared with a big university which has a lot of men as students, the College of Women was pretty small potatoes." [Dodd, William G. (1958) Florida State College for Women: Notes on the Formative Years. Tallahassee, FL: Special Collections, Strozier Library at FSU.]

Dodd then proceeded to make a case for why FSCW had been a quite remarkable institution.

        When I joined the faculty at FSU in the late 1960s I had some sketchy knowledge about the institution's history as a women's college and how, in 1947, as an aftermath of World War II with the heavy need to educate the returning GIs, the school became co-ed. In the late 1980s, when Barron Scarborough began assembling a history of the Department of Psychology, I learned some new things about our Department in the FSCW era. My attention to that part of our history was considerably enhanced when Kitty Hoffman and Barron Scarborough came to my Department Chair's office late in the 1980s with the news that the FSCW Alumnae had raised $1,000,000 for an endowed chair to honor the long-time President of FSCW, Edward Conradi. Most surprising, they announced that this newly endowed chair, the first in the College of Arts & Sciences, would reside permanently in the Department of Psychology. Barron Scarborough, who served on the Endowed Chair committee, had "discovered" that Edward Conradi received his Ph.D. in psychology at Clark University, under the direction of G. Stanley Hall, and the Committee was persuaded that it would be appropriate for the Conradi Endowed Chair to reside in his home discipline. The first incumbent for that Chair is Anders Ericsson who joined the faculty in the early 1990s.

        In the late 1990s, Rob Contreras, the Department Chair, "urged" that I consider teaching our upper-level required course for majors, History & Systems of Psychology. I came to love teaching this course, and in recent terms I decided to include in it a lecture on the history of Psychology at this institution. That lecture has been surprisingly well received. Students seem appreciative to learn about our own past, and about the distinguished psychologist for whom the Kellogg Research Building is named. Some students became interested in doing projects for the course concerning the history of our Department, and they have brought to life some important events in our Department history and have identified some of our faculty predecessors who had been largely forgotten.

        In this document, I summarize the findings of these research projects concerning how Psychology was established, grew and prospered at this institution between about 1902 and 1947 when FSCW ceased to exist. In some senses, our Psychology Department in that era was "small potatoes", to use the Governor's term. However, we found that the quality of those potatoes was high. Personal comments we have obtained from students at FSCW who graduated between 1922 and 1949 indicated that the Psychology faculty were highly regarded by the students. The main findings of our historical research are:

1. We found that since the beginning, psychology at this institution has had a remarkably well-credentialed faculty, and starting about 1924 the number of women on the faculty at any point in time equaled or exceeded the number of men.

2. About 1930, the Department underwent a heady hiring period, doubling in size to about seven faculty. With some comings and goings the Department retained that faculty size through the end of the FSCW era.

3. The Department was closely allied with Philosophy first, and then Education. The mission of a women's college in those days was to train women for the jobs they could obtain, such as teaching and raising children. Psychology was viewed as important for success in those endeavors.

4. The FSCW Department of Psychology was known for its excellence in teaching and service, including first-rate instruction in laboratory psychology. The College did not have a central "research" mission. That was added when we became a University. I like to think that in our own era, the long tradition in our Department for excellence in teaching and service has now been rounded out in a stellar way with excellence in research. The research prominence of our current faculty and the productivity of our graduate students makes that case easily.

5. We were interested to find that in the early 1930s our predecessors were faced with a major task of designing complete new facilities for the Department, just as we are doing today.

        All in all, we have uncovered many details about psychology at this institution during the 1902-1947 era that had been "lost" to history. Speaking for the students who worked on this project, I hope this document provides current readers with a sense of who our predecessors were, and the conditions in which they made psychology an important part of the academic life of FSCW.



        Despite the jiggering of the founding dates of this institution by a recent President of FSU, it should be made clear that there was no educational activity on this site in 1851. In fact, until 1901 it is a considerable stretch to claim that we were doing "higher" education here.  The first building on the campus was constructed in 1855 on speculation by the local government of Tallahassee which was competing with Marianna to be the site of a State-supported school.     

The Florida Institute

         That building, The Florida Institute, was located approximately on the site of the current Westcott fountain. Tallahassee won the competition and in 1857, this building was designated as the site of the West Florida Seminary. (A sister institution, the "Seminary East of the Suwannee", ultimately became the University of Florida.). In 1891, the original building was renovated, expanded and bricked, and was known as College Hall.

College Hall in 1900.

         Beginning in 1857, WFS served mainly as a middle- and high- school for students after the elementary grades. It had quite a checkered history, including closing down during the Civil War (Dodd, 1952).

         By about 1900, however, College Hall was quite a good educational facility. Dodd notes that the lower floor was divided into a library and reading room, recitation rooms, and separate study halls for boys and girls, as was the custom at that time. The upper floor housed laboratories: one was a teaching lab for organic, inorganic and analytical chemistry, and included facilities for independent study in these fields; another was a physics lab with up-to-date equipment for instruction in dynamics, magnetism, electricity, light, heat, and sound; the third was the biological and histological laboratory which occupied two large rooms and was furnished with microscopes, a microtome, reagents, several thousand slides, and preserved specimens for illustrating biology, histology, comparative anatomy, and physiology. (Dodd, 1952, p. 78, 92).

         Even by 1900, the West Florida Seminary was not really a college in the sense that we might use the term today. Below is a picture of the student body at WFS in 1900: students in front of college hall 1900 which totaled about 200 students, only about 20% of whom were taking college-level courses (which was a high point in the institution's history). The remaining 80% of students at WFS were taking high-school courses.

The entire faculty of WFS in 1900 numbered seven.

WFS faculty, 1900.

         The institution was fortunate to have as its President, Albert Murphree, a mathematician, who had joined the faculty in 1885 and was only 27 years old when he assumed the top office in 1887. The faculty member pictured directly below Murphree was H. Elmer Bierly who played an important role in establishing psychology at our institution.


         In 1898, President Murphree hired a faculty member with a Bachelor's degree from Princeton University, H. Elmer Bierly, who was 32 years old at the time, and was the first person to teach psychology courses here.   Bierly did not have a graduate degree, but he had done some graduate work at Princeton in "physiological psychology and the philosophy of religion" and "studied cosmology under William James" according to biographical information we have obtained. Bierly's starting salary at WFS was $900/year and, in the course of his career here, he taught Psychology, Biology, Chemistry and Sociology, and took a turn at serving as the librarian. President Murphree's salary at the time was $1800 (Dodd, 1952, p.113-114). Probably in the summer of 1900, H.E. Bierly spent time at Clark University whose President, G. Stanley Hall, had assembled one of the best experimental psychology labs in the country. Hall had received his doctorate in psychology under the direction of Wilhelm Wundt, who is reputed to have established the first psychological laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, in 1879. Bierly returned from Clark, apparently bringing significant instrumentation with him, and established our institution's first psychological laboratory of which there is one surviving photograph

Psychology lab.

         This lab was very well equipped for an institution of this size, and it joined the other laboratories located on the second floor of the College Hall building. The 1902 Catalogue asserts that the lab established here by H. Elmer Bierly was also the first psychological laboratory established in the State of Florida. Undoubtedly, this initiative was supported by President Murphree.

         Where did we stand in the establishment of psychology laboratories in the national perspective? The 1st psychology lab in the U.S.A. was established in 1883 at Johns Hopkins University by G. Stanley Hall. By 1893, it is said that there were 20 psychology laboratories in American colleges and Universities (twice as many as in Europe), and by 1904 that number had increased to 49. Although we have not found our institution listed in rosters of early psychology labs in the U.S.A., it is clear that ours was established about 20 years after the first American lab.

         H. Elmer Bierly published two papers while he was on the faculty of this institution. Both appeared in 1899 in the Florida School Journal. One was titled "The Comparative Development of the Child"; the other was "The relation of the central nervous system to psychological theory". We have not been able to locate these papers for our archive. Bierly left the institution in 1904 and we know he moved to Chattanooga. He died in 1943 at the Archbold Hospital in Thomasville, Georgia, as a result of complications associated with gall bladder surgery. His obituary said that he had married a local woman and that he was a realtor in Tallahassee at the time of his death.

         Half way through H. E. Bierly's 6-year stay at this institution there was an important organizational development. In 1901, West Florida Seminary was designated a college - Florida State College - with Albert Murphree continuing as President of the institution which continued to be co-ed. The "college" offered both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in classical literary and scientific studies. A particular focus was providing qualified teachers, and a Special Teacher's Diploma was offered which required three years of study. To be admitted to the College, applicants had to be "at least 15 [years of age] and give good evidence of moral character" (Wills & Morris, 1987, p. 40). The psychology laboratory Bierly established seemed to have been used to train students with interests in education and in philosophy. The FSC Catalogue describes the courses offered in psychology during Bierly's last two years here. They were offered as part of the philosophy curriculum, and the authors of the textbooks used for the courses and lab are given (William James, E. Bradford Titchener, Edmund C. Sanford)

We also had our very own sports teams: football for the men, basketball for the women.

         It is interesting that in 1903, President Murphree added instruction in music as a College offering for reasons that have some psychological overtones: "the power of music increases the love for home, school and native land and thus decreases the need of jails, courts and prisons" (Wills & Morris, 1987, p.41).


         Just after H.E. Bierly left FSC, the State legislature made another important change in our institution. In 1905, we were designated to be a women's college, which we remained until 1947 when the institution became co-ed again in the guise of Florida State University. The initial name of the women's institution was not well-received - Florida Female College - and a few years later (1909) it was renamed to the more melodious Florida State College for Women (FSCW).

        In the first few years as a women's college, Psychology did not seem to prosper on campus. In 1909, however, a 40 year-old with a Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University, Edward Conradi, was hired as the first President of FSCW after Murphree had left to become President of the University of Florida in Gainesville. It goes without saying that psychologists in high administrative places can make a positive difference, and since 1909 Psychology has had sustained momentum on campus. Edward Conradi's Presidency of FSCW lasted for 32 years (1909-1941) and in this period he oversaw many changes in the institution and in the fortunes of Psychology.

         Edward Conradi's scholarly accomplishments in psychology were few. He was primarily an educator/administrator. However, before he left Clark he published two papers . One was based on his dissertation work, "Psychology and pathology of speech development in the child", which was done under the direction of G. Stanley Hall. The other concerned a kind of speech development in birds: "Song and call-notes of English sparrows when reared by canaries". I expect that Edward Conradi would have enjoyed knowing that our current psychology faculty have significant research interests in the development of communication in humans and birds.

        We found that Edward Conradi was the major professor for the first graduate degree earned in Arts & Sciences at FSCW. In 1912, Effie Doane Pettit submitted a research-based Master's thesis concerning memory for lists of words. She used data she obtained from college students at FSCW and other data obtained from students at Harvard. The full text of her handwritten thesis can be viewed as a PDF file (warning; this is a large 23.7mb file) and the original copy is located in Special Collections at Strozier Library. Pettit's thesis is a nice piece of work and indicates the high quality of research training in psychology at that early time in FSCW's history. Her thesis could be assigned as a reading in today's undergraduate methods class.

Effie Doane Pettit
Pettit thesis:" An Experiment on Memory for Serial Impressions"


         One important change under Conradi that affected Psychology's fortunes was that, in 1915, he hired Edwin Andrew Hayden to "establish the Psychology laboratory and develop the department" (Dodd, 1958, p 106). The term "department" was used in various ways at that time, but the indication is that, with Hayden's arrival, Psychology began to have its own separate identity on campus. In fact, he was the only member of the Psychology Department, during the six years he was on the faculty. 

        Hayden's Ph.D. (1907) was from the University of Michigan and his dissertation, titled "The Social Will", was published in the Psychological Monographs as a 93 page article (Hayden, 1907. We have assembled a short Biosketch of Hayden and a list of his publications

Hayden was a popular teacher and his classes were eagerly attended. Unfortunately, he was subject to bouts of depression which he often discussed in his classes. In October of 1921, in his 6th year on the faculty, he took his own life. Comments from students at FSCW who knew Hayden remember him as an excellent teacher, and describe the campus trauma associated with his death.

         An important Departmental milestone occurred about 3 years after Hayden arrived at FSCW when, in 1918, Psychology moved into the newly constructed Education Building just inside the main gate of the College.

1918 Education Building
Campus front gate and College Avenue 1918

Education Building & Westcott in 1921
Aerial view of campus 1926

We don't know much about our quarters in that building. Now, however, 85 years later, Psychology occupies that whole structure (which was for many years named the Psychology Building and, recently re-named Francis Eppes Hall), as well as several other campus locations.

         Dodd recounts an amusing story about Hayden's role in improving faculty salaries at FSCW which provides a glimpse of economic conditions in that early time. There could also be a lesson here for current and future chairs of this department in making a case to high administrative officials (from Dodd, 1958, p 126-128).

         It was just after World War I -- April of 1919 to be precise. The cost of living had skyrocketed in the 6 months since the end of the war in November, 1918. The faculty were pressuring President Conradi to arrange a meeting with the Board of Control that set salaries, but this was not normally possible. However, the Chair of the Board, a Mr. Joe Earman, was in Tallahassee on business with the Legislature and he agreed to "see the boys" in the President's office one morning at 11:00. It was a miserable cold, damp day outside when Conradi introduced Earmon to the assembled a group of faculty in his office, including Hayden. Mr. Earman took the President's chair and said: "Well, boys, you wanted to see the Board. What have you got to say?" And, one by one he heard each person's complaints. Most people said the same thing: times are hard; can't make ends meet on our salaries. Last of all he came to Dr. Hayden and motioned him to speak. Here is how the Dean of Arts & Sciences, William G. Dodd, describes what happened next:

         Dr. Hayden had on a summer-weight, light-colored, palm-beach suit, with no vest. The edges of the coat were frayed and a hole which had worn through one of the side pockets was plainly visible.
         Dr. Hayden rose to his feet, fumbled awkwardly with the lapel of his coat, and in his deliberate manner said, "This is the only suit of clothes I have bought since the war began, and I got it second-hand from my brother-in-law." And he sat down.
       There was utter silence for a few seconds and I noticed Mr. Earman's eyes were cast down. Then he suddenly looked up and said, "My God! I didn't know it was this bad. I'm going to do something for you boys." And he did by ____.

       A few days later we were notified that our salaries would be increased substantially. I don't recall what the others got, but I well remember my salary was raised from $2500.00 to $3400.00. Nine hundred dollars was a lot of money in 1919.

         In the 80 years following Hayden's death, only 7 additional faculty members have served as department Head or Chair. All of them have been men until this academic year when Janet Kistner became Chair.


    In 1922, the year after Hayden's death, Paul Finner (Ph.D., Wisconsin, 1923) was hired as the FSCW Psychology Department's Head. He was also the only faculty member of the Department. We have assembled a Biosketch and a list of publications for Finner

        Remarkably, Paul Finner served as Department Head during the remaining 25 years that FSCW existed, and for the first year after the institution became FSU in 1947. After completing his 26-year term as Head, Finner remained on the faculty for an additional 6 years (until 1954), a total of 32 years. With Conradi's support, Finner oversaw the hiring of a very well-pedigreed faculty of men and women psychologists who taught the large number of women students that took psychology courses in the 1920s -1940s era.

         The expansion of the Department during Finner's Headship has two stages. In the decade of the 1920s, several faculty were hired and the Department included multiple faculty for the first time. In the decade of the 1930s, there was a further expansion, and seven faculty became the mainstay of the Department for almost two decades.

THE 1920s

         Finner hired three more faculty with Ph.D.s in psychology during the 1920s who stayed for several years. Two of the additions were women, Laura Potter and Vivienne McClatchy. The other was Christian Heinlein, who remained on the faculty until 1948 and was the most published member of the psychology faculty in the entire FSCW era. All four of these faculty were trained at excellent institutions, as indicated in a figure we have prepared showing their home institution, dissertation title, and thesis advisor (where known)

Dissertation Topics of Main FSCW Faculty Hired in the 1920s
Faculty Member
Degree Date

Paul Finner

University of Wisconsin

A Study of Tests Designed to Measure Intelligence


Laura Potter

Johns Hopkins University

The Effect of Length and Type of Material Upon Learning

Knight Dunlap

Vivienne McClatchy

University of Chicago

The Optimal Position of a Rest Period of Learning

Harvey Carr

Christian Heinlein

Johns Hopkins University

The Affective Characters of the Major and Minor Modes of Music

Otto Ortmann

We have created a gallery of individual photographs of these four faculty as they appeared in the 1920s.

Paul Finner
Ph.D. Wisconsin
FSCW 1922 - 1954
Laura Potter
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins
FSCW 1924 - 1928
Vivienne McClatchy
Ph.D. Chicago
FSCW 1924 - 1930
Christian P. Heinlein
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins
FSCW 1929 - 1948

         We have also assembled the publication record for Vivienne McClatchy and Christian Heinlein . Because Laura Potter married in 1928, FSCW regulations required that she leave the faculty.

         Some perspective on local conditions at the time is provided by the following. At the end of the 1920s, the population of Tallahassee was about 6,000 and enrollment at FSCW was about 750 [women]. The day began with classes at 7:00 am and ended with lights out in the Bryan Hall dormitory at 10:35 p.m.. Piano playing was allowed for 15 minutes before and after meals, but on Sundays no ragtime or jazz was permitted (Wills & Morris, 1987, p. 47).

THE 1930s

         Finner hired five faculty with Ph.D.s in psychology during the 1930s who stayed for several years. Their doctoral institutions, dissertation titles, and thesis advisors indicate the high quality of their training in psychology.

Dissertation Topics of Main FSCW Faculty Hired in the 1930s
Faculty Member
Degree Date

Elizabeth Gordon Andrews

University of Iowa

The Development of Imagination in the Preschool Child

Edwin D. Starbuck

Mildred Burlingame

University of Minnesota

A Comparison of Human and Rat Maze - Learning Ability

W.T. Heron

Hugh Waskom

Indiana University

The Integration Concept of Personality

George S. Snoddy

Dorothy Disher

Ohio State University

An Experimental Investigation of the Reactions of Newborn Infants to Olfactory Stimuli Together with an Account of the Structure and Development of the Olfactory Mechanism

F.C. Dockary

Louise Witmer

Yale University

Remote Associations in Serial Learning

J.A. McGeoch

         In addition, one faculty member, Christine Scarborough, who also remained on the faculty for many years, was hired with a Masters degree in psychology from FSCW. Paul Finner was her Master's thesis supervisor. Five of these 6 faculty members were women.

Elizabeth G Andrews
Ph.D. Iowa
FSCW 1930 - 1949
Mildred Burlingame
Ph.D. Minnesota
FSCW 1930 - 1937
Hugh L. Waskom
Ph.D. Indiana
FSCW 1930 - 1966
Dorothy Disher
Ph.D. Ohio State
FSCW 1933 - 1945
Christine Scarborough
FSCW 1937 - 1945
Louise R. Witmer
Ph.D. Yale
1938 - 1941

         Hugh Waskom was the single male hired, and he ultimately became the 3rd Department Head when Finner stepped down in 1948. We have assembled Biosketches for Elizabeth Gordon Andrews, Dorothy Disher and Hugh Waskom and a list of publications by Andrews, Disher, Mildred Burlingame, Hugh Waskom and Christine Scarborough.

         A photo of the entire psychology faculty as it was constituted in 1938 shows the seven core faculty members that taught students at FSCW for many years. Four of the core faculty were women.

(L-R) Andrews, Heinlein, Scarborough,Waskom,Witmer, Finner and Disher

The department's faculty photo in 1940(below) shows the same seven core faculty members in a different venue.

(Seated L-R): Witmer, Finner, Waskom and Andrews; Standing: Disher, Heinlein and Scarborough

         In addition to the core faculty, several others were hired during this decade whose stay was short. One of those was Julia Heinlein, whose Ph.D. in psychology was from Johns Hopkins University. She was the wife of Christian Heinlein. We have not been able to find a photograph of her, but we have learned that a couple of years after she joined the faculty in the early 1930s she was forced to resign her faculty position because of nepotism rules. Nevertheless, she worked with Christian Heinlein on some research projects at FSCW (described in the student newspaper of the time, The Florida Flambeau) and she is fondly remembered by some students of the time. The publication list we have been able to assemble for Julia Heinlein is available at this link.

         We assembled an overview of the lifetime publication records of the core psychology faculty at FSCW in the 1930s+ era. It indicates that Christian Heinlein stands out as the most prolific. We were surprised to find an article in The Florida Flambeau noting publication of a chapter by Heinlein on aesthetics in a 1945 book that included chapters by very notable psychologists of that era who were affiliated with notable institutions.

         The focus at FSCW was on teaching, of course, rather than research, but Heinlein certainly drew some national attention to the FSCW Department in the mid -1940s.

         During our research into the psychology faculty at FSCW, a question that arose was "Why would new Ph.D.s from psychology departments in some of America's premiere Universities in the north come to a small southern women's college in the 1920s and 1930s?" Job difficulties associated with the Great Depression may have been a factor. Another may have been the attractive situation of FSCW which had an expanding student body partially because formerly well-off Florida families were financially hard-pressed after a devastating hurricane in the mid -1920s and the subsequent Great Depression. Because of their hard times, these families found it difficult to send their daughters out of state to the Northeastern women's colleges. The enrollment at FSCW burgeoned and new faculty were needed, particularly in Psychology which was an important topic of practical instruction for women who were mostly destined for careers in teaching or child-rearing at home. Another factor is that women Ph.D.s had difficulty obtaining faculty positions in the male-dominated departments of psychology at major institutions. As Diehl summarizes the situation,

         Women who were granted graduate degrees, for example, at Chicago, Columbia, Cornell and Clark, found traditional advanced degree positions in teaching, administration and research closed to them…. Instead, women were encouraged to take positions in two areas deemed appropriate for the career-minded professional woman: social welfare work and teaching in women's colleges (Diehl, 1986, p. 870-871).

         In view of some current arguments about diversity in faculty at our institutions of higher learning, it is interesting that, in earlier eras, the men in control of the major universities marshaled "scientific" arguments for excluding the women. One of the strong "data-based" arguments advanced in the 19th century when women attempted to integrate the colleges, even as undergraduates, was biological. The argument noted that educated women had fewer children than uneducated women, and that such data supported the idea that, for women, too much mental activity, especially in competition with men, resulted in arrested development of the reproductive organs (Diehl, 1986, p. 871). Defense of motherhood is a strong reason for maintaining the male status quo of university faculties in the best institutions of higher learning. FSCW may have been a beneficiary of this attitude in attracting well-trained women faculty.


         A more personal sense of the core psychology faculty at FSCW can be gleaned from the comment of graduates of FSCW. We received many comments from members of the Emeritus Society (whose members are 50+ years post-graduation) who kindly shared their memories of individual faculty with our research group. All comments about each faculty member can be found at the links provided below(click on name to see all comments). I have selected just one comment about each person here in hopes of stimulating further reading of the full comments. These comments encourage speculation about how our current students will remember our current faculty members 50 years hence.

 Paul Finner : "Not only did Dr. Finner treat us as if we belonged to him. He invited us students to his home, so that we could meet a woman who was a Buddhist, along with Rabbi Eichhorn and the Presbyterian minister, Dr. Caldwell. It was a most interesting opportunity to discuss our diverse points of view of life. Nowhere else would I have had the chance to be part of such an assembly." (Margaret Thornton Petris to Michael Rashotte, January 18, 2003; in possession of Department of Psychology)

Christian Heinlein : Taught a course on aesthetics. A 1936 graduate remembers that "the Aesthetic Course met on Saturday at Dr. Heinlein's home, and listened to the Texaco broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera." (Esther Davis to Michael Rashotte, November, 2002; in possession of Department of Psychology)

Hugh Waskom : A 1940 graduate wrote that "Dr. Hugh Waskom made what we learned in the classroom come alive through field trips. Since there were only 3-5 students in advanced Psychology classes, he took us in his own car on yearly visits to Chattahoochee to the state Mental Hospital. We talked personally to the patients. He also took us to Marianna to the Boy's Industrial School and to Ocala to the Girls Industrial School. We spent a weekend at the Girl's school, talked with them and read their case histories. We also visited in Gainesville and the "Feeble-minded Farm". (I have always hated that name.)" (Janet Rose Mahoney to Michael Rashotte, January 1, 2003; in possession of Department of Psychology)

Elizabeth Gordon Andrews : A 1941 graduate wrote "All freshmen were required to take a course taught by Dr. Andrews… was totally focused on friendship, courtship, marriage and birth! I am willing to bet most students (all female, F.S.C.W. at that time) were virgins, like myself. I grew up on a dairy farm, but did not make the association between calving and human reproduction. No one ever discussed reproductive facts. No one said "tuberculosis". It was "T.B." Cancer was called "CA." When Dr. Andrews lectured about conception and resulting birth, students actually slumped backwards in their desks and fainted! This is the truth!" (Tybe Wittenstein Kahn, to Michael Rashotte, January 11. 2003; in possession of Department of Psychology)

Dorothy Disher : A graduate of 1936 wrote that "Disher was a tiny lady with lots of spirit. It was said that her sense of smell was so acute that she could "tell" whether someone had recently been in a vacant room." (Katherine "Kitty" Blood Hoffman to Michael Rashotte, November, 2002; in possession of Department of Psychology)

Christine Scarborough A graduate of 1941 wrote: "My senior year I did individual study with Dr. Scarborough as my professor. As a physical education major, the research project dealt with a topic comparing the balance of physical education majors and nonmajors when standing." (Minnie Ratliff Mize to Michael Rashotte, February, 2003; in possession of Department of Psychology)


         In 1926, FSCW became embroiled in a state-wide political controversy concerning the fact that the work of Sigmund Freud and Charles Darwin was being taught in classes. Because of this, President Edward Conradi became a target for attacks by religious and political entities. The interesting sequence of events surrounding this very public controversy is described in Robin Sellers (1995) Femina Perfecta: The Genesis of Florida State University and we have excerpted that section.


         Salaries for Assistant Professors in Psychology at FSCW in the late 1920s were about $2500 / 9 months. It was this level of salary that Finner worked with to attract new faculty to the Department. The salary scale for all academic ranks in Psychology are shown in the 1928 President's report

         The Great Depression would have been a negative factor in the early 1930s. The expense budget for the Psychology Department and for other units in the College of Arts & Sciences provides a sobering perspective on the resources available for travel, research, etc. when the Department was expanding.


         The Education Building in which Psychology had been housed since 1918 became unusable about 1930 because the west wing of the building was sinking into Fuller's Earth (pipe clay) on which it was built. The building had been constructed in a way that did not tolerate settling. The building was not used for a few years beginning about 1930, and a major renovation plan was prepared. The Psychology faculty was able to design a state-of-the-art laboratory and experimental lecture room on what is now the whole third floor of the building. Offices for the department's Head and faculty were located just inside the main door on what is now the second floor. The appearance of the Education Building in 1929 before the renovation is shown here.

         That version of the building did not have windows in the two wings that front onto the Westcott/Fountain side. The appearance of the building in Spring 1935 when the renovation was being finished is shown here.

         A noticeable change is that windows have been added in the two Westcott-side wings. An overhead view of the front of the building in 1939 is shown in the next photo.


         Details from the architectural drawings for the renovation are shown in three figures. The first indicates that the signatories approving the psychology laboratory design (then designated as being on the 2nd floor; currently designated the 3rd floor) were Paul Finner, Christian Heinlein and Hugh Waskom.

         The second figure shows the plan for offices on the entire first floor (now designated the 2nd floor) and the Psychology offices are clustered around the main entrance. The Education Department had the majority of space on the first floor.

The superb laboratory designed for the entire 2nd floor (now the 3rd floor) is shown in the third figure. Click here to see the expanded view of all the floorplans for the 1935 renovation.

          The Florida Flambeau charted the progress towards occupying the renovated building beginning in March of 1935. The headlines shown here indicate that anticipation exceeded reality

         As the present document is being written in June 2003, the Department of Psychology is planning a new building across campus next to the college of Medicine. We hope that history will not repeat itself when the anticipated and the actual dates of occupation are realized for our new quarters.

          Psychology instruction in the renovated Education Building in the late 1930s was done in the kind of classroom shown here.


         To close this overview of Psychology in the early years of our institution, we have assembled from the FSCW Catalogue a listing of the courses actually taught by the faculty of the Department in 1940. This roster of courses provided very good opportunities for the women of FSCW to receive training in basic psychological principles, as well as in advanced areas related to applied psychology and research psychology. The course titles for the students indicates a scope for training that would easily stand up in today's environment. And we noted that many of the current-day topics of interest are represented in the roster.

Courses Offered by the Department of Psychology in 1940:
As listed in the 1940 - 41 Florida State College for Women Catalogue


PSY 301: Social Psychology

PSY 303: Abnormal Psychology & Mental Hygiene

PSY 304: Human Guidance

PSY 305: The Psychology of Religion

PSY 306: Human Efficiency

PSY 307: Human Traits

PSY 308: Advanced Experimental Psychology

PSY 310: Physical and Mental Development of the Child

PSY 311: Adolescent Development

PSY 312: Experimental Psychology of Emotion

PSY 313: The Evolution of Psychology

PSY 314: The Psychology of Aesthetics

PSY 317: Character and Personality Development

PSY 318: Clinical Psychology I

PSY 319: Clinical Psychology II

PSY 321: Psychology Applied to Problems in Education

PSY 325: Comparative Psychology I

PSY 326: Comparative Psychology II

PSY 327: Psychology of Learning I

PSY 328: Psychology of Learning II (1h add-on)

PSY 350: Motor Aspects of Behavior I

PSY 351: Motor Aspects of Behavior II (1h add-on)

PSY 353: Applied Problems in Psychology I

Undergraduate Courses
(semester system):

PSY 354: Applied Problems in Psychology II


PSY 409: Seminar in Human Thought and Behavior

PSY 201: General Psychology (to be combined with PSY 203)

PSY 412: Diagnosis Case Studies

PSY 203: Introductory Experimental Psychology

PSY 420: Individual Mental Testing

PSY 205: The Psychology of Childhood and Youth

PSY 442: Reading Clinic

PSY 207: Educational Psychology

PSY 495,-6, -7, -8: Directed Individual Study

PSY 209: Child & Educational Psychology

PSY 210: Applied Psychology


         In 1947, the name and mission of our institution was changed once again. This time the "little woman's college with 1800 students", as the then-Governor described it, became a co-educational State University and the history of the era we have reviewed comes to an end. In the new FSU era of this institution, the Department of Psychology expanded greatly and has now become a main Department in the College of Arts & Sciences. The story of that era will be told by others.

         We hope we have provided a good overview of Psychology's development at this institution in the first half of the 20th century. Those of us who worked on this project found the era to be much richer and more interesting than we imagined at the outset. A simple comparison of courses offered by H.E. Bierly in 1902 (as shown in the 1902 catalog presented in Section III) with the courses offered by the faculty in 1940 (presented in Section X), is a good indicator of the maturity the Department achieved in its academic role in the institution during the FSC/FSCW era. We also found it reassuring to see the comments of former students of FSCW who remembered the earlier faculty in this Department with such affection. The men and women teachers of that time clearly provided many students with excellent academic instruction, good mentoring, friendship and support. Although we have not included the information here, paging through The Florida Flambeau during the FSCW period is another source of many examples of the vigor and involvement of Psychology's faculty in the life and activities of the College. FSCW strikes us as having been a good quality place for students to study psychology and other subject matter, and for faculty members to work.

         The impact of any generation of academics on its students and on the future of its institution is difficult to quantify. Perhaps the most important guiding principle for institutional success is that the highest quality faculty and students be attracted that circumstances permit, and that the academic mission of the institution be carried out with the highest integrity. Under such conditions, the impact we all seek will take care of itself. A line in T.S. Eliot's poem "East Coker", one of The Four Quartets, captures the idea well: "For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business." The present paper has intended to bring the "trying" of the FSC and FSCW psychology faculty to the attention of the current academic generation. We believe the record shows that they did an excellent job under their prevailing circumstances.


NOTE: The full text of most publications by FSCW faculty to which we have referred in the text have been assembled in a file and are available in the Department's Historical Archive, currently under the direction of Stan Warmath. Also, the majority of historical images reproduced in this document were scanned from early yearbooks (The Argo; Flastacowo) located in Special Collections in Strozier Library.

Campbell, Doak (1964) A University in Transition: Florida State College for Women and Florida State University 1941-1957. Tallahassee: Florida State University.

Diamond, Rowena (1930) History of the Florida State College for Women Tallahassee, FL: Manuscript in Special Collections, Strozier Library, Florida State University.

Dodd, William G. (1952) History of West Florida Seminary. Tallahassee: Florida State University.

Dodd, William G. (1958) Florida State College for Women: Notes on the Formative Years. Tallahassee, FL: Manuscript in Special Collections, Strozier Library, Florida State University.

Sellers, Robin J. (1995) Femina Perfecta: The Genesis of Florida State University. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University Foundation.

Diehl, Lesley A. (1986) The paradox of G. Stanley Hall: Foe of coeducation and educator of women. American Psychologist, 41, 868-878.

Wills, M. & Morris, J.P. (1987) Seminole History: A Pictorial History of Florida State University. Jacksonville, FL: South Star Publishing Company.


       The web version of this paper is a true collaboration between Mike Rashotte and Stan Warmath, both of whom were members of the Department's Scarborough Historical Archives Committee in 2002-2003. Stan has been the driving force for achieving an attractive and accessible integration of text and images for the web viewer. His technical care and creative handiwork is evident throughout the current presentation, as well as throughout the rest of our web archive. I am deeply indebted for his long-time friendship, sound judgment, and strong commitment to excellence in our historical efforts and in his many other roles in the Department of Psychology.

       The research for this paper was carried out by three groups of students who, at one time or another, were in my section of the History & Systems of Psychology course. They are the ones who deserve major credit for making Psychology in the FSC and FSCW era come to life. An indispensable player in this was Stan Warmath, the Department's Facilities Manager, who aided us in many technical ways during the course of our research. The first group to work on the Department's History, Debbie Wright, Daniel Hollar & Heather Parbst, did a Directed Individual Study (DIS) with me in Spring 2002. They are pictured here with Stan Warmath and me.

         The second group was comprised of four graduate students who were taking the course in Fall, 2002, and focused their graduate project on the FSC/FSCW period: Harla Frank, Lauren Hutto, Jennifer Holland, and Steve Solomon are pictured with me.
         The third group was comprised of a hold-over graduate participant, Harla Frank, and an undergraduate, Kristin Kalliche, who did a DIS with me in Spring, 2003.
         I draw special attention to Harla Frank, a student in the Masters Program in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Panama city Campus, who worked on this project for two terms and who sought out and purchased a book published in later life by one of the FSCW faculty, Dorothy Disher. Ms. Frank also had numerous personal contacts with alumni, emeritus faculty and former relatives she wishes to acknowledge.

         This book, A Black Swamp Family, includes some descriptions of life at FSCW when Disher was on the faculty between 1933 and 1945. Harla has kindly donated that book to the Department's Historical Archive.

         I also acknowledge the support of the Department's Scarborough Historical Archive Committee which is charged with overseeing the historical holdings of the Department of Psychology. That committee is named after Barron Scarborough, now deceased, who was the first to pull together the history of our Department in the late 1980s.


The members of that Committee in 2002-03 were (L to R) Rob Contreras, George Weaver, James C. Smith, Stan Warmath, Ned Megargee and Michael Rashotte (Chair)

         We are indebted to the Chairs of the Department during our research effort, Rob Contreras and Janet Kistner, for encouraging our work in small, but important, material ways and for expressing general enthusiasm for our efforts. Other faculty provided helpful conversations and fact checking about the earlier era. Wallace A. Kennedy and James C. Smith were particularly helpful in this regard.

         Some important information about our earlier students was provided by Ellen Berler, the Director of the Graduate Program, and her secretary, Cherie Dilworth.

We are indebted to several people outside the Department:

         In tracking down information on H. Elmer Bierly (pronounced "Beer-lee") we are indebted to Mr. Alvie L. Davidson of Lakeland, Florida whose initial detective work on our behalf resulted in us becoming connected with relatives of H.E. Bierly in Pennsylvania, as well genealogists in the Centre County, PA, area where this branch of the Bierly family originated. In that group, we are especially indebted to: David and Suzanne (Walkowiak) Rice, Doug Bierly, and Justin Kirk Houser, Genealogist/Researcher of Central PA and Beyond.

         A major resource was Katherine "Kitty" Hoffman, a graduate of FSCW in 1936, a longtime faculty member in Chemistry, the person for whom the Hoffman Teaching Laboratory of Chemistry is named, and a key player in the Emeritus Society. Kitty provided many suggestions for contacting other graduates of FSCW and important details about her student era at the institution.

         Dr. Robin Sellers, a faculty member in the Department of History and the author of the excellent history of FSCW, Femina Perfecta: The Genesis of Florida State University (1995), gave us much encouragement, many leads about relevant information in the Special Collections unit at Strozier Library, and several hours of informative conversation over coffee at Borders Bookstore.

         Dr. James P. Jones, Department of History, was also a major resource who provided perspective on our efforts at critical junctures. In the 1970s, Jim Jones had interviewed alumnae of FSCW who graduated in the 1920s, and he kindly provided us with their comments and some photographs of the early faculty that we did not have. Jones and Rashotte have met for lunch every term for years since we served together on a search committee, and his counsel on our current historical effort was most valuable.

         I also want to acknowledge the Special Collections group in Strozier Library. Lucy Patrick, the director, and Deborah Rouse (who is now at another library), were unfailingly patient and helpful as several of us read through the old college yearbooks, the old Florida Flambeaus (college newspaper), and various files. They even let us bring our own scanner &endash; which I think was not really encouraged.

         The Dean of Faculties at FSU, Dr. Steve Edwards, and his staff were very helpful as we tracked down the early faculty members in psychology.

         Dr. John Kalb, FSU Budget Office, kindly drew our attention to the Wills & Morris (1987) pictorial history of FSU from which we drew some images and quotations.

         Dr. Ludy Benjamin, professor of Psychology at Texas A&M University, helped us on several occasions when we sought information about early faculty and about the establishment of Psychology at our institution. Ben Benjamin has been a long-time friend and visitor to our Department. He is a bona fide historian of psychology whose knows the history of the field and how to write about it in a superb way. In the early 1980s he participated as a visiting speaker when the Psychology Research Building was renamed as the Kellogg Research Building in honor of Winthrop Kellogg who joined the FSU faculty in 1950. He and Darryl Bruce, a faculty member in the Department at the time, published an excellent paper on Kellogg's work that we have used to provide a structure for the Kellogg portion of our Departmental Historical Archive web site.

         Finally, in hopes of gathering complete information about the FSCW psychology, the students working on this project contacted institutions from which several of our faculty obtained their doctoral degrees, as well as other archival sources. The responses were unfailingly prompt and thorough, and often provided new information. Harla Frank kept track of these contacts and we acknowledge their help here:

Clark University: Mott Linn
Columbia University: Jocelyn Wilk
Indiana University: Jeffrey Graf, Dina Kellams
Johns Hopkins University: James Stimpert
Logan Public Library, Logan, Iowa: Helen J. Wetzstein
Ohio State University: Tamar Chute, Miriam Conteh-Morgan, Donna DeGeorge, Judith Dunham
University of Iowa: Margaret Lillard, David McCartney
University of Michigan: Lianne Hartman
Yale University: Danelle Moon
University of Chicago Archives
University of Iowa Alumni Records
University of Minnesota Archives