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A BIOGRAPHY OF MARY COVER JONES

Adissertation submitted to the Wright Institute
Graduate School of Psychology in partial fulfill-
ment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor
of Philosophy in Psychology
By
BETTYJANE KOENIG REISS
June 1990
@1990
BETTYJANE KOENIG REISS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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APPROVAL PAGE
I certi fy that I have read A BIOGRAPHY OF MARY COVER JONES
by Bettvjane Koenig Reiss , and that in my opinion this work meets
the criteria for approval of a dissertation submitted in partial ful-
fillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in
Psychology at the Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology.
Chair Andrea Morrison, Ph.D.
i"lurphv, Ph.D.
Committee Member Andrea Polk, Ph.D.
Date
i/d.-o! 90
Date
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ABSTRACT
June 1990
A BIOGRAPHY OF MARY COVER JONES
By
BETTYJANE KOENIG REISS
The central question being examined is the definition of success
across the lifespan, construing the term "success" broadly, including
achievements in the realm of work, interpersonal relationships and the
intrapsychic realm which constitutes self-fulfillment.
To answer this question one older woman's life is examined. Her
story, elicited by interview questions, is the Narrative, which becomes
the data to be analyzed in the Discussion.
The woman selected was living through the eighth decade of her life.
She was coping with stresses accompanying old age. There,fore issues
emerging around losses and coping strategies utilized for adaptation to
such decrements is reviewed in the literature.
The g ~ n r e of biography is also examined, especially the variant,
psychobiography; since this study falls under the discipline of
psychology. Idiographic theory is reviewed as well.
Finally, issues of gender and women's evolving concepts of their
roles in 20th century North American society are considered. They were
germane to the life of the woman in question, since her life spanned the
greater part of this century. She lived through many phases of the so-
called women's liberation movement.
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Interviw schedules were designed to elicit a narrative by the
subject in chronicle form. Developmental theories of Block, Erikson and
Buhler are influential in the Discussion. Other theoretical orientations
include Kleinian and Winnicott1s object relations, personality theory and
psychoanalytic developmental theories on aging.
The Discussion includes background influences from socio-cultural,
social psychological perspectives. Foreground in the Discussion is the
psychodynamics of the subject from the theoretical approaches cited.
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This disseration is dedicated to
Barbara Jones Coates
and
Lesley Jones Alexander
in memory of their mother,
MARY COVER JONES
(September 1, 1896 - July 22, 1987)
Vassar Days
1915 - 1919
June 1990
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This paper could not have been written without the help of many
people; the late Mary Cover Jones', whose biography it is, being foremost
among them. Dr. Jones' will ingness to be interviewed and to have her
life story recorded, then her faithful reading and correcting of the
Narrative, were gifts beyond measure. She gave her time, generously and
happily, to this task, over a two and a half year period. This was at a
time in her life when her eyesight was failing and her strength was
seriously diminished. She had been interviewed countless times and did
not need to be again. She did it to help a late-life student because
that is the kind of person she was. Knowing her has been one of 1ife's
blessings for me.
Mary's daughters took on the task next. Barbara Coates and Les1 ey
Alexander each read the entire text of the Narrative (Part II), and gave
inva1 uab1 e he1 p. Barbara's know1 edge about the Cover-Higson 1ineage as
well as the later lines of descent fleshed out the genealogical chart and
made it more accurate. Her efforts included editorial suggestions as
well that contributed to the accuracy of the text and improved it
stylistically. Lesley's editorial skills are considerable and this
dissertation profited from them. One suggestion in particular was
especially helpful. She pointed out the advantage of dividing a long and
unwieldy chapter into two shorter ones, thereby improving the narrative
flow. I tal so clari fi ed the contents. Both women caught many
inaccuracies of a factual nature and by correcting them contributed to
the final text. Those that may remain are the sole responsibi1 ity of
this writer. Barbara's and Lesley's patience and sustaining interest in
this prolonged production is deeply appreciated.
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The chair of this dissertation committee, Dr. Andrea Morrison, has
given this candidate the kind of support that every graduate student
dreams of having but only the precious few are lucky enough to realize.
It is best described analogically in Winnicott's terms as the "good
enough" mother who provides the child with "the
environment." Dr. Morrison was there to facilitate. On occasion that
required strong and decisive intervention to avert mistakes of critical
dimensions. Often it required a benign neglect that allowed the student
to take responsibility and risk that might lead to a wider perspective
. and a sharper vision. If either of those characteristics may be found
herein, Dr. Morrison deserves the greater part of the credit. To the
paucity of such dimensions, this writer is solely responsible.
Dr. Maureen Murphy graciously agreed to serve on this committee at a
time when she was no longer officially connected with the Wright
Institute and even though she had a full agenda professionally in another
-
place. Beyond her helpful advice and counsel, she endeared herself to
this writer forever by introducing her to Marjorie Lozoff, who also
became a member of this committee.
Marjorie M. Lozoff gave this researcher a crash course in how to
construct interview schedul es. It was so successful that the then-Dean
of the Institute Graduate School complimented the student on the
excellence of the schedules (which are included in Appendix D). Beyond
her research skills and interviewing expertise, Marjorie has become a
valued friend whose supportive counsel is often sought and whose help is
always there when needed.
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Andrea Polk, the last member to join the committee, became a very
welcome addition. She graciously consented to serve when the need arose
to add a member. Her careful reading of the manuscript and her
thoughtful commentary has been timely, helpful and supportive.
Then there is Suzanne Manton, without whose help this task would lie
unfinished still. She has worked indefatigably at her word processor and
with consummate skill. Her years of experience in guiding doctoral
candidates along the sometimes perilous and often opaque path to
completion of their task on schedule has yielded this candidate
enl ightenment, ratiocinative and psychological. Suzanne's forebearance
has been buttressed by her good humor and tact. In the process of
sharing the task Suzanne has become not only a fellow-traveler on the
road of life, but a friend as well.
Next there is GEL, the Group for Enriched Living, to which Maureen
Murphy referred this student for a one year placement. GEL is the group
for successful agers, founded by Marjorie Lozoff, to which Mary belonged
as a charter member. Thi s student came to vi sit, stayed for a year's
placement and then became the student who never left. During those
trying years following the death of her husband, GEL was a bastion of
strength and support. The process in the group is amazing and full of
grace.
To a11 of the above and to those unnamed but beloved fri ends who
have seen me through the past eight years, I give my heartfelt thanks.
And finally, there is family: my three daughters -- to Bernadette
and her husband Bob; to Juliette Ciel; to Suzette, and her fiance, Gerard
-- all of whom have been waiting patiently, through the years, for this
maternal figure to finish her formal education, I give my everlasting
gratitude and love.
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To the youngest branches on the family tree, my three grandchildren,
Amber Celeste, Tony Bernard, and Kate Rebecca, this grandmother bequests
her hope that they will complete their formal educations before their
30th birthdays and reap the rich rewards throughout long, productive,
fulfilling lives.
Bettyjane Koenig Reiss
Berkeley, California and
Miami, Florida
June 1990
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dissertation Approval •••••••••••• ~ ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• • •• ••1
Abstract ...........................•.••. . .. . • . . . • • . • . . . . . . • • . . . • • . . . . . .. 11
Dedication ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• iv
Acknowledgements •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• v
Table of Contents•.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ix
PART I
PROPOSAL
Literature Review
Introduction•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 1
Aging Successfully••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• • •• • • • •• •• •7
Stress, Coping, Losses••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ?
Motivation, Competence, Achievement ••••••••••••••••••••••••• 13
Biography
The Genre .•••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 26
Variations •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 35
Issues of Identity
Self as Person••••••••••••-•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 57
Self as Woman •••••••••••••••·•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 69
Integrity versus Despair •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 90
Summary•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 108
Methodology
The Question••••••••••••••••.••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••.•• 111
The Sample.•••••.••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 116
Procedures •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 117
Preliminary Interview•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ll?
Interviews and Interview Schedules••••••••••••••••••••••••• 119
Standardized measure as projective technique••••••••••••••• 124
Training, Ethics and Values•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 126
Analysis of Data •••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 142
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PART II
NARRATIVE
Chapter I
Family Beginnings: The.Foundation••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 154
Chapter II
Early Life•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 166
Chapter III
New Thresholds •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••• 191
Chapter IV
Convergence•••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••..•••.••.•••••.•••••••••• 210
Chapter V
Consolidation and New Directions •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 254
Chapter VI
Three Famous Studies and How They Grew•••••••••••••••••••••••••• 264
Chapter VII
Family Life From the Middle Years to ·the 1980s•••••••••••••••••• 302
Chapter VIII
Professional Life in the Middle Years••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 313
Chapter IX
Transitions ••••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••. 324
Chapter X
The Late 1970s and Early 1980s •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 354
Chapter XI
Integrity, Despair and Wisdom••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 371
Chapter XII
Settling In••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 392
In Memoriam•••••••••••••••••••••••••.••••••••••••••.••••••••••••••••• 426
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PART III
DISCUSSION
Program Notes••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 428
Prologue•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 439
Backdrop•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 444
Family Beginnings ••••••••••••••••••••.••••••••••••••••••••••••• 444
The Foundation•••.••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 450
Setting•••••••••••••.••••••••••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••••••• 461
Johnstown•.••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••.••••••••••• 461
The Flood: 1889•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 474
Courtship of Charles Cover and Carrie Higson••••••••••••••••••• 481
Foreground•••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 485
Nuclear Family Beginnings •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 487
Opening Act••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 495
I'Call it Oedipal II ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• • 498
"A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" ••••••••••••••••••••••••• 501
Autonomy••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •• 507
Center Stage••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ~ ••••••••••••••• •• • • • • •510
The Tale of Two Toys •••••••.••••••••.••.•.•••••.•••.••••••••.•• 510
Play li the Thing...•••••••..••.•.••••..•••.••.•.••.•.•.•••••.• 531
Denouement: Integrity vs. Despair••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 541
Aging•.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 542
Epl1ogue•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 553
Notes .••.•••••.•.•.••••..•••••••••••••.••••••••••••.•••..•••.•••••.• 554
References •••.•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••.•••••••••••••••••••••• 582
Appendices
A Informed Consent Form•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 601
B Biographical Fact Sheet•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 604
C Historical Time Line ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 613
DInterview Schedules •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 617
E Hassles and Uplift Scales •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 690
F Part II Addenda •••.••••••••••••••• e •••••••••••••••••••••••••• 704
1
PART I
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
This paper is about the values of a remarkable human life. It is a
long and full life, still being lived with vigor, determination and joy.
The central question that informs this inquiry is how does a successful
human being go about living her life? Having done so, moreover, for some
fourscore years, how does she approach its close?
There is the assumption implicit in this study that development is a
lifelong endeavor. A second assumption is that a psychobiography of one
successful 01 der woman's journey can be he1 pfu1 to others--that peopl e
learn from the experience of others as well as their own. There may be
questions that arise from the examination of this life course that can be
looked at by other researchers working in the field of adult development
and aging. That fresh approaches may emerge from this research attempt
makes pursuing it more worthwhile.
The more focused question bei ng explored is how successful
adaptations to loss throughout the life course may be helpful in solving
some of the developmental tasks of 1iVing, especially those tasks that
emerge in the last years of life.
In a remarkably lucid paper, Notes Toward a General Theory of
Personality Deve10pment--At Eighty or Any Old Age, Nevitt Sanford (1973)
has some clarifying remarks on these matters. He suggest that old people
are not encouraged to indulge their bent toward philosophy, possibly
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because philosphy itself (rather than old peoplel) is not appreciated.
He speculates that young psychologists working in the field of
development tend to concentrate on the years with which they are most
familiar personally, and older psychologists, who are becoming
philosophically interested in aging, no longer have a platform or an
audience to address. But Sanford believes that development is a
philosophical problem, in the sense that it contains within it the
assumption of value.[l]
Development is usually construed by those most interested in it to
be "a good thing... an overarching value in the sense that the
interrelated virtures that stand high in the great ethical systems depend
on high levels of development" (p.30). Sanford is thinking in terms of
humanitarian principles and cultural development that transcend the
individual. But the idea of turning to the older individual, especially
one trained and experienced in the field of developmental psychology, to
help in the search for meaningful questions (and perhaps some answers as
well) fits into Sanford's larger message.
The psychobiography to be developed will begin in medias res. The
subject of the study is grappling day to day with some of the major
stressors of aging, most notably, losses of various kinds and degrees.
In exploring her life and assessing its course, the interview method
being used requires that the history be filtered through her current
position on 1ife's continuum. Therefore, the 1iterature review begins
with issues of stress and coping. The theoretical point of view that
Richard lazarus and Anita Delongis (1983) present in their recent paper,
Psychological Stress and Coping in Aging, is chosen for review because it
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emphasizes the importance of the individual's appraisal of experience
both cognitively and affectively, and also points out many other
variables that need to be considered in any attempt to understand coping
issues. For example, their approach emphasizes the importance of
understanding an individual's lifelong history if adaptations to corrent
stressors are to be correctly assessed. In another paper, Cognitive
Style, Stress Perception, and Coping, James C. Coyne and Richard S.
Lazarus (1980) state:
When one is attempting to reconstruct appraisal processes in
descriptive studies of stress and coping in naturalistic
settings, converging evidence from a variety of sources can
be employed: the person's self-report; knowledge of the
characteristics of the person and environment; observed
patterning of emotion, physiological response, and coping;
and, most important, the congruence of fit among these
variables. (p.154)
It is their relatively comprehensive approach to stress and coping that
includes the unique individual's style of reacting as well as the
environmental impact, and the processes of interacting among variables
that make these theorists most applicable to the psychobiographical study
to be undertaken.
There is also a connection between stress and development along the
value continuum mentioned above. It is expressed succinctly by Rollo May
(1980) in his paper Value Conflicts and Anxiety. He begins with a
statement that human anxiety arises because people are valuing animals,
who give their lives and their world meaning through symbols. He then
links anxiety to the self-development of the individual, beginning with
the earliest of separation and individuation processes. May states that
"self-relatedness" [is] "a man's capacity to stand outside himself, to
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know that he is the subject as well as the object of experience, to see
himself as the entity who is acting in the world of objects" (n, 243).
Later, as growth and development progress, May says that values which
begin with an appreciation of the love and care of a mothering figure
become transformed into "a desire for approval ... success in the eyes of
parents and peers, and, later on, status in cultural terms. In the
mature adult, the values become the devotion to freedom, to a religious
belief, or to scientific truth" (p.242).
May's II self-relatedness
ll
is the core concept out of which the later,
more mature, values grow. Any threat to that concept produces profound
anxiety. In this sense, anxiety is existential, not neurotic (although
it may assume neurotic proportions, if it is disproportionate to the
threat). May's definition of values, which includes the concept of
growth and development, also encompasses creativity. Since values are a
process of self-development, any codification that leads to dogma tends
to be self-defeating and destructive. Says May, IIDogma whether of the
rel igious or the scientific variety, is a temporary security bought at
the price of surrending one's opportunity for fresh learning and new
growth
ll
(P. 246). May is saying something quite similiar to Sanford; he
is suggesting that development of the self is the most valuable task of
1ife. Thisis certainly aki n to Sanford's val uing of development. In
May's case, however, he is also saying that such development can lead to
profound anxiety because it involves a separation of the individual from
the rest of nature, including human nature itself. May links this to the
Cartesian split between mind and body.
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Throughout the history of Western civilization, this mind-body
dichotomy has been implicit and oftentimes explicit. It is traceable to
the development of psychology out of its philosophical beginnings. Jane
Loevinger (1976) in Ego Development insists:
Most contemporary theories of the ego are holistic, as
opposed to dualistic or elementaristic. The primary datum is
the person... he himself is the unit of study. Moreover, the
ego is not a spirit animating a machine or a pilot in a ship;
the Cartesian dichotomy of mind and body is currently
rejected. (pp.62-63)
While this may be a true reflection of the sentiment of most contemporary
theorists, the dichotomy has descidedly not been rationally resolved.
For this dualistic problem is part of the very nature of the human
condition. As long as human beings are self-conscious creatures who view
themselves as objects from the perspective of their egos, the mind-body
dichotomy cannot be so easily swept under the carpet. Melvin H. Marx and
William A. Hillix (1979) in Systems and Theories in Psychology address
this question in some detail and end by suggesting that the controversy
is not easy to define: "It is not always clear that the different
positions are really different, or that we have made the correct
decisions about where a given philosopher should be placed" (p.27). They
end by saying that there is "no known scientific method for deciding
among the suggested solutions to the mind-body problem" (p.27), and they
also make the somewhat flippant suggestion that "the problem is bad
enough as it is, so let's let sleeping dogmas lie." This wry but honest
summation fits the dilemma better than Loevinger's conclusion.
Beyond the question of how stress and coping will be examined in
this psychobiography, the next issue to be addressed is the meaning of
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success. It is defined somewhat differently herein than the quotation
from May above suggests, but there are correlations. Both May and this
writer see success as a value closely related to self-fulfillment or, as
May would call it, self-relatedness. It is intimately connected to
motivation issues and competence. Achievement, an objective measure of
success, is one of the facets considered, but not the most important
criterion. The section that follows the one defining success is in the
nature of a digression. It attempts to define psychobiograpy and its
place within the broader context of biography with its interdisciplinary
relationships. Some considerations are given to the arguments that favor
idiographic studies over nomothetic ones, and psychobiography is explored
as a viable method for studying the individual.
Following the discussion about psychobiography is a section dealing
with the theories and issues of self, and self as woman, that will be
used to analyze the life course of the subject. This section also
includes a brief review of Erikson's psychosocial theory of ego
development, especially as it relates to the older adult. The most
important issue throughout this chapter has already been introduced
above. It concerns the paradoxical aspects of human existence that
evolve out of the human being's search for meaning and value in life.
This search requires that a person view herself both as a subject and an
object in relation to others who also see themselves similarly. The
search is extra-personal as well, including search for ultimate meanings
and a place within the cosmology. It is this view of the self, in its
dual aspects, that appears necessary to a valued life. It also leads to
the confrontation of the limitations of life. Boundaries are ubiquitous,
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separations recurrent, and death inevitable. But within these finitudes
lie the possibilities of love and work and creative self-development,
making 1ife worth 1iving. It is one woman's creative endeavor within
these constraints that will be examined in the body of this paper as her
1ife story unfolds.
Aging Successfully
Stress, Coping, losses
As more and more people live longer, the quality of individual lives
in the 1as t years becomes profoundl y important to those who are
survivors, to surviving members of their immediate families, to
professional caretakers of the frail and failing elderly, and to the
remaining among us who are potential survivors.
Individual losses increase as the years advance. Pain and stress,
never wholly absent from human 1ives, become more and more prevail ing
with advancing age. The question of how to manage stress and cope with
painful losses becomes central in life as an individual approaches death.
Therefore, one question of this study is whether or not the close
examination of a long and successful life will reveal coping strategies
around losses that may be helpful in stress management leading to life
satisfaction.
Richard S. lazarus and Anita Delongis (1983) discuss the importance
of studying personal histories to understand better the dynamics of
stress and coping. They point out that aging is a highly individualized
process easily obscured by cross-sectional approaches.[2] In the cross-
sectional studies they cite, the data do not yield clear central
8
tendencies, whereas longitudinal studies suggest that variability, rather
than consistency, is more prevalent in both sources of stress experienced
and types of coping utilized by older populations.
lararus and Delongis (1983) point out that a review of 1ife
satisfaction studies indicates that, despite forty years of research,
there are no clear-cut answers regarding either the "causes or the
correlates of satisfaction" (p.245).
Without abandoning the idea of cross-sectional studies, lazarus and
Delongis (1983) speak out in favor of more longitudinal studies to help
grasp "the dynamic changes that take place in individuals or groups over
time" (p.245). They present three arguments to support a shift in the
direction of including more longitudinal studies. First, it is necessary
to give up a "simplistic notion" that life events, "however
psychometri ca11 y sophi st i ca ted" thei r defi nit ions, can adequately
describe stress (p.245). Nor is it sufficient to see coping as "a
stable, overarching style" used by people to alleviate the many different
kinds and sources of stress in their lives because the process is made up
of a series of evolving strategies that changes over the life course
(p.245). Second, there is variabi1 ity in the process of aging in itself.
Not only are there varied sources of stress with varied patterns of
coping, but these sources arise from different environmental conditions
of living. In addition, individuals have their own personal agendas and
individual characteristics that shape encounters, interpersonal and
envi ron menta1, and these encounters, in tu rn, reshape i ndi vi dua1s
(p.246). Third, lazarus and Delongis (1983) credit R. N. Butler (1975)
with the argument that throughout life people struggle to make sense out
9
of what happens to them. This process is embedded in different personal
beliefs and shapes cognitive appraisals of stressful transactions. In
turn, these coping methods have profound consequences for moral as well
as for somatic health. Speaking of reminiscenses in old age, Butler
(1968) says:
I conceive the life review as a naturally occurr f nq,
universal mental process characterized by the proqress ive
return to consciousness of past experiences, and,
particularly, the resurgence of unresolved conflicts;
simultaneously, and normally, these revived experiences and
conflicts can be surveyed and i n t e g r a t e ~ Presumably this
process is prompted by the real ization of approaching
dissolution and death, and the inabil ity to maintain one's
sense of personal invulnerability. It is further shaped by
contemporaneous experiences and the nature and outcome are
affected by the lifelong unfolding of character. (p.487)[3]
It is the "lifelong unfolding of character" that should be stressed here,
because it is this fact that lazarus and Delongis (1983) are emphasizing:
"It is not age alone, but the significance of stressful events viewed
within the continuity of a person's 1ife that must be taken into account"
(p.246).
From their own recent findings, Lazarus and Delongis (1983) draw
several interesting conclusions. First, they point out that life stress
has two different models in current research and theory. One, the life
events model, emphasizes change and adaptation as a method of meeting
life stress. But, as people age, this model becomes less meaningful.
Major changes in 1ife become less frequent; stress, however, does not.
This may be because the events that cause stress for older people can be
cha racteri zed as "nonevents II (p.246). Exi stent i a1 circumstances and
affect-laden responses to them, reminiscent of the quotation from Butler
above, occupy the older person's agenda and can be very stressful. Then
10
there are chronic problems of infirmity, 1imited energy, lonel iness,
hostile or unresponsive environments, to mention a few. One particularly
interesting "nonevent" mentioned is that of reaching a plateau in ones
career. For the 01 der people, that could be transl ated into enforced
retirement. A variation of this that comes to mind might be the
ambiguous position of being given office space in which to do ones
professional work without monetary compensation.
In discussing the need to take into account the variability in
processes of aging and psychological stress under similar environmental
conditions, the authors invoke a core concept: "Cognitive Appraisal"
(p.249). It is how a person assesses the significance of an encounter
that determines whether or not it be stressful. "Coping, II too, is a key
mediating process (p.249). The emotional response of the person depends,
in large measure, on how s/he copes with the encounter. There is
problem-focused coping which changes the person-environment relationship
and therefore alleviates the threat. Emotion-focused coping changes the
way the encounter is attended to and, hence, the emotional reaction to
it. Emotion-focused coping also acts through cognitive processes. It
can be either effective or self-defeating. If the situation is handled
well emotionally, it may not change, but a more benign emotional reaction
will have been created. Usually some measure of both strategies is used,
and, in successful coping, the two methods may be used concomitantly,
alternatively, or in varied dynamic combinations.
Lazarus and Delongis (1983) suggest that an alternative
conceptual ization for detecting and measuring stress, to be used as a
supplement to the life events strategy, is one they call "Hassles" and
11
"Uplifts" (Kanner, Coyne, Schaefer, &lazarus, 1981). Their findings
indicate that daily hassles tend to be more deleterious to health than
predictabl e 1ife events. Even though hassl es tend to accompany major
life events, they also occur more routinely in day-to-day living.
Different age groups and different cohorts also identify different
occurrences as hassles. Again, the salient point in the findings
revolves around appraisal. This depends on more than one or two
variables. Age does make a difference, but so do other factors, among
them something called Proximal and Distal.[4] These terms refer to how
an individual views events in his life. If s/he sees them as proximal,
whether they are 1ife events or merely hassles, they are stressful; if
s/he sees them as distal, then they will be less stressful (even though
society may identify them as significant life events). Simply because
the individual sees them differently, their effect differs.
Coping, like stress, often depends on cognitive factors. People do
not usually remain passive in the face of life's exigencies. They try to
change situations; failing that, they try to give new meaning to the
situations. lazarus and Delongis (1983) point out that past researchers
have tried to assess coping as a personality trait or as a style. This
has not been successful because, they suggest, coping is a more dynamic
process that changes over time and in differing contexts.
General ization, the researchers bel ieve, has come prematurely, before
enough people have been assessed enough times in many different kinds of
life situations. Only after that can researchers begin to identify
stable individual differences in coping competence.
12
One finding that has emerged from their recent research, however, is
that older people do not cope differently from younger ones; rather, they
have different stressors with which they must cope, and individuals show
major differences in coping with these common stressors of aging. Once
again, the individual emerges as the crucial variable.
lazarus and Delongis (1983) cite Lewin directly, in stressing that
an emphasis on individual aspects of aging does not negate the
possibility of finding general laws; the point is that individual
differences and general laws are two aspects of the same problem
(p.250).[5J Nevertheless, there is yet another contingency that makes
generalizations about aging especially difficult. It is that people age
biologically at different rates; chronological age, therefore, can be
misleading as a method of grouping people.
Finally, lazarus and Delongis (1983) argue that a person (or a
group) has a "central story 1f ne" (p.250). It is this theme or motif
that gives a person's life useful personal meanings. These meanings are
apt to be threatened at any time by untoward events. It is from the
perspective of this story line that theorists should examine stress and
coping. Over the life course, social as well as physical environments
change. lazarus and Delongis (1983) cite separation, competition, new
neighborhoods, changing peers and authority figures, parental discord,
and deaths in the family as some of the potential threats to the story
line.
In addition to these contingencies that may assault, alter, or even
destroy an unfolding story line, there is the interpretation that the
individual puts upon the events (or lack of events). This depends upon
13
the more or less stable features of the personality. lazarus and
Delongis suggest that two personality variables are especially important
to examine because they shape stress and coping over the 1ife course.
They are "patterns of commi tment" and libel i efs about sel f and worl d"
(p.250). The authors suggest these two variables not only because they
meet their own standards but because they "are part of the current social
science zeitgeist" as well (p.251).
To return to the question addressed in the opening paragraphs, this
study intends to examine, largely through personal interviews, the life
course of one successful older woman. The somewhat detailed review of
the lazarus and Delongis article serves as an introduction to central
issues that the study will try to analyze and assess as they may arise in
this life. The focus of this study will be more upon losses than stress
in general. The question of interest is whether or not there are
discernible patterns or styles of coping that this woman has developed
throughout her life to help her face losses and continue to live her life
in a way that has meaning and value for her. It will also be of interest
to learn how this woman views her life on the continuum of success: what
is her "central story line" (p.250)? Does she see it reaching a
satisfactory conclusion as she looks back over her life? Perhaps this
singular story can point in a significant direction for further
exploration.
Motivation, Competence, Achievement
In determining how losses are handled successfully throughout a long
life, the question of defining the term "success" must be addressed.
14
Implicitly, there is an assumption that if one is successful throughout
onels earlier years, then this mode of living should carryover into the
later years as well. But what, exactly, does the word "success" mean?
What does it mean to live a IIsuccessfulll life? What, moreover, does the
phrase lIagi ng successfullyll connote?
The dictionary defines IIsuccessll as lithe degree or measure of
attaining a desired end: Kind of fortune specific; the attainment of
wealth, position, esteem, favor or emtnence," "Successtul" is II gaining
or having gained success; esp.: having attained wealth, position or
fame.
II[6]
Two aspects of these definitions are especially interesting in
the present context. First, success is subjectively qualified. The
writer of this paper has applied the adjective to the subject, but it has
not yet been confirmed by the subject. Second, the conjunction used in
the amplification of the general desired end to more specific categories
implies that one, some, or all may be included in defining the term, but
all need not be included. When this writer uses the phrase "successful
life,1I it is meant to convey all that Webster has implied (with the
possible exception of "weal th," which is somewhat problematic, in part
because of the historically recent inflationry spiral, coupled with the
advanced age of the subject); but conveyed in a "more or l ess" fashion,
which is covered by the phrase lithe degree or measure of
ll
in the opening
statement of the definition. Whether or not the subject would agree with
the dictionary definition as applied to herself remains to be seen. But
the dictionary definition does not begin to cover the meaning that the
writer has in mind. It is this fuller meaning of IIsuccessll that needs to
be addressed at this time.
15
As the word is being used in this paper, it approaches in meaning a
qUite specific and somewhat complex conceptualization outlined by Robert
W. White (1959) in a paper on the theory of motivation. White suggests
that, across the broad field of psychology from animal behavior to
learning theory to psychoanalytic ego psychology, drive theories of
motivation have been found less than adequate to explain animal and
human behavior. He proposes that a new conceptualization, for which he
chooses the word "competence," be used in place of drive theory. This
term wou 1d encompass a bi 01 ogi ca 1 component and wi 11 refer to an
organism's capacity for "an effective--a competent-- interaction with the
envt ronment " (p, 318). A part of White's conceptual ization is that
competence depends upon a motivational component in human nature that is
not simply an inborn instinctual urge, nor is it a biological propensity
that unfolds through a process of maturation alone. In the higher
mammal ian species, especially human beings, thi s capacity to interact
effectively with the environment is attained slowly through prolonged
feats of learning. White is careful to point out, in the beginning of
his article, that he is not proposing a new idea. Rather, he is putting
together bits and pieces that have been articulated across the broad
field of psychology, not simply from ends of a continuum. Some of the
points between include the fields of child development, congnitive
studies, and personality theory.
Without further recapitulation of White's detailed review of
experiments in animal psychology, let his conclusion be accepted that
these experiments have led to the demise of the old orthodoxy that
animals, especially mammals, only engage in activity for instinct
16
gratification, and let the new concept be entertained that activity,
exploration, and manipulation occur for their own sakes. After all,
Piaget (1952), in his carefully documented observations of his own
children, has provided rich confirmatory data. White (1959) bel ieves
that these urges to interact with the environment are biological at the
level of biochemistry. He states that "We have a complex picture in
which humoral factors and neural centers occupy a prominent
posi t i on: ... moreover, the concept of neurogeni c motives without
consummatory ends appears to be entirely 1egi ti mate" (p.305). Even
though he believes that they are determined at a molecular level, White
does not want to call them "drtves," That term has a special meaning
derived from long use that refers to basic survival needs such as hunger,
thirst, and sex. Rather, he suggests, these more recently discovered
urges should be designated by a different name to avoid confusing them
with the still more basic drives. These newer urges (or more newly
discovered ones) do, however, have survival value, since they motivate
the organism to attain competence in a complex and sometimes dangerous
world.
Having stated the case at the biochemical and organic levels, White
next turns to Freud's theories of instinct and ego. He reviews the
development of ego psychology from Freud's initial and later statements
through the early additions of Anna Freud's and Hartmann's initial
revisions and forward. White emphasizes the trend towards autonomy that
grows out of the expanding role of the ego, and he especially notes the
contribution made by Erikson (1950) in his theory of epigenetic stages of
development. Special attention is called to Erikson's theory of playas
17
the child's way of developing mastery,[7] White, (1963, pp.85-186). White
concludes that psychoanalytic theory has paralleled in its development of
the ego concept the road that animal psychology took, converging with
White's theory of competence.[8]
For related developments in general psychology, White (1959) cites
many examples of deviation from drive orthodoxy, Gordon Allport and Henry
Murray among them. He also mentions Kurt Goldstein's assumption of a
human tendency towards sel f-actual ization, as well as Abraham Maslow's
growth motivation and hierarchy of needs satisfaction. Even Alfred Adler
is cited for his similar idea of an urge towards perfection. Although
White does not mention Lois Barclay Murphy by name, he refers to similar
developments in child psychology. Murphy (1981) stresses the importance
of constitutional factors in individual children and their unique growth
patterns as important components in the development of competence.
From parallel trends in general psychology, White (1959) turns to
specifics. He cites D. O. Hebb for his interest in the human need for
excitement and stimulation:
Hebb (1949) has been particularly insistent in reminding us
that many of our activities, such as reading detective
stories, skin-diving or driving cars at high speeds, give
clear evidence of a need to raise the level of stimulation
and excitement. (p.313)[9]
White then turns to a consideration of optimal stimulation as it has
been developed in learning theory. Neither too much nor too little
stimulation is desirable: too much leads to disruptive excitement; too
little brings boredom. The experiments that support these theories about
neurological correlates lend credence, White contends, to his basic
point, that motivation exists for the human animal to be active: "Even
18
when its primary needs are satisfied and its homeostatic chores are done,
an organism is a1ive, active and up to somethtnq" (p.315).
From these and many more examples White rests his case for
competence motivation. At this point he suggests that a term to describe
the motivational aspect of competence might be "eff'ectance' (p.321). He
defines this term as a kind of neural energy that is part of living
cells: "The effectance urge represents what the neuromuscular system
wants to doll (p.321). White then launches into a long description of
man's tremendous thrust towards growth and development that encompasses
his p1anfu1 changes of his environment and all the accomplishments that
make up human culture. He concludes that this vast activity is
accomplished by a slow process of cumulative learning. Language is a
good example of an incremental learning task: "The early mastery of words
and pronunciation seems such a far cry from 'spontaneous adult speech'"
(1959, p.325). From this review of the panorama of human endeavors,
White turns to an appreciation of the infant's and young chi1d's playas
a serious preparation for the learning of competences. He makes the
point that play is the right medium for learning the complex tasks of
competent living. Experiments have shown that more complex tasks require
lower motivation.[10] Too focused motivation leads to missed cues.
In Whi tel s monograph (1963, pp, 185-186) menti oned above,
"eff'ectance" is defined as the energy behind learning behavior that is
directed toward exploring the environment, and it is this exploratory
behavior that leads to the development of competence: IICompetence is the
cumulative result of the history of interactions with the environment"
and "sense of competence" is suggested as a suitable term for the
19
subjective side of this, signifying one's consciously or unconsciously
felt competence--one's confidence--in dealing with the various aspects of
the environment" (p.186).
From this overview of White's detailed explanation of his theory of
competence, let us look back to the question raised about the meaning of
success as it applies to the woman in this study. The point to be made
is that she is successful not simply in Webster's sense, but also in
White's. She is an exceptionally competent person. It is precisely
because she is so successful--so competent--that a detailed examination
of her life history may be found worthwhile as an aid to understanding
how to cope with the stresses of life. White (1963) has something to say
about that when he speaks about ego strength as part of acquired
competence and sense of competence:
This concept [i.e., ego strength], useful in cl inical
practice, has generally been defined negatively as the
absence of crippling anxiety or of anticathetic defense
processes. Such a view neglects the positive contributions
of effectance, which is at work building up adaptive
capacities that help in coping with dangers, and a sense of
competence that opposes the development of anxiety. This
work is constantly going on between times of crisis--in
conflict-free situations--and its results may be highly
significant when the next crisis occurs. (p.193)
True, White speaks of "crisis" and one of the aspects of stress related
to aging, and the losses that aging inflicts is the lack of crises, or
rather, the more or less ubiquitous and monotonous, not to say
relentless, repetition of losses with aging. Nevertheless, assuming that
White is correct in his suggestion that competence leads to development
of adaptive capacities and coping capabilities, then a close examination
of the life history may cast some interesting and worthwhile light upon
20
the basic question under consideration.
Before leaving the concept of "success," one other way of defining
it that is particularly appropriate for this study should be addressed.
Webster states that achievement may be defined as "succes sfu l
comp1etion
ll;
suggested synonyms are lIaccomp1ishmentll and
IIfu1fi11ment".[11] All of these terms might be used as qualifiers of
"success
ll
as the term is being defined in this study. Therefore it seems
important to take at least a cursory glance at another study in
motivation, The Achievement Motive by David McClelland, John W. Atkinson,
Russell A. C1 ark, and Edgar L. Lowell (1953). One of the most
interesting findings in this study is that the achievement index used
failed to correlate with two of the most commonly used validating
criteria, both of which involve j U d g e m e n ~ The first is that lI a person
does not estimate his achievement motivation in a way which will
correlate significantly with his achievement index score," and
"futhermore, a clinical jUdgement of his achievement motivation by
outsiders--a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist working together --
a1 so does not agree with the index scor-e" (p.328). What the authors
surmise that this may mean is that people's perception of achievement
motivation is not the same as achievement motivation itself. Perhaps,
they speculate, certain cues are being responded to as though they were
part of the achievement motivation when, in fact, they often accompany it
but are not necessarily present. Examples cited are such items as
overcoming obstacles, working long hours, efficient overcoming of
inhibitions.
21
Another finding that may be of interest in relation to the subject
is one that leads to a hypothesis that achievement motives develop in
cultures and in families where there is an emphasis on the independent
development of the individual. Low achievement motivation,
correspondingly, is associated with families in which the child is more
dependent on his parents and subordinate in importance to them.
McClelland et ale (1953) are careful to explain that both types of home
may be loving and affectionate, but the one that fosters high achievement
encourages independence, even to the point of a child's "talking back"
(p.328) without feeling a great deal of guilt afterwards. It is not that
one environment is more democratic than the other. The fostering one may
be quite dictatorial. But even if this is so, the parents still
emphasize the child's importance as an individual, whereas in the low
achievement home the emphasis is on the family unit and loyalty and
obligations to it above the individual.
Another finding of particular interest in the present study relates
to the achievement difference between men and women. The authors refer
to it as "stri king" (pp.330-331). They found that women were not moved
by references to leadership and intelligence. But if they were rejected
socially, their achievement motivation increased. On the other hand, men
were not affected by social rejection. The authors' interpretation is
that, in our culture, women's achievement drives are linked with getting
along successfully with other people, whereas men's are associated with
"getting ahead" in the world.
There is also a tentative finding about aging that should be noted.
A small sample of eminent scientists ranging in age from thirty to sixty
22
were Although the results were not conclusive, they indicated
that the older men tended to be less highly motivated than the younger
ones. These resul ts appear to corroborate the common observation that
older people who have achieved their life goals are less highly motivated
than when younger. But since all the men tested were eminent in their
respective fields, the data may indicate that the younger men were more
highly motivated than the older ones not because the the older ones were
less highly motivated because of the age factor, but rather that the
younger men were eminent at an earlier age because of their higher
motivation per see
Finally, McClelland states, "There is no necessity... to argue that
social motives are ultimately based on certain biological needs"
This statement is in line with McClelland's embrace of an affective
arousal model rather than the more traditional biological models such as
the ones that White's adaptation followed. McClelland does state that
his theory is close to Hebb's but that the final choice of a hedonic
model (t.e., pleasure-pain model of motivation) was in part because it
lends itself more easily to experiment than a theory such as Hebb1s does.
In concluding these remarks about the meaning of success, some
reflection on their relationship to the question about coping strategies
is in order. To briefly restate the question, this study is attempting
to explore issues relating to stress that accompany aging, especially the
stress that relates to losses which foreshadow the ultimate loss of life
itself. Accepting the obvious, that there is no escape from that
ultimate loss and, hence, no way to avoid pain, the question of
mitigating the pain remains. By studying the life course of a thoughtful
23
and articulate older women, both competent and achieving, her history may
reveal hints, and possibly guidelines, that may prove useful in the task
of broadening and deepening understanding about these issues.
To summarize, a successful older women's psychobiography begins, by
virtue of its setting in time, with issues around stress connected with
aging, especially the stress accompanying losses. An assumption based
upon recent studies of coping strategies among aging populations is that
each tndtvtduels "central story l tne" (lazarus 8. Delongis, 1983, p.250)
is a unique one, albeit not without some generalizing possibilities. If
the central story line is elicited and coherently stated, it may reveal
"patterns of commt'tment" and libel iefs about sel f and worl d" (lazarus 8.
Delongis, 1983, p.250) that help explain the individual's assessment of
her/his 1ife. The assessment is an integral part of the meaning and,
hence, the value of that life. There is a sense, then, in which the
objective view cannot be separated from the subjective. How a person
sees herself and her life determines, ultimately, its success or its
failure, in her own eyes and in the eyes of others. This remains true
regardless of any objective achievements or accomplishments and how they
may be independently assessed.
Therefore, in the assessment process, the researcher must keep in
mind the criteria defining "success" or "unsuccessful 1ife
ll
that have
been stated above. Included in the definition of these variants is the
integration of the commonplace view that success is related to
accomplishments and achievements, with more subjective evaluations. The
outcome is a definition that is an amalgam of two sUbjective views--the
subject's and the researcher's--as they interface with a more face value
24
orientation and become objectified.
To help in these assessments, the researcher needs to make explicit
her theoretical orientation towards modivation. It rests upon White's
(1959; 1963) view of biological determinants. White uses the term
"effectance" to define energy that motivates the 1earning behavior that
leads to the development of competence. This researcher's theoretical
outlook includes, also, the more socially and envionmentally determined
position that McClelland (1953) takes in his study of achievement. Both
the biological urge towards growth and development and the fostering
enviornmental conditions need to be present in some measure for
individual competence to lead to achievement in life. The researcher
accepts White's position that such a thrust exists in the human being
from birth and McClelland's position that the social conditions into
which the person is born and in which s/he is reared determine, in some
significant measure, how the motivation will be real ized in the 1ife
course. These assumptions lie behind the word "success" or "successful"
as it is used throughout this p a p e ~
Before proceed i ng to the next section of th i s paper, a few
prefatory words need to be said. It may be viewed as a digression from
the pri mary theoret i ca1 ori entat i on. That theory concerns the
psychological perspective informing the analysis of the life course being
examined in this psychobiography. The next section, on the other hand,
is an expl anat i on of how the researcher sees the methodology of
psychobiography within the larger fields of psychology as a social
science, and biography as a genre that rests upon several discipl ines:
literary, historical, sociological, as well as the psychological.
25
Biography is, therefore, a part of the humanities as well as the social
sciences. As such, it can be seen as an integrative discipline. In that
role it performs the valuable function of bringing order and meaning
into data that may, in its quantity and complexity, at first appear
merely chaotic. Methodologically, in this paper, the biographical data
collected will be treated as the subject matter to be analyzed from the
discipline of psychology, following the theoretical paths outlined in
this review of the literature.
Before proceeding with the theoretical outl ine to be used to
understand the subject matter, however, this researcher deems it
appropriate to digress with a description of how she sees the technique
of psychobiography fitting into its methodological niche. There are some
issues around the technique itself that parallel other more substantive
issues that will emerge as the review unfolds.
26
Biography
The Genre
Gordon W. Allport (1967) opens his autobiographical statement in A
History of Psychology in Autobiography with:
The greater part of my own professional work can be viewed as
an attempt [to learn and] ~ •• I still do not know how a
psychological life history should be written. And here I am,
faced ironically enough with the assignment of writing my own
psychological vita. Lacking a method I shall have to bumble
along as best I can, hoping that psychologists of the future
will learn how such an assignment should be carried through.
(pp.3-4)
This sentiment, expressed only a year prior to Allport's death, might
well give pause to an inexperienced graduate student in psychology about
to embark on writing a psychobiography. Allport's words, however, bel ie
his results. It is in no small measure because of Allport's direction,
through his carefully laid groundwork, that the present writer is
encouraged to undertake the task.[12] Nor does Allport stand alone. His
efforts in both theory building and research are but one cornerstone in
an interdisciplinary structure. Depending upon the discipline within the
broad field of social science, as well as the intradiscip1inary approach
of individual scholars, this structure bears different names. To mention
a few, there are psychobiographies, 1ife course reviews, case studies,
life histories, and psychographs. The umbrella term that subsumes them
all is: "Biography (from the G r ~ , life, a n d ~ writing),11
and, according to Edmund Gosse, it is a "form of history which is applied
not to races or masses of men but to an individua1.
1I[13]
Gosse
attributes the first modern use of the term to Dryden, who used it in
1683 to describe the literary work of Plutarch. Gosse is emphatic in
27
his insistence that biography properly deal s only with the 1ife of the
individual, saying, "There is perhaps no greater literary mistake than to
attempt what is called the 'Life and Times' of a man... Biography is a
study sharply defined by two definite events, birth and death." Gosse
does mitigate this emphasis, however, by admitting that "The only remnant
of the old rhetorical purpose [i.e., philosophical or historical, dating
back to Plutarch's lives] which clearer modern purpose can afford to
retain is the relative light thrown on military or intellectual or social
genius by the achievements of the selected subject" (p.953).
Turning to another modern historian, John A. Garraty, in his opening
paragraphs of The Interactions of Psychology and Biography (1954), has
this to say on the subject:
From the earliest times, the best of the writers of biography
have striven to describe not only the overt actions and
recorded facts of their subjects' 1ives, but al so their
personalities. The more perceptive writers have also
realized that there is a connection between a man and his
deeds, that an understanding of his personality helps explain
his accomplishments, and that his accomplishments throw light
upon his personal i ty, (p.569)
To support his point, Garraty quotes from Plutarch, the forebear of
modern biographers:
My design is not to write histories, but lives. And the most
glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest
discoveries of virtue or vice in man; sometimes a matter of
less moment, an expression or a jest, informs us better of
their characters and inclinations, than the most famous
sieges, the greatest armaments, or the bloodiest of battles
whatsoever. (p.569)
Finally, Garraty sums it all up by saying that the best biographers,
"Like the best novelists, have always been students of human psychology,
and the development of psychological science has tended to confirm
28
ins i ght long ago achi eved
ll
(p.569).
So far, Gosse and Garraty are in agreement. But Garraty appears a
bit more willing to stretch biography's umbrella beyond the individual
when, in The Nature of Biography (1957), he says:
The individual makes history; so does chance; so do social
forces. One need not look beyond his daily experience to
observe the operation of all three elements. Each of us
makes decisions that influence the lives of others; each is
controlled and limited by the world we live in; each is
affected by the caprice of fortune. It is the bi ographer' s
job to determine the relative importance of each factor
throughout his subject's career... Whether one deals with the
small instances or entire careers, the three major points of
view should be always kept in mind - for they are all
persistently operating... the biographer must decide how to
place his subject in his environment. (pp.6-7)
The task, then, is to steer a course that focuses on the individual
life within its larger field. The trick, of course, is the old familiar
one of perspective, with some additional complexities. Interaction is
one. Interaction is not linear and not, therefore, easily reduced to
cause and effect relationships. It is made up of many parts that relate
in compl icated sequences between and among themselves. And chance has
been thrown in as well. Perhaps II chance
ll
is merely a euphemism for
dimensions of the field not yet understood. Garraty's concrete details
graphically delineate some of the issues that Allport's plaintive
disclaimer cited above foreshadows.
But Garraty (1954) the historian, in his article about the inter-
relationship of psychology and history, is bent upon securing to the task
of biography the best of two disciplines - the historical method and the
insights of psychology. In stating his case for history, Garraty draws
upon a quotation from a venerable fountainhead of personality theory,
29
Henry A. Murray. Murray (1938) begins his monumental Explorations in
Personality by explaining his concept of man as the unit of study, his
personal ity the appropriate subject matter. To help define
"Personol ogy", the term Murray coins to re-focus the field of study, he
states:
The science of men, taken as gross units... by definiton,
encompasses 'psychoanalysis' (Freud), 'analytical psychology'
(Jung), 'individual psychology' (Adler) and other terms which
stand for methods of inquiry or doctrines. (p.4)
Murray suggests that the techniques for studying individual 1ives are
available. If properly used, they can yield facts about personality. It
is imperative that man be studied as a whole unit and not merely in
segments (t.e., emotions, responses, perceptions, traits). To implement
this plan, Murray and his illustrious team at the Harvard Psychological
Clinic gathered vast archives of biographic and psychomentric data from
51 male college students. One of the problems he discusses is that of
reconciliation of conceptual differences brought to the task by the team.
The members represented diverse orientations with special technical
skills commensurate with their orientations. In conclusion, Murray
suggests that an abstract biography, which he calls a "psychograph",
should resemble a musical score whose symbols would play out
envi ronmenta 1 forces, the subject's inner set, and the resu1tant
interaction.[14] But Murray recognizes that, even if such a result were
possible, it would contain within it a fatal flaw. It is this flaw that
Garraty cites, quoting Murray:
Before I close this account of the difficulties that confront
the I shouldlmentTon one final rrrnltation of
any conceptual formulation of a man"'S""experience. It must
necessarily do violence to human feel ings... because itls the
30
subst itution of heartl ess, denotative, referenti a1 symbol s
for the moving immediacy of living. By employing such a
scheme a person's vital moments, once warm and passionately
felt, become transformed into a cruelly commonplace formula,
which dispossesses them of unique value. The subject himself
is stripped and assimilated to ! typologiCiT category. Much
i! thereby lost. The discomfort that people feel in the
presence of ! psychologist is in part the apprehension that
they. will be catalogued and med away in his museum of
speclmens. Ihe artist's representation of an experience, on
the other hand, is a re-invocation of the original feeling or
of ! similar feeling, equally immediate, exciting, and
intense. The artist recreates the 'feel' of it, the
scientist slib'Stitutes the 'thought' of it. (pp.17-18)[15]-
Garraty is intent upon wedding history and psychology for the purpose of
begetting a more robust and 1ively offspring, modern biography. This
progeny will, he believes, be endowed with the chief virtue of both
parents. From history comes a legacy that draws on the creativity from
1iterature as well as the methodology of its discipl ine and the focus
upon man. Psychology offers tools for probing the more opaque side of
human nature and bringing to 1ight hitherto hidden dynamics of
personality, character, and behavior.
Louis Gottschalk (1945) makes a similiar point, when he speaks about
the dichotomous nature of history. He says that history:
Is social science... but it is also concerned with the
past for the sake of the past, with the individual and the
particular because men are interesting as men. The historian
as scientist and the historian as humanist are not, however,
two personalities; they are one. And the usefulness of that
one to both the humanities and the social sciences would be
greatly increased if he stopped acting schizophrenically.
(p.3)
There is more than a suggestion that Garraty and Gottschalk represent, by
their points of view, two sides of a larger question. For Garraty (1954)
takes issue with Gottshcal k for what appears, on the surface, to be a
position similiar to his own. He points out that three years prior to
31
the Gottschalk paper quoted above, under the same auspices and same
general title, Allport (1942) published his very helpful gUidelines.
Gottschalk ignores the Allport work and concentrates, instead, on a
defense of the historical method, as though it were under attack.
looking back on the quotation from Murray (l938), one cannot help
wondering if Gottschalk may be feeling "catalogued and filed away in his
[the psychologist's] museum of specimens" (p, 18). Gottschalk's choice
of the word "schizophrenic" also strikes a defensive note, especially
considering that his message, that man is the unit to study, is identical
to Murray's.
The larger question that transcends history and psychology as fields
of study and embraces the philosophical discipline of epistemology in
Western culture (if not, indeed, the whole history of the human race)
hinges on the phrase "unique value" (p.18), lifted here from the long
quotation from Murray (l938) above. The question is how can man
understand himself as a unique and valuable entity within the
multiplicities of realities that he inhabits?[16] The answer is that it
is not easy. For any clear focus brings distortions to the larger
picture, if not complete obliteration. Without succumbing to the self-
defeating temptation of trying to write a definitive answer to a question
that reverberates through millenia, there is a point that can be made.
It is somewhat analogous to Alcibiades' point about the lever, given a
place to stand. At this juncture, the emphasis will be more upon the
place to stand than upon the lever, of whatever l e n g t ~ Michael Polanyi
(1968) suggests that there is an integrative function that operates
throughout our world, performing a multitude of boundary tasks on
32
different levels of aggregate complexities. These complexities are
systems and their fields.
To convey to the reader some of the difficulty that is encountered
in trying to grasp the aggregates on different levels, Polanyi gives an
example of a person viewing an object identified as "cat" (p.1312) while
being examined by a neurophysiologist who is viewing the viewer. The
neurophysiologist .does not see the "cat" that the person is seeing. He
sees only (or instead) the person's bodily responses to the light in his
sensory organs that he construes as "cat", Both are performi ng acts of
integrating perceptions. But the focus is different. The integrative
function is working for both upon different stimuli. This is one way in
which Polanyi speaks about the mind-body dichotomy. Another example of
levels of integration is that of a person in an airplane who can decipher
traces of prehistoric sites on earth which s/he cannot discern when
walking over them on the ground. This way of looking at reality fits
Murray's view\when he speaks of the loss of a person's unique value--the
person's feelings and vitality--when the personality is reduced to
typographical categories. The unique value depends not only upon the
aggregates that are bound together within the entity we call "person",
but upon the perception of the person as well, as viewer and as viewed.
Polanyi feels pessimistic about what he views as "certain basic
impossibil ities" (p, 1312) of human understanding. These exist in part
because integrative boundary principles are outside realms of physics and
chemistry: therefore, beyond scientific grasp. But another scientist,
trained at a different level, that of materials rather than physical
chemistry, Cyril S t a n l ~ Smith (1968), takes a more sanguine view. Smith
33
believes that there is the possibility that, as science begins to search
at levels above the sub-atomic, a liaison scientist may develop who will
be able to bridge what now appears to be an unbridgeable chasm. Says
Smith:
I am not as pessimistic as Polanyi, for I see in the complex
structure of any material--biological or geological, natural
or artificial--a record of its history, a history of many
individual events each of which did predictably follow
physical principles. Nothing containing more than a few
parts appears full panoplied, but it grows. And as it grows,
the advancing interface leaves behind a pattern of structural
perfecti on or imperfection wh i ch is both a record of
historical events and a framework within which future ones
must occur•••• Is there not possible an intermediate science
using the structure that exists--important for no other
reason than that it does exist--both as a key to history and
as a framework for continuing process? (p. 644)
On this tentatively optimistic note, this paper stands. It may not be as
solid a foundation as Alcibiades would wish for moving the earth on its
axis, but as a cornerstone for the ongoing process of this human
psychobiography it may be helpful.
34
One of the problems in dealing with the nomothetic-idiographic
debate is that it overlaps several discipl ines that use 1ife histories
either as units to study or as methodologies. So far, this paper has
attempted to define the life history as a form of biography, partaking of
aspects properly called historical, as well as aspects clearly belonging
to the field of psychology. But the genre could be examined also from
the perspective of 1iterature, or anthropology, or sociology; nor does
this list exhaust the disciplines that might be invoked.[ll] Since,
however, the life history that is being examined in this instance will be
treated as a psychobiography, it would be better to keep the focus
relatively narrow. But, while narrowing the focus, it should be realized
that the nomothetic-idiographic controversy is only one small eddy in a
veritable maelstrom. The variations may be addressed as the particular
versus the general, the one versus the many, the idiographic versus the
nomothetic. The Polanyi-Smith dialogue is cited to keep this larger view
in mind. It is possible that this intellectual maelstrom signifies a
crisis of the kind that Thomas S. Kuhn (1970) speaks about as preceding
scientific revolutions that unseat old paradigms and usher in the
new.[IB] If that is so, it would help explain some of the complexity
involved. To tease out a simple, straigtforward explanation of the
subject matter of this paper leads to oversimpl ification of the kind
that Polanyi and Smith are critiquing. Nevertheless, the risk must be
taken.
35
Variations
Relying heavily upon William McKinley Runyan's (1982) recent
exp1ique in depth, in Life Histories and Psychobiography, it appears
reasonab1 e to begin by stating that in the present treatment the 1ife
hi story wi 11 be used as "Subject matter... the sequence of events and
experiences in a life from birth until death" (p.6), modified, in the
present case, to read "from birth until the present age." By seeing the
life history as the subject matter to be examined, it becomes clear, as
Runyan points out, that there is no single life history method that must
be employed. This approach allows the analyst to choose her/his own
method, anchoring it in the concrete biographical data that emerges. It
also avoids the criticism that has been leveled against the life history
as methodoloqy-vthat it is "studying correlations among variables or
testing general causal theories" (p.5) that may not be from comparable
data bases. But it raises another issue, expressed rhetorically by
Runyan, "'If you can't generalize from these studies of individual lives,
what's the point of doing them?'" (p.6) Runyan's answer to this is to, in
effect, reverse the question.
Pointing out that the hypothetical question might be asked by a
psychologist committed to the nomothetic position of developing
generalizations that apply to larger and larger numbers of people which
would allow more accurate predictions based on such collected evidence,
Runyan then states that there are two other level s. These level s are
equally legitimate for study and cannot be approached through the
nomothetic method. One is the group, rather than the universe. The
group is defined demographically by statistical distribution or, even
36
more narrowly, by sex, race, social class, occupation, and so forth.
Parenthetically, nomothetic studies seldom can claim to represent
the universe; even those that encompass large populations usually narrow
their findings to relatively carefully defined groups within the larger
universe, or the findings become so general as to approach
meaninglessness. The second alternative level is, of course, the
individual. Often such individuals are public or historical figures,
clinical patients, or the studies may be autobiographical. Runyan's
point is that the more general study, on either of the two prior levels,
seldom appl ies, with predictable accuracy, to any single person.
Supporting Runyan's position is this quotation from Allport (1942):
Once in a great while the conceptualization of a life seems
sometimes to fit validly and without remainder into some
existent system of psychological thought (Freudian, Marxist,
Alderian); more often a mixture of systems is required.
Still more often... it seems desirable to seek an ad hoc
conceptualization, one that lets the case speak entirely for
itself, tell its own laws, dictate its own explanations....
Recent studies in the prediction of personal adjustment
are... based upon the assumpt i on that if we fi nd certa i n
variables frequently present [in certain cases] ... , then the
presence of enough of these variables in a new [similar] case
will indicate likely success or failure... a non sequitor
occurs when this logic gets twisted, ... and holds that if 10
percent of the boys from a certain neighborhood become
del inquent, then this boy who comes from that neighborhood
has 10 chances in 100 of becoming del inquent ... from the
point of view of deterministic science the boy has either 100
percent certainty of becoming delinquent or 100 percent
certainty of going straight... his chances are determined by
the pattern of his life in his own behavioral environment and
not by the frequencies found in the population at large.
Psycho109i ca1 causati on ..i! always persona 1 and never
actuari a1. (pp.3-4)
Although this long quotation makes an elementary point about statistical
predictability, it nevertheless bears repeating here, since it points out
37
a fallacy that even a normally intelligent person falls easily into
unless s/he is exposed frequently to the nomothetic literature. The
citation goes to the heart of the nomothetic-idiographic dilemma and
provides a good transitional statement for the topic to follow: the place
of the unique in personality theory.
Allport (l961, p.9, footnote), calls attention to the etymology of
the word idiographic, warning the reader that it must not be confused
with one it resembles in appearance only (ideographic). The first is
derived from the Greek root.i6io:$ (meaning one's own). It is the same
root as found in the English words idiom and idiosyncrasy.[19] The term
nomothetic comes from the Greek (the
giving or enacting of 1aws). Both Engl ish variants were introduced to
psychology, according to Allport (1961), by W. Windelband. It is in the
context of explaining the dilemma that science has in dealing with the
unique that Allport introduces these two terms.
I n the I ndex of Subjects to All por t ' s text, he cites the word
"uniqueness" five times. But in reading this seminal text (a revision of
his earlier one, Personality: Psychological Interpretation (1937) which
Allport calls "wholly new," several additional passages on "the unique"
were noted, scattered throughout (p.ix). The change in titles of the
original and the revised editions reflect the difference between the two.
The words "pattern" and "growth" both imply the concept of development
over time. Allport (l961) states that, although many new developments
have occurred in personality theory since his first edition, still "The
bas i c probl em remai ns unchanged" (p,x), He then gives a brief
explanation of morphology as the term applies to psychology
38
C'morphogenesis" has six citations in his Index), ending by stating, "Ihe
challenge of morphogenesis (accounting for pattern) waxes more and more
acute as we discover the commonalities in life" (p,x), Allport is
speaking of the challenge on the biological level as well as the
psychological. He adds, "The more we reach out and discover what is
uniform in human nature, the more urgent it becomes to account for
uniqueness in the form and pattern of the whole" (p,x).
Runyan (1982), some twenty years later, echoes Allport's position
when he says that he is not arguing that the three levels of analysis- -
the universal, the group, and the individual--are completely independent:
"Psychobiography proceeds at least in part through the use of general
theories in exnl aining individual 1ives" (P. 8) but, "The position being
advocated here is that these three levels... are at least semi-
independent" (p.9) and, "Learntnq what is true about persons-in-general
often has substantial limitations in enabling us to understand and
predict the behavior of individual s" Ip.s).
A few years prior to publ ication of Pattern and Growth .!!!.
Personal ity, All port (1958) spoke about "bui 1di ng blocks" (p.Ill) for the
personality in a short essay originally delivered as part of a symposium
held at Syracuse University. In this paper he suggested that one reason
psychology has had so much trouble developing a workable method for
analyzing the human personal ity has been because it has tried to model
itself too closely upon the physical, chemical, and biological sciences,
in which the units of study are molecular, whereas, Allport states, lilt
seems clear that the units we seek in personality and in motivation are
relatively complex structures, not mo l ecul ar" (pp.113-114).[20] He
39
continues by suggesting that psychology should accept as a "'hypothetical
construct'" (p.114) that the unit for study is invisible but factual.
The third proposition he makes is called "situational variability"
(p.1l4) and describes the probl em encountered when peopl e move from one
setting to another: "Motivational units discovered under laboratory
conditions often seem to evaporate when the subject moves... to his
office.. home... golf club" (p.114). Allport links these "situational
variables" to then-current research on perception and continues:
Not only does the individual vary his behavior, but our
perception of him is heavily affected by our subjective sets,
by our degree of 1iking for him and by his degree of
similarity to ourselves. The perceiver himself may, there-
fore, be the principle source of variance; the situation in
which the object-person acts may be the second source of
variance; and the fixed traits and motives of the object-
person may be only a minor factor. (p.1l5)
From this complexity, Allport is led to discuss role theory, which some
psychologists have turned to as a way out of the subjective-objective
dilemma and that of perceiver bias. Allport rejects the extreme position
of role theorist, that a person is only a bundle or collection of social
selves, dependent wholly upon the situation to define her/him. Instead,
Allport points out that there is considerable experimental evidence to
support the idea that the person carries a "typical level of anxiety" or
a "typical amount of aesthetic interest and of ascendance, ... a typical
aspiration level and a fairly constant degree of prejudice" around with
her/him, wherever s/he may go (p.116). Allport makes a strong statement
in support of characteristic styles of behavior that a person displays
across all the varied roles s/he may play in different life settings.
Beyond that, Allport suggests, a person tends to seek out congenial roles
40
and avoid unsympathetic ones that place a strain upon her/his
motivational structure--that tend to cramp her/his style.
Allport next turns to the specific question that the symposium was
addressing, assessment of motivation and classes of units in the then-
current assessment research. After examining these in some detail,
Allport addresses factor analysis ~ n d factorial clusters. This leads him
to "a somewhat alarming posstbf l i ty" (P. 123). He puts it in the form of
questions: IIWhat shall we do if the cleavages in any single life do not
correspond to the empi ri ca1 cl eavages derived from the studi es of the
average man? Can it be that our unending search for common units, now
multiplying year by year, is a kind of nomothetic fantasy? Can it be
that the structural organization of Joseph Doakes' personal ity is
untque?" (PP. 123-124) He continues by stating:
The universal problem in all idiographic research.... [is]:
adjectives cut slices across people rather than within
people. It requires more deftness with language than most of
us possess to... pinpoint individual structure. It is
precisely here that the gifts of the novelist and biographer
exceed those of the psychologist. (p.125)
These strong statements in support of the individuality of each
person's personality follow upon his earlier remarks about the situation-
variability of people. There is a parallel between Allport's point about
stability within variability and the Polanyi (1968) and Smith (1968)
dialogue. Allport's position supports the integrative factor that Smith
addresses when he suggests that an intermediate science (one of
materials, in his case) may be developed to deal with lithe two extremes
of elementary atomic physical chemistry on the hand and averaging
thermodynami cs on the other" (p.644). Allport's statement about the
41
person who is the perceiver being, perhaps, the principle source of
variance, is reminiscent of Polanyi's (l968, p.1312) in which Polanyi
uses the example of the person viewing the perceiver as the object
(t.e., cat). Of course, looking at it from this perspective, Allport's
perceiver is the principle source of variance, but each unique individual
is the perceiver, when the science under examination is human psychology.
And therein lies the paradoxical complexity. For how can the chasms
between individuals be bridged? Allport and Smith are making similiar
suggestions from their differing perspectives within the scientific
community. They are both pointing out that perhaps the conscious
intention of the viewer, coupled with the skills of her/his professional
training, of course, may be able to provide the integrative link.
All p0 r t , not not ed for his e nth us i asma b0 utuncon sci 0 us
psychodynamics, does nod in the direction of intuitive or aesthetic
skills being more apt, in many cases, to tap into and bring to light the
essential uniqueness of human personal ity. He is incl ined to view the
novelist and the biographer as more adept in ferreting out and describing
the distinguishing characteristics of the human personality because of
their skills in the use of language. But perhaps it is the professional
writers· rel iance on a kind of intuitive grasp of the essential
uniqueness of their fellow human creatures that is the more telling
qualification than language skills per see They trust their hunches
more, through long experience, not having the rigors of a more concrete
methodology to follow. If the writer, creative or historical, is
discerning, perceptive, empathic and honest, then s/he has a good chance
of approaching the other's uniqueness. If, moreover, s/he is able to
42
exercise that most essential qualification for capturing the ineffable,
identified by Coleridge so aptly as lithe will ing suspension of
disbelief," then the other may be able to lift defenses and reveal more
of her/his essential self.
One reason that Allport engages so much attention in this paper may
be because he is himself so interested in bridging the gap between
nomothetic and idiographic procedures. An example of his commitment to
the integrative task stands out in the next work to be cited, Letters
from Jenny (1965). These letters were originally published by Allport in
two consecutive issues of the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,
to be used by Allport as a teaching device. Later he edited and
published the letters in a separate volume with extended analytical
comments. Written by an aging woman, troubled and lonely, to two young
people, a happy couple, the letters, spanning the last decade of the
woman's unhappy life, spell out a remarkable psychological portrait. In
his introductory chapter in the section on interpretations of the
letters, Allport (1965) comments somewhat apologetically for his
intrusiveness wrapped in a cloak of scientific curiosity:
The psychologist arrives on the scene....To some humans he
looks like a conceited i n t r u d e ~ One critic complains that
when psychology deal s with human personal ity it says only
what 1iterature has always said, but says it less artfully.
(pp.157-158)
Pursuing the split between nomothetic and idiographic modes of
analysis, Allport (1965) states that "Jenny, like any single concrete
personality, is a specimen of human nature, but so individual and unique
that we are forced to seek the structures and 1aws of her own bei ng.
43
... she partakes of our general human nature; but she seems to have also a
lawful regularity in her own peculiar pattern of l tfe" (Po 159). Having
stated his integrative position once again, Allport proceeds to analyze
the letters from three perspectives--the existential, the depth, the
structura1-dynamic--conc1uding with a rank ordering of the techniques on
a continuum of motivation from most to 1east consciousness. He
diagnostic formulation, cautious and tentative, is that Jenny suffers
from a character neurosis, briefly described as lIinflexib1e se1f-
centeredness" (p.221). How All port arrives at thi s succinct conc1usi on,
using nomothetic devices (such as content analysis), as well as
idiographic techniques, by examination of interrelated traits, themes,
and patterns, is both instructive and interesting. His analysis
adequately demonstrates All oor-r's dedication to an eclectic integration
of theory and techni que.
Between All portis strong statements in the 1ate thi rties[21], the
early forties, and on into the sixties, and Runyan1s position in the
eighties, both supporting strongly the position that the unit of study
should be the individual, lies almost half a century in which other
supports of a simi1iar persuasion emerge. Among them is Robert M. Allen
(l958), whose Persona 1i ty Assessment Procedures 1ean s towa rds the
nomothetic end of the continuum. Since Allen (1958) states on the
opening page of his preface, IIInc1usion... in this volume is by deliberate
choice
ll
(p.ix), the section on Life history and personality, with the
Life situation assessments chapter, attests to his evaluation of it as an
important assessment tool. The opening statement of this section shows
strong support:
44
There is no substitute for precise information of how an
individual has 1ived his 1ife. With this kind of data, the
psychologist is in an excellent position not only to
understand past and present behavior but to make fairly valid
predictions. (p.392)
Allen continues with a cautionary word. He says that the major
difficulty with life histories is obtaining "creditable and accurate
material" (p.392). He also notes that such history taking is a time-
consuming procedure. The remainder of the section gives concrete
examples of forms that can be used as interview schedules or as
guidelines for open-ended interviews. Allen also includes Allport's list
of biographical sources for personal documents.
It is important to remember that Allen is including this section on
life history as a method in his chapter entitled Life situation
assessments, whereas, as stated above, the present writer is not using
the life history as a method, but rather, following Runyan's (1982)
distinction, as "subject matter" (p.6). Of course, the warning about
credibility is still pertinent; accuracy and honesty are essentials. The
same warning woul d apply to more objective measures as well--such as
self-report questionnaires with forced choice and Likert scales.
In 1952, Robert W. White published Lives in Progress, a life history
study that stands alone as exemplar. It is packed with valuable
critiques of personality theory, reviews, and summations of various
approaches to analysis of personality development, including moral
development, cultural influences, role theory, self and identity issues
and biological roots. Sandwiched between these summations are three life
studies chosen to show "the natural growth of personal ity" (p.4). The
1ives furnish a "factual foundation" (p.v) and are used as introduction
45
to and illustration of the theoretical account of personal development.
The third edition, publ ished in 1975, brings the 1ives of the subjects
forward and updates the theoret i ca1 frame. White (1975) asks,
rhetorically, how best to introduce the subject of personality, and
answers his own question:
First... the initial facts of personality are the lives
of people and 1ives cannot be adequately understood unless
they are described at considerable length. The case
histories are designed to provide a solid foundation of fact
on which to anchor the discussion of concepts and theories.
..................................... . .
Second... temporal development is one of the central
facts and centra 1 problems of personal i ty, .. ..
...............
Thirdmpersonality is open to a multitude of influences
shaped by a multitude of forces. mit is complexmit cannot
be properly envisioned from a single provincial point of
view. I have represented this diversity by speaking of
social, biological, and developmental views of man. (p.vi)
And perhaps most importantly, in terms of this writer's bias, White
(1975) states:
Formerly I called the third view psychodynamic and drew
its substance from psychoanalysis, but it now seems clear to
me that the psychoanalytic theory of growth belongs with
developmental psychology, where research has been moving
impressively forward. (p.vt)
And then he says:
Finally, I have laid stress on natural growth and con-
structive activity. Personality does not stand still; under
certain circumstances it evolves in directions of greater
maturity and effectiveness. Nor is the person always a
passive victim of the forces that influence him. He is
himself a center of energy and an active agent in changing
his material and human surroundings. The study of relatively
normal people at more than one point in time provides
favorable conditions for examining natural growth. (p.vt )
46
White ends his introduction by dedicating the book to his three subjects
and by thanking his chief associates for their help. He also notes that
"The gathering of case histories is an enormous task" (p. vii), and that
he had the assistance of "well over a hundred people" on the diagnostic
team (p.v t t ),
Another testament to the life history as a form of assessment comes
from Charles A. Daily (1971) in Assesment of Lives. In his preface he
notes:
As I reflect on my own experience, the life history is
the most impressive kind of data, whether one is making
decisions or engaging in therapy. My model is therefore
built on the life history and on the contention that this
form of data is the ultimate criterion of truth about an
individual. (p.xt t)
Daily's central thesis is that both opportunities in our society and
validation in the science of psychology are hampered by outmoded models
of assessment based upon behaviorism rather than upon humanistic
psychology. His position is qUite sweeping. He has a practical and
utilitarian purpose. He wants to change the way people are treated in
institutional settings--medical, judicial, educational, industrial,
professional--to open up opportunity to heretofore disadvantaged groups
(as well as discriminated against individuals). It is his bel ief that
nomothetic techniques of assessment have bias built into them that play
into the bias of the interviewers in the institutional settings. By way
of an example, he cites credentials, credited with being objective, and
prized by administrators for their convenience and economy, as being
essentially tools of the system. Supposedly validated, they are often
used inappropriately, in circumstances for which they were not validated.
47
He sees the task of validation as enormous for several reasons. First,
there are only a small number of qualified professionals who are
interested in the problem. Second, the number of institutions using such
devices is large and increasing. Finally, and most important,
bureaurcratic organizations are given neither to the kind of critical
thinking required for accurate val idation, nor the kind of motivation
that challenges the system. Both would be required to enforce such
changes. Daily's solution is not simple and cannot be given in detail.
But one component of it is to use the life history as an assessment tool.
Quoting from Murray, Erikson, Charlotte Buhler and others, Daily suggests
that there may by IIA template or pattern that helps the observer think
about his own or someone e1se
l
s 1i fell (p. 29). He also makes the poi nt
that "Abbrevtated molecular chains of events" (p. 29) do not convey an
accurate picture of the person:
It is our fundamental assumption that there is something
in the whole that is not visible in each part....one aim of
research must be to determine the functional interconnections
among those parts, just as vital organs interact in forming
the system of the body. (p.29)
Speaking of the gain in precision of studying parts in isolation from the
whole, he says, IIBut there is a cost, and this is the loss of
understanding of the system as a whole.... In the name of science, we
analyze too far in the molecular direction and undergo a sort of
receptive aphasia as to the meaning of events", which is simil iar to
lI... a scientific illness like that in which behavior is observed but its
meaning Iost" (p.29). The last phrase quoted is ascribed to Murray. The
complete passage is reminiscent of Polanyi and Smith.
48
Turning now, from both the Allen (1958) and Daily (1971) critiques
of life histories as assessment tools, to life histories as subject
matter, Charlotte Buhler and Fred Massarick (1968) offer yet another
perspective in The Course of Human Life. On the first page of the
preface, Buhler states that the basic hypothesis of their work is that
"All goal setting must by understood as it relates to the course of life
as a whole" (n,v), There are "principle codeterminants of goal setting
... the structure of human life itself and the genetic base set a
framework within which other factors unfold" (n.v). To these are added
"early emotional dynamics" and the "role of the self" (o.v), From the
earl iest moments of 1ife, socio-cultural factors imoinge on the goal-
setting task. Among the factors are pervasive cultural, institutional,
and class influence, as well as forces related to small group behavior.
Educational and vocational choices are strongly influenced by significant
others and reference groups in the individual's "personal world" (o.v),
The author postulates an "integrating Self" (p,v) whose function it is to
mediate among the important variables in life, such as time, meaning, and
values, helping to transform daily existence into life fulfillment (or
life failure). In her introductory essay, Charlotte Buhler states:
An effective person has a direction aimed toward certain
results, and these results are as eargerly hoped for and
expected during the midst of life as they are toward the end.
However, they mean different things to different people and
are therefore variously conceived of as being happiness or
success, possessions or accomplishments, belonging or
participating, self-improvement or self-developement.
Humanistic psychologists have agreed more or less on the
concept of self-realization, introduced by C. Jung, K.
Horney, E. Fromm, or Self-Actualization as suggested by K.
Goldstein and A. Maslow. I myself recommend the conceot of
self-fulfillment as the one which covers more completely all
of the things to which peoole actually aspire. (PP.1-2)
49
Buhler's concept of self-fulfillment is reminiscent of White's (1959,
p.318) "competence" and "eff'ec t.ence urge". White writes from the
perspective of experimental animal psychology and psychoanalysis (1963),
both based theoretically upon drive theories. More recently, Albert
Bandura (1977) posits:
Social learning theory approaches the explanation of human
behavior in terms of a continous reciprocal interaction
between cognitive, behavioral, and environmental
determinants. Within the process of reciprocal determinism
lies the opportunity for people to influence their destiny as
well as the limits of self-direction. This conception of
human functioning then neither casts people into the role of
powerless objects controlled by environmental forces nor free
agents who can become whatever they choose. Both people and
their environments are reciprocal determinants of each other.
(p.vf t)
While Bandura does not speak in terms of the life course, he is referring
to choices of human beings over time, when he speaks of people's change
"to influence their destinyll--a phrase not unlike Buhler's IIself-
ful fi llment. II
Will iam McKinley Runyan (1978) alludes to Bandura's position when
describing the life course:
A life course orientation is concerned with sequences of
experience in the natural environment, and thus with the
processes through which persons, situations, and behaviors
influence each other over the course of time. This is
interactionism with an expl icit temporal dimension, and is
consistent with what Olweus (1977) and Bandura (1977)
describe as reciprocal interaction or Magnusson and Endler
(l977) describe as "dynamtc" interaction. It is also inter-
action with an explicit ecological dimension, in its concern
with persons' movements through a social structure and a
historical world over the course of time. (p. 84)
I n the Davi d Magnusson and Norman S. Endl er (l977) paper cited by
Runyan, these authors state that a key problem in the debate on the
person by situation by interaction issues has to do with the concept of
50
"conststency" (p.e), They claim that it is a pseudo-problem resulting
from a confusion of levels of analysis. The most fundamental meaning of
the term they call "coherence" (p.n. This kind of behavior is
IIpredictable without necessarily being stable in either absolute or
relative terms ....11 (p.Z), This is true because "Jndtv f dual behavior
across different situations provides a consistent, idiographically
predictable pattern. This is one of the basic derivations of the
interactionist model of behevtor" (pp.lO-11). It follows that,. to
discern such predictable patterns, the observer must be observing over a
course of time.
The Dan Olweus' (1977) paper cited by Runyan addresses the question
of predictability of outcomes in using the variance component technique
to analyze person-situation-interaction sequences of behavior. Olweus
believes that part of the debate around this issue arises from faulty
research formulations because the statistical methods are misunderstood.
But, more germane to the issue in thi s paper, 01 weus does support the
position that more accurate predictions are possible when person-
situation-interactions are viewed over longer time spans. Consistency is
more 1i kely to emerge "When natural soci al settings are studied... across
situations and over t tme" (p.232).
As this review moves forward through the years, it becomes obvious
that the nomothetic-idiographic debate is being mediated by person-
situation-interaction theorists. Systems theory has entered the field of
psychology; its influence is discernible in physical science as well, as
seen in the Polanyi and Smith dialogue.[22]
51
Turning once again to life course literature, Runyan (1982) offers a
helpful definition:
The life course may be defined as the sequence of events and
experiences in a life from birth until death and the chain of
personal states and encountered situations which influence
and are i nfl uenced by th is sequence of events. The
generative questions for a life course orientation are: what
kinds of order or regularity may be found in the sequence of
events and processes in individual lives, groups of lives, or
lives in general? (p.82)
Runyan continues by explaining the difference between a more
traditional approach to the study of personality and the life course
approach. Persons are but one component of the 1ife structure; others
are sequences of experience and the processes through which persons and
situations interact over the course of time, and the movement of persons
through social and historical worlds.
Although the present paper will have as its subject matter a life
history, it will treat it from a life course perspective, as defined by
Runyan. Analysis will not be limited to the more traditional approach
used in many psychological studies which emphasize intrapsychic dynamics.
Rather, the emphasis in this paper will be upon the kinds of analyses
described above that consider the person interacting with significant
others over time as she moves through the life course and as life
experiences unfold. Particular attention will be paid to themes that
recur and trends that evolve, weaving a pattern of life. The subjective
responses will be important components to be considered, since they play
an integral and strategic part in the development of the life course and
a key role in its unfolding history.
Runyan (l982) also defines the term "psychobtoqraphy", He begins by
52
1imiting it to "The expl icit use of formal or systematic psychological
theory" (p.201). By using the term "explicit" in the definition, he
distinguishes psychobiography from those biographies which make "implicit
use of commonsense psychology" (p.202). The use of the word
"psychology," as opposed to "psychoanalysis," includes psychoanalytic
approaches within it, without 1imiting psychobiography to that narrow
discipl ine. Finally, by not using the term personal ity theory" in the
definition, Runyan states that he intends to include within
psychobiography "Those works drawing upon the full range of resourses
from the field of psychology, including psychological concepts, data, and
methods, as well as theory, from developmental, social, and personality
psychology" (p.202). This simple statement of definition allows enough
scope to encompass the methodology that the present writer intends to
bring to bear on the life history data to be analyzed, largely from a
life course perspective as outlined above.
A word or two needs to be said about the debate between those who
favor psychoanalytic approaches to psychobiography and those who oppose
it. A heated and complex controversy rages over the merits and demerits
of the psychoanalytic method as it is applied to life histories.[23]
Runyan discusses both sides with admirable objectivity. He concludes,
after carefully weighing the pros and cons, that:
The challenge is to use psychoanalytic theory selectively, to
avoid those aspects of it which accumulating evidence
suggests are incorrect, and to self-critically consider its
implications while developing and evaluating interpretations
of the available biographical evidence. (pp.221-222)
The aspects that Runyan defines as probably incorrect are those that
relate to early psychosexual experience.
53
There is little doubt that every life contains within it profoundly
meaningful events that lend themselves to psychoanalytic interpretations
and that remain painfully opaque and mystifying without this interpretive
tool. Runyan admits as much when he says, "Perhaps psychodynamic theory
is profoundly true in some ways, not necessarily all of it, but at least
parts of it" (p.221). The parts of it that he cites are "The concept of
unconscious motive and conflicts, the notion of identification, and the
operation of defense mechantsms" (p.221). In general, this writer agrees
with Runyan. While reserving the right to use psychoanalytic concepts
when they offer the best possible interpretation of the biographical
data, the temptation to fit data into a rigid and consistent
psychoanalytic mold will be strongly resisted. Unconscious motives are
ubiquitous and by no means limited to the object to be analyzed, but
operative equally in the observer as well as any readers. Therefore,
constant vigilance will be excercised to remain open to an eclectic
approach, using theory to inform but not to restrict or lead astray.
A particularly lively argument focuses on the question of early
childhood development as a causal determinant in the life cycle of every
individual and especially as a strong factor in the subjective responses
to 1ife experiences. This writer tends to agree with the pro side of
this agrument, that is, in the profound importance of early childhood
experience upon adult character and personality development. But Runyan
points out how problematic such analyses become because of the inability
of the psychobiographer to collect reliable data about the earliest years
of the subject's life. He also points out that many analyses tend to see
childhood experiences as the exclusive determinants, neglecting later
54
"formative processes and influences" (p.209). For these persuasive
reasons, the present writer will be rigorous in eschewing easy solutions
to complex questions by resorting to explanations that tend to be
circular or highly speculative in nature, as psychoanalytic argument can
often become.
Allport (l965) demonstrates in his analysis of Jenny's letters how
they might be interpreted from three different theoretical positions: the
existential, the depth, and the structural-dynamic approach (f ,e.,
psychoanalytic). In this analysis, admirably qual ified and tentative,
offering a wealth of interpretive insight, Allport shows that each method
has advantages as well as limitations and possible pitfalls. The
psychoanalytic approach appears especially helpful in shedding light upon
pathology. But the speculative nature of the analysis of unconscious
dynamics, especially when early history is limited, as it tends to be in
most cases, is apparent in A11port's analysis. He also suggests that an
Eriksonian approach that leans towards the developmental end of the
dynamic method of analysis has much to recommend it. This is often true
when the life being examined is long, as it is in the present study.
Allport points out that Erikson lays stress on the developmental
unfolding of character and identity, rather than the more classical
approach of structural theory.
In closing this long section on subject matter and methodological
questions of interpretation, a quotation from Jack Block (1971) about his
research on the combined data of the Oakland Growth Study and the
Guidance Group offers a worthy summary. In Lives Through Time, Block
says:
55
In a most fundamental way, the richness of these longitudinal
studies lies in the close observation and recording of
subject behaviors to which the subject samples were exposed.
The present efforts to integrate the IHD [Institute of Human
Development] longitudinal studies and to study developmental
processes would not have seemed worthwhile given the small
available set of immediately comparable data. •.. It is the
dossier on the subjects, each containing a wealth of
information uniquely pertinent to a particul ar 1ife, that
persuaded us to attempt the task and that gave possibility to
eventual understanding. (p.36)
Here is a clear and moving tribute to the value of the idiographic data
providing the motivation for a nomothetic study of ambitious proportions.
And finally, the historian Garraty's (1957) moving statement rounds
off and sums up all of the foregoing:
The end is understanding, the means are sympathy,
scholarship, and sensitivity....biography is the
reconstruction of a human life. It attempts to describe and
evaluate one individual's career, and also to reproduce the
image upon his actions and the world in which he lived.
(p.28)
"... sympathy... and sensitivity" point in the direction of the
considerations to follow in the next section.
But, before proceeding to that section, some summary remarks are in
order. Perhaps the most important one is to call attention, again, to
the interdisciplinary role that biography plays, overlapping distinct but
related fields in the social sciences, and to emphasize that
pschobiography is the variant to be used in this study. It will be
focusing on the subject's 1ife course as she tell s it to the researcher.
The pschobiographical product, then, will be the outcome of the
interaction between the two people interrelating as subject/narrator and
researcher/interviewer. The life events will be elicited in chronolgical
order and in a widening context of the subject's personal world--from
56
infancy, through early childhood, latency, adolescence, early adulthood,
mature and middle age--and then into the "declining" years. Throughout,
the context of place will be a backdrop as time forms the stage and as
scenes shift--from family to school to marriage and children, to career
and retirement years--with the socio-historical-political contexts also
taken into consideration. These surrounding and enveloping aspects
create the atmosphere, the milieu, in which the subject's life unfolds
and yields its meaning.
The subject matter is biography. The analytic tool is the
discipline of psychology. But the boundaries are blurred. Life is not
neatly divisible. Categories merge. The analytic task calls for
dissection, but the ongoing process of 1iving resists such techniques.
The interviewer/researcher must forge a bond with the narrator/subject in
which the subject's life becomes the object conjointly viewed and
reviewed, assessed and evaluated. The task is to keep boundaries intact,
while allowing the integrative function to operate to the end of exposing
underlying patterns over a lifetime. It is the unit of the person--the
personality, the self--that gives patterning, and hence, meaning and
val ue, to a 1ife.
Finally, before turning back from method to theoretical content, one
point needs emphasizing. Garraty (1957), the historian, stresses in the
quotation above the role of biography in revealing an individual's
personality and "Its impact upon his actions and the world in which he
lived" (p.28). As psychobiography, the emphasis is turned around. The
life course is being studied to see how it impacts upon the person and to
discern how the person construes her world to yield meaning for her life
57
and to appraise its value. The interactional process operates in both
bi ography and psychob i ography. But that process is emphasized
differently in each. It is a matter of perspective, with the contingency
that, in psychobiography in any case, the point of view is subject to
ongoing changes and shifts in focus. The substantive content is the
same, but the perspective is always open to new and emergent meaning.
Issues of Identity
Self as Person
In the opening pages of this paper the concept of success is
examined from the point of view of motivations and strivings for
competences, accomplishments, achievements and fulfillment. White (1959)
sees such strivings as part of the biological potential of normal human
deve1opment. McClelland et ala (1952) view the motivation for
achievement specifically as more dependent upon child-rearing practices
than biological needs. In the following pages, the concept of success is
being examined again from yet another perspective, that of creative
living as a by-product of psychological development of the self.
Before defining the self as it will be viewed in the context of this
study, however, it may be well to look again at the central question:
what insights can the life course of a successful older woman yield about
coping strategies for deal ing with losses throughout 1ife? Why is the
question of success so pivotal to this central concern? It is pivotal
because of an underlying assumption that must be made explicit. Not only
does the idea of success embrace all the conventional definitions
c1us teri ng around achi evements, accompli s hments, fu 1fi 11 ment, and
58
satisfaction, it also includes coping with some measure of equanimity
with the routine vicissitudes of life, and with life's inevitable losses
and the pain accompanying them. And, finally, if one has 1ived
successfully, there is a tacit assumption that s/he will also die
successfully: with fortitude and dignity and even, perhaps, with grace.
Or is this too much to ask of human beings? Dylan Thomas has suggested
that the successful death is one met with rage, not equanimity. But
before taking this poetic statement too 1iterally, it might be wise to
factor in that poet's troubled personal biography!
If, however, the foregoing assumptions about the parameters of
successful 1iving are accepted as a working hypothesis, then the 1ife
history must be examined in this light. And if the examination does not
reveal that the woman is coping well with these final tasks, then the
assessment of success could need to be reexamined. On the other hand, if
the 1ife history supports such assumptions, then it should yiel d some
useful clues to apply to life journeys of others.
There is a sense in which this question has more urgency than ever
before. As the life span lengthens, more and more people are called upon
to cope with the exigencies of aging. Death comes more slowly.
Achievements won earlier in life may no longer yield the same sense of
ful fillment.
One does not usually rest upon laurels won, but, rather, one seeks
new conquests. There is a question, then, of how to learn from the past
and apply that experience to a new time and new place in the life span.
The question needs to be reframed, perhaps, to ask: What can a
successful 1ife teach us about coping with new tasks, and how can old
59
skills be retooled to meet these new challenges? Or do we need to find
and develop new methods of coping? If so, the creative person might well
be the best model to emulate and her/his life history the most beneficial
to examine.
How the woman to be interviewed assesses herself on the dimensions
of success outlined above is also important. Whether or not her own
definitions coincide with the definitions herein; how, as well as how
much, her definitions may differ--these questions are intimately bound up
with the issue of the self that is about to be explored.
In the earlier definition of success, the emphasis is upon objective
evidence as measured by achievements and accompl ishments. But now, in
suggesting that success depends, in part, upon a self-appraisal, the
issue of affect enters the equation. For how the suject feels about
herself must be considered in any final assessment of success. No matter
how successful she may be in the eyes of others, the ultimate criterion
is how she views herself. Nor is it enough for her to agree that she
meets the world's standard, or even the standards of significant others
in her life--spouse, children, grandchildren, friends, peers. For in
approaching the ultimate task of life, leaving it with integrity, the
question of how she feels about herself is the most important criterion.
If her life has value, it must be valuable to her upon her own terms. No
matter how valuable a legacy she leaves in work and love, it is how she
construes her life that wetghs heaviest in the final analysis.
Sel f psychology, following Freud's revol utionary charting of the
psychic structure of the human mind in the early twentieth century, grew
out of the need to explain object relations. The ego as metaphor for the
60
person as subj ect--the subj ect ive III II-- wi th both consc i ousand
unconscious aspects, answered many questions relating to intrapsychic
experience. But as psychoanalysts and other clinicians, as well as
developmental psychologists, began to examine the first dyadic
relationship that is the template for all future interpersonal
relationships, the subject 111
11
began to be viewed as an object also.
That object encompassed more than the ego, even after the expansion of
its function by Freud's followers. Object relations began to use concept
of the self to encompass the total mental apparatus of the human being,
viewed by its own ego, or by that of others.
The self is the objective counterpart, then, of the subjective 111
11;
the total psychic apparatus of the human creature as seen by itself or by
another self, functioning in the external world of objective reality.
The vast literature that has been amassed in the field of self
psychology does not need to be addressed in this study.[24] Since
psychoanalytically oriented clinicians tend to approach the self from the
perspective of treatment of pathology, this important segment of
psychology could be bypassed, were it not for one highly significant
little volume that deals with the self and creativity. D. W. Winnicott,
in Playing and Reality (1971), suggests that there is a paradox in human
development that cannot be resolved except at the peril of destroying the
true self and setting up, in its place, a false s e l ~ The paradox
involves the infant's use of the transitional object. Only if it is
accepted as both a part of the self and, simultaneously, as not-self, can
it perform the strategically important function of allowing the infant
access to the world of reality that transcends her/his subjective world
61
and helps her/him bridge the void between self and other:
This paradox, once accepted and tolerated, has value for
every human individual who is not only al ive and 1iving in
this world but who is also capable of being infinitely
enriched by exploitation of the cultural link with the past
and with the future. (p.x! i)
Winnicott continues by stating his reluctance to give examples of the use
of transitional objects because he fears that such examples will be used
as classificatory and arbitrary, and he is at pains to avoid such a
process because:
The thing that I am referring to is universal and has
infinite variety. It is rather similar to the description of
the human face when we describe one in terms of shape and
eyes and nose and mouth and ears, but the fact remains that
no two faces are exactly alike and very few are even similar.
Two faces may be similar when at rest, but as soon as there
is animation they become different. (p.xii)
Once again, the unique individual reappears.
This universal experience that Winnicott is referring to is none
other than lIexperiencingll itself (p.z), It is a third realm beyond the
lIinner realityll of lIevery individual who has reached to the stage of
being a unit with a limiting membrane and an outside and inside...
11
(p.z ), This "f ntermedt ace area of experiencing
ll
exists, Winnicott
suggests, lias a resting-place for the individual engaged in the perpetual
human task of keeping inner and outer reality separate yet interrelated
ll
(p.z), This space that Winnicott is defining partakes of the nature of
lIillusion
ll
(p.a),
In adulthood, it is the space that art and religion occupy, but its
boundaries are real, and if the adult fails to note them and presses
others to accept his unique illusionary territory, this becomes lithe
62
hallmark of madness....11 (p.3). Adults can respect one another's
illusions and even join with others to form congenial groups with a
shared illusion. This realm of experiencing is, for the infant, what is
commonly called "pl ay" (p.13). For the adult, the same realm broadens
out to include not only art and religion, but all creative activity,
religious feeling, dreaming, and the inception and the loss of affection.
The intermediate area that overlaps subjective and objective reality,
according to Winnicott:
Constitutes the greater part of the infant1s experience, and
throughout life is retained in the intense experiencing that
belongs to the arts and to religion and to imaginative living
and to creative scientific work. (p.14)
But, later on, Winnicott is at pains to point out that he does not
equate the experiencing that yields such riches to an individual's 1ife
with the product that results: IIIt is necessary... to separate the idea
of the creation from works of art.... The creativity that concerns
me... is a universal. It belongs to being al tve" (p.67). And it is this
aliveness that gives life its meaning:
The link can be made... between creative living and living
itself, and the reasons can be studied why it is that
creative living can be lost and why the individual's feeling
that life is real or meaningful can disappear. (p.69)
This feeling that life has zest and is worth living is inextricably bound
up with playing, and IIIt is... on1y in playing that the individual child
or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it
is only in being creative that the individual discovers the sel f" (p.54).
It is, of course, this self discovery with which Winnicott is concerned.
Without it, life is not merely unsuccessful; it is meaningless; it is
without the intrinsic quality that defines it as being itself: life. But
63
there is great danger that in seeing the vital connection between a sense
of self and creativity the viewer will make the common mistake of
thinking that the greater the creative output, the more successful a
person is in achieving a sense of self. From this false assumption it is
easy to fall into the error of searching for connections between the
product and the process. But, according to Winnicott, there is no
necessary connection. It is only the process that makes the difference
between true and false selfhood:
The creative impulse that can be looked at as
a thing in itself, that is present when anyone--
baby, child, adolescent, adult, old man or woman--looks in a
healthy way at anything or does anything del iberately.
is present as much in the moment-by-moment living of a
backward child who is enjoying breathing as it is in the
inspiration of an architect who suddenly knows what it is he
wishes to construct... [that] the world may witness. (p.69)
And, just to be sure that the message is clear, Winnicott states the
obverse side, speaking from the point of view of the search for the self:
A successful artist may be universally acclaimed and yet have
failed to find the self that he or she is looking for. The
self is not really to be found in what is made out of
products of the body or mi nd, however val uab1e these
constructs may be in terms of beauty, skill, and impact. If
the artist (in whatever medium) is searching for the self,
then it can be said that in all probability there is already
some failure for the artist in the field of general creative
living. The finished creation never heals the underlying
lack of sense of self. (pp.54-55)
Winnicott states that the creative impulse is, of course, present when an
artist produces a work of art, but that such impulse is a universal
given, not necessarily stronger or more viable in the artist that in
anyone else. Even when the product is impressive, it may attest more to
the artist's search for her/his true self than to the achievement of it.
This point is critical for the study at hand, for the central question
64
assumes that, by examining the life history of a successful woman, clues
can be gleaned about how to cope with lossess that accompany aging.
There is an assumption that skills developed through past accomplishments
of life tasks will automatically help in solving future tasks. Winnicott
is pointing out that this depends upon what has motivated the prior
creative output. Were the products of the creativity a byproduct of
self-realization, of a fulfillment of the true self; or were they,
perhaps, substitute gratifications that were manifestations of a fal se
self? If the latter were to turn out to be the case, then, instead of a
zest for 1iving and an active coping with stress and loss, there woul d
perhaps be outcomes similar to those cited by Alice Miller in The Drama
of the Gifted Child (1981). In this work, Miller suggests that
narcissistic disorders, either depression or grandiosity (or al ternate
swings on this continuum), are usual outcomes of the child's need to
conform to standards of the mother rather than being free to develop a
healthy self. Using the autobiography of Herman Hesse as an example of
such an outcome, Miller sums up the case with this remark:
Despite his enormous acclaim and success, and despite the
Nobel Prize, Hesse in his mature years suffered from the
tragic and painful feeling of being separated from his true
self, which doctors refer to curtly as depression. (p.99)
From the foregoing, it should be apparent that the concept of
success needs to embrace Winnicott's delineation of a sense of the true
self, which would include the life-enhancing experience of creative
endeavor. The products of such endeavors would be the outcome of
playing, but they might look more like products of work.
Turning to other theori sts, Charlotte Buhl er and Mari anne Marschak
(1968) view creative endeavors such as those Winnicott cites as evidence
65
of an f ndtv tdua l ts "se l t'-fu l f t l l tnq self-actualization
ll
(p.92). In
IIBasic Tendencies of Human Life
ll
, they define creative expansion as:
The tendency to advance in the world and to change it
creatively through actions or through physical or mental
productivity. This concept includes aggressive as well as
leadership behavior which an individual uses to extend his
influence and productions of any kind. •••the production of
offspring, the manufacture of a product, the establishment of
a business, or the creation of technical, scientific, or
artistic products. (p.93)
Buhler and Marschak are not unmindful of neurotic processes creeping into
this expansiveness, but they clearly see it as an important part of
creativity growing out of infant playfulness. Winnicott, on the other
hand, appears to view the creative output as a byproduct. But Winnicott
(1971) does leave room for cultural enrichment:
Where there is trust and rel iabil ity is a potential space,
one that can become an infinite area of separation, which the
baby, child, adolescent, adult may creatively fill with
playing, which in time becomes the enjoyment of the cultural
heritage. (p.108)
BCihl er and Marschak (1968) see sel f-fulfi 11 ing sel f-actual ization
beginning in the newborn. They cite the same examples that Winnicott
does for the beginning of play, (t.e., playful finger movements), their
descriptive term being II pr i mary creat tveness" (p.93). They see these
early manifestations as lIimplicit ultimate intent
ll
towards II sel f -
devel opment" (p.93). Winnicott might agree, but when they insist that
this leads almost automatically to concrete achievements in the world,
Winnicott would feel that there are too many other, less benign
possibil ities, to take such a fortuitous outcome for granted. Buhler's
positive outlook is expressed well in another chapter of the same work,
entitled liThe Integrating Self
ll
:
66
The aspect and intent of accomplishment is related to the
tendency of creative expansion. I have found that most
people feel strongly about accomplishments. They think that
their lives should amount to something, bear fruit, and
represent an accomplishment of some kind. (There should be
"somethtnq to show for tt,") Whether or not they attain this
accomplishment greatly influences their sense of satisfaction
or dissatisfaction with their lives. (p.345)
Interestingly, however, at the end of the above statement, Buhler adds,
lilt is possible that this value is more important in our Western
civil ization than in others" (p.345). Apropos of this, Miller (1981), in
considering the possible connections between adaptation and depression,
notes that IIdepression is a disease of our time
ll
(p.59). She is speaking
in the context of grandiosity as the counterpart of depression. Many of
the cases she presents are high-achieving adults who have ultimately
found the goals they reached less than fulfilling. She is pointing out
that cultures other than ours provide group support for the individual.
Today, however, with our emphasis upon autonomy and individual identity,
the individual must "find his support within himself, if he is not to
become the victim of various interests and ideo10gies
ll
(p.59). Buhler's
final sentence, tacked onto the long statement quoted above, appears
almost as an afterthought. Written as it was some thirteen years prior
to Miller's--thirteen technologically advancing and culturally
accelerated years--it now reads more like a foreshadowing of pathology to
come.
Looking now at White (1975), the self he focuses on is more akin to
Buhler's than either Winnicott's or Miller's. In saying this, it should
be noted, however, that both White and Buhler are writing about
relatively healthy people, whereas Winnicott develops his theory from
clinical observations, and Miller is finding support and elaboration of
Winnicott's theory through her own clinical evidence.
White begins his passage with the statement that the concept of the
self is:
An integrative concept, needed to account for the fact that
unity is preserved even under the most diversifying social
influences. The unity of the organism is inescapable. The
self-image has its point of reference in one body, one
consciousness, one continuous series of personal memories; it
cannot be separated from our enduring sense of personal
identity. Differently as someone may behave on different
occasions, flexibly as he may respond to social atmospheres,
he remains always to some extent the same person, the same
sel f. (p.125)
White then acknowledges his debt to the sociologist C. H. Cooley and the
philosopher G. H. Mead for his views on the self. Let it be recalled
that White's book was originally published in 1952 and that Winnicott's
was published in 1971. But White's Preface to his 1975 revised edition
makes clear that he is aware of psychoanalytic theories of growth and
that he chooses to cast them in a developmental framework. Further along
in the body of his text, he takes exception to the drive theory of need
satisfaction, making this point (reminiscent of his earlier paper on
motivation):
Learning produces not just a fal se front but a real
development of motivation. Motives can be learned, and the
learned ones can become the real forces that influence
subsequent behavior. (p.220)
White falls on the side of humanistic psychologists, such as Abraham
Maslow and Charlotte Buhler (although White does not cite her w o r k ~ In
speaking of Maslow's sel f-actual izing people, White concedes that they
represent an ideal type seldom real ized. He prefers to think of "an
ideal way for each person to 1ive his 1ife [as] ... his way, his own
synthesis of personal qualities and life requirements, and it will not be
ua
quite 1ike anyone else's ideal wayll (p.366). Having returned, once
again, to the concept of the unique individual, this may be an
appropriate note on which to rest the case of the self as person.
Before moving into the subject of self as woman, one brief look at a
short essay by Howard E. Gruber (1982) offers an interesting view of the
question of giftedness and its relation to creativity. Gruber begins by
stating that he and his students who .have been working with him in an
evolving systems approach to the study of creativity do not believe that
early gifts "necessert ly flower into creative achievement or creative
lives... the connection between giftedness and creativity is poorly
under-s t.ood" (p.8). The approach of these researchers leads them to
support the IIheuristic
ll
of looking back on the creative process and
asking what steps led up to it. Gruber then states that he uses the word
IIcr eative... in a 1arge enough sense to accommodate all sorts of effective
extraordtner-tness" (p.8-9). Later, Gruber sums up the systems approach
he is using by saying:
To put matters as briefly as possible, ... we treat the
creative person as someone constituted of three loosely
coupled systems, each evolving over long periods of time,
throughout the life history: an organization of knowledge, an
organization of affect, and an organization of purpose. (p,
21)
He ends by stating that there is at least one research tradition that
comes close to theirs, lithe person-centered work of Henry A. Murray and
his colleagues...
II
! (p.21).
It is in this essay that the fusion between work and play is
explicitly stated:
In the creative process... alienation is not possible, and
th i s fact helps to account for the fus i on of work and play.
Since the goal includes novelty, the product cannot be fully
defined in advance; playful and exploratory activity are
therefore inherent in the task. But these must be
regulated... by a steady purpose if they are to have
productive consequences....after the fact, the creative
product may be exploited by others for ends alien to the
creator, an event painfully familiar to inventor and writer.
(p.22)
Gruber is approaching the concepts of giftedness and creativity from
the interactionist orientation growing out of systems theory and social
psychology. It is interesting to compare Winnicott's view on play and
the self with Gruber's view of the fusion of work and play in the
creative processes. Assuming that "alienation" for Gruber is analogous
to the "f'alse self" in Winnicott's terms, then the two theorists arrive
at similar conclusions from different approaches. Gruber's approach
resembles the one being used in this paper in the sense that the 1ife
course will be the subject matter looked back upon over a long period of
time. There will also be a concern for the realms he refers to as
systems and organizations: knowledge, affect, and purposes; all three of
these categories impinge upon a life of value.
Using the life history as the subject matter, the writer will
approach it from all of the perspectives outlined in the foregoing pages.
Especially will she be careful to allow the subject to speak for herself,
keeping her views foreground to assure that her assessment is explicit in
terms of the self as object. In this way the life history should be
person-centered in the traditional sense of Murray, Allport, and others.
Self as Woman
-- - ---'-"'-
In examining the concept of the self as person in the pages above,
the focus is upon the individual of today and her/his development of a
self concept that gives meaning to life and allows creative fulfillment.
70
In the pages that follow, the focus narrows to woman and, more
specifically, to the middle to upper-middle class woman in the twentieth
century in the United States. The question being addressed is how does
this woman view herself--what is her self-concept? Does she see herself
as a more or less successful and fulfilled person, leading a meaningful
and creative life? Or does she tend to think of herself as frustrated,
alienated, and defeated?
In exploring these questions, however, it should be kept in mind
that they are being asked in relation to the life of an older woman still
living in the last fifteen years of the twentieth century, who became a
mature young woman during the first twenty years of this century. Strong
winds of change swept over this society during this brief historical
period and brought new opportunities as well as new challenges. Some of
the more sweeping events impinge directly upon what is sometimes called
"The Women's Question." To help understand questions of self-definition
that women face today, and to place the older contemporary woman within
the present mileu, and confront these questions from her perspective as
well, it may be helpful to look at the historical matrix first.
In London in 1869, John Stuart Mill published The Subjugation of
Women. Written as a philosophical polemic in support of women's right to
legal equality, it was an emotionally moving tribute to women as
complementary to men. In developing this argument, Mill states:
A woman seldom runs wild after an abstraction. The habitual
direction of her mind is to dealing with things as
individuals rather than groups, and (what is closely
connected with it) has more 1ively interest in the present
feelings of persons, which makes her consider first of all,
in anything which claims to be applied to practice, in what
manner persons will be affected by it--these two things make
her extremely unlikely to put faith in any speculation which
71
loses sight of individuals, and deals with things as if they
exi sted for the benefit of some i magi nary entity, some mere
creation of the mind, not resolvable into the feelings of
living beings. {p.59}
There is an echo of these words, with elaborate reverberations, in a
book published over a hundred years later, Carol Gilligan's l!!!
Different Voice (1982). In developing her theory of the differences
between the way men and women view moral conflict and choices, Gilligan
outlines the history of developmental psychology. She begins by pointing
out that Freud's view of women's developmental failure rests upon his
taking the male child's development as the standard. But Gilligan's own
research experience leads her down a different path, more in harmony with
Mill's conc1usion.[25] Gi 11 igan's work with Lawrence Kohl berg fi rst
led her to question his definition of moral development. When applied to
women, it led to a conclusion analogous to Freud's: that is, to one of
deficiency. And yet Gilligan's own observations lead to a different
conclusion:
Herein lies a paradox, for the very traits that traditionally
have defined the "goodness" of women, their care for and
sensitivity to the needs of others, are those that mark them
as deficient in moral development. {p.18}
She continues by pointing our that maturity is defined from the point of
view of male development, strongly predicated on the necessity for the
young male to detach himself from his earliest identification with the
mother and establish his separation to promote individualism. The task
of the female child, on the other hand, is to understand responsibility
and relationships, rather than to determine morality around questions of
fairness and the understanding of rights and rules. It is from Piagetian
thinking that Gilligan is approaching developmental theory.[26]
72
Piaget
takes the position that conceptions about development must be derived by
looking back from its apex. This changes the premise by which it is
assessed. One cannot, therefore, jUdge women's moral maturi ty by
standards that apply to the different goals aspired to by men:
The moral ity of rights differs from the moral ity of
responsibility in its emphasis on separation rather than
connection, in its consideration of the individual rather
than the relationship as primary. (Gilligan, 1982, p.19)
In the quotation from Mill, the point of view is that of the
rational philosopher, whereas Gilligan is addressing the differences
between male and female moral judgment from the perspective of a
developmental psychologist. Both agree that it is the woman who sees
cognitive questions from the affective level of emotional connection
rather than the more abstract level of impersonal principles.
Mill is writing in England in the mid-nineteenth century in support
of legal equality for women, primarily, and for women suffrage in
particular. Today, in the United States, feminist literature covers a
broad spectrum of intellectual issues and, in so doing, forges an
alliance with liberal politics, with sociology, and with psychology of
the self. Although women have had the vote in this country for almost 65
years, they have not yet achieved the legal equal ity that Mill so
persuasively argues for 113 years ago.
Another feminist writer, Jean Baker Miller (1976), in her seminal
book, Toward ~ New Psychology of Women, casts some valuable light on the
question of why it is taking so long. Citing sex as the most basic human
difference, she moves on to point out that differences, in most instances
73
in human history, lead to inequity that is expressed most fundamentally
in an inequality of status and power. While some inequalities (for
example, that between therapist and client) are defined as temporary, the
inequality of women is defined as "ascriptive," that is, by birth. This
situation is further complicated by the intimate relationship that exists
between the dominants (men) and the subordinates (women):
Women have played! specific role in male-led society in ways
no other suppressed groups have done. The
t
have been
entwined with men in intimate and intense re
creating the mifeU=-the family--in which the human mind
know it has been formed. Thus women1s situation is a cruc,aT
key to the psychological order. (pJ)-
Miller continues by citing Appendix 5 in An American Dilemma.[27] In
this passage, many striking parallels between the conditions of the
slaves in the south before emancipation and women throughout this
nation's history are compared. The disenfranchisement of both groups is
only one of the more obvious parallels.
But it is an article by Alice S. Rossi (1964) that deals at some
length with the more tangible reasons that it is taking so long for
feminism's battle to be won. Rossi talks about the legal victories that
were won in 1920 through the alliance of the suffragette movement with
the abolitionist movement as a first step for women in their march to
equality. But she notes" the social changes required to translate such
law into the social fabric of a society are of a quite different order.
Law by itself cannot achieve this goal" (p.609). She continues, "There
is no sex equality until women participate on an equal basis with men in
pol itics, occupations and the familYmwomen must want to participate"
(p.610). Then Rossi makes the point that the feminist movement has
74
always been strongest when it is allied with other social reform
movements, adding:
There is an interesting and simple explanation of this:
unlike any other type of social equality, whether of race,
class, religion or nationality, sex is the only instance in
which representatives of the unequal groups live in more
intimate association with each other than with members of
their own group. A women is more intimately associated with
a man than she is with any woman. (p.610)
Rossi cites Mill's essay for corroboration of this point. Her statement
stands, in time, between Millis and the similar statement of Miller. The
point being made is that it is difficult to rebel against subjugation by
so intimate an other. Alliances with more detached groups give valuable
leverage.
The question of interest for this paper, however, is how the woman
being studied herein was able to escape entrapment and live successfully
in both worlds--the domestic and the professional. Part of the answer
must lie in the personal history of the subject. Another part of the
explanation rests in the unfolding of historical processes. Evelyn Fox
Keller (1983), in her biography, ~ Feeling for the Organism, puts a piece
of the explanation very well. Speaking of the education of Barbara
McClintock, the eighty-two year old Nobel Prize winning cytogenetecist,
Keller points out that McClintock's motivation for higher education was
viewed with considerable misgiving by her mother, but:
In a larger context it was by no means exceptional. Women
had been moving in from the periphery of American letters and
science since the early part of the nineteenth century. By
the turn of the century, the movement for higher education
for women of her class and background was in full swing.
Five women's colleges flourished in New England alone, and a
number of major universities had become coeducational.
75
The women who took advantage of the new opportunities
open to them were... upperclass and upper-middle class women.
A disproportionate number of them came from English and
Celtic families that were usually from New England. Many of
these women chose to study science. (p.28)
Another testimonial to women's higher education in this era, this example
more anecdotal, comes from David McClelland (1975), in his book Power:
The Inner Experience. Speaking about his own beginnings, he states:
My father was president of a women's college in Jacksonville,
Illinois....The climate was one strongly supportive of
careers for women, and women's rights generallYooofounded by
Methodi sts in 1846, 000 it was for over a century (unti 1 1956)
devoted exclusively to the education of women....My mother
was typical of the small group who in the early twentieth
century had fought for higher education for women, for the
vote, and against "demon rum." She herself had graduated
from Goucher College in 1910, at a time when few women went
to college. (p.106)
But Rossi points out, in 1964, that:
American women constitute a smaller proportion of the
professional world today than they did twenty years agooooof
all the women capable of doing college work, only one out of
four do so, compared to one out of two men. (p.626)
Both Rossi in this article and Philip Slater (1970), a few years later,
in The Pursuit of Loneliness, lay some of the blame on Dr. Benjamin
Spock. Slater puts it this way:
Spock's book has tended to both encourage Pygmalionesque
fantasies in mothers and to stress the complexity of the task
of creating a person out of an infant. (p.64)
Beyond Spock, Slater follows up with a discussion about "a strange
phenomenon" that happended after World War II:
Despite more women going to college, a smaller percentage
were using this education in any waY... while single white
middle-class women were becoming more and more liberated,
married middle-class women were embracing a more totally
domestic existence than ever before. (p.65)
76
Neither Rossi nor Slater speak of what larger societal forces, such
as post-World War II economics, might have impinged upon the American
woman's falling easy prey to the Spockian ploy to get her to stay close
to the suburban home and mind the children. To follow up this "strange
phenomenon" would lead in directions beyond the scope of this p a p e ~ The
point to be made for present purposes is that the mature young matron of
middle-class background had become better able (for reasons not fully
articulated and perhaps not fully understood) to have both a marriage and
a career in the 1920s and 1930s than were her counterparts in the 1950s
and 1960s.
By now the point that men and women are living in different worlds
simulataneously and viewing one another from quite different perspectives
should be obvious. To understand better these differing views, Miller
(1976) has some hel pful insights. She presents some of the more
important divergent points of view first as characteristics attributed to
women and qualified as weaknesses, which, upon closer analysis, she
suggests, are alsot paradoxically, strengths. The reason for the paradox
lies in the nature of the attribution:
In Western society men are encouraged to dread, abhor, or
deny feeling weak or helpless, whereas in many ways women are
encouraged to cultivate this state of being. This first and
most important point, however, is that these feel ings are
common and inevitable to all, even though our cultural
tradition unrealistically expects men to discard rather than
to acknowl edge them. (p.29)
It is because women have accepted the attribution of weakness,
vulnerability and helplessness that Miller labels these qualities as
"strengths," hence the paradox. They are strengths in women because,
since they are common human frailties in both sexes, to be effectively
77
managed, as they repeatedly arise in every life, they must first be
recognized. In men, however, society demands these qualities be denied,
repressed, or, at the least, suppressed. Miller puts it this way, in
part:
A necessary part of all experience is a recognition of one's
weaknesses and limitations....one of the most valuable human
qualities--the ability to grow psychologically--is
necessarily an ongoing process, involving repeated feel ings
of vulnerability all through life. (p.31)
While being able to admit their weaknesses gives women the strength to
deal with them, they have been reluctant to work through specific
experiences and move on because this requires a next step, accepting
their strength. Such acceptance may open them up to being labeled
"unwomanly," just as the opposite can happen to a man should he accept
his own weaknesses, endangering thereby his self-image of "manliness."
From this position, Miller proceeds to enumerate other qualities
attributed primarily to women--emotionality, cooperation, and creativity.
Miller defines "cooperation" as "behavior that aids and enhances the
development of other human beings while advancing one's own" (p.41) and
"creativity" as lithe intense personal creating that we each must do all
through 1ife. Everyone repeatedly has to break through to a new vision
if she/he is to keep living" (p.44). Miller is careful to stress that
she is not saying that women are better or more saintly than men, but
only that, in their subordinate position, as carriers of the traits men
have projected onto them, they have learned to grow by accepting and
dealing with those traits. If they can now begin to allow themselves to
take a next step in personality growth by recognizing their strengths in
these areas, they may undo the paradox. This will not only help them,
78
but at the same time it will facilitate the growth of men by allowing
them to face and accept their share of common human vulnerability.
Next, Miller turns to a consideration of creativity and
cooperativeness as well as authenticity, self-determination, and power.
She also points out the necessity for engaging in conflict. All of these
she considers essential human needs. But basic to these needs, and
necessary for their fulfillment, is the fostering and sustaining of human
ti es. Miller believes that attachment and affiliation make the
foundation upon which a woman's sense of self rests:
Women's sense of self becomes very much organized around
being able to make and then to maintain affiliations and
relationships. oufor many women the threat of disruption of
an affiliation is perceived not as just a loss of a
relationship but as something closer to a total loss of self.
(p.83)[28]
Unfortunately, this need for affiliation which Miller identifies as the
essential quality for the preservation of the human race has, up to now,
led women into a position of subservience. She suggests that women must
find a way to enhance their own psychological development through using
their need in constructive ways that also effect real changes in the
world. This is a political dimension of affiliation that rests upon
cooperation. The second necessity that women must face is that of
learning how to use this need in a way that is not psychologically
defeating; that util izes it as a strengh rather than a self-defeating
weakness.
In examining the misuse of affil iation, Miller suggests that the
word autonomy may need revamping, for "It carries the impl ication--and
for women therefore the threat--that one should be able to pay the price
79
of giving up affiliations in order to become a separate and self-directed
individual
ll
(p.94). Miller agrees that women may, and often do, have to
give up old relationships when they develop themselves as strong and
independent individuals. Men, on the other hand, when they become
autonomous, do not find their relationships threatened. On the contrary,
male self-development wins them relationships. Since autonomy has a
di fferent effect upon males and females, and since it is "a word deri ved
from men's development, not women's" (p.9S), Miller suggests it not be
applied to women. She suggests that being oneself for a woman is more
encompassing than the term autonomy implies when referring to men.
Women's search is for full er rel ationships with others simul taneously
with the fullest possible self-development.
The word lI aut hent i ci t yll is used by Miller, in conjunction with
II creativity,1I to describe a process of self-discovery that some women are
embarking upon that allows them to engage with others in a more honest
and effective interpersonal exchange. The more authentic manner of
relating leads to personal creativity which Millers defines as:
A continuous process of bringing forth a changing vision of
oneself, and of oneself in relation to the world. Out of
this creation each person determines her/his next step and is
motivated to take that next step. This vision must undergo
repeated change and re-creation. Through childhood and
adulthood, too, there are inevitable changes as one grows and
then ages. These demand a change in one's re1ati on to the
world....there are the continuous psychological changes that
lead to more experience, more perceptions, more emotions, and
more thought. It is necessary to integrate all these into a
coherent and constantly enl arging conception of one's 1ife.
(p.lll)
Out of this "per suna l vt s f on" that one creates, which is a new
conceptualization that has IInever been put together before
ll
(p.lll),
80
Miller suggests there is a place, also, for conflict. She says, "Not
only are symptoms the embodiment of conflict; all of life is, too. Put
simply, the big secret that psychoanalysis found--and it is basic to all
of its other secrets--is the secret of conflict itse1f" (p.126). Miller
ends on a hopeful note. She sees women on the road to a new community in
which they are engaging in cooperative and creative endeavor to forge new
connections between knowledge, work, and personal life. She portrays an
exciting and, on the whole, a realistic view of the segment of our
society upon which her analysis is focusing. The concept of self that
she holds up for today's women is challenging and rewarding.
But for the women of an earlier generation, the grandmothers of
Miller's women, another concept of self may need to be reviewed. David
McClelland (l975), in writing about power, defines its differing
dimension for both men and women. Speaking of power as an intrapsychic
experience, it becomes a dimension of the self concept. In examining its
many facets, McC1 ell and sheds 1i ght upon some of the issues ra i sed by
Miller. McClelland speaks from his own perspective, as a male scientist
working in the experimental mode, not as a younger woman clinician whose
laboratory is the open society. McC1e11and
is
findings offer a more
detached perspective--not necessarily more objective, but rather more
distanced, and yet perhaps closer to the climate prevailing in an earlier
era when the'woman who is the subject of this paper grew into maturity.
Publication dates of Miller's and McC1e11and
is
books are only a year
apart. But their respective analyses reflect styles of relating
separated by the span of one, possibly two, generations. How much this
response is subjective, reflective of this writer's own perspective, how
81
much it is an objective assessment of the differing orientations of the
two writers, which may be gender and age-related, is a moot question.
Nevertheless, it may be helpful to look at MCClelland's conclusions as
another variation on the theme of the self as woman. His assessments may
reflect those of an older woman whose 1ife course spans several
generations more accurately than do the conclusions of a younger, female
clinician.
McClelland divides power into four categories. He defines his
categories within the framework of ego development as initially outlined
by Freud and elaborated later by Erik Erikson (1950; 1963) in Childhood
and Society. With a grid, McClelland (1975) divides power along another
dimension: that of the "self" and the "other," as a person might define
the concept and its relation to subject and object at different levels of
the 1ndividual
1s
psychosexual. development (p.14). At stage one, the oral
1evel, the sel f is concerned about feel ing stronger and views power as
coming into herself/himself from an outside source (t.e., God, mother,
leader, food or reading matter). At the second stage, the anal or
autonomous level, the self brings power to itself through collecting and
accumulating attributes or trappings of power. In the third stage, the
phallic or assertive level, the self is viewed as having an impact or
influence upon others. Stage four, the level of genital mutuality,
represented by dutiful behavior and principled assertiveness, sees the
self as responding to the influence of the group with which the self
identifies and as carrying out the mandates of that group. McClelland
gives examples of occupations or professions that fit the characteristic
development of the different levels. Stage one might be represented by a
82
client or a mystic; stage two, by psychologists or collectors; the third
stage, by lawyers, politicians, journalists, teachers; stage four is the
level appropriate to scientists or managers, or great messianic leaders.
McClelland suggests that IIcr eative scientists
ll
fit this category because
they are II paying homage to scientific laws that are beyond and above man
and govern and control his behavior,1I not unlike the messianic leader who
is following "a higher Power" (p.20).
In analyzing male and female subjects across all four levels of
functioning, McClelland finds that lithe man with high n Power seems to
have an emotionally assertive style" (P.SO), whereas women II see their
bodies as a resource, just as the male see themselves and their bodies as
somethi ng to use for i nstrumenta 1 purposes II (e.sr), An i nteres t i ng
finding emerges for the women that is consistent across all four
developmental stages. Women high in the need for power II seem to want to
have more so that they have more to give
ll
(P.S7). Although McClelland
does not draw this conclusion, the concept of affilaiation as a variant
of nurturance comes easily to m i n ~ Stage two women want IIfreedom for
controlling their l ives," whereas men at that level seek "freedom from
establ ished authority" (p.61). Women high in power needs appear less in
the autonomous mode than men, who are clearly seeking separation. Stage
three women, the assertive (phallic) level, break the affiliative
pattern. McClelland says that women high in n Power at this stage are
II significantly lower in the need for Affiliation than women with low need
for Power and low stage three orientation" (p.68). Her assertiveness as
a woman, in other words, seems to imply a lessening of concern for
others, typical of the traditional sex role for women II (p.68).
83
McClelland continues by suggesting that this type of woman1s counterpart
in classical mythology is the Greek goddess Artemis or the Roman goddess
Diana, the Huntress, the patron saint of homosexual ity in women: "She
would be in active pursuit of her own interests, not tied down by
traditional affiliative bonds to men and cht l dren" (p.69).
But in terms of the focus of this paper, the most interesting of
McClellandls findings about n Power are those relating to stage four
development, the highest category that McClelland examines:
These appear... to be more 1iberated women--a view supported
by the fact that in general their mothers have had more
education. They are likely apt to be working in a power-
oriented job in which they take pride. They both participate
in more organizations and share more as equals with their
husbands. It is clear in the case of a woman how, having
broken away from the Stage I attachment to mal es and gone
through a phallic assertiveness stage, she can emerge more as
a person in her own right who can share on an equal basis
with her husband and join in an organization or in her role
as a family member without losing her sense of identity. How
the men behave as they emerge into the stage of mutuality and
generativity is less clear, although what clues there are
point to a diminished importance of power motivation for
attaining the highest level of maturity. (p.72)
According to McClellandls findings, then, women1s need for power
increases with maturity, whereas men1s power needs tend to become lower
as maturity increases. These results suggest a parallel with Miller's
(1976) analysis of how more authentic women should be able to develop and
the reciprocity that Miller predicts for men as women1s authenticity
increases.
Another variation on the feminine self-concept is offered by two
older women who are Jungian analysts. Following the more traditional
view of women as the passive and receptive sex and men as the autonomous
84
and assertive one, they unfold a view of the self that encompasses an
orientation towards approaching death. The lenghty passage below is
taken from Irene Claremont de Castillejo, (1974), Knowing Woman:
The feminine in every woman is always waiting. She may not
know it if she has another more masculine side which is busy
with active achievement but I believe that every woman if she
looks deep enough will find that the essential core of her is
waiting.
As a tiny girl she waits to be grown-up, filling the
time with all sorts of occupations and study, which to the
essential growing point are qUite irrelevant. As time passes
most women quite consciously wait for a coming lover or
husband no matter how vociferously they declare the contrary.
No woman as woman can plan her future. She can plan a
career, but as woman she can only wait for the future to
unfold itself. Her lover emerges from the mists of time and
in his wake so also does the place where she will dwell •
...A woman is always wa it i ng--she mayor may not
conceive--she can only wait and see. ...This is equally true
in realms of the spirit or the intellect in both men and
women. Intellectual achievement when it is not merely
mechanical always has to wait for inspiration. It is the
feminine which waits whether it is in man or woman and it is
the masculine which moulds and formulates in either sex•
... Feminine spiritual ity I have 1 ikened el sewhere to the
sacred oil which the wise virgins kept always ready in their
lamps waiting, waiting for the coming of the bridegroom.
It is very near the final waiting of the soul for the
coming of death, a constant unceasing waiting throughout
every moment of the span of life, for the soul belongs to
death as much as it belongs to life. H.lt is the rest of our
personality that fears to die. Our animal instinct clings to
life, our minds dread the unknown, and our hearts with good
reason tremble lest we may be cut off before we have carried
out the tasks which have been set us, tasks at which
sometimes we can only guess.
It is certainly those who live fully who seem least
afraid to die. Perhaps they have left fewer tasks undone.
But it is the feminine soul in man or woman which waits
ceaselessly without fear and without impatience for the
coming of death, the last lover, who will lead to a new
unfolding. I am aware that I am going beyond the boundaries
of the provable. I am not out to prove anything. I am
merely offering you the fruits of my own minute experience,
85
in no attempt to be scientific. If they do not ring a bell
or touch a chord of sympathetic knowing from my readers it
matters not at all. (pp.178-179)
A much more abbreviated comment from the other older woman's
journal, Florida Scott-Maxwell (1979), The Measure of ~ Days, has this
to say:
It has taken me all the time lIve had to become myself, yet
now that I am old there are times when I feel I am barely
here, no room for me at all. I remember that in the last
months of my pregnancies the child seemed to claim most of my
body, my strength, my breath, and I held on wondering if my
burden was my enemy, uncertain as to whether my life was at
all mine. Is life pregnancy? That would make death a birth.
(p.76)
It is as though their clarifications about their selves that long and
well-spent lives have yielded them also bring to these aging women views
of death as a culmination of fulfilled lives. The similar metaphor, the
one of death as a lover who will lead the woman to a new unfolding and
the other of death as a kind of rebirth, are part of a long and respected
traditional view of death held by women throughout centuries of Western
civilization. A scholarly view of this tradition is given by David
McClelland (1964) as an introduction to a study of the theme of death as
a demonic lover in The Harlequin Comp1ex.[29]
McClelland suggests that the prototypic form for the theme is the
classical Greek myth of Demeter and Prosephone. This myth became
assimilated into the harlequin tradition in Italy and France in the
Middle Ages and has survived into the twentieth century. The research
that McClelland reviews in the article yields support for the survival of
this old folk motif in the unconscious of modern American women
approachi ng their deaths. McC1 ell and's summary statement does not, of
86
course, provide scientific proof of the truth that Claremont
says she cannot produce. But it does corroborate the ubiquity of its
theme:
The thrill that many women feel as the possibility of death
turns out to be a clue to a more profound understanding of
feminine For death represents the demon lover--
the symbol of a women's own 1ife urge, which is expressed
paradoxically in the thought of yielding or dying. He
appears in many gUises. We call him Harlequin, which was his
name in the Western world for a millenium. But whatever he
is called, he has seduced many Columbines, both on the stage
and in real life; he comes to comfort middle-aged women who
tire of their husbands and to thrill older women nearing
death that separates them from mortal lovers; and he has
trapped many a wretched woman into a terrifying death while
she is yet alive, a state which modern science has labelled
schizophrenia. (p.119)
Impl icit in the theme is the mascul ine-feminine dichotomy that recurs
throughout the history of civil ization in many variants. Some of the
more problematic ones are those just reviewed in examining the self-
concept of contemporary American women. This last example presents the
woman's projection of the enemy within onto the significant other.
McClelland refers to it as her "own life urqe," One might also see it as
an alienated and denied urge for power; the ultimate power of life and
death. Integrating life and death into some resolution of the mystery of
life's paradoxes must surely be the final task of self-definition.[30]
Finally, before leaving the topic of self as woman, one more point
of view will be examined. It throws some light on how women and men in
our society tend to relate differently to losses. But primarily it deals
with some of the reasons that women today find it so difficult to
extricate themselves from positions of inequality vis-a-vis their male
partners. Both Miller (1976) and Rossi (l964) point out that the problem
87
is exacerbated by the intimate and entwined relationships with men. But
it remains for Nancy Chodorow (1978) in The Reproduction of Mothering to
trace the temperamental differences that Gill igan (1982) speaks to so
eloquently back to their inception in childrearing practices. Chodorow
looks at the family as a sociological institution and then analyzes the
mothering role within it from a psychoanalytic perspective. She talks
about the societal value placed on the family. To continue in its
present form, the family rel ies upon the perpetuation of heterosexual
marriage or marriage-like arrangments that bring about the undesirable
outcomes of inequality and estrangement between men and women. Chodorow
(1981) refers to them as "Oedipal asymmetries and heterosexual knots"
(p.191).[31] It is the differing nature of the Oedipus complex as it is
experienced by girl s and boys that makes for the temperamental
differences between women and men. Those differences discussed above
come about because women mother their daughters differently from the way
they mother their sons. Fathers relate differently to daughters and sons
also, and this is important, too, but not as important as the mothering
relationship. Mothering comes first and is more intense.
Beginning at birth and continuing throughout early infancy, mothers
treat daughters and sons quite differently. This is related to the sex
identity of mothers and daughters. Because of sexual sameness, mothers
indentify narcissistically with their daughters. Such identification
does not occur with their opposite sexed sons; therefore:
Boys retain one primary love object throughout their boyhood•
•~ t h e development of masculine/heterosexual object choice is
relatively continuous.... the boy resolves his oedipus
complex by repressing his attachment to his mother. He is
therefore ready in adulthood to find a primary relationship
88
with someone 1ike his mother. (pp.231-232)
But the 1ittle girl has a harder developmental path to negotiate. She
must switch from a same sex first love object to an opposite sex object
to achieve a heterosexual orientation. One reason this may be difficult
is because the father is remote. He is remote both physically and
emotionally. This remoteness of father, coupled with the early pre-
oedipal identification with the mother, leads to a "multilayered"
(p.233) internal oedipal situation for the girl: "Her rel ationship of
dependence and attachment to her mother, then her father, are simply
added on" (p.233-234). Because of the intense early identification of
daughter with mother, based on the same sex identity, the daughter uses
the later oedipal relationship with the father to "break her primary
uni ty [wi th] and dependence [upon]" (p.235) the mother. Another
complexity is that because of the father's remoteness--his absence from
home while working as well as his emotional detachment--he tends to be
idealized by the little girl. His real strengths and weaknesses are not
recogn i zed. Furthermore, because of the mother ' s narc iss i s tic
identification with the girl, she does not feel as loved by her mother as
her brother is or as she would like to be. She seeks from the father,
then, both a sense of her separateness from mother and a sense of being
loved for herself alone (p.236). "Since the girl's relationship to her
father develops later [than the boy·s] her sense of self is more firmaly
established" (p.237). The fusion of pre-oedipal and oedipal
relationships applies only in relation to her mother, not to her father.
Nor does the girl repress these early relationships: "This means that
she grows up with more ongoing pre-occupation with external relationships
89
as well II (pp.237-238), than do her brothers. The 1ittl e boy, on the
contrary, has been repressing his affect and denying relational needs,
which helps prepare him for his adult life in the world of work.
When object losses in life occur, it is women who are able to
sustain them better than men. This appears to be for two reasons.
First, women have developed their capacities for relationship more fully
than men and recognize their own needs for deep and abiding relationships
which the capacity makes possible. Second, the tie with men, coming
later in their development than men's ties to women, while based on a
rea1 need for love, is also more real i ty-ori ented in women. Women
recognize that their need for men is partially an economic one, not
simply a need for love. Since women are able to accept and "put up with
limitations in or husband in exchange for some evidence of
caring and lovell (p.242) more than men are able to do in relation to
their wives or lovers, women are also less devastated by the losses. It
is not that they have less to lose; it is rather that they have more
relationships to compensate for losses, more capacity to cultivate new
ones, and a less romantic, more reality-oriented assessment of what the
loss actually means.
Although Chodorow1s subject is complex and she treats it thoroughly,
from both the male and female developmental aspects, this brief overview
concentrates on the woman1s development because of the nature of this
paper. In looking back over this section on Self as Woman, Chodorow's
analysis is helpful in spelling out how the institution of the family
rei nforces the status quo through chi 1d-reari ng practi ces. Chodorow
suggests that any real changes will occur only when men and women parent
90
more equally, and consciously try to help both boys and girls develop
their own unique selves.
Integrity versus Despair
Integrity is the term that Erikson uses throughout the body of his
work, beginning with Childhood and Society (1963), in which he outl ines
his stages of psychosexual and corresponding psychosocial human
development. The concept of integrity symbol izes a successful
culmination of life1s developmental tasks. Combining within its
definition conditions of soundness, wholeness, and a code or system of
values, integrity represents an ideal never fully attained but only
continually striven for and occasionally approached throughout life.
There are a multitude of ways in which humankind finds perfectibil ity
problematic. There is a sense, also, in which these problems are
interrelated. But the focus of this paper is upon particular aspects of
identity--of selfhood or self-definition--that a particular aging woman
may need to invoke as her last developmental task: The attaining of some
measure of integrity in the face of impending death. It is primarily
because the particular woman is living an exceptionally full and
successful life that the study is worth undertaking.
In this present era, the last quarter of the twentieth century, and
in this particular place, the United States of America, the successful
outcome of such a task requires a resolute grappling, then, with the
question raised in the preceding section of this paper: Self as Woman.
Erikson, in two works published within a year of one another, Life
History and the Historical Moment (1975) and Dimensions of ~ New Identity
91
(1974), deals with these two facets of development and their impingement
upon each other.
In the first book mentioned, Erikson (1975) answers questions put to
him by feminists about an essay published in 1964 that appears to many to
justify (if not glorify) the status quo of women[32]. In answering these
inquiries, Erikson invokes the popular concept of "deals
ll
or IIbargaining
ll
to help explain the complex interrelations of negative of men
and women in the social marketplace of today. He calls the deals
hammered out between heterosexual couples "rectprocal bargaining
ll
and
makes the point that they reflect both inner psychological defenses as
well as broader political and ecological correspondences in the larger
society. As always, Erikson's focus includes humanity at all levels of
existence within its lens, from the intra-personal, through the
interpersonal level, which serves as mediator to the larger political
arena. He ends the essay with an eye on the global implications:
Mankind needs a guiding vision. And fate usually makes it
only too clear what the next vision must be: today, it must
be a world of order which would children chosen to
be born to develop to an adulthood that may learn to humanize
its inventions--experientially as well as technologically. I
cannot see how such an adulthood could evolve except through
an equal involvement of women and of their special models of
experience in the over-all planning and governing so far
monopol ized by men. (p.247)
The message is the same as Miller's (1976) essentially, but it comes from
a different perspective, an elder statesman of identity and crisis.
Repeatedly, Erikson speaks about the problem of negative identity,
and how to negoti ate it. In explaining its development out of child-
rearing practices, the special role of punishment meted out to children
in fostering a too harsh superego is reiterated. He puts it quite
92
movingly in Insight and Responsibility (1964b):
The radical division into good and bad can be the sickness of
the mind... the "super-ego"... hovers over the ego as the inner
perpetuation of the child's subordination to the restraining
will of his elders. The voice of the super-ego is not always
crue1 and deri s i ve, but it is ever ready to become so
whenever the precarious balance which we call a good
conscience is upset, at which times the secret weapons of
this inner governor are revealed: the brand of shame and the
bi te of consc i ence. •.. A11 we know for certa in is the
establishment of some chronic self-doubt and some truly
terrible--even if largely sUbmerged--rage against anybody and
anything that reinforces such d o u b ~ The "lowest" in man is
thus apt to reappear in the guise of the "ht qhest;"
Irrational and pre-rational combinations of goodness, doubt,
and rage can re-emerge in the adult in those malignant forms
of ri ghteousness and prejudi ce whi ch we may call moral ism.
(PP. 223-224)
This latter term might also be called "self-righteousness." It is the
Achilles heel that poses as the seat of wisdom, the rational rules
invoked by humanity to codify its behavioral norms and to hold in check--
to bind--its negative identities.
When consciousness is looked at from this psychodynamic and
developmental perspective and these insights are applied by Erikson
(l974), in Dimensions of ! New Identity, to the liberation movements of
today, he says:
The Black, the young, and the female have one experience in
common: They have been the others, where the adult white
male has been II it.II And there is an intrinsic, an in-built
psychological unfreedom in all groups characterized by
stigmata which mark an irreversible difference from a
dominant type, an unfreedom not resolved by the mere promise
of political and economic equality--although, of course,
impossible without it. For built into the demand is the
(more or less) subdued rage of centuries over having been
peripheral to the central spot in a new world image [Le.,
North American]. (p.114)
And so, the proverbial cat is out of the bag, released by a wise old man
(Freudian). The same equations that are noted above in the Rossi (l964)
93
and Miller (l976) works, of dominants and subordinates, surface now in
Erikson. But it is Erikson who cites the pivotal point that holds them
in uncertain balance: self-righteousness, irrational, super-ego rage. No
wonder these groups' demands sometimes sound strident and unruly.
Erikson (1974) continues by pointing out that, while the rage of
protest is understandable and may serve a good purpose by fueling the
fires of liberation, it soon requires a new consciousness in place of re-
repression:
It desperately needs shared insights into the inner collusion
of those discriminated against with their habitual
di scriminators. (p.ll?)
The message is not new, but it is refreshing to have it confirmed and
reiterated by the best-known and most acclaimed spokesman of personal
identity.
It could be said that Erikson has jumped on a bandwagon, to march
with the parade of feminists emerging in the sixties. But in fairness to
Erikson, the sentiments quoted above flow quite naturally from his solid,
ground-breaking work in developmental psychology, published first in 1950
and reedited in 1963. In Childhood and Society, Erikson integrates
Freud's psychosexual outline of human development with the broader
psychosocial culture in which it grows, and participates reciprocally.
He also extends the psychosexual developmental steps, which Freud
outlined as an analogue of epigenetic development, taken from embryology
into adulthood and old age. Because Erikson explains this complex of
interrelated sequential growth of the individual on physiological,
psychosexual, and psychosocial levels as occurring in stages and as
b
organized around crises (or turning points), the explanation
94
oversimplified and distorted. Erikson (1963) says:
A human being... is at all times an organism, an ego, and a
member of society and is involved in all three processes of
organization. His body is exposed to pain and tensions; his
ego, to anxiety; and as a member of a society, he is
susceptible to the panic emanating from his group. (p.36)
In later years, as shown above, Erikson becomes conscious of questions
about female identity that do not surface in this earlier treatment.
That he can amend--or perhaps a better term woul d be "expand'v-hts view
to encompass the burgeon i ng femi ni s t consc i ousness may mere1y
substantiate the validity of his earlier position. He does, indeed, show
that he is a human being capable of being actively involved in the
processes of his society as it evolves through the decades, and that his
theory can accommodate radical change.
But before summarizing the stage theory with an emphasis herein on
the last stage, one word from the quotation above must be emphasized:
"processes," Erikson is saying that a human being is "an organism, an
ego and a member of societyll and that a person is all three of these
entities simultaneously. Furthermore, these entities are actually
"processes of orqantzat ton," This means they are not static, but rather,
are in constant motion--evolving, moving forward, regressing, redoing,
undoing, developing, interacting, growing, deteriorating. The
behaviors--
lIprocesses
of organization
ll--
are happening in response to
pain and tension, in the body; anxiety, of the ego; and panic, from the
larger group. Curiously, Erikson does not mention the more benign
influences, that is, pleasure, which comes into these processes from
without, as well; perhaps because his own clinical orientation has
brought the negative factors more forcibly to his attention. He does,
95
however, speak against the tendency, in a footnote to the second edition,
for many readers to see the positive half of the continuum in each of the
eight stages to be read as an lI achi evement scale" (p.274). In this long
passage, Erikson points out that "the 'negative' senses ... are and remain
the dynamic counterpart of the 'positive' ones throughout 1ife
ll
(P. 274).
Once again, process is being emphasized. To be even clearer, Erikson
continues:
The assumption that on each stage a goodness is achieved
which is impervious to new inner conflicts and to changing
condt t tons is, I believe, a projection on child development
of that success ideology which can so dangerously pervade our
private and public daydreams and can make us inept in a
heightened struggle for a meaningful existence in a new,
industrial era of history. (p.274)
Surely, in 1985, "Indus t r f a l " could be replaced by "e l ec t ron t c", and
"heightened" could be changed to IIfrenetic
ll
! What is most germane,
however, to the present focus in this paper is Erikson's emphasis on
process--the back and forth, up and down, and lateral movement--as the
conceptual image to be carried into a reading of his charts and diagrams,
which tend to appear stage1ike and therefore static and stepwise.
Each step is shown as a diagonal progression. But the text points
out that each stage results from an unfolding of its process as the
organism grows and develops. This natural unfolding is enhanced or
impeded by what has (or has not) developed in the prior stage of growth.
Whi 1e there is physio1 ogi c readiness required ("organi c" is Eri kson's
word), there is also a social readiness necessary in the external
environment. The home, as well as the environment beyond the home, has
its imput into the process, enhancing or impeding it. Later, as the
toddler becomes a pre-schooler, a school-age youngster, an adolescent, a
96
young adult, a mature adult, an aging person, the environment changes and
widens and tends to become more influential on individual outcomes.
There are eight stages. The first five correspond to those outlined
by Freud. First is the oral stage which Erikson characterizes as laying
down the continuum of Basic Trust-Mistrust. This is the stage of infant
dependency, now thought of under the term "pre-Oedipal," when the young
child learns that s/he can (or cannot) be dependent in safety (p.273).
The second stage, Freud call ed "ana1.
11
Thi sis the peri od that Eri kson
labels "Autonomy vs, Shame, Doubt" (P. 273). It is in this period that
the child begins to experiment with his muscular development and
practices holding on and letting go. Erikson points out in his preface
to this stage that he is talking about these "crises" as "a series of
alternative basic attitudes" (p.251) that are both conscious and
unconscious. They are, he says, "at the same time, ways of experiencing,
accessible to introspection; ways of behaving, observable by others; and
unconscious inner stages... " (p.251). The balance that the child seeks
in this stage between his own need to choose and his inability to do this
with assurance and skill must be maintained for her/him by the trust
built up in the earlier stage and continuing into this one. This trust
must be still evident in her/his holding environment--mother, family,
home--or the child will sink into shame and self-doubt as his awkward
forays of choosing and rejecting meet with obstacles, if not failure.
Erikson suggests that "shame" is actually "rage turned against the self"
(p.252), and "Doubt is the brother of shame" (p.253). How the equation
is negotiated at this early period leads to later feelings of self-
control and, hence, self-esteem, or loss of such control, which then
97
leads to outer control or overcontrol, ending in shame and doubt.
Stage three, the Locomotor-Genital, which Freud would label
"phal l tc" or "oedtpal ," is characterized by Erikson on the dimension of
"Initiative vs. Guilt" (p.273). Here, autonomy is enhanced by
"undertaking, planning and 'at.tecktnq'" (p.255). The cht l d's "exuberant
enjoyment" (p.255) in this stage can turn into feelings of gUilt, if the
goals sought lead to such inner diversion that self-punishment, in the
form of super-ego consci ence, overwhel ms the budding youngster. Rage,
the "tnner powerhouse" (p.257) must be submerged at thi s stage or such
retaliatory guilt will prove overwhelming to the developing ego.
The next stage, ca 11ed "Indus try vs, I nferi ori ty," represents
Freud's latency period. It corresponds to grade school age and all ows
the child to mobilize developing skills to receive systematic instruction
(p.259) and begin learning how to fit into the adult world of work that
beckons in the future. If the child does not succeed in this new arena
of school, then s/he faces a sense of inferiority and inadequacy. While
there is not the sense of mastery over drives in this period, as there is
in the previous one, Erikson reminds the reader that it is only "a lull
before the storm of puber-ty" (p.260). It is important especially for its
opportunities to learn how to work with others, to cooperate for group
goals.
Stage five is called "Identity vs, Role Confusion" and corresponds
. to the peri od known as Adolescence. Thi sis the peri od of i ntegrat i ng
all those skills learned earlier into a feeling of identity. With this
identity comes an assessment of how this emerging sense of one's own self
fits into the larger world of adulthood that one is fast approaching.
98
The question of adult occupation and the roles and skills one brings to
it is part of forgi ng an adul t i denti ty, But, more than thi s , the
successful outcome in this period leads to an "accrued confidence" that
one is within oneself what others identify one as being. "The tangible
promise [is] of a career" (PP. 261-262). The danger here is a confusion
of one's role. It can include a doubt about sexual identity as well as
occupational uncertainty. There is often a tendency to overidentify with
ideal heroes or heroines in a attempt to resolve the confusion. The
outcome can be strongly influenced by the social mileu of the period, for
better or worse, since adolescents need to be able to place faith in the
larger society's validating "the best" (p.263).
"Intimacy vs. Isolation" is the sixth developmental phase. Erikson
sees this as the one that ushers the youth into adulthood. Intimacy is
the successful outcome. This includes love and marriage. If the young
person cannot negotiate these steps, s/he becomes di stanced and tends
toward isolation. Only at this stage can "true genitality" (p.264)
develop. Prior to this, sex life is more of an identity search. Now,
for the first time, the individual who has negotiated the earlier phases
with some degree of success, is ready for a mutually satisfying and
mutually enhancing sexual relationship. While isolation is the other end
of the continuum, Erikson also warns of the danger of the individual
becoming a partner in "isolation a deux" (p.264), which can prevent the
next developmental task, "Generativity."
The opposite of generati vity is "stagnati on:' This seventh stage,
the one of mature adul thood, encompasses the need to be needed. Men and
women, for the best possible self-development, need to invest themselves
99
in the future, and the best way to do this, in Erikson's view, is by
procreating. But that is not enough. It is the guidance and nurturance
of offspring, one's own and/or others, that fulfill the need of the
mature adul t, Eri kson speaks here, al so, of "pr oductivity" and
. "creativity as aspects of generativity, but not as repl acements for it
(p.267). The failure in this area can lead to stagnation that is often
characterized by individuals' indulging themselves lias if they were their
own--or one another's--one and only child" (p.267). This tendency can
lead to "earl y invalidism, physical or psychological" (P. 267).
The final stage, stage eight, is that of liEgo Integrity vs. Despair"
(p.268). This stage encompasses all of life after the generativity
period--from the young old through the old old, and death. If the adult
successfully negotiates this last stage, s/he will be able to love
her/his parents with a "different love" (p.268). While accepting the
necessity of living her/his own life according to its unique pattern, the
individual also recognizes the relativity of this to other life styles,
from other times and places, as well as contemporaneously. If this kind
of perspective has not evolved, the individual is apt to fear death.
Erikson also points out that the person of integrity may be a follower;
s/he is not necessarily a leader. But if a measure of maturity is
achieved, there is evidence of that early trust so basic to all future
development. Erikson puts it thus: "Healthy children will not fear life
if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death" (p.269).
Finally, in this brief selection from Erikson's thought most salient
to the question being addressed in this paper, the following quotation
from Identity: Youth and Crisis (1968) summarizes his position on the
100
eighth and last stage of development:
To whatever abyss ultimate concerns may lead individual men,
man as a psychological creature will face, toward the end of
his life, a new edition of an identity crisis which we may
state in the words "I am what survives of ms," (p.141)
In Erikson's view, what survives the well-lived life are institutions of
society that embody in a psychological as well as material reality those
affective qualities of human existence conveyed in the words "faith, will
power, purposefulness, competence, fidelity, love, care, wisdom--all
criteria of vital individual s t renqt h" (p.141). These words of
inspiration may flow out of that wellspring of basic trust and hope that
informs Eri kson's 1ife as well as hi s theory.
The psychobiography being studied will focus on the subject's self-
assessment from her present place in life, well into Erikson's eighth
stage. It should be clear from the overview, however, that the stages
become more and more enmeshed, as a life moves along its chronological
continuum. To assess where a person is along the last continuum, it is
necessary to know about her progression through the prior stages--the
roadblocks, the resolutions, frustrations, detours, advances,
regressions, as well as the integrations. Erikson's charts will act as
useful guides to measure these life paths.
Erikson (1963) makes another contribution as well. In his chapter
entitled "Toys and Reasons", he has this to say about playas it relates
to the ego:
Paraphrasing Freud, we have called play the royal road to the
understanding of the infantile ego's efforts at synthesis•
... childhood situations [can] ... illustrate the capacity of
the ego to find recreation and self-cure in the activity of
pl ay. (p.209)
101
Erikson is speaking of the use of playas a therapeutic modality. But he
gives, as an example, a child's imaginative fantasy of himslef as a
riverboat and demonstrates how pl ay serves the youngster as an
integrative tool in mastering some tasks of growth:
To grow means to be divided into different parts which move
at different rates. A growing boy has trouble in mastering
hi s gangl ing body as well as his divided mind. He wants to
be good, if only out of expediency, and always finds he has
been bad. He wants to rebel, and finds that almost against
his will he has given in. As his time perspective permits a
glimpse of approaching adulthood he finds himself acting like
a child. (p.211)
In playing the part of the steamboat and its captain as well, this
character from Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer demonstrates, if only in fantasy,
a mastery of himself. At the same time he practices an occupational role
that he might someday fill in his adult life, that of the riverboat
captain. Erikson goes on to suggest that others might find evidence to
support the stage three level of development, the oedipal or locomotor-
genital. But it is the "ego's need to master the various areas of
lifeoooespecially those in which... [it] finds his self, his body, and his
social role wanting and trailing" (pp.211-212), that Erikson finds most
persuasive. Erikson continues by defining playas an activity that is
intermediate between fantasy and reality. It is the quality of freedom
and effortlessness that distinguishes play from other activities in life.
He continues his description of play and its borderline quality, between
the world of reality, represented by work, and the world of fantasy,
outside of time and space dimensions.
Erikson's description sounds very like Winnicott's (1971). But
there is a difference. Erikson is leading up to playas a means of
102
working through problems, as in the example of mastery above. Winnicott,
on the other hand, sees playas the arena in which the child begins to
differentiate the self from the object and separate self from other.
Erikson puts play to use; Winnicott sees playas intrinsic to meaning and
value in life, but only if it remains spontaneous and free. Erikson and
Winnicott would surely agree on this point. But Erikson would probably
point out that it is pathology that interferes with the process of play
and makes it compulsive. By observing this behavior, the therapist may
be able lito help a cht l ds ego to help t t sel f" (p.209). Winnicott and
Erikson are talking about the same activity, but the emphasis is
different. The more neurotically bound up the child is, the less
spontaneous the play. Play, then, becomes a repetition compulsion, not
unlike work as it is often experienced in the day-to-day routine. By
analyzing the play of the child frustrated in the developmental task at
hand, Eri kson comes to the aid of the young ego. Thi sis analogous to
Winnicott1s example when he speaks about a pat tents free association
1eading to insights that 1iberate (p.64). But Wi nnicott accentuates the
necessity for spontaneity. He sees this quality as the essence of
creativity, leading to self-validation: the development of the true self.
Erikson is more concerned with the ego as the guiding principle,
exercising a measure of conscious control and direction: the principle of
mastery intrinsic in his concept of ego development.
Both of these emphases may be useful in the evaluation of this life
history. How the subject uses her leisure, as well as how she approaches
her work may help reveal her self-definitions. How spontaneously does
she recreate herself, or how compulsively? How compulsively does she
103
work, or how spontaneously? Answers to such questions can be informed by
looking to Winnicott's and Erikson's differences in emphasis.
In summarizing the section on Self !! Person, two views will be
stressed. First, Winnicott (1971) suggests that play, as practiced in
childhood, provides the matrix that leads to creative living. He
stresses the importance of the child's experiencing playas a forerunner
to the tndtvtduals developing a sense of self that gives life meaning
and value. He is careful to distinguish between playas process and the
outcomes of play that may produce products, such as fantasy, art, or
artifacts. These outcomes are not the same as the process, but are
easily confused with it. Such confusion leads the developing self away
from real ization or fulfillment (Buhler1s term, '1968) into a cul-de-sac
of meaninglessness. Winnicott calls such outcomes the "false," as
opposed to the "trueII self. Spontaneity is the hallmark of play. Loss
of spontaneity ends in pathology. The line is fine and crucial. Through
the realization of the true self, a person gains a life of meaning and
value. The true self is, by virtue of its giftedness, a by-product of
play.
BUhlerls concept of the self is easier to grasp. It includes the
creative process. She also sees this developing in infancy through play.
But ~ h l e r does not draw the fine line that Winnicott insists upon. She
includes the product in the process. For Buhler, self-fulfillment
suggests goals that lead to striving and achievement. This self-
development leads to satisfaction in life. Winnicott would agree, in
part; he would point out, however, that the greater the striving the more
probable dissatisfaction lies behind it. Buhler sees process and product
104
less separable. She identifies self more closely with goals and
aspirations.
There is a seeming paradox embedded within these contrasting views.
Winnicott is concentrating on the split between self and object: process
and product. Confusion of one with the other leads to a loss of the
sense of the true self. Buhler is concentrating on an identity of self
with object; to achieve self-fulfillment, an individual needs to lose the
self in a larger goal. Both points appear valid. Once again, the
divergence may be more a matter of perspective and emphasis than a
substantive difference. It is the integrative task of the self that is
being addressed from divergent points of view. The answer is one of
balance with more or less constant tension among fluctuating pressures
from the environment upon the individual. The person must keep changing
patterns of responses to allow the self-equilibrium. By not locking into
a rigid response set or a stagnant posture, s/he keeps spontaneity alive.
It is the same integrative process addressed in the earlier chapters, now
being seen from the psychoanalytic and developmental perspective.
Turning next to the section on Self as Woman, the focus shifts. The
question being addressed is twofold: How a woman in the twentieth-
century Western society, specifically in the United States, sees herself
in relation to the opposite sex, and then to society as a whole. The
life being studied, that of an older woman in 1920, when women got the
franchise, just embarking on marriage and a professional life. The
United States had recently been at war; in a generation, the country
would be at war again. Between these wars lay a great depression, and
then a social revolution that would be codified into laws about which a
105
pol itica1 battle is now amassing. Across these broad socio-po1 itica1
vistas, American women are marching to their own drummers. It is
important to be aware of the social and political climate through which
the subject has lived her life to understand her choices and values.
But the narrower focus in ths study is on how women are defining and
redefining themselves in the larger society. What they are, and are not
taking for granted, through the years, about themselves their mates,
their chi1dren--is one aspect of the question. Another is how they see
their roles: at home, at work, and in the larger society. Most of all,
women are questioning how the pie has been sl iced--not so much
quantitatively, but radically, in terms of quality and values, intrinsic
as well as extrinsic. This slow but inexorable revolution is striking at
the basic foundations of society--not just twentieth century, but human
civilization; not just here, but everywhere.
The val ues being reassessed concern freedom and justice, without
which options and choices die, and play, as Winnicott defines it--the
essence of creativity--ceases to exist. This is the battle being waged
by womankind. Its imp1 ications are only beginning to be perceived; not
yet actually grasped. The subject of this study has lived through some
of its real stirrings and is, even now, still in the marketplace, still
pursuing professional goals (writing grants; executing studies). She is
also an active mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her thoughts
about these roles, in the light of affi1iative ties, may also yield
insights. It is questions along these lines that will inform the
theoretical background outlined in the second section of this chapter.
106
In the second part of the Self !! Woman section, Chodorow's (1981)
sociological approach is examined. By beginning with the family as a
highly valued institution, Chodorow shows how its child-rearing
practices, viewed from a psychoanalytic perspective, perpetuate the
temperament of men and women necessary to continue the institution of
marriage upon which the family is built. Chodorow·s thorough analysis of
the psychoanalytic literature on temperamental development of men and
women offers helpful ways of looking at woman's conception of self. She
begins with early infancy, the pre-Oedipal period, and continues into the
Oedipal phase, and finally takes development full cycle, into adulthood
and motherhood. In doing this, she shows how the cycle becomes
repetitive and self-perpetuating.
Chodorow al so emphasizes the early unbroken attachment of female
children to the mothering person, pointing out the more detached
attachment to the father figure. In doing this, she is able to explain
how the female child grows into the relational expert who fosters and
preserves affiliative bonds. Chodorow·s essay from the structural
sociological position provides a framework for seeing the individual
woman·s place within her family of origin, her later nuclear family and,
finally, her view of herself as a woman.
The differences that Chodorow notes between the ways that men and
women in our world face major losses, especially through the death of
loved ones, support findings from other sources that relate to widowhood.
That women sustain these losses more successfully appears to be related
to their being able to accept their feelings more readily and confront
the issues more forthrightly. Women are emotionally closer to reality
107
than men.
The final part of this section, Issues of Identity, which concerns
the final developmental stage in life, brings the topic of identity to a
close. IIIntegrityl' is Er tkson'u word for a true sense of self. His
"despe i r" is anologous to Alice Miller1s (1981) "denress ton" and
Winnicott's "tal se se l f'," In utilizing Eri kson's stage theory of
identity development to understand the 1ife course being examined, two
qualifiers will be kept foremost: development as a process, and the ego
as an integrative function of the personal ity that guides the process
throughout life. The course the ego navigates is the environment--
interpersonal, social, cultural, ecological. The vehicle is the
individual organism.
The whole section on issues of identity is devoted to articulating
some theoretical guidelines for the psychobiography to follow. The
concern is how identity concepts and self assessments develop and evolve
throughout the life course. This section takes a close look at
definitions of self and self as woman, as well as the concept of
identity, in part to inform the reader about the researcher's point of
view. But primarily the review is an aid to the researcher, as she
studies the life course and analyzes it in the light of more generalized
concerns around stresses and losses of aging, the dilemma of death, and
the meaning of 1ife.
108
Summary
In a moving essay entitled Albert Camus: Personality as Creative
Struggle, Robert N. Wilson (l964) catches the flavor of how one man of
artistic genius portrays the human condition as a lifelong encounter with
"a world he never made but in which he must live" (p.349). This "defiant
engagement" is a "pusuit of self-awareness and competence--not mastery--
vis-a-vis his environment" (p.349). Happiness, for Camus, is "not
achieved as a state of being; personality is renewed in process, not
honed to a finished symme t ry" (p.349). Wilson is comparing camus'
artistic insights to Henry A. Murray·s scientific ones and suggesting
that they have a common theme, in seeing man as the measure that gives
meaning and pattern to life. Certainly this is true about both men, but
not alone applicable to them. Camus
l
expression is a rather harsh echo
of Erikson1s central message. Wilson puts it this way:
In this life, personality is both ground and product of a
harsh battle, it is a unique integrity to be created,
renewed, rewon in a quotidian fight. Man alone is involved
in a struggle without cease, a perilous war of attrition
against meaninglessness, brutal ity, injustice, and ultimate
loss of nerve. (p. 350)
Surely, this approach exemplifies an active and courageous stance in
dealing with the negative aspects of living. It is as though Camus
confronts the negative and repressed parts of himself, those affect-laden
impulses that Erikson cites as embodied in super-ego rage, and by
conscious intent directs their energy to those forces that reflect them
in the outer world.
109
The theme of creativity weaves itself throughout the issues being
addressed in this paper around identity, the self, and motivations for
achievement, accomplishment, and success. Leona E. Tyler, in her book
Individuality (1978), has this to say about it:
What biographers do show clearly is that great artists,
writers, musicians, scientists, and others possess not only
an awesome degree of talent of some sort but also an
overriding motivation to express it. (po 129)
Linking this talent to the concept of creativity, she notes that
"Divergent thinking means becoming aware of and dealing with a great many
possibil ities" (p.193), and divergent thinking, here being equated with
one aspect, at least, of creativity, includes "fluency, flexibility,
originality, sensitivity to problems, redefinition, and elaboration"
(p.193). Surely, these are the kinds of approaches that might hel p
resolve what is being referred to as paradoxes and dilemmas of 1iving.
Citing research studies, Tyler goes on to say:
Creative persons were more open to experience, more aware of
their own feelings, wider in their interests, and more
vulnerable to some sorts of psychopathology. However, they
also possessed strong ego controls that served to keep inner
turbulence from erupting. (p.194)
She continues with a recapitulation of findings that confirm the movement
of creative women towards the norm identified as "masculine" and of
creative men in the opposite direction, in conformity with McClelland's
(1975) findings about power needs.
Returning to Wilson (l964), he suggests that creativity is closely
rel ated to concepts of freedom and awareness that focus upon bringing
order out of chaos, and then, from The Myth of Sisyphus,[33] Camus'
essay, Wilson quotes:
110
Perhaps the great work of art has less importance in itself
than in the ordeal it demands of a man and the opportunity it
provides him of overcoming his phantoms and approaching a
little closer to his naked reality. (p.362)
Surely, Camus is talking about Winnicottls "true self," And it is
surely the search for meaning and value that gives life its meaning and
value. It is the process and not the product. And yet, as Erikson
(l96B, pp.139-141) points out, the human being seeks to transcend
himself. It is the transcendence that yields some measure of
satisfaction to an individual's existence. Some achieve this through
generativity in its many forms, from biological procreativity, to more
material embodiments, in Ertkson's institutions, perhaps. The paradox
surfaces again. This paper, surely, cannot resolve it. But in looking
at it through the life of another, still living embodiment of the
creative process, perhaps some light will be shed on the matter, to
illumine, if not to illuminate.
111
METHODOLOGY
The Question
The underlying question being addressed in this paper is "What gives
life meaning and value?" or, "What constitutes success in life?" or,
"What makes a life successful?" The basic assumption is that this is a
meaningful question--that by examining one meaningful life useful
general izations will emerge. To this end, the question can be framed
hypothetically:
A psychobiography of a successful older person will reveal
patterns of living, styles of relating, life themes and an
emergent life story that has coherence, meaning and value not
only to the self whose life is presented but to others as
well; not only for the person whose life it is, but for the
human condition.
The eminent biographer Leon Ede1, in the latest edition of Writing
Lives (1984), speaks of "the figure under the carpet", which is his
metaphorical way of referring to the "keys••• to the private mythology
of the individual" (p.29). It is this private mythology that lies at the
heart of the question to be answered by the present psychobiography. The
question is, "Can a successful older woman's 1ife course, honestly to1d
and skillfully analyzed, suggest to others how to live more
successfully?" "Can it have implications helpful to other lives?"
Success, however, must be carefully defined. One obvious and easy
measure lies in external manifestations. This usually involves a work
product: accompl i shments and achievements that are concrete and pub1i c.
112
The person who wins recognition in a profession, field of learning, or
the arts; someone who demonstrates some outstanding skill or talent--such
people qualify as successful in the commonplace definition of the word.
The subject chosen for this study does so qualify. But that is the most
superficial, albeit the most easily generalized, definition of success.
Beyond this level, which implies a high degree of competency in some
field of endeavor, there are at least two other levels to be considered.
There is the interpersonal level of relationships--with significant
others, family and intimate friends; with peers and professional
associates; with persons in positions of authority and with subordinates;
finally, with the community and the larger society.
At still another level, there is the intrapsychic world of the self:
the area that Edel has cited, where the individual confronts herself and
lives her private, personal, internal and unique life. It is this most
intimate level of existence that most concerns the psychobiographer. For
it is in this world that success must finally find validation.
The word or phrase used to describe this kind of success might be
"contentment," or even "happiness"; more often, it is "sel f-real ization,"
"self-actual ization," or "sel f-ful fill ment," Whatever name the person
gives it, it is an assessment applied to the most deeply felt level of
personal identity. If the assessment is honest and positive, then the
person has fulfilled the criteria of success as defined in this paper.
It may, however, be easier for a person to feel positive than to be
honest. In the section above that deals with Winnicott's concepts of the
"true self" and "false self," it is the question of honesty that is being
addressed. There is no easy and simple test for such honesty. For the
113
individual herself cannot be labeled dishonest if she cannot distinguish
between the true and false selves. This is the central idea that
Winnicott is expressing: the paradox of the self-reflective subject
objectifying itself and then unconsciously falsifying its image. This
paradox is expressed throughout the literature on the self. In
Eriksonian terms, it is the ego that struggles for the integrity of its
identity. The alternative that it falls into is despair. Winnicott's
word would be "depress ton,"
At this point, some qualifiers are in order. No human being is
expected to be either completely honest or completely false. Success is
not absolute; neither is defeat. This analysis of a life will be viewed
along a continuum. More accurately, the life course will be viewed as
unfolding among many continua of existence. Terms of lIei t her/ or
ll
should
be construed, whenever possible, to include assumptions of II mor ell and/or
III ess" as well.
Life contains conflict; some interpersonal; some intrapsychic. How
conflict manifests itself in the subject's life, and how she handles,
adjusts, adapts, and integrates these conflicts into the ongoing flow of
her life course will influence the assessment of success. As age
advances, a life relatively free of conflict during childhood, youth, and
the mature middle years may become more conflicted. As has been implied
above, the stressors of advancing years, those attendant on decrements
and losses, primari ly, make growing 01 d confl ict-ridden, rather than
serene and tranquil. How earlier conflicts have been met and resolved
may furnish templates for later adaptation to more severe stresses.
114
On the other hand, these new stressors coming upon the subject late
in life may require different responses dependent upon a utilization of
creative solutions not heretofore experienced. How the subject adapts to
change is perhaps the crucial issue. Change may be more or less benign
or traumatic. But even benign change can be stressful, since it requires
a rec i proca1 change in the agent acted upon. For example, consi der a
change from a stimulating and challenging life to one that may verge on
boredom. This is not an uncommon complaint of many people who face
retirement. If one has adapted well to the stimulating challenges of the
so-called "marketplace," then a dearth of such stimulation might be felt
not as a welcome relief but as a lapse into meaninglessness, or purpose-
lessness, or even as mindlessness.
Assuming that the conditions of the hypothetical question are met--
that the "successful older person" meets the criteria of "success" as
outlined above and that the psychobiography does yield some generalizable
principles about how to lead a life of meaning and value that others may
examine, at least two corollaries should follow. The first:
The strategies that the subject uses to cope with losses of
aging, including the final loss of life itself, should become
apparant through the process of interaction in interviewing
for the psychobiography and through analyzing evolving
patterns and methods of handling such losses which alleviate
stress and mitigate pain throughout life.
From this it follows that these strategies of coping, with their unique
variations, should point the way for others to develop their own
variations on a common theme, their own strategies for coping with the
losses accompanying aging and approaching death.
115
Second, there is a corollary that relates to gender and issues
arising from it, issues relating to the self as woman:
If the psychobiography of a successful older person yields
insights about the human condition across the 1ife course,
then such a study of a successful older woman should yield
insights particular to women.
Moreover, since this particular life course spans over four-fifths of the
present century, it may offer some interesting perspectives on some of
the historical, political and social changes that women have been living
through and in which they continue to participate. Particular attention
will be paid to the subjects's view of herself as outlined above. In
addition, the subject's self-definition as a woman will be examined
carefully. Specifically, how the subject sees herself in the role of a
young woman pursuing an advanced education for a profession, how she
views herself as a wife, a mother, a homemaker, and, simultaneously, as a
career woman, will be looked at closely. The focus is not simply upon a
successful human being, although that is primary. The subject's identity
as a successful woman is secondary, in the generic sense, but it is of
equa1 interest.
Some of these issues will be addressed in more detail under the
section headed "Analysis of Data".
116
The Sample[34]
The sample consists of one subject, a woman who will be called Mary.
She is 88 years old, white, middle-class and Protestant. Well known in
her profession, she was married for approximately forty years to a man
outstanding in the same field: psychology. They began their careers in
different divisions of psychology, but their interests converged early in
their shared lives. For most of their married life, they worked closely
together in a research institution within a large university that is part
of a large state system.
Mary did, however, also have a teaching position in another
department of the same university for a number of years.
At the time of Mary's and her husband's retirement, about 25 years
ago, her husband suffered a sudden, fatal heart attack. Soon afterward,
Mary came out of retirement and began working for a different university,
a large and prestigious private one in the same state. There she worked
for several years in a research program, using some of the data gathered
earlier when she and her husband had worked together.
For the last 15 years, Mary has worked as an unpaid volunteer
consultant in the same institution that her husband directed for a number
of years prior to his death.
In addition to her professional 1ife, Mary has had a rich private
life. She grew up in a nuclear family with three offspring, and her
older brother and. younger sister are still living. They live
geographically within the same region, so that visiting back and forth
several times a year is not too difficult. Mary is the mother of two
daughters, who also live within the same state. She is a grandmother and
117
a great-grandmother. The great-grandchildren live in a town adjacent to
her own home town.
Mary is currently living in the home into which she and her husband
and the two children moved when they came from the East Coast to the West
Coast 57 years ago. A grandson occupies a small apartment in her home.
Mary's life is filled with people: friends and neighbors, peers and
proteges, intimate and extended family. It is Mary's long and complex
life course that will be studied in this psychobiography.
Procedures
Preliminary interview. The primary procedure to be used in this
study is the personal interview. Prior to these interviews, however,
will be a nonrecorded preliminary meeting between the subject and this
researcher. The purpose of this meeting will be to negotiate the
contract. Although this will be an oral agreement, it will include a
Consent Form (see Appendix A).
Practical matters, such as the number of personal interviews to be
recorded, will be discussed also at the preliminary meeting.
Appointments will be scheduled for these interviews, and the length will
be agreed upon. The subject and the researcher have agreed informally,
prior to this meeting, that the interviews should be held in the
subject's home before noon on weekdays. This tentative decision will be
confirmed or changed at the preliminary meeting, depending upon the
needs or preferences of the subject. In addition, a Biographical Fact
118
Sheet (see Appendix B), will be completed by the researcher, hereinafter
called the interviewer, with the help of the subject, hereinafter called
the narrator. Some of the vital statistics, acquired from written
sources or learned from the narrator prior to this preliminary meeting,
will be penciled in on the fact sheet in advance to save time. These
answers will be checked for accuracy at this meeting. The fact sheet
will be used as a frame of reference for the interviewer throughout the
ongoing narrative as the recorded interviews progress. The biographical
fact sheet will serve, therefore, as a skeleton on which the narrator's
story will flesh out the life history. At this first meeting, a copy of
a chronological time line will be given to the narrator also, as an aid
for recollection of sequences of life events. This time line (see
Appendix C) will help both narrator and interviewer place several events
of the life history into historical perspective.
Finally, the matter of confidentiality will be discussed at the
preliminary meeting. The interviewer must satisfy the narrator that it
will be inviolate. Anonymity is problematic. The narrator is well known
in the field. She has been written about extensively and is referred to
qUite often in journals. She has lived and worked in this community for
almost sixty years. It would be difficult to write the kind of
psychobiography that is being outlined herein and also assure the
narrator anonymity. For these reasons, confidential ity becomes very
important. The interviewer, therefore, will promise the narrator that
any requests for deletion of material from the tapes of the recorded
interviews will be compl ied with without question. In addition, the
narrator will read the final draft of the psychobiography, and the writer
119
will comply with any additional requests the narrator may make for
revisions and/or deletions.
Beyond these concrete matters, the preliminary interview will
provide a transition for narrator and interviewer from a quasi-social
relationship to a working one.
Interviews and interview schedules. (See Appendix D). There will be
at least six interviews, but not more than eight. Each will last
approximately one hour, with a short (ten to twenty minutes) intermission
between each half hour. Interviews will be taped on a cassette recorder
and transcribed verbatim as soon as possible following the interviews.
The plan is to encourage the narrator to tell her life story in a
chronological sequence. The questions on the interview schedules have
been generated to ascertain that issues germane to the theoretical
position outlined in the literature review and stated under the section
The Question above are covered.[35]
Each interview, including the first, following the preliminary one,
will begin by asking the narrator whether or not she would like to add
any thought, idea, or fact that might have occurred to her in the
interval between interviews. At the same time, the interviewer will have
a chance to ask for clarification about facts or issues from prior
interviews.
At the end of each interview, the interviewer will ask the narrator
if there is anything she would like to add to the particular taped
session.
120
There is one additional question, next to the last one mentioned,
that appears on each questionnaire: "What did you like best and least
about your life at that time?" or, "What did you like best or least about
yourself at that period in your life?" This question, or reasonable
variation, will be asked to encourage introspection and self-assessment
by the narrator, as well as to inform the interviewer.
The remaining questions are framed to elicit thoughts and feelings
about the themes that the researcher believes relate to the central
questions being investigated in this study. These are questions about
the assessment or evaluation of a successful life, as "success" and
"successful II have been defined throughout this paper. The themes are:
se 1f-concepts, inc1udi ng concepts of the self as woman; i nterpersona1
relationships; personality patterns; personal values; professional
development; sources of gratification, regeneration, fun (in Winnicott's
terminology, "pl ay"); goals and aspirations (including disgarded ones);
finances, personal economics (money); health and illnesses (including
losses through death). Questions are framed around these issues as they
impinge on the salient events emerging in the chronological telling of
the life story.
Added to the themes enumerated above, there is an important
relationship in the 1ife of the narrator that is unusual if not unique.
It involves a longitudinal study that has continued for approximately
fifty years. The narrator has taken a number of important and diverse
roles in the study over this half-century span. She was a research
scientist who helped plan the study at its inception and analyze data
later.
121
Still later, she was also a member of a professional team that
observed the subjects of the study, numbering in the dozens. M o ~ e
recently, she has continued her role as a liason between present
researchers and the study subjects, and that role has sometimes expanded
and merged into one verging on friend and confidante to subjects, as well
as thei r fami ly members.
At the same time, the narrator has a relationship to the institution
under whose auspices the study continues. That relationship has evolved
over the years as well and shifted from one of professional staff member
to that of professional emeritus volunteer.
When it is realized that the first Director of Research of the
institution that sponsors the study was the late husband of the narrator,
that he and she worked together in setting up the study, and that, for 25
years, he was the Director of the institute, the possible ramifications
of this complex relationship in the life of the narrator become more
apparent. What the consequences may be needs to be explored with her.
In the last interview, therefore, the interviewer's approach changes to a
collegial one, from that of interviewer to interviewee as heretofore.
This change in perspective will be adopted to facilitate exploration of
the many-faceted and significant relationships in the narrator's 1ife
that have evolved throughout the study.
Other questions to be raised in the final interview are concerned
with the narrator's retrospective self assessment.
Before leaving the topic of the interviews and the questions on the
schedules, the chronological outline and its rationale should be
explained. The Eriksonian stage theory of human development, as
122
expl icated in Childhood and Society (1963), has been taken as a model.
Without rigidly adhering to Eriksonls periods of organic, psychological,
and socio-cultural development for the unfolding of ego identity (PP.
247-274), it is nonetheless against this background that the
chronological outline for the interview schedules evolved.
The first interview covers, therefore, the early formative years,
continues into the period of elementary or grade school years, and
culminates with completion of high school. In terms of Erikson's theory,
the first five stages of his epigenetic outline are collapsed into the
first interview (p. 273).
The second interview schedule covers the college and graduate school
years and corresponds, roughly, to Erikson's sixth stage, which he calls
"Young Adulthood." This is the period that he sees as focusing on issues
of intimacy and generativity. It is during this period that the narrator
marries and begins her family life. The second interview schedule
conti nues, therefore, into Eri kson's seventh stage, 1abel ed "Adul thood,"
in which the positive equation is called "Generativity."
Interview schedule three also elicits answers to questions about
issues Erikson finds paramount in his seventh stage. This schedule takes
the 1i fe history from ea rl y parenthood and earl y career up to
approximately 40 years of age. This period overlaps Eriksonls sixth and
seventh stages and merges into his eighth and last stage, called
IIMaturity. 'I
Interview schedule four covers the period from early middle age to
the mid-fifties, verging on young old age. This corresponds loosely to
Erikson's eighth stage in its earliest phase. The questions in this
123
schedule concentrate on the middle years of parenting and the possible
losses through the deaths of parents or other intimates. Early successes
in career are also questioned here.
The fifth interview schedule questions career achievements in the
decade prior to usual retirement, raises issues of retirement, and
questions how the children are maturing. This schedule is
chronologically centered in the years of maturity, Erikson's last stage.
Widowhood comes suddenly to the narrator at this time and is addressed
also in this schedule.
Interview six raises questions about young old age, the decade from
65 to 75 years. These are the early years of widowhood for the narrator,
following the first two grief-stricken years. It is in these years that
the narrator faces her life without a mate and forges a new style of
living in the world. Issues concerning these radical changes are central
in this interview. Erikson's eighth stage is characterized as one in
which the ego grapples with issues of integrity versus despair. Since it
is the last stage in his design, he suggests that this is the issue that
confronts the individual from mature adult years until death. In the
framework of this study, however, this sixth interview schedule is
questioning how the narrator resolves these issues during the decade
following her husband's sudden death. This event occurs on the eve of
their r e t i r e m e n ~
The seventh and final interview schedule continues by examining the
narrator's relationships with the longitudinal study, as noted above.
Other questions raised in this last interview are aimed at a summation of
the narrator's life and her own evaluations about it, looking back over
124
the full course as it has emerged in this telling of it. The primary
emphasis is on an assessment of her life in terms of the development of
the self--as person and as woman.
Standardized measure as projective technique. In addition to
answers sought to questions on the interview schedules, one other
procedure will be used to el icit information pertinent to the central
questions of this study. This is an instrument composed of two
questionnaires called IIHassles
ll
and IIUplifts
ll
(Kanner et el., 1981). It
is cited in the literature review (p.13 above). These scales attempt to
measure changes in psychological symptoms over time. In the study cited
in the journal article, positive correlations were found between hassles,
which include minor as well as major stressors of dailing living, and the
psychological symptoms, both current and subsequent. The uplifts,
pleasurable, satisfying or even joyous events in everyday life, showed a
positive correlation with symptoms for women, but not for men. This
apparent contradiction is explained in the analysis as lIa function of a
'shared' variance between upl ifts and hassles" (P. 20). In the Kanner
study, there was a modest correlation, also, for positive and negative
affect with uplifts and hassles respectively. The authors conclude that
their scales may be a better predictor of adaptational outcomes as they
rel ate to stress and coping than the usual 1ife events approach which
attempts to measure the so-called major crises of life.
In the study being undertaken here, this researcher realizes that
both the nar rat or-' s vers i on of her 1i fe hi s tory as well as the
interviewer's evaluation are subjective. The narrator's review is
125
subject to di stort ions of memory; the i ntervi ewer's to tha t of
interpretation.
Furthermore, the principal terms of the hypothesis and sub-
hypotheses, as stated above under the heading The Question, the words
"successful," "value," "insight," and "meaning," require quite
subjective and individualized definitions for validation. Therefore, the
hassles and uplift scales appear worth administering to help in drawing
inferences relative to the hypothesis and sub-hypotheses. The scales
administered at the time of the interviews should yield data relating to
how the subject is adapting to her present life.
In the study being undertaken herein, however, the hassles and
uplift scales are being used not to predict coping strategies or
adaptational outcomes over time, nor are they being compared with any
other sampl e outcomes. They are, rather, being used only once to hel p
the interviewer/researcher gain some measure of how the narrator views
her life at the current period relative to stressors and possible
alleviators or mitigators of stress. This use is a projective one, to
gauge the narrator's state of mind and overall emotional mood--her
outlook on her present life; her morale. She is looking over the entire
course of her life from the perspective of the here and now. This
perspective serves as a filter through which the past is viewed. What is
factored in as well as what is filtered out will color and influence the
constructions she places on her past life. The facts should remain the
same, but her point of view, influenced by her generalized affect, is an
important determinant of present assessments about meaning and value
overall. The scales, therefore, offer the psychobiographer a tool for
126
assessment beyond those connected solely with skills and intuitive gifts.
Since the scales attempt to tap intensity of stressors as well as levels
and range of stressors, they should be useful as an interpretative
device.
The instrument will be given to the subject to answer at her leisure
over the several weeks that elapse while the interviews are being
conducted. A copy of the scales is included in Appendix E. The subject
will be provided a copy in enlarged print to aid her in reading it, since
her vision is failing.
When the scales are completed, the interviewer will be able, if
appropriate, to ask for more information about any specific hassle or
uplift that may appear to be of particular importance in the present life
of the subject. These questions could be brought up during the
clarification periods prior to anyone of the interview hours.
The next section of thi s chapter on methodology is being incl uded
here under the heading of Procedures because, although it may appear to
be more theoretical than practical, it nonetheless deal s with questions
of interview techniques and procedures.
Training, Ethics, and Values
Runyan (l982) has a short but humbling passage entitled "Tretntnq"
in his chapter on The Psychobiography Debate. The first point he
addresses is on the question of how expert the psychobiographer needs to
be in both history and psychology. Not only is the psychobiographer
expected to meet certain standards of scholarship and training in both
disciplines, but s/he must also be knowledgeable enough in the field in
127
which the subject's 1ife is involved creatively to assess properly that
life as it is revealed through work. To fail in meeting these standards
leaves the psychobiographer open to being found naive, uninformed, or
grossly incompetent.
Charles ~ Hofling (1976), using working definitions from the report
of the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force on Psychobiography,
attempts to clarify some of the problems involved in considering ethics
and scholarship in psychobiography.[36] First he makes the point that it
is the scale of the endeavor that determines whether the author is
writing psychobiography or psychohistory. Using Erikson's work as an
example, Hofling suggests that a work of this scope is not merely
psychobiography; since it encompasses the ipfluence of the subject on the
larger world, the work must be viewed as psychohistory.[37] More global
ethical issues emerge in this latter case. The most difficult case,
according to Hofl f nq, is "That in which the psychohistorian is a
psychiatrist and his subject is a prominent living person and conational"
(p, 231). It is clear, from Hofl ing's specific examples, that the kind
of public figures he has in mind, as well as the scope of the work
itself, are much larger than is involved in the present paper. This
writer, moreover, is neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist. And,
even more telling, this paper is not intended for a large audience nor
for publication. Nevertheless, the pitfalls that Hofling points out are
important enough and the analogy to the situation of the subject and the
present writer close enough that the issues need to be raised.
Hofling is particularly concerned about unconscious psychodynamics
that may become clear, in the process of interviewing, to the
128
interviewer, but not be accessible to the subject.[38] He suggests that,
having "been given the informed consent of his subject to make and
publish his analysis" (p. 231), which consent includes the subject's
prior reading and approving the interviewer's product, the interviewer
"would seldom encounter ethical problems which could not be solved
through good taste and common sense" (p. 231). Hofl ing extends the
requirement for informed consent to studies not for publication as well.
In the realm of scholarly issues, Hofling notes the problem Runyan
(1982) raises about the expertise of the interviewer in all relevant
fields. He suggests that the best solution would be collaboration.
Although consultation has become, according to Hofl ing, commonpl ace, it
is not enough.
Finally, Hofling turns to the question of ideological bias. He
suggests, once again, collaboration as an appropriate solution: "It
would be of high value for the psychohistorian, of whatever primary
discipl ine, to consult with other psychohistorians holding differing
ideologies" (P. 236). There is merit in Hofling's suggestion, to be
sure, but the difficulties of implementing it, both strategic and
affective, make it unlikely of gaining wide acceptance. The more it is
needed, the more resistance might be mounted against the idea.
Since Hofling realizes that many psychohistorians may be reluctant
to seek out collaboration, he ends his paper with a strong plea for "a
frank statement by the psychohistorical author" of her/his values and
ideology: "of his identity... and stance with respect to pol itical,
rel igious, social, and other val ues" (p.238).
129
Another article on the ethical issue of the interviewer bias views
it from a different perspective. Richard H. Blum (1981) opens by stating
that "All interactions between a biographer and his human sources affect
the quality of the information gathered and ultimately the quality of the
finished biography" (p. 293). But he is concerned not so much with
conscious values and ideology as it influences outcome as with certain
problems in cognition and perception that lead to distortions that are
imposed on the life history and that interfere with "establishing a
creative milieu for the unique joint enterprise that constitutes
contemporary biography" (p, 293). The contribution that experimental
psychology makes to biography is in its "highly relevant findings about
how the mind works--memory, information processing, jUdging and
conceptualizing persons" (p. 295). These findings lead Blum to conclude
that the biographer's mind, interacting with the mind of the sUbject
being interviewed, can interpret material in such a way that the "breadth
and accuracy of portrayal" (P. 295) is limited. He continues by pointing
out that the image that the biographer or the psychologist presents from
the data base, however carefully, ski 11 fully and accurately drawn, can
only be a correspondence to the person being portrayed: "historical
'facti and biographical or autobiographical 'truth' are subject to the
same principles of probabil ity and uncertainty that are operative in
scientific observation" (p.296).
From this relativist position, Blum goes on to list some sources of
distortion that he believes to be particularly active in the biographical
enterprise. At the social psychological level, there is the all-too-
human desire to please. The subject tries to give the interviewer what
130
the subject thinks is being sought. One way this is commonly done is by
the subject's adopting an attitude that is conventional and conforming.
Sometimes the same goal is sought by the subject exaggerating his/her own
importance.
Another source of bias that may operate is that of attributing both
cause and intent to events where there is little objective evidence to
support such attributions. Blum points out that human beings are prone
to be more negative in attribution of motives and more positive about the
powers of causation that people possess than reality often warrants.
One of the most interesting points Blum makes is about group norms.
These norms include dicta about what can be said, about values operating
in the group, about the acceptability or unacceptability of people who
are not group members, as well as stereotypes to characterize individuals
who are not known well. As a consequence of this powerful tendency
toward group norms, the interviewer and the subject may become a group,
and may unwittingly seek "consensus" as the interviews continue (p.297).
This pull to consensus can also lead the interviewer to distort in
several ways: by avoiding probes that might reveal differing points of
view; by recasting formulations to conform to a developing norm; or by
out-and-out suppression of contradictory data. If the interviewer knows
about these hazards, s/he may be able to resist them successfully. But
in doing so, s/he may provoke the subject into refusing to cooperate
further, or even into disrupting the interview completely. Blum offers
some techniques, tested in clinical situations, that may avoid
confrontations without jeopardizing honest communication. The use of
indirect questions is one. The mirroring of underlying feelings can also
131
generate data flow. This flow may then provide the interviewer with
clues about motivations. Another helpful suggestion is to return to
questions at a later interview, phrasing them differently. The
interviewer can also offer interpretations that s/he is fairly certain
are not accurate, in the hope that the subject will then volunteer more
accurate information as a corrective.
So far, Blum has been addressing situations that distort, but
usually without fully conscious intent. At this point, he states
bluntly:
lying is quite common (see Farber, 1976; ludwig, 1965); it is
used readily to mantain self-interest, to defend against
criticism or disapproval, to maintain interpersonal harmony,
to achieve exploi tative or coercive advantages, or even for
fun, which might be a sense of triumph for the 1iar.[39] (p,
298)
In explaining this passage, Blum enumerates the many ways that lying may
be woven into the defense sytem of an individual, so that it serves
her/his needs and operates at varied levels of consciousness. Some of
his examples approach the pathological end of the spectrum, but some are
much more subt l e, mixing "lying, projecting, vanity, self-reference, and
theories of conspiracy" (p, 299). The interviewer must be skilled in
recognizing the subtler delusions of relatively normal subjects, but,
more important for the present case, in all probability, the interviewer
must be able to discern reality from group concensus. Sometimes a
subject will be consistently viewed by members of her/his own movement or
professional group. But this shared view may be radically different from
an informed one that is outside the subject's group. In such situations,
the interviewer cannot rely upon the consistent view of peer groups.
132
They may be interpreting a factual event in a life from a genesis that is
distorted.
In speaking of memory distortions, Blum, citing Estes (1980),
suggests that human memory is rarely accurate, nor was meant to be.[40]
The main point he is making is that viewing human memory as a storage and
retrieval system tends to misrepresent it. It is constantly reorganizing
as a function of experience. There are, moreover, modifications caused
by "emotions, aging, health" (p, 300), which may result in forgetting
(which mayor may not be irreversible). Emotional distress, organic
problems in the brain or in other parts of the body (pain, physical or
emotional), or "some immediate anxiety-induced incapacity for attention
or reca l l" may induce memory loss (p. 300). Since interviews are in
themselves a common source of tension and anxiety, the interviewer should
be alert to the possibility of "dtsorqantzed presentation, forgetting,
and inconsistency" (p. 301).
Another factor, according to Bl urn, that is bound to contribute to
some distortion of the interviewee1s testimony is the interviewer
herself/himself:
Interviewing, structuring, and writing--is influenced by the
biographer1s own culture and class, his values and
personality, his interpersonal and intrapersonal experiences
as a biographer. (p, 301)
By far the greatest error caused by the interviewer comes from "1 oaded
questions, suggestions, censored hearing, selective writing, and subtle
[verbal or nonverbal gestures] rewards" which arise from lithe
interviewer's assumption that he knows what it is the respondent intends
to say" (c. 301).
133
At this point, Blum cites Nisbett and Ross, who surveyed
experimental studies and take a pessimistic view about the ability of
human beings to gather accurate data, evaluate it, and reach valid
predictions about self and others.[41] But these errors are not due to
neurotic conflicts or emotional blocks; rather, they result from a
fundamental condition of the human mind. It is, according to these
findings, subject to faulty logical processes that lead to simplistic
theories about ourselves as well as others.
Having outlined, in some detail, the stumbling blocks to successful
biographical interviewing, Blum turns to a prescription building on
ethical foundations for trust that facilitates disclosure. In defining a
condition that he calls "paratransference," Blum differentiates it from
transference as it is defined in psychoanalysis (p. 304). It is not the
same as transference, although there are some striking similarities. If
the interviewer has successfully establ ished rapport with the subject,
paratransference will occur naturally. The interviewer will recognize
its presence when the subject begins to treat her/him in a way that would
be appropriate if s/he were the person about whom the subject is
speaking; or, if the subject actually addresses the interviewer by the
name of the other person. Sensing that s/he has become the recipient of
recollected feelings for significant persons from the subject's past, the
skillful interviewer will allow her/himself to flow with these feelings
and recollections. They are what lend authenticity to the material
collected. One primary difference, of course, between paratransference
and transference per se lies in how it is used: in the biographical
interview, it is not a therapeutic tool.
134
As the subject becomes aware of the situation, s/he may be able to
unlock other memories and explore the past in a totally new way,
especially if the interviewer facilitates the experience through her/his
sensitive collaboration: lilt is as if one photograph shown to a person
brings to mind other forgotten pictures that are then brought out of a
closed drawer" (po 305) is the way Blum phrases the experience.[42] Blum
is speaking about the person's being interviewed for data regarding a
third person who is herself/himself the object of the biography. But the
same technique would lend itself, surely, to the subject herself/himself.
In that case, Blum's stipulation that the interviewer needs to weigh the
feelings evoked with the feelings about the same person that other
interviewees express would not apply. Of course, it would be interesting
to know how much the subject's feel ings coincide with others' testimony.
But the most important fact is the genuine response of the subject.
From such interaction as paratransference and evocation--the
interviewer's skillful eliciting of the paratransference response--
another working tool can be derived. Blum calls it "intuition" and
defines it as lithe integration of subconscious cues" (po 306). These
cues are emotional responses that the interviewer catches, as it were,
from nonverbal behavior of the subject that may bel ie her/his spoken
words.
Since the successful interviewer has now reached a point similar to
the one Hofling spoke of, that is, the interviewer may be aware of more
than the subject, a heavy ethical principle now rests upon her/him. Blum
expresses it thus:
135
The writer of contemporary biography must simultaneously
honor his commitment to scholarship and his commitment to the
well being of his informants and the reputations of the
recently deceased. (p.307)
The commitment to the well-being of the informant is spelled out by Blum
in his description of the collaborative contract. In essence, it is an
exchange in which the subject gives freely her/his information, and the
interviewer, in return, gives a pledge to respect that trust by honoring
the subject's need for confidential ity and privacy. The bnoundaries to
be hammered out between the two people involved in this intimate
undertaking cannot be generalized; they will be uniquely tailored to the
two people that are interrelating. The final contract, however, will
evolve over the life of the relationship and will probably not be
completed until the final interview.
Blum's last statement relates to the question of theory and its
relationship to facts. He points out that an integrating biographical
theory is a prerequisite for °a meaningful biography. But the danger lies
in the theory's becoming more important in the eyes of the observer than
the data that amasses. The tolerance of ambiguity is the sine ~ non of
a competent biographer; s/he must be able to live with discrepancies.
Nevitt Sanford (1979), in an address honoring Henry Murray and
entitled Social Psychology: Its Place in Personology, gives his own
variation on the theme of interviewing that offers an interesting
complement to Blum's paper. He sees the interview as a form of action
research. Beginning with the concept of the open system, Sanford
places two individuals, researcher and researched, or interviewer and
interviewee, as the central figures in a much larger circle of
interaction, the group or the organization.
136
It is this larger
interaction that he is interested in promoting, recognizing that it is
integrally related to the dyad. His interest in the larger interaction
arises out of a desire to improve the human condition:
I am not interested in defining disciplines or the boundaries
between or among them. Instead of doing that we should
define human or social problems and ask ourselves what to do
about them. And we should start doing something now, with
the use of such knowledge as we have. (p.4)
Sanford then pays tribute to Freud as a change-maker, saying:
In Freud's practice of it, psychoanalysis was a cooperative
effort on the part of physician and patient to find out
things in order to do something to effect change, and doing
something in order to find out something. In the interaction
both were emotionally invol ved; both 1earned. (p.4)
Pointing out that people outside of the consulting room are just as
compl icated as patients, and often more interesting, Sanford begins to
develop the idea that interviewing has profound rewards for both the
subject and the interviewer. The people who are interviewed gain
insights through the process of formul ating and articul ating ideas and
thoughts that may have been inchoate until called forth by the empathic
interviewer. Being enabled to reflect on their 1ives in this manner
raises self-esteem. In turn, the interviewer benefits by seeing the
beneficial outcomes of her/his facilitating role. Opening up to the
reaction stimulated by the interviewee's response may lead to the
tntervtswers own development.
But Sanford goes beyond this and suggests that there has been a
false dichotomy between education and therapy that Freud himself did not
make. Genuine cognitive development, as distinct from mere technical
information, cannot be separated from moral and emotional
137
In the most straightforward expression of this thought, Sanford quotes a
student who, in a moment of insight, spontaneously summed up the reason
for a seminar's success as derivative of 1I10ve and trust" (p.16).
Sanford is not suggesting, any more than is Blum, that all theoretical
knowledge is abandoned. Quite the contrary. He goes on to urge his
colleagues in the field of higher education to promote the climate of
trust that leads to deve10pment--cognitive as well as moral and
emotiona1--by sharing more of themselves: IIWe should bring more of
ourselves to our teaching, allowing students to see not only the reality
we have constructed but something of the person who did the constructing
ll
(p.18). And this includes "being able to admit it when you are wrong
ll
(PP. 23-24).
Turning to yet another statement on the value of a life history, one
that focuses upon the subject primarily, Dailey (1971) has this to offer:
Few undergo a searching assessment without wondering,
worrying, or thinking deeply about it. Assessment should
leave the subject person with a more helpful image of his
life, a more valid impression of what he is and what he can
do. Classical assessment paid little or no attention to this
side effect. For life-history assessment it is the main
effect. (p.63)
Taking into consideration all of the above insights and endeavoring to
integrate them so that the interviewer may faci1 itate the subject in
telling her/his life story in a way that would be reciprocally beneficial
is a challenge of some magnitude. The modest phrase of Dai1ey's, lIa more
helpful image of his life, a more valid impression of what he is and what
he can do,1I coupled with Sanford's permission lito admit it when you are
wrong,1I gives hope to the novice.
138
But there is another article written by James M. Freeman and David
L. Krantz, The Unfulfilled Promise of Life History (1980), that raises
issues aired above in a more sweeping way. The authors suggest that the
problem is of such magnitude that this writer's hope, as expressed in the
preceding paragraph, is hopelessly premature.
Freeman and Krantz begin by pointing out the the "promise" that has
been talked about relative to life histories' contribution to knowledge
in the social science field has not materialized over the past fifty
years. They then suggest that it never will, until or unless the
relationship between narrator and interviewer is recognized as of such an
order that it "is involved in the creation of the very data he [the
narrator] analyzes" (p.B), The authors cite many examples to show that
this problem is not a newly discovered one, beginning with Allport (1942)
and Kluckhohn (1945).[43] But they do not believe it has been dealt with
forthrightly nor adequately; they think that the radical implications of
the problem are only beginning to be recognized. It is, therefore,
essential that life history data be viewed in this new light prior to any
assessment as to whether or not there is such a "promise" that might, or
might not be "fulfilled."
The promise that is not being fulfilled is the "unique" value" (p.3)
that life histories are said to be able to contribute. This rests, say
Freeman and Krantz, on "the 1ife history in its entirety" (p.4) and "the
process of taking a life history... is an integral part of a complete life
history" (p.4). There are other contributions, to be sure, but those
others can be made by other data collecting methods, Freeman and Krantz
claim. Of those contributions that 1ife histories make, only the ones
139
that pertain to the history-taking process itself is capable, perhaps, of
making some social science analyses and assessments possible that would
not be possible in any other way. This is because "Narrated life
histories... involve the creation of a whole new body of data that
previously did not exist" (p. 6). These authors continue by pointing
out:
Life histories do not just happen as inevitable developments
integral to a society, but are... consciously staged and
directed by the investigator, even when the investigator
tries to be non-directive. The creation of a life history is
voluntary. Furthermore, the outcome of a life history is
unpredictable--neither narrator nor investigator has any way
of knowing what will be revealed about each other during the
process of creating the life history, nor have they any idea
of what the end results will be, nor their implications. (p.
9)
This position leads Freeman and Krantz to note that a large part of the
data that contributes to the history as it is written never is reported.
These data concern the relationship between the narrator and the
interviewer-editor-researcher as it is Because the data are
not reported, they cannot be assessed. Since they are inaccessible, no
one knows whether they are or are not important in develop i ng
"theoretically significant conclusions, (p.9). Finally, say the authors:
"Life histories pose puzzling problems for social scientists: the
distinction between method and content is no longer applicable, nor that
between observer and observed, editor and The end result of a
1ife history is the combination of these" (p.s).
This writer tends to agree with Freeman and Krantz. Nevertheless,
the position being taken in this study is to view the history of the 1He
course as subject matter (see pp. 40ff above) and to apply the
140
methodology as outlined previously in this chapter to the history. It is
important to be aware, however, that the question of content and process,
ever-present when interpersonal relationships are involved, is a central
issue in theoretical questions about life histories. This is another
reverberation of the nomothetic and idiographic debate discussed above.
It echoes the ideas expressed in the Polyani (1968) and Smith (1968)
articles, the interactionist positions mentioned above in the chapter on
The Self, as well as Winnicott's paradox of self as object. Resolution
is not possible. The best that can be hoped for is vigilant awareness on
the part of the interviewer-researcher.
In concluding this Procedures section of the chapter on Methodology,
a brief recapitulation is in order. First, the researcher will visit the
subject for an informal preliminary meeting that will introduce the
research plan to the subject and gain her written consent to participate.
At this meeting the biographical fact sheet will be completed and checked
with the subject for accuracy. The scales on Hasseles and Uplifts may be
explained to the subject and left with her at this time. Appointments
for future interviews will be scheduled. Any questions that the subject
has about the research will be entertained and answered as fully as
possible.
The six to eight hour-long interviews that follow one another at
weekly intervals will be tape-recorded narratives of the subject's life
history. By allowing the subject to narrate her history as spontaneously
as possible, without abandoning a chronological outline, the interviewer
will try to facilitate the subject's recall and encourage a high level of
disclosure. To be sure that issues pertaining to the theoretical
141
concerns of the study are covered, the interviewer will use the questions
generated on the interview schedules as needed. The questions have been
framed to el icit information about significant events of the subject's
life and encourage thoughtful and affective responses to issues and
themes related to the theoretical concerns as they might emerge from the
context of events and responses, behavioral as well as cognitive,
throughout the life course.
The Hasseles and Uplift scales are an additional tool to aid the
interviewer in assessing the level of stress that the subject is having
in her current 1ife. By examining responses on both scales, it may be
possible to understand the coping strategies that the subject uses to
meet the challenges of life. It may also provide some hints about the
subject's present outlook on her life that might color her view of past
periods in her personal history.
The last section of Procedures assesses the importance of the
interviewer's awareness of the countless and complex ways that the
interpersonal dynamic between the narrator and interviewer can influence
the psychobiography that evolves through this process. The issue of the
possibility of arriving at an accurate life history is questioned as long
as the interpersonal relationship between narrator and interviewer is not
made an explicit part of the psychobiography. Issues of transference and
counter-transference as well as interviewer bias are raised.
Communication that is non-verbal and covert, as well as unconscious and
preconscious, are also raised. All manner of tacit assumptions and
unrecogn i zed predi spes i t ions are explored as components of the
relationship between the two people involved in constructing the document
142
to be produced and then analyzed. One basic assumption that this paper
rests upon: that the life course is the subject matter to be assessed,
using the procedure outl ined above as methodological tools, is brought
into question and examined critically. There is no easy answer to this
criticism. The writer recognizes the enormity of the problem. It is in
the nature of the paradox examined throughout this paper from different
theoretical perspectives. Nevertheless, the task will be undertaken and
imperfectly executed. Perhaps the unique value of the life history will
not be achieved. But some value may still be realized.
Analysis of Data
In Tell ing Lives (l981), Alfred Kazin speaks about the "emphasis on
the self in America's ancestral Protestantism" (p.76) in his essay
entitled The Self as History: Reflections on Autobiography. The kernel
of his message, as it relates to this study, is that lI a basic function of
such writing is to cure oneself of guilt and sal f'-dtv is ton" (p.79). And
Kazin continues with this statement: IIFor the nonfiction writer, as I can
testify, personal history is directly an effort to find salvation, to
make one's own experience come out right" (p.79).
Another contributor to Tell ing Lives (1981). Leon Edel, in speaking
primarily about biography written from carefully edited archives, has
this to say:
143
The biographer must learn to know the [revealing mask of
life] ... and in doing this he will have won half the battle.
The other half is his real battle, the most difficult part of
his task--his search for what I call the figure under the
carpet, the evidence in the reverse of the tapestry, the
1i fe-myth of a gi ven mask... in our quest for the 1i fe-myth we
tread on dangerous speculative and inferential ground••~ F o r
we must read certain psychological signs that enable us to
understand what people are really saying behind the faces
they put on, behind the utterances they allow themselves to
make before the world....If one approaches [a subject] with
the right questions, one carries a series of important keys
to locked doors. The right doors will open if the right
questions are asked; the mountains of trivia will melt away,
and essences will emerge. (PP. 24-55)
Following this aesthetically satisfying description, Edel explains in
more concrete, less metaphorical terms what he means. By giving examples
from biographies that have been more or less successful at discovering
and disclosing "the reverse of the tapestry," Edel shows the reader the
"essences" that have been distilled. But he also says that he is "not
aware that [biographers] have consciously sought to describe a method"
(Po 25), and he continues by pointing out that it is easy to do this,
"nor can this method be mechanically learned. It requires a certain kind
of talent, a certain kind of look at the reverse of a tapestry" (PP. 25-
26). Before leaving Edels apt metaphor for more concrete details, it
should be noted that his essay makes it quite clear that he does not mean
to convey a simple reverse image as the correct approach. Rather, he is
at pains to explain that the essences he seeks are not positives or
negatives or any other polarized opposites, but rather some sub-stratum
of identity integration that may outwardly manifest itself as either or
both sides of this familiar coin. Furthermore, there is no easy formula,
no mathematical equation, to test the validity of one's analysis--not
144
even a technique. One cannot point to characteristics of smoothness or
ambiguity; simplicity or complexity, or any other sure descriptions of
success. How then, can one tell? This is the riddle left to be solved.
Some attempt must be made to describe an adequate approach to the
analysis of data gathered.
To develop some guidelines, it may help to look to a trained
psychologist who has specialized in psychobiography. Runyan (l982), in
his chapter on psychobiography, has raised some issues about evidence
that are important to consider. Like Edel, Runyan is speaking about
archival data, primarily. In the particular study undertaken here, the
evidence is to be gathered from the subject, primarily. Even when
archival data are consulted, the subject herself will be turned to for
confirmation and verification of it. This throws the researcher back
into the complex morass of interpersonal process described above, in the
previous section on Procedures, as well as in the immediately previous
paragraphs.
The first problem that needs addressing is the mass of data that
will emerge from the taped interviews. In the procedural explanation, as
outlined above, the researcher's plan is to elicit a chronological
narrative that is loosely structured by a historical, societal time
frame. This frame is meant to guide the narrator and to stimulate her
memory, but not to restrict or limit her. It is being introduced in the
service of order, as opposed to choas, to encourage a free flow of
information and facilitate communication. The assumption is that a
certain amount of structure and coherence are necessary concomitants for
the kind of communication that leads to insight and understanding. The
145
danger is, of course, that this (or any) structure also can lead to
distortions, oversimplifications, and outright falsification. This
brings the question back to that of evidence. Runyan is right to insist
upon it as the basic matter to be examined in addressing the question of
method in psychobiography. But there is no gainsaying that a life as
long and as rich as the one to be examined here must be subject to, at
the very least, the kind of distortion of evidence endemic to
condensation. This is, however, only the first simplification. The
second may be even more critical. In attempting to assure that data be
forthcoming on the issues outlined in the literature review and
highlighted in the section on The Question, the focus has been further
refined, and, by definition, restricted. Certain questions related to
themes around issues of successful living will be pursued through the
interviews. And yet, with both limitations, the danger of too much
data--to assimilate, integrate, evaluate--still looms large. Runyan
states that historians question most the quality of evidence that
psychobiography relies upon. Very often, that criticism is of quality,
restricted by a lack of quantity. In this case, it is the quality itself
that may inhibit the assessment of the evidence. In the final analysis,
the evidence to be used will come from the subject's 1ife, as she sees
it. Since the subject is a woman of impeccable character and a high
order of intelligence who is freely entering this contract with some
measure of good-will, the evidence she will give will be towards the
positive end of that continuum.
But what about the researcher? She also wants to succeed: to do an
adequate and creditable piece of work; to "meet the standard." The task
146
is formidable but not insurmountable. She comes to it after considerable
discipline in the humanities and some in the social sciences. She thinks
of herself as a person of both integrity and good-will. She and the
subject, both as individuals. and as a dyadic group, will grapple with
this question of evidence throughout the undertaking. For the outcome of
this task rests upon conclusions jointly reached, based upon the evidence
amassed.
A second criticism about lack of evidence that Runyan cites is that
much psychobiography is not subject to verification through classical
analytic techniques: dream analysis and free association, as well as
extensive memories from early childhood. But even were the biographer
working from a live subject, unless s/he were a trained and experieenced
psychoanalyst and unless the subject were also her/his patient, the more
analytical data would not, in itself, promise a more accurate biography.
Since, in the present case, the subject is not a case study in pathology,
but rather an example of successful living, these criticisms are less
telling.
There is one point, not unrelated to the first consideration
discussed above, that places this psychobiography, according to Runyan's
criterion, in an enviable position:
The psychobiographer has the advantage of having information
about a person who has lived [almost] his or her entire life.
Patients in psychoanalysis are often relatively young, and
may not yet have 1i ved through important 1i fe experi ences
such as the rearing of children, the peak of their career, or
the death of their parents [or spouse]. Reactions to these
experiences, which may be revelatory of personality, are thus
not available for interpretation.... Not only the
development and mid-stages of life are available for
inspection but also its... unfo1ding [leading towards its]
147
final reso1ution.[44] (p.204)
Runyan continues with a section called "Reductionism," in which he cites
the danger of reasoning from evidence taken at a later stage in life to
lead back to hypotheses about earlier undocumented facts. This is not a
matter that concerns the present study. Unless the evidence is given, or
un1 ess hypotheses are confi rmed by the subject, they wi11 not be
entertained.
There is another charge against psychobiography, however, that could
occur in this study unless carefully watched, that is a form of
"reductionism" (po 208), to use Runyan's terms, that is a tendency to
give data a personal psychogenic interpretation when they might be more
accurately explained as an outcome of social issues. These determinants
might rest on the broader social context of a subject's life: her social
milieu, as defined by economics and class; her professional environment;
her family or extended family responsibilities or commitments; even
conventional styles in value and points of view. Of course all of these
are related to personal issues that are psychological. They are not,
however, to be explained solely in psychodynamic terms. Beyond this
level, there is the historical nexus within which a life is lived. This
is bounded by a time frame, but is also closely tied to geography and
national boundaries, as well as geopolitical boundaries. It is not
unrelated to genealogical considerations that rest, in part, on ethnic,
religious, and familial histories. A case in point is the quotation
cited in the opening of this section and the Analysis of the Data,
referring to "America's ancestral Protestanism."[45] It is easy to
explain all manner of biographical details in psychodynamic terms and
148
relate them to psychogenic developmental issues from childhood, for
example, to achieve an "art.tst tc qrace" (P. 29), as Runyan puts it. But
such analyses run the risk of elaborate distortion and falsification.
It is the oversimplification of the life course that is at issue in
these instances. The complexity is the problem. The a11-too-human
desire to achieve order and meaning in life leads to confounding the
problems. But without such desire, the task would not be undertaken in
the first place. Psychobiography, like all worthwhile efforts, requires
a great deal of tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty--a willingness to
live without absolutes. It requires, in short, the acceptance of the
se1f-correcting 1aw of modern science: the wi 11 ingness to give up or
modify a hypothesis in the face of disconfirming evidence. It is this
kind of approach that will be used in the analysis of the 1ife course.
Applied to human development, this willingness to keep the verdict
amenable to revision fits into the developmental and interactional frame
of reference outlined throughout this paper. The goal is not to explain
ultimate causes but to see connections between events and outcomes that
suggest relationships and developments, directions and patterns, in a
life. There is a conviction that a life has meaning and its meaning is
bound up with its value. There is also the conviction that much of a
life course is structured and controlled by variables both biological and
environmental; but it is not totally so structured nor so controlled. It
is in this area of relativity that choice must operate. It is in choice
that opportunities for change, including growth and development, lie. It
is also in such latitudes that enlightenment may lie. 1I01d knowledge
blocks new knowing,1I says Harold A. Larrabee in Reliable Knowledge (1964,
149
p.43). The primary concern, in sifting evidence in this psychobiography,
will be to keep options open; to find ways to open the "closed drawers,"
and bring forth the "forgotten pictures" that Blum (1981) speaks about,
and in so doing to offer fresh ways of viewing the subject's life. The
goal is not so grandiose as finding the truth. It is rather to sift
through the evidence with careful concern and thoughtful judgment.
Larrabee (1964), again, puts his finger on it, when he says:
Man [sic] most often gets his start on the road to new
knowledge by encountering and recognizing ambiguous or
problem-situations; and he is able to do so partly because he
is built for hesitation as well as for making snap decisions.
It is somewhere between extreme urgency and extreme apathy
that he does most of his effective thinking. (p.41)
The trick for this researcher is to take the risk of being wrong in the
hope of opening up old drawers that may point the way to new paths.
These new pathways may allow others to see vistas not yet in view. As a
by-product, it may allow others to sight similar pathways that may open
up meaningful views for other lives as well.
In looking back to the hypotheses and corollaries stated in the
section above headed The Question, and keeping the immediately foregoing
passage in mind, Buhler (1968) makes an interesting point. She is
discussing fulfillment and failure in life and she suggests that,
although most people do not appear to lead lives that are guided lives,
they do:
Tend to look back... and.i.eva1uate them in terms of total or
partial fulfillment and/or failure. ooo[and by this process]
they prove in a way that, althou9h subconsciously, directives
have been operating all along. (p.400)
150
These "subconscious directives" are Buhler's equivalents of Ede1's
"reverse of the tapestry," B1 urn's "forgotten pi ctures," and lazarus and
Delongis' earlier cited "patterns of commitment" and "beliefs about self
and world," related to their concept of the "central story line."
Bun1er continues with the statement:
On careful inspection one hardly ever finds a completely
fulfilled life. Denials, losses, and failures seem
unavoidable but many lives are at least partially or even
essentially, fulfilled. (p, 402)
She continues by explaining:
People can overcome severe misfortunes, once they have had
the chance to love truly and devote themselves to some
objective. We speak of partial fulfillment if a person has
found full satisfaction in only one of the two basic areas of
life. (p.402)
Having paraphrased Freud's familiar statement about "to love and to work"
being the basic requirement for a satisfying life, BUhler goes on to say:
Most peop1 e make compromises when they enter marriages or
careers....depending on their adaptability as against
their self-actualization needs, they accept the life pattern
that offers itself or harbor a resentment and disappointment
without being able to do anything about it. These life
histories end with semi-acceptance or a somewhat bitter
resignation, subject to the amount of compensatory or
frustrating experiences. (pp, 402-403)
These remarks are directed to the themes of love and work that are
woven throughout the life course and make up the unique patterns within a
life history. But the same generalizations apply to issues around losses
and death itself. Buhler's statement last quoted sums up succinctly, by
the use of the phrase "make compromises," what lararus and Delongis
(1981) have in mind in their discussion of the complexities involved in
patterns of adaptations to stress. Buhler's statement also supports the
contention that speaks to the reciprocal relationship between a
151
successful life (in her terms, a "fulfilled" life) and an ability to
accept the end of it with equanimity that is implied throughout the
section above on The Question.
The last corollary dealing with how the subject views her life and
her self as a woman will be examined against the background issues
outlined above in the section on Self as Woman. In addition, Else
Frenkel (1936) offers some insights gleaned from her work with Charlotte
Buhler, as well as some independent analyses. Frenkel states:
On both profess i ona1 and non-profess i ona1 women... the ma i n
accent of their lives is laid on social relationships. Even
their professions to a great extent is [sic] looked upon as a
means of enriching their 1ives socially....friendship and
family ties are very strongly developed. Women spend a great
deal of time displaying active interest in others....giving
advice, consolation, care, help, as well as in cooperation in
group act ivi ty....A11 the fi e1ds of acti vi ty of women are
influenced by her [sic] social interests....In many
dimensions of her life she does not serve herself but her
e n v i r o n m e n ~ (P. 32)
This conclusion is based on a study of almost 400 biographies as well as
archival data collected. The passage above corroborates in concrete
terms the generalizations cited above in the Self as Woman section.
A final consideration in analyzing the evidence, one that is touched
upon above, needs reiterating here. It concerns the relationship between
the narrator and the interviewer. Blum (1981) speaks most cogently to it
in his opening paragraphs. He addresses the "hazards a biographer faces
in imposing a structure and meaning on his information" (p. 293). Prior
citations from Blum, issues that arise interpersonally between the
narrator and the interviewer at more covert levels--subtle distortions,
misunderstandings and misinterpretations resting upon non-verbal,
unconscious processes--are di scussed; issues broadly covered by the
152
phrases "transference, countertransference and paratransterence," At
this point, however, the issue being raised is at a more superficial
level, but that does not make it unimportant or unworthy of attention.
It lies somewhere between the integrity and honesty of intent mentioned
in terms of the contract above, and the more covert preconscious or
unconscious levels. It is a variation on the determinants mentioned
above as societal or environmental. Broadly speaking, these are social
psychological sources of distortion. Blum lists a few common ones:
Informants who have agreed to cooperate may seek to please
the biographer by giving him what they think he wants to
hear....Simul taneously, informants seek to be seen as
pleasing, to present themselves in the most acceptable and
convent i ona 1 posture. •.. They may exaggerate thei r own
importance, or they may simply don a "normat tve" mask.
Another source of bi as 1i es in persona 1 s tyl es of
viewing the world, in particular beliefs about causation•
... We humans are remarkably 1ikely to reject coincidence or
accident in accounting for events, and will not only assume
that an event was caused by, but that it was intended to be
caused by, intervention. mOn the whole such attributions
are surprisingly more negative with respect to motives and
more positive about the capacity of people to cause events
than an objective accounting would be...
The intimate groups of which one is a member shape norms
that dictate what can be said, what operating values are
presumed to exi st, what kinds of peopl e are acceptabl e or
unnacceptable....how people... not known well are
characterized. ...stereotypes may be offered as knowledge of
persona 1 character or hi story when they a re... deri ved
entirely from the repertoire of a group's norms.
Consequently, it is important to recognize that the
bi ographer and his informant may also become a "group, II and
that both may unwittingly seek to arrive at a consensus about
a third person, an issue, or an event. (pp. 296-297)
The danger here is twofold. The first is distortion by collusion. The
second danger is that, by exercising alert awareness, the biographer may
avoid that pitfall, only to "disrupt conversations and even
relationships, and [that] can lead to an informant's refusing to provide
153
.any more information" (pp. 297-298). The interviewer is again faced with
the question of balance between alternative positions. As has been
reiterated to the point of ennui, there is no way to resolve the dilemma
except by constant vigilance and alert attention, tempered with patience
and regard for the subject as well as the task. And finally, as always,
a recognition that good is good enough. Perfection is not required.
154
PART II
NARRATIVE
Chapter I
FAMILY BEGINNINGS: THE FOUNDATION
Over the Ocean and Down in the Vall ey
Thanks to Mary's brother John, who collected old newspaper clippings
and recorded ora 1 testimony in wri tten form, it is noss i b1e to
reconstruct a partial genealogy of the Cover-Higson family (see Appendix
F, item 1). The record is longer on the paternal than the maternal side.
The arbitrary beginning is the arrival of John Dietrick Cover in the new
world. Mary points out that there are variant spellings for "Cover", and
that this family spelled it "Coover" until, according to her father,
"they crossed the Alleghenys" when they lost the second "0 " (Jones, 1983,
p.5). John Dietrick Cover, the paternal great, great, great grandfather
of Mary and her two siblings, is reputed to have been a passenger on the
sailing vessel "Thistle", which landed on the eastern seaboard of North
America in 1730 (see Appendix F, items 2, column 2, mid-section, for
variant spelling and item 3, column 2, middle para. for details). From
whi ch European port it set sail is not recorded, nor is John Dietri ck
Cover's country of origin. Family tradition has it, however, that the
Covers were German. The family's religious denominational preference
was Lutheran.
155
John Dietrick Cover's son, Gideon, was born in Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, in December 1738, just eight years after his father's
arrival on these shores. Gideon served in both the Colonial and
Revolutionary armies. Then, on May 28, 1781, when Gideon was 43 years
old, a son, Adam, was born to him in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.
It was Adam who settled on what came to be known as Cover Hill in
Conemaugh Township in 1813.[47] He lived in this area of Pennsylvania
for 43 years, until his death in Kernville, in November 1856, at the age
of 75.
Adam was a man of property. According to the newspaper account some
of his land became the site for the Methodist Episcopal Church of
Johnstown, built on the corner of Frankl in and Locust Streets in 1838.
He was rich in progeny as well, having thirteen children. Among those
born to him was Will iam, who became the father of Charles Blair Cover,
and, in due time, the grandfather of Mary. Adam's spouse, the woman who
gave birth to those thirteen infants, was Mary Magdalen Bashoar Cover
(spelling of Mary Magdalen's maiden name follows a family record, Harold
E. Jones' genealogy). She, too, was a native Pennsylvanian, born in
Lebanon County in March, 1789. She died in Johnstown in September, 1867,
at the age of 78.
William Cover, the second son, was born on Cover Hill "when
Johnstown was a hamlet" (see Appendix F, item 4, p.2; also, see Appendix
F, item 5, n.z). He earned his livelihood by plying the trade of
carpentry and cabinet making. The oldest son remained on the family farm
and finally inherited it. As the second born, William was given a suit of
clothes and sent to town to seek his fortune, upon reaching the age of 21
156
(see Appendix F, item 5, o.z, para. 5 and item 10, final nara.). Before
sett1 ing into carpentry, Will iam tried a number of other occupations.
One of the more colorful ones was as a director of the transfer station
in Johnstown. The transfer station was the point where the railway
switched to canal boat en route to Pittsburgh from Phi1ade1phia.[48]
According to another newspaper account published in Johnstown on October
30, 1894 under the headline "A Remarkable Family," the seven brothers and
sisters still alive at that time "are probably the oldest living siblings
in the state of Pennsylvania" (Jones, 1983, pp. 4-5). This branch of the
family was endowed with longevity, as well as strength, endurance and
bounty.
William's wife, Mary Elizabeth Saylor Cover, born July 2, 1828, gave
birth to three children (see Appendix F, item 6). The firstborn was a
son, William, Jr.; the second, Charles Blair Cover. There was one
daughter, named Molly, the youngest child. Mary, the subject of this
study, was named "Mary E1 izabeth," after her paternal grandmother, Mary
Elizabeth Saylor. It was the maternal side of her family, however, who
called Mary "Mary Liz," never the Cover side.
Turning now to that maternal branch, the story begins later, again
wi th thanks to John Hi gson Cover (Notes, n.d., see Appendi x F, item 7).
\
Tradition has it that John Higson was born and reared in London, England,
"and variously emnl oyed," He attended an outdoor address (could it have
been in Hyde Park?) in which an "American Ambassador to Britain" was
explaining the war for the liberation of the slaves. This speech so
moved the young John Higson that he embarked as quickly as possible on
the journey overseas to Philadelphia, determined to playa part in this
157
fight for freedom and human dignity. Upon his arrival, John enlisted in
the Union army and "his regiment was dispatched for inital training to
Northern Pennsylvania, south of Elmira, New York, where he met 'Annie
'."
This was Anna Louise Paxson (sometimes spelled Paxton), whom John married
shortly thereafter (see AppendixF, item 7).
John Higson was wounded in combat. According to John Cover's Notes,
the enemy bullet struck Higson's left shoulder while he was rescuing and
replacing the fallen "American flag" that "the enemy shot down." This
occurred at the battle of Antietam. It was a lacerating wound, "the
bullet coursing down his side and out through the ribs." His recovery
was slow, and hearing about an old mill on Rock Creek (which is now,
according to Cover's notes, a park), "he stole from the hospital at night
and found a position which permitted the stream falling from the mill to
course through and cleanse the wound. After several nights of this
. treatment, the medical personnel expressed surprise at the rapid
healing." John Cover concludes, "He believed in the efficacy of water."
Even though his resourceful self-treatment may have healed the wound, he
never completely recovered, and could not, therefore, continue in active
service. He was promoted in rank, perhaps as a reward for bravery in
action. Mary recalls that as a small child she watched her grandmother
help her grandfather into his coat "even forever" (Jones, 1983, p.3).
Higson was entitled to veteran's compensation as a soldier wounded
in action, but he proudly refused it, saying, "No, I went into the war on
my own!" (Jones, 1983, p.3). Indeed, he crossed an ocean to volunteer to
fight another country's battle for the freedom of another race in the
human family. Mary recalls stories of his refusal to accept
158
compensation, noting it as an example of "some kind of value" (Jones,
1982, p.4). During later years of his life, John Higson refused to talk
about the war. Mary states that her brother told her that their
grandfather would become silent, saying only, "War is hell!" or words to
that effect, whenever questioned about his experiences (Jones, 1983, p.
3) •
Upon leaving the army and marrying Anna Louise Paxson, John Higson
walked alone diagonally south and west over the Alleghenies and across
Pennsylvania looking for work. He found it in the valley of Johnstown,
situated almost mid-point between Harrisburg, the State capital, to the
east, and Pittsburg, to the west. Then he sent for his family.
According to John Cover's Notes, hi s grandfather checked on jobs as far
west as St. Louis, but there was something about this spot that drew him.
He was hired by the Cambria Steel Mills (later it became Bessemer Steel
Company) as a supervisor or foreman in charge of the blast furnaces.
And so John and Annie settled down to bring up their family. Anna
Loui se Paxson was of Engl ish descent and an Epi scope1i an. There was a
French ancestor in her lineage, named "Jaquette". He came to the
Colonies with Lafayette to help fight the British in the American
Revolution.
Anna gave birth to seven children, two of whom were twin boys who
died in infancy. Years later, John Cover recalls taking many short walks
around the neighborhood with his grandfather, who enjoyed talking to his
namesake about problems facing the younger generation. Once he spoke of
man's inconsideration to womankind, giving as an example the recent
birth of a seventh child to an acquaintance. John Cover silently
159
calculated that Grandfather Higson had sired seven children, also, but
tactfully kept his calculations to himself (see Appendix F, item 7,
parae 5).
Mary recalls that her maternal grandmother was a petite woman and
grandfather Higson was a large man (Jones, 1983, e.s), When he came
home in the evening after work he would give a "favorite call", whereupon
Annie would rush to meet him, and he "caught her and tossed her into the
air."
After Grandfather Cover's death, John Cover notes that Grandfather
Higson "established the practice of calling upon Grandmother Cover once a
week with news, stories, and general chatting", much to her pleasure (see
Appendi x F, item 7, para. 6).
~ Convergence: The Great Flood
In the beginning, according to Mary's version of the family history,
the two families lived in Johnstown quite separately. It was a major
catastrophe that brought them face to face. On May 31, 1889 the great
JOhnstown flood swept over the valley. Charles Blair Cover was then a
young man of 44. Handsome and debonair, he was known as a "Beau
Brumme l " (Jones, 1983, p.4). Charles and his older brother, Will iam
Cover, Jr., owned and operated a livery stable (see Appendix F, item 4,
p.2, para. 7 and p.3). Charles rode a stallion about the town, cutting a
dashing figure. When the flood waters coursed down, engulfing the valley,
it destroyed the stables and drowned the horses. An eye witness
interviewed 36 years later, who was carried over the stables on a freight
car door by the torrents of water, said that he remembered hearing the
160
horses snorting and thrashing about as they were submerged (see
Appendix F, item 4, p.2 and item 8, pp, 1-4, as well as item 9, pp, 1-6).
Charles Cover was not only dashing; he was dauntless as well. He
had an entrepreneurial spirit. In his early teenage years he had worked
as a clerk in two drug stores. After several years so occupied, he
returned to school to complete his high school education, and became the
class treasurer (Charles B. Cover, Septuagenarian, 1930, see Appendix F,
item 3). When the Red Cross rescue teams came to town, the survivors
formed a citizens' committee and appointed Charles head of supplies
(Jones, 1983, P.7). This highly responsible position in his community
opened up a new life for Charles Cover, not only professionally, but
personally as well.
In the meantime, while William and Charles' livery business was
being destroyed by the flood, another family, the Higsons, were
struggling to keep themselves afloat. According to Mary, "John Higson
told them when to jump and when to stay put," carrying the family and
their neighbors to safety, atop the roof of the Higson home. Luckily,
this rooftop became lodged with other remnants of houses against the
Pennsylvania railroad stone bridge, creating an island of safety amidst
the maelstrom and eventually enabling them to reach the higher land. Anna
is reputed to have said, "Here we are--homeless and penniless!" (Jones,
p.l). This statement was only slightly inaccurate. Her daughter, Carrie
Louise, a young women of 23, had two pennies in her pocket, change from a
dime with which she had purchased a quart of milk just before the flood
broke upon them. She had carefully put the two cents in her pocket, and
there they remained throughout the wild ride on the rooftop.
161
It was this young woman who fetched supplies from the Red Cross
headquarters for her family after they made their way up Westmont Hill to
relatives, the Hamilton family. There they were given refuge through the
emergency (see Appendix F, item 10). One item donated to the Higsons was
a handmade blanket made by someone in Michigan. It stayed in the family
until Mary sent it to a museum in Johnstown as memorabilia of the great
flood. Another item among supplies that Carrie fetched was a Bible that
became the family Bible in which births and deaths were recorded, until
it was lost in a later flood. On these errands to the Red Cross station
Carrie caught the eye of Charles Cover. He was a widower of some years,
with a daughter who was being reared by her grandmother. Charles' gaze
1ingered upon Carrie Louise, and he favored her with sweets and
confections. "He liked her looks," as Mary put it (Jones, 1983, P.]).
And on November 18, 1890 they were married.
The foregoing is MarY's recollection of her mother and dad's
courtship. John, however, heard another version from Aunt Kate:
Perhaps I assumed an earlier engagement from a story of Aunt
Kate: Father had been dating her and sister Carrie jointly.
The family wondered whom he would choose. He first proposed
to Kate, but she refused. Later Mother told me that Kate had
reported to her Mother and older sister (Mary?). Their
Mother ordered them not to tell Carrie. So Father asked
Carrie who accepted after seeking her Mother's advice; her
Mother said Charlie was a leading young citizen and a
'catch'. Mother was bitter. (see Appendix F, item 10, John
Cover's "Biographical Impressions," para. 6 and item 11)
This leading citizen was, incidentally, quite politically active in his
community and a staunch Republican.
The marriage ceremony, according to a newspaper announcement, was
held at the home of the bride's parents (see Appendix F, item 12). It
162
was officiated by a Rev. J. E. Bold. He was rector of St. Mark's
Episcopal Parish (see Appendix F, item 3 and item 13, last quotation).
The nuptial announcement also noted that the couple would take the train
to El mi ra, New York for a ten day vi sit. Thi s was, no doubt, to
introduce Charles Cover to other members of the Paxson branch of the
family, as well as a honeymoon trip.
The floOd brought Charles Cover and Carrie Higson together according
to Maris version. It also opened up a new career for Charles. While
acting as head of supplies during the emergency, he realized that he
could make a living with the skills he was learning. A newspaper
clipping commending Charles Cover's cleanliness, gives witness to his new
enterprise as well (see Appendix F, item 13, first para. and item 14,
column 1, last per a.), That he was neat and meticulous, as well as
clean, is corroborated by another clipping published almost 35 years
after the previous citation was originally printed. It states, IIMr.
Cover... is especially orderly and systematic, nothing haphazard with him.
Everything has a place and everything is in its pl ace'' (Appendix F, item
4, p.1, column 2). These traits must have stood him in good stead in
establishing his new grocery business, which grew to five outlets
consecutively (see Appendix F, item 15). Later he went into the retail
coal mining business.[49]
Successful entrepreneurs often possess talents that are quite
diverse -- and so did Charles Cover. At one period in his life he was
the County Auditor, and one of three auditors of his home town. IIHe was
appointed state bank examiner and traveled over the state in that
capacity for quite a while
ll
(Appendix F, item 4, p.2, para. 7). He was
163
also the first manager of a professional baseball team in Johnstown.
This job was not easy for him. Trying to please the public, satisfy the
players, and placate directors led him, according to the newspaper
article, to view this as "one of the most trying periods" of his life.
Nevertheless, he did it successfully, and later on, when he ran his
mining business, he negotiated with teamsters, miners, and the publ ic.
The article ends on this note:
You can't spoil or sour "Charley", no matter what the
environment. You will find him just the same friendly,
congenial fellow you knew years ago.
It is clear from the record that the Cover and the Higson men were a
talented, courageous, industrious, and enterprising lot, but what about
the distaff side of these two families? The published record is scanter
but there is some testimony from John Cover's notes as well as Mary's
Oral History about both grandmothers. John attests to Grandmother
Higson's excellence as a cook (Appendix F, item 7). Mary recalls the
texture, fl avor, and aroma of the fresh bread that Grandmother Hi gson
baked on Fridays (Jones 1983, pl), The Higsons lived on School Place,
across the street from the high school that Mary and John attended.
Every Friday the children dropped by to visit Grandmother, and enjoy the
freshly baked loaves. Both John and Mary recall this grandmother's
handiwork. She quilted with a circle of friends from her church, and
managed quilting bees with other women in the DAR. At least one of her
embroidery pieces which Mary had won a prize at a county fair (Jones,
1983, p.I), John recall s that she was a ski 11 ful weaver as well. Mary
used one of her grandmother's qUilts as a counterpane throughout her
1ife.
164
From John's notes an interesting facet of Grandmother Annie's
personality emerges. When the telephone company decided to "string a
wire down their street," it entailed digging a hole for a pole right in
front of the Higson's front porch steps" (Appendix F, item 7, para. 9).
This led to Grandmother Higson's chasing the workmen away and instructing
the boss to cancel the company plans. The workmen complied by covering
the hole with planks just at lunch time. When they returned for the
afternoon shift, Grandmother was found sitting in her rocker on the
pl anks, and "that was that!" according to John Cover's notes. The pole
did not go up!
Grandmother Cover is not remembered for her cooking, perhaps in part
because her husband, the senior William Cover, was an invalid during the
early years of John's and Mary's 1ives (Jones, 1983, 0.3). He died
when both chil dren were sti 11 quite young. Grandmother Cover suffered
from a severe loss of vision in her later years, and this might have
precluded her doing the kind of handiwork that the maternal grandmother
did with such enjoyment and skill. Besides caring for an invalid
husband, Grandmother Cover was also bringing up her grandchild, Charles'
older daughter by his earlier marriage. Grandmother Cover lived on Main
Street. Across from her house was an auditorium where performances were
held. She often sat on her front porch and enjoyed listening to the
music audible from there. This pleasure was still accessible to her,
even though her eyesight was failing. Certainly both grandmothers were
capable wives and mothers, faithful and stedfast. Grandmother Cover was
quite a survivor, 1iving well into her 92nd year. Grandmother Higson
emerges as energetic and accomplished, especially in the domestic arts,
165
socially active, high spirited, and more than a mite spunky.
From these solid and fertile foundations the Cover nuclear family
flourished. The focus narrows now to the central figure of Mary, the
second child of Carrie and Charles, their firstborn daughter. Her life
is the heart of the matter.
166
Chapter II
EARLY LIFE
Mary told an earlier interviewer that although she had "no
illustrious ancestors", she did have "a preciously good mother and
father" (Jones, 1983, p.I), She added that if she is a nurturant person
(as some friends and associates have suggested), "I get it from my
mother" (see Appendix F, item 16). She supports this statement with a
recollection. While standing on a street corner recently in Carmel, she
saw an older women who reminded her of her mother. As she looked at this
passerby, the thought came to Mary:
Nobody ever loved me in the same way as my m ~ t h e r did,
unselfishly and completely. 1
1m
sorry I never told her this.
She was a grand person... she was a social and community
person: she belonged to several organizations with other
women. She was more sociable than my father. (p.1)
Mary gave the present interviewer a vignette that documents her motherls
loving concern; when asked about her earliest memories, she said:
Every night, before I went up to bed, my mother came, and I
knelt on the stairs and said my prayers... my mother was there
to hear my prayers.
She added that she does not remember that her mother kissed her good-
night, but these moments on the stairway were imbued with a sense of
closeness and loving intimacy. This was a family that behaved with
reserve in the expression of emotion, not an atypical style for Americans
of Anglo-Saxon lineage.
167
In describing the scene on the stairway, Mary pointed to an
imaginary place in the hallway where there was a niche that held the old
coat rack and umbrella stand. It was an old Victorian piece, with a
mirror and bench. The telephone was attached to the wall beside the
stand. On the stair landing a large window opened to the sky. Two large
rooms opened off the hallway. One of these, the living room, served as
a family gathering place. When her father brought his business papers
home to work on at night, he sat at his desk in that room, and:
We children sometimes had to keep quiet, if my father was
working... that's where he worked, in the 1iving room... whi1e
the rest of us read, quietly.
Opposite, across the entry hall, was the parlor, or the "music
room". Here the family entertained when company came. The piano stood
there, and Mary took piano lessons and practiced in that room. Her elder
brother, John, five years her senior, practiced his violin there as well.
All the music in this house did not come from the practicing in the
music room, however. Mary's mother had a beautiful singing voice, and
as a young woman she performed sometimes for the public. She played one
of the leads, little Buttercup, in "H.M.S. Pinafore", the Gilbert and
Sullivan operetta. Mary recalled her mother's singing some of those
solos and choruses as she went about her household tasks, as well as
favorite hymns and other popular songs of the day. Mary and her younger
sister, Louise, liked to sing a capella around the house, too. Their
father, who was not musical himself, probably enjoyed listening to his
wife and daughters. He would remind the little girls, however, that
neither of them had as lovely a voice as their mother, which was true,
according to Mary. Nevertheless, she still enjoyed singing, and by the
interviewer's standard, Mary had a clear, strong and melodious voice.
168
Mary said that she often awakened with those old tunes on her lips (for
example, see Appendix F, items 17 and 18).
John was the most accomplished family musician. When a high school
student he wrote the school anthem (see Appendix F, item 19). He also
wrote the music for a Shakespeare lyric that was used in a Johnstown High
School production and later adapted by a Shakespearean troupe. Much
later during World War II, John wrote "Seranade to a Jeep" (see Appendix
F, items 20 and 21). As a young adult, John played first violin in the
orchestra of the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. Mary, on
the other hand, did not enjoy her piano lessons. This may have been, in
part, because she had a somewhat autocratic male teacher when she was
quite young.
Up and Around
These early memories have the second family home as their setting.
It was a large house that Mary's parents built and moved into when she
was about ten years old (see Appendix F, item 22). Upstairs, Mary and
her sister, Louise, shared a large double bed. John had his own room,
catercorner across the square 1andi ng from hi s sisters' room. Mother
and Dad had their bedroom adjacent to Mary and Louise's. There was also
a "sewing room" next to John's room on this floor. The maid had a room
in the attic.
Earlier, in the smaller home, Mary faintly recalled saying her
prayers to her mother at the foot of that staircase, as well. The first
home lay on one side of her father's corner grocery store on Haynes
Street, and the new home was around the corner at 437 Napoleon Street.
Mary remembered the new house as it was being built. It was an
exciting time, going to look at it, as it took shape before their eyes.
169
lilt seemed a move Up,1I she said, laughing, "and, well, there were
radiators!1I She explained:
I don't remember how the first house was heated, but this
one was heated with hot water radiators which stood up, and
that was considered pretty important!
Her sister recalled an anecdote about these new radiators. John climbed
up onto one of them and jumped down -- perhaps to show off a bit for his
younger sisters. In jumping he accidently hit Louise's nose, and it bled
a little. She recalled that she took this as a mark of distinction, to
be so singled out by her big brother!
The Cycle of Life
Birth of her Sister
Before the move around the corner, back in the smaller house, Mary
remembered the birth of her baby sister. Or rather, she remembered going
to a centennial parade in 1900 with her brother and her father. When the
three returned home, Mother was there with a new baby sister. This did
not come as a surprise to Mary; so there must have been some anticipatory
talk in the family about the coming event, but Mary did not recall these
details, only the fait accompli. However, John has documented this birth
for the record (see Appendix F, item 23).
Mary had a very companionable and rewarding relationship with her
sister in their adult years, and treasured their twice weekly 10ng-
distance telephone visits as well as frequent reunions face-to-face. But
the early years of si sterhood were not too sati sfying. Mary fe1t that
her little sister was qUite rivalrous with her for the attention and
affection of brother John. Louise would say, "Hes 'mtna' John--
'mf ne' dohn!" Mary found this somewhat amusing, since she always felt
quite sure of her place in John's affection. This was demonstrated in
170
many ways. In high school years, for example, John took Mary to dances
in the park as part of a strategy for teaching her to dance. He also
taught her to play tennis, taking her along with a girl friend to the
courts at Chautaugua. In this manner her brother introduced her into the
adolescent social swim, and smoothed her path (see Appendix F, item 24).
Deaths in the Family
When Mary was only three her Grandfather Cover, who had been ill for
some time, died at the age of 83. Mary did not remember his death, nor
did she remember him, probably because of his lingering illness. Her
brother recalled visiting the grandparents' home and having to be quiet
so as not to disturb him.
But there was another death that Mary remembered with sadness and
pain. It was the early death of her first cousin, a baby boy named
Richard. Mary loved him, and remembered carrying him in her arms when
she was a young child. He died when he was less than a year old of
spinal meningitis. She recalled not only her own grief, but also that of
the child's father, whom she met in the hall just after the death scene.
The baby was in the home of his grandparents when he died, and Mary was
there at the time. There were no other deaths in these very early years.
Sunday School and Sex Education
Although Mary's mother was an Episcopalian, after her marriage she
attended the Lutheran church regularly on Sundays with her husband, and
the children went to Sunday School. Mary remembered that Children's Day
came around at least twice a year, and she always participated in these
programs, but none stand out especially in her memory.
171
She did recall that to reach the Sunday School you walked parallel
to the Church sanctury, and then down a dark little alley towards the
back of the building.
One other memory remained quite clear, in part because it occurred
later, when Mary was a teenager. A girl in her class got married to a
son of the minister, and this quite young matron shared the intimate
details of the nuptial night with her classmates. As Mary pointed out,
"Something exciting had happened to her, and she had to share this with
her Sunday School classmates -- it was a very small group." This was
the first time Mary recalled hearing about what happens when one marries,
and it was her most vivid memory of Sunday School.
Family Routine and Relationships
Even though the family had live-in help most of the time, Mary's
mother found plenty to keep her busy about the house. Cooking was one
task Mrs. Cover especially enjoyed. Mary recalled learning to make
homemade noodles cut very fine, which Aunt Molly appreciated. Another
favorite dish was called "Schnitz and Knepf," a Pennsylvania Dutch
recipe, made of apples and ham (Jones, 1983, p, 11). Mary remembered
helping in the prepartion of these delicacies. She also remembered the
chore of washing and drying dishes after family meals, which fell to John
and her lot. They traded off the task-- one washing; one dryi ng. It
was accomplished with a good bit of friendly bickering about how clean
the washer did (or did not) scrub the dishes.
Al though Mary's fami ly was nuclear and not extended, grandparents
and aunts lived near-by and these, especially one aunt, played important
parts in the family drama. Aunt Kate was Mary's mother's older and
unmarried sister. She was a school teacher, an educated woman whose life
172
revolved around her profession rather than domesticity (refer to Appendix
F, item 11).
Mary recalled Saturday nights as special. This was oyster stew
night. Since JOhnstown was inland, Mary·s dad made certain that the
family had fresh seafood which was available only once a week. He went
to a fish market every Saturday, and whenever oysters were in season he
brought them home for Carrie to cook into oyster stew. It was not
unusual to have company over on these evenings. Sometimes Aunt Kate
would be at the family table on Saturday night.
It was Aunt Kate who took Mary on a train trip to Pittsburgh when
she was a few years older. This excursion stood out in Mary·s memory.
It included a visit to a museum and much sightseeing. She felt Aunt Kate
was fond of her and genuinely interested in her.
Another aunt, Aunt Molly, was not as sympathetic a figure for Mary.
She was Mary's father's sister. Molly married a business man and this
couple was more affluent than other branches of the family. They
traveled to Europe, and Mary remembered the interesting gifts they
brought back home to family and friends. Molly and her husband,
Charles, were childless. They owned and managed a hotel, and when Mary
visited them she had to mind her manners, especially in the hotel dining
room. This did not make for relaxed relating for a little girl.
Aunt Agnes, who was the younger sister of Aunt Kate and Mary's
mother, Carrie, was more companionable than Aunt Molly. Aunt Agnes and
her husband, Uncle Harry, had four sons. Two of them, Henry and John,
were twins. This lively pair lent a more informal and relaxed atmosphere
to their household than prevailed in Aunt Molly's childless home in the
hotel. The twin boys were younger brothers of the baby who had died
173
before his first birthday. There was another baby, Ben, born to Aunt
Agnes and Uncle Harry before the twins. He met with a fatal accident
early in life, run over by an automobile.
Aunt Agnes was a qUilter, as her mother, Grandma Higson, had been,
and Mary inherited some of the quilts Aunt Agnes made. Mary remembered
the department store where Uncle Harry worked as a buyer. She shopped in
that store as a youngster and recalled seeing her uncle there. Her
recollection of this aunt and uncle is that of a "happy married coupl e,"
and theirs was "a happy family." Mary was very fond of both Aunt Kate
and Aunt Agnes, her two maternal aunts.
Holidays, Especially Christmas
Except for Christmas, holidays did not loom large in Mary's early
recollections. On the 4th of July fireworks on the hill above Mary's
home kept her awake at night. Thanksgiving was celebrated in the
customary manner, with turkey and cranberry sauce, and the usual
trimmings. The Easter bunny was not a lively figure in Mary's memories
of childhood. There was, however, a Christmas doll still alive and well
today, and a teddy bear that lived in Mary's memory.
Christmases in general were big in the Cover household when Mary was
little. The tree was trimmed prior to Christmas Eve. It was heavily
decorated, and beneath it there was a Creche, with manger animals and
other figures, some handmade by brother John. Christmas Eve was often
spent caroling with other youngsters in the neighborhood.
After breakfast on Christmas morning the parlor doors were flung
wide, and everyone rushed in to open their presents by the light of the
candlelit tree. When this ceremony was completed, and the last gift
174
opened, the whole family walked to Grandmother Cover's home, across a
"swinging bridge", to exchange presents with her.
Two Christmas Gifts: A0011 and.! Teddy Bear
One Christmas morning when Mary was quf te young, she scanned the
gifts under the tree and her heart sank-- she saw no boxes that were the
right size and shape to hold the brown-haired, brown-eyed doll she
fervently wanted. Her father noted her disappointment, and he reminded
her that sometimes Santa Claus dropped presents down Grandma Cover's
chimney. Bel ief in Santa Cl aus, incidentally, was short-l ived. John
very soon enlightened his two younger sisters about the mythic and
symbolic nature of Santa.
Sure enough, when they arrived at Grandma's she gave Mary a very
large box and Mary knew at once that it contained a doll, but would it be
brown-haired and brown-eyed? Everyone urged her to open the box, but
still Mary hesitated. Finally, she blurted out, "I'm afraid it won't
have brown eyes and brown hair!" "Well", the family urged, "Open it, and
see!1I Happily, Grandma's Santa del ivered the goods, down to the
essential specifications. Now, however, Mary faced another constraint;
this one took longer to resolve. Since her grandmother's name was "Mary
Elizabeth", it seemed only right and proper to name the doll thus, after
the giver. But Mary, who was very fair with blue eyes, was named after
her grandmother, and she knew that this dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty of
a doll cried out to be called "Virginia"! How could she resolve this
dilemma? The new doll was nameless for at least a year, until Mary's
mother, by the dint of gentle persuasion, convinced Mary that it would be
175
all right to call her doll IIVirginia.
II[50]
The doll lives on in Mary's extended family, through Barbara, on to
Barbara's daughter, Lynne, on Lynne's nineth Christma5. Lynne and
Virginia favored one another, both having dark hair and brown eyes.
Years later Lynne passed Virginia along to her own daughter, Emily, when
she was nine years old. Virginia still wore the handmade clothes that
Mary's Grandma Higson had fashioned for her so many years ago: a white
dotted swiss dress trimmed in handmade lace. This was Grandma Higson's
Chri stmas gi ft to Mary when she received the doll from Grandma Cover.
There was also a red wool coat and a red silk bonnet trimmed with white
fur in Virginia's wardrobe. When Barbara gave Virginia to her daughter
Lynne, Lynne's Grandmother Coates made a set of pantaloons and a
petticoat for Virginia out of Grandfather Coates' baby clothes. That was
in 1959. Early in the 1980s, when Mary visited her daughter Barbara,
Virginia was again at Barbara's house and Barbara photographed her mother
wi th Virgi ni a.
The teddy bear incident occurred a Chri stmas or so 1ater. Mary's
little sister, Louise, had asked Santa for a bear, a bed, a book and a
ball. Mary asked for a teddy bear, too. Alas! On Christmas morning all
four of Louise's gifts materialized, but Mary received a Morris chair,
instead of a teddy bear. Mary's father explained to the crestfallen
child that she was too old for a teddy bear. "And that", said Mary, "was
that!" But that was not quite the end of the story. One night, some
time later, Louise climbed into the big double bed the sisters shared,
clutching her new teddy bear to her breast. This was a bit too much for
176
Mary, who was well aware of her jealous feelings, and was trying hard to
manage them. This time the feelings were overwhelming, and she snatched
the teddy bear away from Louise. A tug of war ensued, and Mary ended up
with only Teddy's head! Louise was sobbing, and Mary felt sorry. The
outcome was that Mary·s mother sewed the head back onto the bear's body,
and that was that! Louise still has her teddy bear. This story became a
family saga.[51] One Christmas in the early 1980s, Mary·s
granddaughter, Jane, saw to it that Mary was provided with a leather
address book. Embossed on the cover was a teddy bear. Later on, Mary
sent Louise a linen covered calendar with a teddy bear on it.
School Days
Mary·s first school was Dibert School, just up the street from her
house. She could walk to and from it every day, .and she walked home for
lunch as well. Her memories of school were very postive. Mary said that
she recently wrote the Forward to a book about children's suffering from
school phobias, and she found the subject totally foreign to her own
school experiences.[52]
Spelling bees were one of her pleasantest memories of early school
days. There was one she recalled in which she became so excited by the
contest that the buttons on her blouse popped open, and the teacher
called her up to the desk so that she could fasten them for Mary. When
asked if she often won, she answered, modestly, "Well, I was pretty
goodJl· Her report cards support thi s assessment (Jones, 1983, p.12).
Mary did not recall much playground activity, but she did remember
that she liked to play baseball with the neighborhood kids on the block.
177
This was a street game. When alone she read a lot of novels, the kind
ca11 ed "romances."
Best Friend
There was a girl a couple of years older than Mary who was a good
friend and confidante. This girl lived catercorner across the fence from
Mary. Her name was Pansy. She and Mary used to sit on the fence
together and chat. One day Pansy told Mary, who was 12 years old by
then, that something would happen to her physically soon. Mary knew at
once that Pansy was alluding to the menarche, and answered, "Oh, it
already has!" When questioned about the dynamics of this relationship,
Mary's answer was, "Oh, we just got on!" Pansy 1ived with her
grandparents, married while still in her teens, and left Johnstown soon
afterwards. Mary lost track of her, but remembered her fondly.
Say.!.! With Roses
When Mary was in the fifth grade she sat at the head of one of the
rows of desks in her class room. One morning a boy in her class came to
her desk and placed a long-stemmed red rose there. Mary was both pleased
and surprised. When he repeated the gesture the following morning, the
teacher, who was watching, blushed. Mary saw this and felt embarrassed.
A short time later, Johnstown had a flood--" They were always having
floods in Johnstown," Mary said-- and Rutherford (that was his name)
showed up on her front porch at 5 o'clock in the morning, having come
through high water to make sure that she was safe. It was her dad who
found him waiting on the porch and took this news to Mary at breakfast.
178
Mary knew where Rutherford lived, and that his father was a doctor.
When going to the home of one of her grandmothers she would pass
Rutherford's house. The encounters with him left her feeling somewhat
mystified and ill-at-ease, especially in the light of her teacher's
blush.
Chautauqua: &Window On The World[53]
There is a village called "Chautauqua" which lies within a town of
the same name, in Chautauqua County, New York. The village is on the
west shore of Chautauqua Lake. In 1908 the village population was about
750, and the town, a little over 3,550.
The lake is more than 1300 feet above sea level and is (or was)
qut te beautiful. In some places it is three miles wide; in others, only
a few hundred yards. It is approximately 20 miles long. The town lies
on the north end of the lake. It is famed as the permanent home of the
Chautauqua Institution, "a system of popular education founded in 1874."
The village within the town encompasses about three hundred acres and is
carefully laid out to facilitate the purposes of the Institution.
Although Chautauqua began as a Sunday School Normal Institute for
Methodists, it became non-sectarian almost from its inception, and
strongly interdenominational. It is still a religous organization, but
its assumption has been that the "best religous education must
necessarily take advantage of the best that the educational world can
afford in literature, the arts and science." Founded as a summer school
for Sunday School teachers, it included from the start correlated
lectures and entertainment, such as concerts and readings.
179
It began as a summer program running from June through August, but
soon expanded to include a home-reading program throughout the year.
Certificates are awarded for completion of courses. Instructors are
drawn from leading schools and colleges, and hundreds of formal
activities are offered throughout the summer.
Chautauqua has been extremely influential throughout the country.
There are now many local Chautauqua societies operating in various
states, and a Jewish Chautauqua Society with headquarters in Buffalo, New
York. More recently, many colleges and universities offer summer
institutes patterned on the original Chautauqua, but smaller and more
limited in enrollment. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that
Chautauqua's influence on education in this country has been "immense".
Mary would agree. Her whole family spent a number of their summer
vacations at Chautauqua. Often Aunt Kate joined them. Their family was
the only one from Johnstown vacationing there during those years. These
vacations were not inexpensive. The Covers could not afford to stay all
three months. Several weeks, at best, was all they could manage. John
did, however, occasionally stay longer. His violin playing allowed him
to be in the orchestra with a tuition stipend.
There were a number of boarding houses in the village to accommo-
date the guests. One expensive one was the Athenaeum. Mary's family
stayed at a more modest one, called St. Elmo. This house accommodated
around 20 or so guests. Some returned year after year; building
friendships and maintaining relationships. There was a woman who, Mary
recalled, encouraged John in his ambition to attend Ohio State University
at Columbus by offering to arrange lodging for him in the Pennsylvania
180
Dutch household where she lived (see Appendix F, item 5, p.L, para.S),
John went there only for his Freshman year, and then transferred to
Columbia University. But during the first part of that first year he
stayed at the home as the friend he met at Chautauqua had promised.
louise's father, realizing that his younger daughter was showing a
decided interest in nature and the out-of-doors, including bird-watching,
arranged to have her tutored in nature lore while at Chautauqua. louise
later majored in Botany at college. Someone she met at Chautauqua,
moreover, influenced her later choice of the University of Wisconsin for
her undergraduate degree.
Mary's interests at Chautauqua were quite ecl ecti c. There was a
boys' and girls' club. She joined the girls', and also the chorus. She
enjoyed singing in the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas performed there.
All three youngsters liked the craft classes. John participated on the
baseball team. It was at Chautauqua in that beauti ful 1ake that Mary
learned to swim, where swimsuits with stockings were de rigueur for girls
as young as 12! (Jones, 1983, o.s)
On Sundays, church services were held in a large amphitheatre, but
there were also many small chapels scattered throughout the village.
In addition to the stimulation provided by meeting new and
interesting people, making new friends, and renewing acquaintances from
past summers, there was the enrichment through music, concerts, lectures
and the variety of classes offered. There was the invigoration of
outdoor sports, hikes, and nature study. And there were also prominent
guests. Mary recalled that Walter Damrosch led the orchestra one summer
and her brother, John, played in it Dnder Damrosch's direction (see
181
Appendix F, item 5, p.I, para. 4 and 5 for John's version). She heard
Scott Nearing lecture at another time. And she also saw President
Theodore Roosevelt there. During the President's visit, Mary sat on one
or : five arches leading to the amphitheatre (Jones, 1983, P. 9).
Chautauqua was more than summer vacations. It was a 1iberal education.
As a matter of fact, Mary's father earned a Chautauqua certificate--the
Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Certificate--for doing his
homework well throughout the year.
All This And Halley's Comet, Too
Mary was 14 years old in 1910; she would have been a freshman in
high school, in most places, but in Johnstown she was in the ninth grade,
the last year of elementary school. This was the year of Halley's Comet.
Her parents, especially her dad, were excited about its appearence, and
there was much anticipatary planning for viewing it. Almost 75 years
later, Mary still recalled this experience vividly. The family gathered
on the landing of the stairway in their home, and watched the comet's
path across the heavens.
Happy High School Days
The positive feel ings that Mary recalled from her earl iest
experiences with elementary school continued through her high school
years. She knew that she "was always interested in going to school" and
that "just being in school" was what made it so appealing, not any
particular subject or special teacher. School gave Marya feeling of
competency that contributed to an overall sense of well-being. As
corroboration of her assessment that she felt good about her life from
182
the earliest years and on into high school, she said, "The song my
brother wrote, the high school song -- I sing that a lot; now why would I
sing it, if I hadn't enjoyed those years?"[54]
By the time Mary entered high school, her brother had graduated, but
he left more than the Alma Mater anthem as a legacy. John took art
courses and when Mary took some of the same ones, the art teacher pointed
out to her that she was not as tal ented as her brother had been. This
did not bother Mary because she did not aspire to excellence in that
field. John had, however, been the editor of the high school paper, The
Spectator, in his senior year. Mary decided she would enjoy following in
his footsteps there. She wrote well and enjoyed writing. Her father
encouraged her by his belief that anything her brother did she could do,
too. (Jones, 1983, n.I t),
A young man, Ralph, had the same ambition, and he began sparring
with her for thi s honor. The contest was resol ved through compromi see
Ralph was appointed business manager and Mary became the editor. At
first Ralph was critical of Mary, complaining about "how much money" she
spent. By Christmas time this problem was resolved. Ralph brought Mary
a huge box of candy, and declared that he was "not going to be mad
anymore" because she JIhad not exceeded the paper's bUdget" (Jones, 1983,
p.13). From that time on Mary and Ralph "went to everything together".
They marched down the aisle together at Commencement. When Mary took the
train to college that Fall, Ralph and her mother saw her off at the
station. After she left, and until Ralph left Johnstown himself, to join
the army, Mary's mother and Ralph kept up a friendship. Later Mary's
mother met Ralph1s wife and socialized a bit with the young couple. At
183
this time, however, Ralph wrote to Mary while in the service and sent her
copies of the war songs the soldiers were singing. When they met again,
after Mary's year away at Vassar, they had grown apart. In answer to a
question as to what Mary liked best about Ralph, she laughingly answered
that it was "the fact that he liked me!" Years later, at the 50th class
reunion, one of her classmates came up to Mary and remarked that everyone
had expected Mary and Ralph to marry -- they all thought that "he was the
one!" Somehow, Mary had known all along that he was not, even though she
had complied with his request for a kiss as a graduation present from
her. It was, she recalls, "a pretty real ktss" -- she was surprised at
the time at how "real
ll
it was!
Mary had other admirers in high school. One year she received 13
boxes of chocolates, although all these boxes did not come from serious
beaux. One large box was a gift from her best friend's beau. He gave
candy to Mary, but to Winifred he gave red roses.
Although Mary did have a very active social life during her high
school years, and enjoyed the company of one or two young men other than
Ralph, there was one admirer, the one who had brought her the roses in
grammar school, who never quite made the grade, with Mary or her family.
He wanted to take Mary to a stock company when she was only in the fifth
grade. Aunt Kate offered to accompany them, as a solution to a social
dilemma, but the young man withdrew his invitation in the face of having
a chaperone (a maiden school teacher aunt, at that).
184
Mary's mother played an interesting part in Mary's social ization
wi th the oppos i te sex. Although her mother usually was not too
forthrightly critical, Mary sensed that her mother did not approve
wholeheartedly of the young men who were seeking Mary's company. Mary's
mother had, as noted above, continued a friendly relationship with Ralph
in Mary's absence, but earlier she had made her assessment of him to Mary
quite clear. One day Ralph was visiting Mary at Brookacre, the cottage
in the country which originally belonged to Aunt Kate, who shared it with
the rest of the family. Ralph was helping with the task of digging a new
outdoor toilet, and Mary's mother called Mary's attention to the young
man's muscular build in a way that left little question about how she
viewed this attribute: "Ugh, look how strong he is!" was the way she put
it.
Mary's surmise about her mother's attitude was that she wanted to
make sure that Mary would not be swept off her feet prematurely into an
early marriage. Mary was quite certain that her mother did not share her
father's enthusiasm for higher education for their older daughter.
Carrie was, however, certain that Mary was too young to marry. In the
face of this ever-present alternative, more appealing, her mother might
have feared, as war approached, Carrie may have seen college as a welcome
way out. College could become a buffer against the winds of romance. It
may have been for this reason that Carrie never spoke against the idea of
college for her daughter, even though she did not actively promote it.
185
Best Friends: The High School Crowd
Some of Mary's happiest hours were spent with her high school crowd,
a group of six or eight girls in her class. Several were friends from
earlier days in elementary school. Winifred Krebs was her closest
friend. Mary admired her very much. First of all, she was an extremely
pretty young teenager. She was qUite petite, a brunette, with dark
curl s. Mary al so appreciated Winifred's popul arity: "Boys were crazy
about her and I was impressed with this," Mary confessed with a twinkle
in her eye. Mary also admitted that she felt Winifred to be much more
attractive and more popular than she.
Mary did not like the way her front teeth tended to protrude. She
recalled that she had treatment from an orthodontist but it did not seem
to help. It may be that Mary's parents did not see this as a serious
problem. To Mary it was of some importance, however. She recalled that
she felt considerable empathy with Eleanor Roosevelt, years later, when
she read about Eleanor's concern about her protruding teeth.
In addition to Winifred's attractive personal attributes, Mary also
thought that Winifred's family was a notch above hers on the local social
scale. Mary's father was a successful business man active in the affairs
of his community, a staunch member of the Republican party and involved
in local politics. But Winifred's father was editor of the daily
newspaper, a position that carried considerable distinction and influence
in the town.
While Winifred was not an outstanding student, Mary perceived that
her friend was quite bright and could have excelled academically had she
been motivated to do so. Mary graduated with honors from high school.
186
Winifred did go on to Wells College after finishing high school. She and
Mary were among the very few young women from their graduating class who
went to college. One of the others was a girl named Virginia Lewis, the
class Valedictorian; She was not a member of Mary's crowd. That young
woman went to Allegheny College. She later married a psychologist, and
much later moved to Napa, California when her husband joined the staff
of the state hospital there. Mary never met her while she was there, but
she used to hear news of that former classmate, now deceased, through
some common acquai ntances.
Mary recalled with particular pleasure the spring holidays spent at
Winifred1s family cottage in the country. The whole crowd of high school
girls would gather there, accompanied by two of Winifred1s aunts or,
sometimes, a teacher for a visit of about a week. They invited their
favorite male classmates up for visits during the day and spent the time
picnicking, gathering wild flowers and berries, and enjoying the
the pleasures of country life.
Another member of her group whom Mary remembered fondly was
Katharine. She lived in a house that Mary saw as IImore elegant
ll
than her
own. One evening when Mary was dining there with Katharine and her
family, Mary recalled an anecdote that was amusing in retrospect. Mary
was seated next to one of Kathar-ine's brothers. During the soup course
he seized some peanuts from a dish on the table and ladeled them into his
soup. Mary had never seen this done before, but assumed it to be
customary, at least in this household. When he passed the peanut dish to
her, therefore, she followed s u i ~ Thereupon, the young man turned to
her, teasingly, and said, III know you only did that because you saw me
187
doing it!" This was true, of course, and Mary felt considerable chagrin.
Katharine's marriage was an example of an early one among Mary's
friends and acquaintances (as was the Sunday School classmate, mentioned
above). Soon after Commencement Katharine married one of her high school
instructors and the couple moved away from Johnstown. Mary never heard
from her again, nor from most of the others in that group -- except for
Winifred. In the early 1980s Mary wrote Winifred to find out if she
planned attending a class reunion. This she could not do and so the two
old chums did not get together. They continued to exchange Christmas
cards and notes, however, keeping their friendship alive (see Appendix F,
item 28).
Academics
By the time Mary entered high school she knew she would be taking
the College Preparatory Course. Chautauqua was a strong incentive for
Mary's academic motivation. It whetted her appetite long before Halley's
Comet gave a visual sign to represent more intangible goals.
Then there was John who preceeded her and prepared the way. One of
her teachers, the English teacher, had encouraged John to go to college
and this same woman took Mary's academic future seriously. She
encouraged Mary to follow her brother's example.
Mary had a Lati n teacher whose younger sister had gone to Vassar.
Even though the sister had not made the grade there, the Latin teacher
spoke in favor of Vassar as a college for young women.
Another college that Mary heard about during this period of her life
was Bryn Mawr. Her brother had dated a young woman who was going there.
188
Its most outstanding quality, in the eyes of Mary's parents, was its
proximity to home, being located on the west side of Philadelphia.
The third college mentioned as a possibility by her family was Mount
Holyoke. Mary eventually visited all three with her parents.
In the meantime, she took the courses that were prerequisites for
coll ege entry: two foreign 1anguages (Latin and German); mathematics
(algebra, geometry, trigonometry); physics, history, geography and
English.
It was Mary's father who had always extolled the values of an
education, while Aunt Kate was the living embodiment of higher education
for women within the family fold.
Although Mary was qUite certain she never gave it a thought in her
childhood, looking back she believed that she may have been her father's
favorite child. She said, "I don't know why I think so; except that he
was always very interested -- when we got ready for college -- maybe I
was a little favored -- I was the first girl, after all, and he was my
father -- call it 'Oedipal', if you want!" Whatever the dynamics that
were operating, it became clear to Mary that her father was always
interested in seeing all of his children do what they wanted to do, "and
he hoped it was getting ahead!"
Summer Vacations
During her summer vacations over the high school years Mary attended
some YWCA camps away from home for several weeks. Then, in 1915, after
graduation, she became a volunteer counselor at a camp for indigent girls
from New York City (see Appendix F, item 29). This opportunity was
189
arranged for her by Mrs. Wernstedt, the mother of Ebba. Ebba was a young
woman whom John met when he transferred from Ohio State to Columbia
University after his Freshman year. She was the daughter of the German-
American woman who rented a room to John. John brought Ebba home to
visit his family when his relationship with her began to become a more
serious one. Mary 1iked her very much and the two became good friends.
Mary was delighted at the prospect of spending the summer as a counselor
with Ebba. The camp was sponsored by a settlement house in New York
City. Even though Ebba turned out to be a bit obsessive in her
housekeeping habits and chided Mary about her untidiness in their shared
quarters at the camp, Mary still found the association a satisfying one
and the summer rewarding.
later that same year John and Ebba were married in Vienna where John
was sent on a diplomatic mission by the United States government. This
was an assignment he undertook while working towards his Doctorate in
Economics at Columbia. During this trip abroad John and Ebba traveled
through the low Countries and visited some of Ebba's paternal relatives
in eastern Germany near the Polish border. They also saw some of
Switzerland and Italy, ending up in Scandinavia. They returned to New
York on a Norwegian ship which John found very satisfying. When they were
back home in Washington, Ebba became pregnant. That pregnancy made John
eligible for draft deferment when the United States entered the war in
1917. His pacifist convictions alone might not have been persuasive
enough.
190
Early Career Aspirations
During these early years, prior to college, Mary thought she wanted
to become a nurse. She had a chance to tryout this profession at a less
than professional, but quite practical, level during her high school
days. Her mother had a buggy accident while out riding with a friend.
Mary does not recall all the details, but somehow her mother wrenched her
back. The injury was painful and incapacitating, but not too serious in
its final outcome. There were no fractured vertebrae. During the
several weeks required for her mother's recovery, Mary ministered to her.
Aunt Kate bought Marya nurse's uniform and cap to wear while plying her
nursing tasks. This service gave Marya sense of geniune satisfaction
(see Appendi x F, item 30).
Conunmencement
The Commencement ceremony was important to Mary. Before Commence-
ment, in her junior year, Mary belonged to the Emerson literary Society,
and through that affiliation she participated in the Junior-Senior
Reception (see Appendix F, items 31 and 32). This occasion served as a
kind of dress rehearsal for the following year. Mary had a part in the
class play (as did her good friend, Katharine). Then, almost a year and
a half later, Mary graduated (see Appendix F, item 33, p.z), This time
Mary's best friend, Winifred, appears on the program delivering a story
(p.2 also). Mary also performs, declaiming a poem she wrote, "A Pixie's
love. II This poem was printed in the Johnstown newspaper (see Appendix F,
item 34). The theme of the poem might well have reinforced Carrie1s
concern about the compelling allure of youthful romance.
191
Chapter III
NEW THRESHOLDS
Vassar, Vassar, Vassar
Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke and Vassar -- Mary was quite sure that she
visited all three with her parents before finally choosing Vassar, but
the only visit she remembered was the one to Vassar. Before she went
there, she saw a picture in a magazine drawn by a well-known illustrator
of that era, Harrison Fisher, "There was a picture of a Vassar girl with
a Vassar pennant up on a wall, and the girl had a rose beside her on her
desk." Mary added, "I thought Vassar sounded like a very good place, and
when we visited there, we were shown a senior girl's room and there was a
bunch of American Beauty roses! That was just what I thought Vassar
would be like!" The Vassar girl who showed Mary and her parents around
the campus was very friendly and welcoming.
Once Mary was enrolled and matriculating, however, everything at
Vassar did not look so rosy. There was Latin. Mary had taken four years
of Latin in high school. The high school Latin teacher, it may be
recalled, was the one whose sister had failed at Vassar. Mary failed
Latin that first year. Mary was certain that her preparation for college
at Johnstown High was not up to the standards of most of her classmates'
preparation. The majority of those students had come from private
college preparatory schools. When Mary failed Latin it was more than a
personal defeat. To keep accreditation with Vassar a high school could
not have more than two of its students fail. Johnstown High had had its
192
two: the latin teacher's sister and one other. Mary needed to succeed,
therefore, not only for herself, but also to keep her high school on the
accredited list. Mary studied diligently, with a tutor at Vassar whose
name was Swan. All the students who tutored with her used to sing a
variation on a popular song, "Take Me Back to Swany's D o o ~ " Then, over
the summer, Mary was tutored by her old high school latin teacher -- and
she passed the course, in the Fall, to her vast relief.
A Roommate
Before the challenge of latin, however, there was the matter of
settling into a new 1ife. Dormitory space for Freshmen at Vassar was
limited and it was parcelled out on a first-come, first-served basis.
Because of the order of acceptance Mary was assigned to McGlynn's, one of
two off-campus dormitories. In those days what were later called "House
Mothers" were then called "Wardens," and McGlynn's had a Warden, too.
Another student entering that day and also assigned to McGlynn's was lois
Warner. She arrived, accompanied by her mother. lois and Mary had each
been assigned a roomate, but lois' mother thought that her daughter and
Mary should room together. Mrs. Warner negotiated this shift in
roommates, and thus began a life-long friendship between Mary and lois.
Mary described lois as "very bright -- Phi Beta Kappa, Junior year."
She took piano lessons throughout college and later on she married a
music teacher who had taught her piano in high school. A New Englander,
lois' temperament was, according to Mary, in keeping with her background.
She was quiet and reserved, a bit reticent and inward, and quite self-
sufficient. To quote Mary, "I always thought she was a little less
193
interested in me than I was in her, and that as a person she would still
always be a little more impersonal -- she was very bright, with lots of
interests -- musical -- Phi Beta Kappa, all this... I think maybe people
meant a little less to her than they did to me... she was a New
Enql ander!" Lois was, moreover, in Maris eyes quite beautiful. Mary
described her as having "a beautiful complexion, and lovely big eyes,
but,1I Mary added, IIher hair was straight, and she envied me my hair,
although she was really better looking than 1...
11
• Mary admitted to one
asset in her appearance, III had pretty good hair... blonde and cur ly,"
Lois' hair was straight and brown, but her skin was very fair and lovely,
with "rosy cheeks,"
These two young women hit it off well from the start. Towards the
end of that first year, not yet on campus, still at McGlynn1s, they drew
lots for Sophomore and Junior year quarters. Mary's hit was a lucky one,
and she was able to select a suite of three rooms, two bedrooms with a
connecting drawing room in one of the quadrangle buildings, called
Lathrop Hall. She and Lois lived in style those two years. As Seniors
they were able to room in single adjacent rooms in Main Hall, where all
Seniors were housed. When Mary and Lois returned for their 50th
Reunion, they found that their old suite had now become three separate
rooms. Later on, after coll ege, Loi s and Mary shared an apartment in
New York. Through the years these two kept their friendship alive,
through correspondence, long-distance telephone calls, and occasional
visits back and forth between southern and northern California.
194
Other College Friends and College Life
Although Mary's life at college was filled with friendships,
reminiscent of earlier days at Johnstown High, there was one striking
difference. In college there were no young men -- only Vassar women.
Then, too, by the time Mary was a Junior, well settled into college life,
the country was at war. Nearby men's colleges were decimated, as the
young men became doughboys in World War I.
Mary did remember going to a dance at West Point her Freshman year.
Her date was the boyfriend of one of her Johnstown high school friends.
This Cadet found a fellow West Pointer as a date for Mary's friend,
Muriel; so those two Vassar co-eds visited West Point together, attending
a formal dance there.
Since the war was in full-swing in Mary's Junior year, the Junior
Prom was cancelled. By Senior year, the Armistice had been signed, and
Mary's class could hold a Senior Prom. This time Lois' brother escorted
Mary, and he found a friend to date his sister.
Mary did not recall the dress she wore there but she vividly
remembered one formal gown from an earlier year. She had her heart set
on a sophisticated black dress. Her mother, however, was not in favor
of black. She said that Mary was much too young to wear black. Her
father stepped in, saving the day. He volunteered to take Mary shopping.
They returned home with a black lace gown, trimmed with pink ribbon and a
rose. Carrie asked, "Whose idea was that?" Mary repl ied, "My father let
me buy it", to which Carrie answered only, "Humph!"
Mary's social 1ife, even though essentially restricted to women,
was quite lively. Her view of it was a striking contrast to that of a
195
fellow classmate quoted in Elaine Kenda11
1s
Peculiar Institutions (1976):
Every morning when I awake, I swear I say damn this pink and
gray college... It isn't on the Hudson. They lied to me.
Every path in Poughkeepsie ends in a heap of cans and rub-
bish. (p. 159)
This lament came from a letter that Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote to a
friend. Millay came to Vassar as a 21 year old Junior, a transfer
student from Barnard who had spent an interim year in Greenwich Village
and published a poem while there. "At that time," according to Kendall,
the vi 11 age was lithe very synonym for bohemian nonconformity." (p.159).
Mary , on the other hand, younger and from Johnstown, not New York, found
the paths quite different. Her Sunday morning strolls took her down
pleasant by-ways:
On a road near the campus, there was something they called
the Cider Mill. You could go and buy cider, and take a walk -
it was like a botanical garden.
A far cry from Millay's "heap of cans and rubbish"! Mary fondly recalled
the Vassar Alma Mater and another more colloquial song that she and her
college chums sang (see Appendix F, item 35).
Metamorphoses
These Sunday morning excursions were in lieu of church attendance, a
practice that Mary quit in her Sophormore year. Her philosophy course
gave Marya new view of basic truths and lasting values. As she put
it:
When I took my philosophy course, second year, I decided I
was not a Christian, and my instructor was a little bothered
that held done this to me. But I never went to church in
downtown Poughkeepsie after that (but of course I continued
going to Chapel at Vassar, which was required). I just
remember looking at things in a different way; philoso-
phically, rather than religiously.
196
Mary recalled that during her high school years she had experienced a
religious conversion, or, as she phrased it, "I 'hf t the trail
l
... I was
asked to come up and 'hf t the trat l ,' and I did!" The sermon that moved
her was delivered in a Johnstown church and the evangelist who preached
it was well-known at the time. This was the era of Billy Sunday, but
Mary believed it to have been an earlier preacher.
Mary recalled with great clarity the singular young man, a popular
high school classmate, who sat riveted to his seat while all around him
were drawn to hit the "sawdust trail":
Almost everybody did... there was one young man who didn't and
I still think of that fella -- how could he have had the
courage to sit there, while we all went up and "hit the
trail"? --
Although Mary was so moved by the evangalist when she was a teenager, she
did not believe that she was deeply religious in any orthodox sense. At
least she was not committed to the dogma of any denominational creed.
She had attended church regul arly with her family throughout chi 1dhood
and adolescence, conforming to the convention of time and place. Now, at
college, exposed to a broader view, the parochialism of the past slipped
away as one might shed an outgrown garment, without confl ict or
ambivalence.
There was another more tangible severence that occurred in Maryls
Senior year. She recalled going with a friend to her home in Media,
Pennsylvania. This friend was also named Mary (but Pauli was her
nickname). She later entered Women's Medical School and when Mary last
read about her, in the mid-1980s in the Alumnae News, she was still
practicing medicine in Maine. While visiting with Paul i one Spring
197
break Mary went to the local barbershop and bobbed her hair. The shorn
locks were made into a switch which Mary then wore on the nape of her
neck as though it were a bun. This, with a bonnet perched on top of her
head, disguised her new coiffeur, or at least Mary hoped it did. Pauli's
parents, who saw them off at the railroad station, apparently noticed
nothing. Mary recalled returning to Vassar on the train, wearing the
bonnet and switch. When she went to her own home, however, it did not
take her mother long to comment, "You may as well not bother wearing that
switch, Mary; your father knows you've cut your hatr,"
Evolution, Not Revolution
Bobbing ones hair IIwas in the air
ll
at Vassar in the Spring of 1919.
Mary was the second young woman to take that step. She was first,
however, in another act of non-conformity that required a higher order of
courage. A couple of years earlier, when President Woodrow Wilson
declared war against the Kaiser, Vassar convened an assembly to send a
vote of confidence to Wilson. An overwhelming majority voted to support
him, and someone said, "Lets make it unanimous!". They almost
succeeded, until Mary cast a lone dissenting vote by declaring, III don't
vote for the war; I'm opposed to our entry," Once she voiced her
opposition, a few others followed her lead. Mary felt certain her
brother's strong pacifist stand influenced her in taking this stand.
A number of Mary's closest friends in college were Jewish. She
often pondered this circumstance. Since she had not known any Jewish
people in Johnstown, she wondered how she happened to be drawn to them at
Vassar. She believed one factor may have been her own sense of being an
198
outsider there. Many of the young women came into Vassar with friends
from their prep school days. This situation led to cliques not unlike
those encountered in other schools where sororities exist. Vassar had
clubs that were organized around common interests, but sororities were
outlawed. This strategy encouraged new alliances built upon natural
preferences rather than circumstances of birth, class, religion,
regionalism or prior acquaintance. An example of this is the Vassar
Debating Team which Mary joined. She recalled a trip this group took to
Smith College to engage the team there in a debate. The Vassar women
were shocked to learn that Smith had sororities.
Vassar was organized to encourage students to do what Mary tended to
do naturally -- reach out to new experiences and make new friends. Some
of the friendships that began for her in shared classroom experiences or
in extra-curricular interests, such as clubs, or in more informal
encounters, continued throughout Mary's 1ife. A number of Mary's friends
came from New York City, and when she went to Columbia University for her
graduate study her friendships with those women continued in the new
setting. Her old Vassar classmate, Marcelle Furman, was a case in point.
Marcelle was taking her M.A. at Teachers College. Mary and she took a
course together there in mental testing; it was taught by Leda S.
Hollingworth. Later on, when Mary moved to Berkeley, some of her old
fri ends vis ited her in her Ca1i forn i a home. I n more recent yea rs Mary
was able to continue her friendships with those still 1iving by
exchanging hol iday cards, visiting on the long-distance telephone, and
occasional face-to-face visits. Mary considered attending a 65th class
reunion at Vassar in the Spring of '84, but since only a few members
199
registered for it, the reunion was cancelled. Mary said that such
reunions are scheduled every five years or so, and it is not likely that
her class will ever have another one. A copy of a letter that Mary wrote
to the Vassar Correspondent, Class of 1919, expresses her sentiments
about Vassar, an earlier reunion she missed, old college friendships and
other related matters (Appendix F, item 36).
There was one classmate who became Mary's friend through an unusual
set of circumstances. Rosal ie Rayner and Mary were acquainted, having
met early at Vassar and taken the developmental psychology class
together, but it was through a later chance meeting that they became
closer. The student body had recently passed a resolution banning
smoking on campus. As an outcome of that action, some of the students
would sneak off campus to a nearby cemetary to smoke a few cigarettes
every now and then. Mary went along with the crowd once or twice, but
she was not really a smoker. In Mary's home no one smoked and liquor was
never served. Rosalie, however, was a smoker. She smoked in her room,
in violation of the new rule, and she was caught. Mary explained that
she happened to meet Rosalie by chance just as she left her hearing
before the Student Council:
I happened to meet her, just as she came out of that exper-
ience, and she was just completely -- well, they1d just been
very nasty to her. She told me that they hadn't expelled
her, but they1d been pretty severe, and I guess she had to
promise never to do it again!
It was as an outcome of this meeting that Mary and Rosalie became
friends. During the Spring break in their Senior year, while Mary was
bobbing her hair in Media, Rosalie was interviewing for a graduate
assistantship in a university near her home in Baltimore. She was hired
200
by Dr. John B. Watson at Johns Hopkins University. Later Rosalie and
Mary would meet again in New York City and resume their friendship, after
Rosalie had begun working at Johns Hopkins. Mary remembered Rosalie as
"an impressive young woman, good-looking and bright." From a well-to-do
Baltimore family, she was decidedly upper-middle class. An uncle of
hers was a member of the legislature.
Extra-Curricular Activities
Mary recalled that her extra-curricular activities revolved around
pol itical interests and concerns. The women's suffrage movement was
gaining momentum on the Seven Sister campuses and Vassar had a radical
reputation to uphol d by the time Mary arrived on the scene (Kendall,
1976, pp, 76,78,79,81,103,126-27,131-32,143-144ff). Inez Mi 1holl and had
preceeded her, and in 1908 she had staged a meeting in defiance of the
man who was President of Vassar, James Monroe Taylor. According to
Kendall (1976, p.145), Taylor was "the last of the Baptist clergymen to
head the college and no great friend of the activists." Milholland
risked expulsion by holding the meeting with Harriott Stanton (then Mrs.
Blatch) and her small group of suffragists which included the economist,
Helen Hoy. Both Milholland and Hoy were Vassar graduates. Inez
Milholland chose a cemetary nearby (perhaps it was the same cemetary
Mary and her classmates gathered in to smoke forbidden cigarettes a
decade later) in which to hold the meeting "as both neutral and hallowed
ground" (Kendall, 1976, p.145). Inez may be best remembered as the
elegant leader in sUffragist parades who always wore a white suit with
matching boots, a pale blue cloak, and a plumed hat. This young woman
201
died prematurely in 1916, and, according to Kendall (1976), "she was
considered Vassar's great martyr to the cause." (p.146). Since Inez had
graduated in 1909, she was not on campus when Mary was there; she died
when Mary was a Sophomore. There was, however, another young woman whom
Mary remembered as a very active suffragist on campus. This classmate,
Miriam Beard, was the daughter of the Beards, prominent historians
(Jones, 1983, p.21). Miriam traveled to Washington, D.C. to march in
sUffragist parades. Mary was not as active herself, but she was a member
of this group. She did visit, with others, a member of the legislature
from the district of Poughkeepsie to solicit his support for the cause.
In her book, Pecu1 iar Institutions, Kendall (1976) notes that the
early members of the suffragists were either debutantes or women f r ~ m the
working classes. She makes the point that most women in the colleges in
those earlier years, around the turn of the century, were drawn from the
"sol idly bourpeof se":
They were the daughters of parsons and doctors, missionaries,
merchants and reasonably prosperous farmers. It was a
homogeneous group, unleavened by many volatile
e1ements... on1y the most visionary could possibly have suc-
ceeded in identifying either with the likes of Mrs. Astor or
such exotics as Rose Schneiderman of the Cap Makers u n i o ~ ~
• (p.144)
Kendall continues by pointing out that those who did so identify, such as
Inez Milholland, usually had strong support, most often parental, at
home.
Although Kendall is speaking about a period only ten years prior to
Mary's own, it was a pivotal decade, marking the end of the Victorian
era, ushering in the 20th century, climaxed with World War I. Some of
that debutante class were entering the halls of academe, especially
202
those of the Seven Sisters. Mary herself fit neatly into the category
of II s01idly bourqeoise", She was the daughter of a successful merchant
who was active in his community and civic-minded. He occasionally ran
for local offices on the Republican ticket, and served in appointive
positions repeatedly. As noted above, it was fraternal support, not
parental, that gave Mary the voice to support more radical and visionary
causes. The strength behind the convictions, however, may have had its
bedrock in parental values. Her progenitors were, after all, pioneers --
a hardy lot. For other variations on this theme, see a letter,
postmarked 1972, from a Vassar friend of Mary, an upper classwoman, who
had recently been researching this era at Vassar in connection with some
archival work for a library at Radcliffe College (Appendix F, item 37,
pp, 1-8).
A more formal pol itical connection was Mary's participation in the
Socialist Club. She joined in her Junior year and became President when
she was a Senior. However Mary never joined the Socialist Party. Looking
back upon the Socialist Club in her latter years, Mary said, lilt was
just a little group of non-conformists.
1I
While President she was able to
make a contribution to the student body as a whole, however. Mary was
chosen to organize and direct a conference that brought together
successful women from many different fields to share their insights with
the Vassar students.· This conference was an annual Vassar event. It
allowed the young women to hear firsthand about opportunities that might
open for them upon graduation. Mary derived a gratifying sense of
accomplishment from this endeavor. In retrospect, she said, "That was
the most important thing I did at V a s s a ~ 1 I
203
For her senior thesis in her economics seminar Mary wrote a paper
entitled The History of the Socialist Party in the United States. This
paper was a partial fulfillment of requirements in her major, Economics.
Mary called it "one of my best studies." (Jones, 1983, p.l?). In
compiling the data for that study Mary went to New York and interviewed
some of the key people working for New Masses, a well-known Social ist
Party journal of that day. It was while on this research project that
Mary met Norman Thomas, the perennial socialist candidate for the
Presidency of the United States. Unfortunately, Mary's copy of that
senior paper has been lost.
In her Junior year Mary asked permission to march in a Peace Parade
in New York City as an official delegate from Vassar. Her petition was
denied on the basis that her grades were not strong enough to excuse her
from classes for that brief period. Mary has always thought this was a
tactical strategy in the service of the college's conformist attitude.
There were repercussions for Mary, however. Somehow the New York Times
listed her name as a delegate from Vassar College. She was called before
the Vassar student council and questioned about her presence in the
Parade after permission had been officially denied. Mary, of course, had
not left the Campus, and was able to convince the authorities of her
compliance with their directive. Had she not been able to persuade them
of her innocence, she would certainly have faced expulsion.
Expanding Aspirations and Detours Along the Way
In high school Mary thought she might 1ike to be a nurse. By the
time she was a Junior at Vassar she decided she would rather be a doctor.
204
There were, however, a few road blocks along this path. For one, when
she talked the matter over with a physician on the staff at Vassar, this
woman pointed out to Mary that most women who became doctors in that day
also became spinsters, not an attractive outcome, especially for one of
Mary's temperament. It was not easy for women to enter Medical School,
either. There was Women's Medical in Germantown, Pennsylvania, but few
other options. Another long and arduous course in an all-women
institution was not too appealing -- assuming, of course, that Mary was
accepted there. That brings up organic chemistry, not one of Mary's
favorite subjects! After Mary conquered Latin, she never again faced the
crisis of failure. Her grades in undergraduate school were good in
general, and in some cases they were excellent, but organic chemistry was
not among the latter g r o u ~ The decisive turning point for her career
choice came later, however. It was not until her Senior year, when she
heard John B. Watson lecture in New York that Mary realized her true
vocation lay in psychology; to quote from a letter Mary wrote to Milton
J. E. Senn (1968), included with his oral history:
I came under the influence of John B. Watson when I was a
student at Vassar. I went to New York City for a weekend,
heard Watson lecture (I've forgotten the auspices) and de-
cided I would rather be a child psychologist than a pedi-
atrician.[55]
Psychology: Washburn Style
According to Gwendolyn Stevens and Sheldon Gardner (1982) in Volume
I of the Women of Psychology, Margaret F10y Washburn "was one of the most
powerful and respected of American psychologists" at the time of her
death in 1939 (p.104). She was a graduate of Vassar and became a full
205
professor there in 1908, when her first important book was published, The
Animal Mind: ATextbook of Comparative Psychology (p.101). By stressing
the importance of studying animals to understand human behavior, Washburn
foreshadowed behaviorism which was founded soon after her text was
publ ished (p.101). Washburn·s 1aboratory was her pride and joy, but few
animal studies were conducted there. That was because the laboratories
in undergraduate college were used to introduce research methodology to
students. The kind of laboratory needed for first-rate animal research
"requtres a great deal of money and many doctoral candf dates" (p.lOO).
Washburn was a II gr eat theoretician and the integrator of research
findings of comparative psychology, while her personal research centered
on learning, perception, memory and experimental aesthetics research with
human subjects," (p.101). She foreshadowed behaviori sm in her bel i ef in
the importance of animal experimentation, but philosphically she was
antithetical to that orientation. In her Presidential Address to the
Americn Psychological Association in 1921, she offered a rebuttal to John
Watson's position in her espousal of IIIntrospection as an objective
method" (p.102 & p.138).
Mary took every psychology course offered while she was at Vassar,
except one. In Mary·s Senior year, Washburn taught a course with the
biologist, Tredwell, and Mary took it, along with the others (Jones,
1983, p.16). There was one branch of psychology that Washburn did not
like, Child Psychology, and this she did not teach, but another member of
the faculty did and Mary took that course as well. A benefactor offered
money to Vassar for opening a Nursery School, and Washburn was adamant in
her opposition (Jones, 1983). She was dedicated to the experimental
206
method. Washburn's reputation as a teacher was superb. In an article by
Elizabeth S. Goodwin (1980) a quotation from a former student of Washburn
reflects a consensus:
[Her] 1ectures... were bri 11 iant, exact, c1 ear, wi th such a
wealth of references and citing of original sources as almost
to overwhelm a student... I recall wishing that the course in
social psychology would never end.... (p.74)
Prior to becoming a Senior, Mary had decided to major in psychology, and
she was both surprised and disappointed when Washburn denied her entrance
to the Senior Seminar. This course is described by Goodman:
Each year a few simple experimental problems were outlined by
Washburn. Senior students conducted the data-gathering and
analysis. The results were interpreted and prepared for
publication by Washburn and the papers then published under
joint authorship in the American Journal of Psychology. In
all, 69 studies were produced in this way, with 119 students
as joint authors. (p.73)
When Mary took her introductory laboratory course with Washburn in her
Sophomore year, Mary's lab Partner was less than enthusiastic: "She said
she hated it, and she wasn't cooperative, and we both got CiS". Mary
conceded that the lab course had not been very exciting: "You did all
these little things, deciding whether you could feel the difference
between weights -- it was this old-fashioned sort of laboratory thing!"
Mary did not know, in her Sophomore year, how strategically important the
boring lab course would turn out to be. It was only after taking many
more psychology courses -- social, developmental, child -- that she came
to realize that she wanted to major in psychology. Washburn was
unyielding, however. She told Mary, "You wouldn't enjoy the Senior
Seminar; it's just like that Sophomore lab course that you didn't like!"
It was then that Mary turned to Economics. She liked that subject very
207
much. Her brother had majored in the field and was taking his Ph.D. at
Columbia. Later on he would teach at the University of Pittsburgh. Mary
was involved, as outlined above, in the Socialist Club and the suffragist
movement. Economics was related to these interests, as were her debating
interests. It was not, however, her first choice. Economics as a major
was a compromise for Mary. Her preference, by far, was Psychology.
The Daisy Chain
When Mary graduated her parents attended Commencement (see Appendix
F, item 38). Mary recalled that her father was disappointed that Mary was
not chosen as one of those graduating seniors to be a member of the
Vassar Daisy Chain. This is an annual ritual that adds color and levity
to an occasion that might otherwise become too solemn and staid. Mary
was not disappointed that she was not among those making up the Daisy
Chain. She realized that being chosen for that distinction had little to
do with any intrinsic persDnal merit. Those selected were usually
members of prominent or socially distinguished famil ies, such as her
classmate, Phyll is Stinson, whose brother became Secretary of State in
the President's Cabinet. Beauty may also have played a part in the
selection. Neither of these circumstances were under the control of the
participants.
Balance Sheet
On the other hand, Mary did experience some real disappointments and
defeats throughout her years at Vassar. She turned her first defeat into
victory -- by studying and passing the Latin course. A lesser
disappointment was not being admitted to the Vassar Chorus. Mary had
208
always enjoyed singing and would have liked to have been a member of that
group. She believed that she might have been able to gain admission, if
she had been a little more persistent and tried out a second time (even
though she did not have a trained voice as some, such as her roommate,
did); but it did not matter that much to her. There was a vegetable
garden at Vassar during the period of the war, and Mary would have liked
to participate in this farming adventure, but, again, she was not among
the lucky ones that were chosen -- another minor defeat (Jones, 1983,
p.l?). These little incidents were almost trivial -- not being chosen
for the Chorus, the gardening group, or the Daisy Chain. Not being
all owed to take the Senior Seminar in Psychology was, however, of an
entirely different order, and Mary did something significant about that,
1ater on.
In the meantime, still at Vassar, there were some decided pluses.
Passing Latin was a successful hurdle. Organizing the Vocational
Conference was a real success, a major aChievement. The Senior paper she
wrote was outstanding. Her extra-curricular life as a member of the
suffragist group and her role as President of the Socialist Club were
satisfying and fun, and she enjoyed the Debating Team, especially the
tour to Smith College. Her social life was fulfilling. Her third
summer, following her Junior year, Mary went to a settlement house and
worked with under-priviledged children; this was arranged through Vassar,
and was a rewarding experience (Jones, 1983, p. 17). Mary sums it up
this way:
I think I left the impression that I had been somewhat
disadvantaged by going to Vassar where there were a lot of
people with more status,... I did do some things on a leader-
209
ship level. And Vassar, a woman's college then, added
measurably to my background and my self-esteem. (Jones,
1983, p.68)
One, among the lot, who shone forth as a star at Vassar was Mary's
roommate, her closest friend. Mary noted that lois was:
Phi Beta Kappa her Junior year, and a musician who gave
concerts... I felt very inferior; in fact, I think that in
some ways Vassar left me feel ing rather inferior.... It
certainly got better towards the end, but I sometimes think
that one of the reasons I went on to graduate school was that
I felt inferior in college.
It may be, then, that one way Vassar contributed to Mary's background and
her self-esteem was by helping her become motivated to continue her
education in graduate school.
210
Chapter IV
CONVERGENCE
AMajor Focus
Mary graduated from Vassar in the Spring of 1919. Her brother John
and his family were still living in Manhattan. This made Columbia
University an easy transition for her. There was no doubt in Mary's mind
that she shoul d go on to graduate school, and no doubt about her major
interest. Even though she had majored in Economics, she did so only by
default. Graduate school would be a way of fulfilling an unmet goal.
As soon as she could she went to Columbia for an interveiw with Dr.
Robert S. Woodworth, Chairman of the Department of Psychology.
Dr. Woodworth, who was then 50 years old, had published Dynamic
Psychology only a year prior to Mary's appearance on his threshold. Marx
and Hillix (1979) declare that it was this text in which Woodworth first
expressed his "systematic veiwpoint", one that was basically eclectic (P.
115). Marx and Hillix cite an anecdote from O.H. Mowrer's review of
Woodworth's text in which Mowrer quotes Woodworth as saying:
I guess I have, as you say, sat on the fence a good deal.
But you have to admit one gets a good view from up there and
besides, it's cooler! (p.115)[56]
Mary herself noted Woodworth's eclecticism, in commenting upon one of his
seminars that she and Harold Jones attended soon after they met. She
said, "Woodworth was an excellent person for that seminar because he was
eclectic. We talked about Freud, and we talked about Watson, and we
211
talked about the more conventional academic psycholoq'is ts," (Jones,
1983, p.54). This was a graduate seminar attended by about a dozen
students, including Gardner Murphy and another affianced couple, Arthur
and Georgina Gates, as well as Harold and Mary. Mary recalls that she
and Harold were secretly amused at Arthur's and Georgina's manners in the
seminar. They were openly demonstrative, whereas Harold and Mary behaved
with more reserve.
Marx and Hillix continue by pointing out that Woodworth was not only
more accepting of introspection than most of his functional ist
colleagues, especially those of the Chicago school (t.e., James, Dewey,
Hall and Cattell, Woodworth's "beloved professor"), but that Woodworth
II gave more emphasis to motivation than the Chicago functional ists did."
(pp.115-116). This was, according to Marx and Hillix, because Woodworth
"emphasized the importance of considering the organism and insisted upon
putting the organism into the basic formula.... "(p.115). In doing so,
Woodworth not only departed from his functionalism by giving
consideration to lithe physiological events which underlie mottvat ton"
(p.116), he also rejected "a strict stimulus-response approach "(p.115):
The S-R theorists have often talked as though the stimulus
led directly to a response, without mediation of the organism
or dependence upon the organi sm to determine the response;...
Marx and Hi 11ix state that Woodworth "wr ote not S-R, but S-Q-R.
"
For
Woodworth believed in "purpose responses or sets of responses. n (p.116).
In his later writings, according to Marx and Hillix, Woodworth said that
lithe act of perceiving is intrinsically re inforcf nq" and this point of
vi ew- II per c e pt ion... a san a dapt i ve be ha vi 0 r II ( p, 116 ) i n whie h
"successful performance is rei nforci ng without the operati on of either
212
extrinsic drive conditions or extrinsic reward conditions" (p.116) places
Woodworth "more in the cognitive camp" (p.116) than the strictly
behavioral.
If Marx and Hillix have assessed Woodworth's position accurately,
then perhaps he applied some of these ideas of motivation and adaptation
in his assessment of the young Vassar graduate who crossed his threshold
in that summer of 1919, seeking admission to his graduate department.
Mary herself, when asked about Woodworth's acceptance, said, modestly,
"Maybe Columbia needed students in those days--I don't know." At any
rate, accepted she was, and with alacrity. Mary also declared:
Woodworth was my chief professor and I liked him very much...
I think of Woodworth very favorably.
To another interviewer, two years earlier, she said, "Oh, Woodworth was
just a lovely person!" (Jones, 1983, p.23).
Later in the interviewing process Mary spoke about taking a course
in mental testing at Teacher's College from Leta Hollingworth. When
asked to compare Washburn's and Hollingworth's styles as teachers,
especially relative to approachability for the student, Mary replied,
"Oh, I didn't approach either of them. Woodworth, however, was very-- I
could approach him; I felt very friendly toward Woodworth." Mary did
state, however, that she could have approached Hollingworth more easily,
probably, than Washburn, had she wanted to do so.
Lois Warner and Mary rented a one bedroom apartment in the same
building where Mary's brother, John, his wife, Ebba, and Mary's little
niece, June, lived. This was close to Columbia. Lois was continuing her
213
musical education with the Mannes. She was still keeping company with
Guy Maier, the piano teacher from her high school days. They were
married a year or so later, and afterwards the young couple became a
well-known two piano team (Jones, 1983, p.37). Mary, who had been coming
to New York as often as possible while in Poughkeepsie, was delighted to
be settling down in this mecca. One of the first things she did after
moving into the new apartment was to sign UP for a course in American
History being offered by James Harvey Robinson at the New School of
Social Research in the Village. Ruth Mann, Mary's old college chum,
whose home was in New York City, signed up with her. Ruth had majored in
History at Vassar, and she was now beginning an apprenticeship in social
work. The two young women took the subway downtown together and as they
entered the classroom that first evening, Mary noticed a young man she
had seen at Columbia. He was deeply engrossed in conversation with a
young Asian man. Mary turned to her friend Ruth, saying, "Now there's
the most interesting man I've seen since coming to New York!" (see
Appendix F, item 39). She was impressed by the ease with which he
conversed with the Asian student. Mary, at this period in her life, had
had very little experience relating to members of another race.
Later on, towards the end of that first class, the interesting young
man approached Mary, asking her if he had not seen her on the campus at
Columbia, she said, "Yes", and he then asked if he might see her home.
"Oh, no", Mary renl ied, "I came here tonight with my friend, Ruth." When
Mary told Ruth, later, about this encounter, her friend said, "Now, Mary,
don't be silly! I can go home by myself perfectly easily! The next time
214
he asks, you say, IYes
l!1I
At the very next class, Ruth reminded her, by
saying, 1I0h, there's your new friend, Harold Jones; don'f forget to let
him take you home tonight, Mary!1I Mary was surprised that Ruth had
Iearned the young man's name so soon, since Mary herself had not known
it. That evening Mary was even more impressed with Harold. This time
because he allowed her to maintain her autonomy by dropping her own
nickel in the subway turnstile.
When Harold was invited into Mary's apartment sometime later, it
was his turn to be impressed. He said he never expected to IIfind a young
woman with such a l tbreryl'' He was impressed by the broad interests it
displayed. From their first meeting these two got on well together and
they fast became inseparable companions; or, to put it in the vernacular,
it was "love at first stqht l"
Harold Ellis Jones: Early Life and the Road Chosen
Harold was born December 3, 1894 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His
parents were both natives of Massachusetts, their families having come to
New England in the 1630s. Harold's mother was Lessie Brown; her father
was Perez Rio Brown. Years later Harold learned from his sister,
Florence, who was eight years older than he, that after his maternal
grandmother died, Grandpa Brown took Florence with him to DAR meetings to
acquaint her with her early American heritage.
Harold was interested all his life in his personal genealogy. Mary
suggested that if your father's name is "Jones" and your mother's is
IIBrown
ll
maybe you need to do all you can to establish a sense of
individuality! (Jones, 1983, p.30). As a father, he passed this
215
interest along to his children, especially Barbara, by sharing with them
the genealogical charts he carefully prepared from library research. He
was pleased to find among his forebears a man named Azubah Ellis. The
names "Azubah" and "Perez Rio" added color to the 1ineage charts.
Harold1s father was Elisha Adams (Ad) Jones. According to ~ Nevitt
Sanford, Dorothy H. Eichorn and Marjorie P. Honzik (1960), who prepared
Harold's Obituary for publication, Harold1s father was managing the
Agricultural Experimental Farm at Rutgers University at the time of
Ha ro1d' s bi r th, Shortly afterwa rds, the fam11 y moved back to New
England, first to Amherst where Ad managed the Experimental Farm for the
Massachusetts Agricultural College.(p.593). Harold always regretted the
circumstance of his birth outside of New England. After a few years, the
family settled in New Canaan, Connecticut, on a large estate that Ad
Jones managed for a number of years for the Lapham family. (Jones, 1983,
PP.32-33). It was on this estate that Harol d spent hi s boyhood.
Ad's family believed in education. They sent him to Choate
Prepartory School, not because it was socially el ite, according to Mary,
but because it had an excellent reputation as an educational
institution and was in the neighborhood. Later Ad earned his bachelor's
degree at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, the same school where
he managed the Farm some years later.
Harold's mother, Lessie, did not go to college, but she was educated
at a private school in Philadelphia. By the standards of those days,
both parents were well-educated.
Harold had diphtheria as an infant and it left him with a somewhat
weakened heart. Frail as a child, he was educated at home by tutors and
216
prepared for entrance into public high school in Stamford, Connecticut.
In his boyhood days, Harold grew up as an only child might have,
spending long hours playing on the grounds of the country estate, as well
as studying. later, upon entering the local high school, Harold became
editor of his high school newspaper (Jones, 1983, p.33), just as had John
Cover and Mary during their senior years at Johnstown High. Harold was
also elected President of his senior class and was voted by his
cl assmates as lithe one having done 'most for the school '." (Sanford, et
el., p.593). Harold graduated with honors from Stamford High.
Following in hi s father's footsteps, Harol d entered Massachusetts
Agricultural College in 1914. Sanford, et al., (1960, p.593) suggest
that it may have been his father's influence that led Harold to major in
biology. One of Harold's lifelong interests, however, was naturelore,
both flora and fauna. This could easily have begun in early childhood,
with those unhurried years, somewhat solitary, and the easy access to the
out-of-doors on the estate.
It was Mary's sister, louise, who showed a similar interest as a
child, and she, too, was encouraged, it may be recalled, by her father.
louise, like Harold Jones, continued this interest more formally in
college. She majored in Botany and later took her Masters in that field
at Columbia. Harold1s path diverged, as noted above, but his avocational
interest in nature continued throughout his 1ife (as has louise's).
After two years at Massachussetts Agricultural College, Harold
transferred to Amherst College in his junior year. It may have been his
mother's influence that prevailed in this decision. She wanted him to
have a more traditional 1iberal education. (Sanford, et al, 1960,
217
p.593). It was at Amherst that Harol d met Robert Frost, who became a
close personal friend as well as his teacher. Years later Harold and
Mary would name their younger daughter Lesley, combining in that name a
reference both to Harold's mother, Lessie, and Frost's daughter, who is
mentioned by her name, Lesley, in Frost's well-known poem, The Bluebird.
There were other Amherst scholars who took an interest in Harold's
intellectual development. Alexander Meikeljohn, President of Amherst
College at the time, was one of them; Stark Young, another.
Sanford, et al., (1960) give these professors credit for fostering
Harold's innate literary talents:
Here, no doubt, we find some of the sources of Harold's
remarkable lucid and graceful literary style. Harold Jones'
writing has always been so clear, so like a mirror that shows
us the object or content without distortion, that his style
has often escaped notice and his writing has seemed to have
been produced effortlessly. But we know that Harold labored
over his style, devoting to his own writing the same care
that he always gave to things which he was called upon to
edit. Many people have had the experience of handing a paper
to Harold Jones with the complete confidence that, if he
approved, it was all right, and that, if it was not all
right, he would soon fix it so that it was. (pp.593-594)
Just as Harold had graduated with honors from high school, he did so
from Amherst: Magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He had continued with
his Biology major, and now took a summer post at the Institute of Marine
Biology at Woods Hole. Afterwards, he returned to Amherst for a year, as
an assistant in Biology, before deciding to enter graduate school in the
Department of Psychology at Columbia University (Sanford, et al., p.594).
Although Harold Jones was not a religious person in the conventional
sense, and may never have attended any church, his strong and abiding
connection with nature approached the reverential. Mary has said, "I
218
think nature took the place with Harold that religion does for many
people. But of course it was less sociable; he did it all by himself."
(Jones, 1983, Pp. 32-33). Harold kept notebooks from his early days
through his high school years that were filled with naturelore. He also
wrote a column for the local New Canaan newspaper, as a teenager,
describing the migratory flyways of the birds in the sky over his head.
Many years later, when Harold and his young family moved to California,
he wrote his parents letters glowing with his descriptions of the new
wildflowers he was discovering. "There are dozens of species of
wildflowers blooming" out here, and lithe wild mustard grows two feet
high, providing a brilliant blanket of yellow covering the ground."
(Jones, 1983, p.32).
All of the above accurately portrays Harold1s personality, to be
sure, but only in part. Another very important ingredient was his gentle
but witty sense of humor. Some of the flavor of it may be caught from
his personally designed and executed Christmas cards (see Appendix F,
item 40, PP. 1 and 2). Mary recalled He ro l d'.s nurturant manner in
fathering their daughters that displayed a unique blend of humor and
gentle firmness. This combination of traits gave the girls a strong
sense of being loved and appreciated by their dad, even though he rarely
showed them physical demonstrations of affection. He was too much the
New Englander for that kind of display. Rather, his love came through in
his manner of relating day-to-day, and his encouraging words as well as
his patient exemplary behavior. And family holidays were enlivened by
Harol d's antics.. his skits and poems, and his own style of merry-making.
These contributions were welcomed not only within the family fold, but
219
among the couple's circle of friends and colleagues throughout Mary and
Harold's lifetime together in Berkeley.
Back in the e.arly days at Columbia Graduate School, Harold came
under the benign influence of Robert Woodworth. The two men, more like
father and son than mentor and student, enjoyed going on camping trips,
and Sanford, et al., (1960, p.594) suggest, "We may be sure that they
talked not only about psychology, but about the manifold aspects of the
nature around them."
And then there was Mary.
~ Milestone Year, 1919-1920: Work and Love, Courtship and Marriage
Columbia was quite a change from Vassar in many ways. One experience
that was very different for Mary at Columbia was the academic climate.
When asked if she found Columbia's program rigorous, she replied:
It doesn't seem to me that it was as hard as Vassar. See!
When I ran into Vassar, it wasn't ..Q.!J.l1. "rigorous"; my first
year was awful! And I didn't have!nl of that at Columbia. I
didn't have any feeling of not being able to produce.
In addition to Woodworth's courses, Mary took a number of courses
from a Professor Poffenberger, whom she also liked. Both men served on
her dissertation committee later, Woodworth's being her Chair. Most of
Mary's professors in graduate school were men, whereas, at Vassar, almost
all were women. She did take the course, as mentioned above, from Leta
Holl ingworth, but that was in the second year. Of course the student
body at Columbia was also different; overwhelmingly male. There were a
few women, however••• more of them at Teacher's College than in graduate
psychology. One woman student stands out in Mary's memory because of the
not-too-kind remark a male student at Columbia made about her: "She came
220
to graduate school to get a Ph.D. and she didn't find html" This young
woman was not a friend of Mary. Mary did make friends with some of the
women students, but that was not during this first year.
Mary and Harold both completed their Masters in one year (Appendix
F, item 41). They took most of their courses together, and studied
together. Some of their study hours were spent in the library; some, in
Mary's apartment. There was time to study and time to break... and all
the time to become better acquainted and really get to know one another.
During this year Harold shared 1iving quarters with a young man a
bit younger than he, named Jul ian Spring, and Mary continued 1iving in
the apartment with Lois.
As the months rolled along Mary and Harold grew closer and closer
and they were aware that their relationship was both serious and
satisfying. There was very little social interaction that could be
labeled "dating". They were just together most of their waking hours.
Somet i mes they ate out; more often, Ma ry cooked for them in her
apartment. Money was scarce and the workload was heavy. The hours spent
studying together were happy as well as productive.
Mary recalls the occasion when they first spoke about marriage. It
was a bright day in early Spring, and they were on an outing together:
We were sitting up on a hillside somewhere... We'd gone off on
some kind of walk. I think weld taken the subway somewhere,
and were sitting on a hill when we began talking about
getting married.
By the time they climbed down the hillside, Mary and Harold were engaged.
Mary recalls saying, "Poor Lois! I'm going to have to put her out of the
a p a r t m e n t ~ The next step was visits to their respective parents. First
221
they went to Connecticut and Mary met her mother and father-in-law to be.
They were still living on the estate called "Waveny". Mary does not
recall feeling any anxiety about meeting Harold's parents and they found
her an acceptable candidate as a daughter-in-law. She believes that
Harold might have found some similarities in his mother's and Mary's
temperaments. Later on the engaged couple went to Johnstown for Harold
to meet Mary's family. By that time Mary and Harold had decided on
September 1st, Mary's birthday, as the wedding day.
Harold had a position with New York City for the summer at Randall's
Island. He would supervise the testing of retarded individuals. Mary
would work there, under Harold's supervision, giving the Terman mental
tests to the clients (see Appendix F, item 42). On the basis of the
test results Harold would assign individuals to appropriate homes or
institutions. Although Mary said, "It was just a summer job, really," it
was the first small step towards two long professional careers working
together, and foreshadowed the partnership they would continue throughout
their lives, in work as well as marriage. Since the Randall's Island job
would end by September 1st, and Mary would celebrate her birthday then,
it appealed to both of them as a suitable date for the marriage. Both
Mary and Harold would be continuing in the doctoral program at Columbia,
but Haro1 d wou1 d make more rapid progress than Mary, after their
marriage.
It would have been difficult to leave New York for a wedding in
Johnstown between the end of the Summer job and the beginning of the Fall
Semester at Columbia and so the couple decided on a simple ceremony in
New York. Although Mary's parents received Haro1 d and the news of the
222
impending alliance with grace, Mary knew that they would have preferred
for her to marry a Johnstown man and settle down a bit closer to home.
Aunt Kate verbalized it by suggesting that Harold could teach at
Johnstown High! later on Mary learned that when her father told a
friend that his older daughter was getting married in New York, the
friend repl ied, "Good! That saves you a lot of money -- not having to
pay for a wedding!1I (see Appendix F, item 43). Mary bel ieved that there
was a silent consensus in both families that Harold's parents were a bit
more upper-middl e cl ass than Mary's -- better educated, for exampl e
but Mary is quite certain this in no way intimidated her parents.
Bathtub Gin and ~ Disappointed Suitor
In the meantime there was another young man who had been harboring
outrageous fantasies about Mary, unbeknown to her. He was the cousin of
Ebba , John's wife. This young man, Herbert Head, had recently returned
from the war and was visiting his cousin in New York City. Mary met
him in her brother and sister's-in-law home, the apartment in the same
building where she was living. Herbert had brought his homebrew to share
with the family, and this was Mary's very first drink (and her only one
for a number of years; neither she nor Harold drank). Mary did not
recall either liking it or not; but she did remember thinking that it was
uforbidden
ll
, since it was illegal, and she felt a bit risque drinking it.
This was either before she met Harold or only shortly thereafter. later
on, however, when Herbert learned of her engagement, he reacted quite
strongly, accusing her of having "led him on", Mary thought that he may
have been led on by his own inclinations coupled with the loneliness
223
natural to returning veterans. She was quite sure that she did nothing
that could have been construed as "leading him on". She never once
thought of him in such terms.
Mary had romantic thoughts about only one person. From the very
first meeting she had a growing sense that Harold was the right man for
her:
I certainly never felt that I wanted to marry anyone else, I
thought I was very fortunate to find him, that's all.[57]
The Marriage
By the time Mary and Harold's wedding day was approaching her
sister, Louise, was in New York, employed at the Columbia Botantical
Gardens. John Cover was Harold's Best Man and Louise was the bride's
Maid of Honour (see Appendix F, item 45 for Louise's version of this
courtship and wedding). There were no other guests at the ceremony, but
the person who officiated was a man of distinction: Norman Thomas. It
was John who suggested asking Norman Thomas, who was his acquaintance.
Mary had expected to be married in Norman Thomas' home, but just at this
time Mr. and Mrs. Thomas were in the process of moving. The ceremony
had to be moved, therefore, to Thomas' office. It just happened that
Ma ry and Ha rol d's weddi ng date fell on Mr. and Mrs. Thomas' tenth
anniversary; they were married on September 1, 1910 (Jones, 1983, p.60).
Many years later, after Harold's death, Mary discovered that Norman
Thomas forgot to sign the marriage certificate! Mary returned it to him
and he signed it belatedly, sending it back to her with an apology (see
Appendix F, item 4 6 ~
224
Mary was married in a simple silk suit: lilt wasn't anything new or
special." (Jones, 1983, p.61). The ceremony itself was brief, consisting
of only the legally required phrases, by Mary's own choice. Afterwards
the bride and groom took a couple of days off and rode on a steamboat up
the Hudson River for their honeymoon. (Jones, 1983, p.61).
Mary kept using her maiden name until after the birth of her second
child in 1925. (Jones, 1983, p. 61). She took pride in asserting her
freedom from conventional constraints that did not fit her own needs and
purpose. She liked the idea of continuing to be Mary Cover, as the wife
of Harold Jones. It made more sense to her to have a simple, quiet and
inexpensive marriage ceremony, with only her brother and sister as
witnesses, rather than a lavish wedding that would interfere with
Harold's work and inconvenience everyone. This was the same Mary, grown
somewhat older, who had bobbed her hair and voted her pacifist
convictions at Vassar.
Another Kind of Romance
While Mary and Harold were working on their Masters and cementing
their relationship, Rosalie Rayner was helping John B. Watson conduct his
seminal studies on infant conditioning with the baby Albert B. Mary
speaks about Watson's early studies with enthusiasm, conveying a vivid
sense of how exciting and stimulating his ideas were:
As graduate students at Columbia University, my husband,
Ha rol d E. Jones, mysel f, and other members of our student
group were among those to whom Watson "sold" behaviorism. I
can still remember the excitement with which we greeted
Watson's (1919) Psychology from the standpoint of ~
Behaviorist. It shook the foundations of traditional
European-bred psychology, and we welcomed it... it pointed the
way from armchair psychology to action and reform and was
225
therefore hailed as a panacea. (Jones, 1974, p.582)
Sometime during the Fall of 1919, surely by the end of that year or very
early in 1920, Rosalie visited New York City and she and Mary met again.
In the course of that visit, sharing news with each other, and catching
up on each otherls lives, Mary may have mentioned Harold Jones, and
confided some of her thoughts and feelings about him to her old college
chum. At any rate, Rosalie did mention John Watson to Mary: II... saying
she was in love with John Watson
ll
(Jones, 1983, p.23), and Mary adds, III
was so innocent, I just coul dn't believe it, you know," Thi s was before
the sensational divorce proceedings had hit the Baltimore headlines.
When Mary first came to Columbia for her entrance interview with Dr.
Woodworth she knew that she wanted to study psychology, not economics,
because, III liked the idea of working with people... psychology was
people
ll
, she said. This she knew back at, Vassar from some of her courses
there in child development. Now, in 1920, Mary saw the film of little
Albert and heard Watson lecture about it, and she was stirred to a
sharper realization of how much psychology might be able to help people,
especially troubled and fearful youngsters:
As she pondered Watson's descriptions of his work with an
infant named Albert, in whom he had instilled a fear of
rats.... an exciting thought crossed her mind: IIIf fears
could be built ~ by conditioning, as Watson had demon-
strated, could they not also be removed by similar pro-
cedures r" {Pomerl eau, 1984, p.1)[58]
In another place, Mary adds a postscript to the thought above, which
she had expressed in an anticipatory manner:
It has always been of the greatest satisfaction to me that I
could be associated with the removal of a fear when I came in
contact with this three year old, Peter, in whom a fear of
animals was already well established {Jones,1924).[59] I
226
could not have played the role of creating a fear in a child,
no matter how important the theoretical implications. When
my own children came across the case of Peter in their
college textbooks, they too were relieved to find that I had
functioned in this benign capacity in the psychological
experiments with children and children's fears. (Jones, 1974,
p.S81)
While Mary was thinking about the possibility of helping youngsters
in the grips of fear by some liberating intervention, she was continuing
her own studies which were leading her in an even more pronounced
developmental direction. Harold, who was already Mary's study companion
as well as her betrothed, would soon follow in the developmental path.
In the meantime, however, he was pursuing a more traditional experimental
psychology program.
Early Married Life
Mary recalled the early months and years of marriage as happy ones.
Their shared lives moved along as they planned, without untoward events.
There were no crises of adjustment to work out - not even minor conflicts
or issues around day-to-day living. Mary said, "Harold was just very
helpful to me - in studying; that sort of thing, and I let him take the
initiative a good deal of the time." There were no questions about
finances, and it was simply taken for granted by both of them that Mary
would combine marriage, motherhood and a career. There was a tacit
assumption that they would have children, but when that would happen was
left to Mary's discretion.
Mary did decide to become pregnant when she and Harold had been
married a little over a year. She felt that it was a good idea to have
your children while still fairly young, and her decision was based upon
227
this conviction.
One of Mary's most vivid memories of Dr. Woodworth's many kindnesses
was connected with her first pregnancy. She and Harold, along with four
other graduates psychology students, were scheduled to take a gruel ing
eight hour qualifying examination for Advancement to Candidacy.
Woodworth, noting Mary's maturing pregnancy, asked her, "Isn't it going
to be difficult for you, Mary, to sit through such a long day for this
test?" Mary agreed that it would be. "Well", said he, "Let's just make
all of them come for two days, instead of the usual one; weill schedule
two four hour exams," He was that kind of person.
Mary and Harold studied together for this exam, as they had for many
others. Both of them passed, but Mary recalled that Harold "did better"
than she.
While Mary was settl ing into married 1ife and preparing for
motherhood she was also working. First, at a public school in Manhattan,
P.S. 64 (see Appendix F, item 47), teaching learning disabled children in
an ungraded cl ass (Jones, 1983, p, 38).
The following year she worked as a consulting psychologist from
January 1 to December 31, 1922, according to the public record of the New
York State Association of Consulting Psychologists (see Appendix F, items
48 and 49). She recalled, however, quitting a bit early to give birth to
Barbara on November 6th of that year. Her boss was somewhat less than
gracious about this small breach of contract!
According to a letter from Maryls professor, Dr. Poffenberger, Mary
also taught Adolescent Psychology in the Y.W.C.A in New York and a course
228
in Adolescent Psychology at Women's Medical in Philadelphia during this
period of her life (Appendix F, item 41, para. 2).
There is correspondence dated the summer of 1922 which portends
important future connections for Mary (see Appendix F, item 50, pp. 1-
4). John B. Watson had met Mary through her friend, the former Rosal ie
Rayner, whom Watson married after his divorce in 1920. In the summer of
1922 Watson tried to bring two professional women together in a way that
he thought would be beneficial to both. On the strength of Watson's
recommendation, Helen T. Woolley, the then Assistant Director of the
Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit, wrote Marya persuasive letter,
offering her a fellowship in Child Psychology. Mary, however, was
beginning the fifth month of her pregnancy at that time and was not
entertaining any plans to stray from hearth, home and Harold.
A couple of years later Mary would be engaged in ground-breaking
research with Watson himself, and several years hence she would have an
important association with Helen Woolley as well. Dr. Woolley would be
the third member of her dissertation committee, the other two members'
being Dr. Woodworth, as Chairman, and Dr. Poffenberger. Mary had cordial
relations with both of these teachers from the Department of Psychology.
Helen Woolley would serve on the committee as a l tason with Teachers
College, the division of Columbia which sponsored Mary's research
position.
Meanwhile, Harold was progressing in his doctoral studies and
working as a Teaching Assistant prior to completing his dissertation,
then as an Instructor, and finally as an Assistant Professor in Psy-
chology. Harold was an outstanding student at Columbia, as he had been
229
throughout his academic career. By 1923 he completed his research in
experimental psychology and received his Ph.D.
Early in 1923 Mary was back at work. This time at a small private
school on the outskirts of New York City. She decided to take this job
because she was nursing her baby and the school allowed her to bring the
infant to work with her. Mary's responsibility was to administer tests to
Kindergarten youngsters, not teaching (see Appendix F, item 51). This
job lasted for only one semester.
By the beginning of the summer Mary was able to resume her graduate
studies. Teachers College had a Child Study Center which included a
nursery school. By enrolling Barbara there, Mary was able to schedule
classes in psychology at Columbia, some of which coincided with Barbara's
hours in the nursery school. Since Mary and Harold lived close to the
campus, Mary could walk, with Barbara in her stroller, back and forth
from home to nursery school, to classes.
Shared Housing: 1920s Style
44 Morningside Drive
During this period Mary and Harold moved from the apartment in which
they lived in the beginning months of their marriage. This was the
little one bedroom apartment Mary had previously shared with her former
Vassar roommate, lois Warner, when they first came to New York, after
undergraduate school. With the advent of Mary's pregnancy and Barbara's
birth, the young couple needed larger quarters and so they moved into a
1arge apartment with friends. Another coupl e, the Schl esingers and
Harold's friend, Julian Spring, shared this new home with them. Mary
recalled that their fire escape doubled for a terrace. "I remember we
230
put Barbara out there in a basket; that fire escape was our porch!" said
Mary. This household arrangement lasted less than a year. It was a plan
that met the financial needs of these young students, not a social
Meals were nota part of the shared They shared
only the common rooms. Relations were cordial but not intimate among the
members of the household.
The next move was to an apartment of their own, in a somewhat less
elegant neighborhood. Here Mary had some household help. A young
Canadian woman cleaned house and minded the baby at the same time, giving
Mary more time for her graduate studies.
The Heckscher Foundation
By September 1923 the Jones family was beginning a new living
arrangement. Mary had been appointed an Associate in Psychological
Research through Teachers College (see Appendix F, items 52 and 53).
Mary, Harold and Barbara were housed at Heckscher House where Mary would
be working. The apartment in which they lived had originally been
intended for a demonstration unit. "It was," according to Mary,
"supposed to be used to show girls how to run a household - cook and
manage other domestic chores." Instead it became home to this young
fami ly of three.
Mary recalled that the house was located on Fifth Avenue and called
"The Children's Home for Happiness." Mary told another interviewer, "It
was very unusual for a psychologist to actually live in the place where
she was working with and observing the children" (Jones, 1983, p, 57).
She elaborates further in a letter to Senn, "I think you have the
231
information that Harold and I worked with children who were temporarily
separated from their parents (for various family reasons)" (Jones &Senn,
1968). The founder, after whom the house was named, had thought that it
would be an orphanage, but, as Mary explains, "There were not enough
children available who needed permanent care, as in an orphanage. There
were children there whose parents temporarily couldn't take care of them,
or perhaps they'd been deserted.... They were there weeks or months,
maybe a year or two. They were either retrieved [by parents] or they
were put up for adoption or went into foster homes, this sort of thing"
(Jones, 1983, po, 52-53).
Mary was not a staff member. Staff of the home consisted of a nurse
and a number of attendants. Mary was, however, permitted to observe and
make recommendations to the staff. This she did, with a gratifying
outcome. Mary observed the situations that led the children to fret and
cry as well as circumstances that prompted them to smile and laugh. She
kept detailed records of her observations and was able to use them to
document her conclusions, which she brought to the director of the home.
Her recommendations were acted upon, and these changes may have
alleviated some of the whining and crying.
One suggestion Mary made was to hire more attendants so that the
children could have optimum supervision, and not have to be kept in bed
as a custodial measure, beyond the time needed for adequate rest and
sleep.
Another recommmendation by Mary was to re-schedule nap time and rest
periods to better coordinate them with snacks and lunch; so that the
children would not become over-tired and famished.
232
Mary never pUblished her observations and the outcome, but John B.
Watson (1924, pp. 140-142) did, with her permission. In his book,
Behavori sm, Watson's ci tat ions for M.C. Jones' works number seven
(p.250).[60J Not all the references are to Mary's recommendations about
mitigating the children's frustrations. Some refer to other work she was
doing at Heckscher, such as the study of blinking and smiling behavior as
an aspect of both physical development and conditioning. All of her work
at this period precedes her dissertation research by a couple of years.
Watson (1924) has another covert reference to Mary, or rather, to
Mary's daughter, Barbara. The reference was not to Mary's research, but
rather to his own, on the effect of loud noises on infants. In
discussing this research and infants' fear reactions to loud sounds,
Watson states, "Loud sounds almost invariably produced a marked reaction
in infants from the moment of birth" (p.121). Watson then explains
exactly how he was able to evoke this reaction and the various kinds of
sounds that serve to produce it. At the end of this paragraph he appends
a footnote:
I have found only one child out of many hundreds worked with
in whom a fear response could not be called out by loud
noises. She is well developed, well nourished, and normal in
everyway. There were no fear reactions to any other stimuli.
The nearest approach to fear I saw was at the sight and sound
of an opening and closing umbrella. I have no explanation to
offer for thi s exception.(p. 121)
Mary, however, recognizing this passage as an allusion to her
daughter, had an explanation. She pointed out that Barbara, who was by
temperament an easy-going, relaxed child, was in her own home with her
parents close by. She saw no cause for alarm. It was a quite different
experience for her from the kind that Watson's customary subjects
233
experienced, in laboratory settings, away from the environment of home
and parents. Watson, furthermore, was not a stranger to this child.
The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund
According to Milton J.E. Senn (1975), Lawrence K. Frank's "first
grant proposal for the establishment of a child study institute was made
to Dean James E. Russell of Teachers College in 1924" (P. 15). Helen
Woolley was invited to come to Columbia from Merrill-Palmer School to be
the first director of the new institute. Although she accepted, she
never functioned in that capacity, because she became ill soon after her
arrival. She did, however, serve on Mary's Dissertation Committee, as a
representative of Teachers College and as an expert in child development,
the focus of Mary's research. Mary would receive her degree from the
Department of Psychology, but her appointment as an Associate in
Psycho1 ogica 1 Research in the Institute of Educational Research nl aced
her on the staff of Teachers College.
Lawrence K. Frank[61]
Much has been wri tten about Lawrence Frank, whose background in
economics prepared him for a strategic role in the growth of the child
development field in the early 1920s. After World War I, '"the 1919
White House Conference on Children took pains to impress on the pub1ic_.
the alarmingly poor physical and educational showing of the army
recruits" (Senn, 1975, p, 11). The social climate was right and Larry
Frank was ready to promote the scientific study of children as a means of
improving the quality of life for all ages throughout the country. While
earning his B.A. in Economics at Columbia Frank had become interested in
234
the high rate of infant and maternal mortality among the poor in the
lower West Side of New York City. He worked there both as a volunteer
and a paid worker, for the Bureau of Social Research (p. 12). Frank has
been called a IICatalyzer
ll
; today the term used to describe his talents
might be
Henry Murray, whom Senn quotes, speaks in his own inimitable way
about larry Frank. His statement may capture some of those qualities and
characteristics that helped account for Frank's outstanding success in
this vast undertaking:
The procreative Johnny Appleseed of the social sciences, a
peripatetic horn of plenty, crammed to his lips with every-
thing that's new, budding, possible, and propitious, an
enl ightened, jolly human being who has gone from pl ace to
place, from symposium to symposium, radiating waves of at-
mospheric warmth, cheerfulness, and hope, as he spread the
seeds for novel, hybrid, research projects to be nurtured,
implemented, and actualized by others. (p.22)
This was the man who helped bring together, in the first quarter of this
century, Mary Cover Jones and John B. Watson to work on an important
research endeavor. IIBy means of a subvention granted by the laura
Spelman Rockefeller Memorial to the Institute of Educational Research of
Teachers Col Ieqe" (Jones, 1924, p.30B, ftnt. 1), it became financially
possible for Mary and Dr. Watson to form a working alliance. It was
Mary's research with the toddler, little Peter, that laid the cornerstone
for the foundation upon which the superstructure of behavior therapy has
been built (see Appendix F, item
larry Frank does not deserve all the credit for this alliance, of
course. First of all, there was Mary's personal connection, through her
longstanding friendship with Watson's wife, Rosalie Rayner Watson. There
235
was Thorndike's contribution as well.
Edward Lee Thorndike
D ~ Thorndike was almost equidistant in age between D ~ Woodworth
and Dr. Watson, approximately five years younger than the former and four
years older than the latter. His lifelong interest was in the field of
intelligence and learning and his doctoral dissertation at Columbia was
about animal intelligence. Thorndike came to teach psychology and child
study at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1899. In his
autobiography (1961, p.265) he notes that "there I have spent the past
thirty-one years." At the end of this short resume of his 1ife,
Thorndike sums up his view of the field of psychology:
Excellent work in psychology can surely be done by men
widely different in nature or training or both..... Excellent
work can surely be done by men with widely different notions
of what psychology is and should be.... Excellent results
have come from the successive widenings of the field of
observation to include the insane, infants, and animals, and
from the correlation of mental events with physiological
changes. Should we not extend our observations to include,
for example, history, anthropology, economics, linguistics,
and the fine arts, and connect them with biochemistry and
biophysics? (P. 270)
From this passage it is clear that Thorndike, like Woodsworth, took an
eclectic and an interdisciplinary view of psychology. Perhaps the tenor
of Thorndi ke's personal ity comes through best in the same work, a bit
earlier, when he says:
Peaceful successful work without worry rarely tired me....
Noise does not disturb me unless it is evidence of distress,
as of a person or animal in pain.... Social intercourse
except with intimate friends is fatiguing and all forms of
personal conflicts, as in bargaining, persuading, or re-
buki ng, are trebly so....A genera 1 background of freedom
from regret and worry is almost i mperati ve.... The good
opinion of others, especially those whom I esteem, has been
236
a very great stimulus, though I have come in later years to
require also the approval of my own jUdgement. (PP. 269-270)
This is the man who was a leading figure in the Department of Education
at Teachers College in 1924 when larry Frank came to him with some
Rockefeller funds for research in child development. It was several
years since Watson had taken a job with the J. Walter Thompson Company in
New York City following his resignation from Johns Hopkins University.
John Broadus Watson
It is a laconic phrase of lois Meek Stolz, in Milton Senn's Oral
History that captures the essence of Watson's position in this period of
his 1ife, "Since he [WatsonJ had been put out of Johns Hopkins he had
been selling Daggett and Ransell's cold cream, as I understand it,
instead of working with children" (Stolz & Senn, 1968, p.4). Watson
himself (1961) puts it this way:
Upon resigning, I went to New York, stranded economically
and to some extent emotionally. I lived the Summer and Fall
out with William I. Thomas. What I would have done without
his understanding counsel and his helpfulness on the econo-
mic side, I do not know..... through him I got my first
business tryout with the J. Walter Thompson Company.... the
Pres i dent, Mr. Stanley Resor.... sent me... s tudyi ng the
rubber boot market on each side of the Mississippi River
from Cairo to New Orleans. I was green and shy, but soon
learned to pull doorbells and stop wagons.... to ask what
brand of rubber boots was worn by the family. This took the
Fall of 1920, the whole of the trying time when I was front-
page news in Baltimore. On January 1, 1921, I... was sent
out... to sell Yuban Coffee to retailers and wholesalers in
Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Erie. (p. 279)[62J
This, then, was the fate of the man "misfortune overtook", to borrow a
phrase from Robert S. Woodworth's Obituary of John Broadus Watson (1959,
p. 302). Woodworth opens with the epithet, "The founder of Behaviorism"
(P. 301) and continues by pointing out that Watson was the President of
237
the American Psychological Association in 1915 (p. 302), as well as
Professor of Experimental and Comparative Psychology and Director of the
Psychological laboratory from 1908 to 1920 at Johns Hopkins (P. 302).
later, in 1924, Watson became a Vice President of the J. Walter Thompson
Company, but at this time he was a surveyor of rubber boot sales and a
salesman of coffee and cosmetics.
Although Watson never returned to the academic mainstream, he did
keep his hand in, to a limited degree, for a few years. According to
Senn, when Myrtle McGraw went to work for J. Walter Thompson in 1928 she
met John B. Watson, then a Vice President of the company. Dr. Senn
states, IIA few years later, when she [Myrtle McGraw] was conducting her
Normal Child Development study under neurologist Frederick Tilney at
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,1I she invited
Watson to serve on her advisory Council, and she "became a close friend
of his. Other members of the council were Woodworth, Thorndike, and
Charles Davenpor-t" (Senn, 1975, p, 28). Again, quoting McGraw, "They met
often, and when the time came for me to write [my] book they read it in
manuscr tpt ," (P. 28). Myrtle McGraw goes on to ask the question, IICan
you imagine a whole advisory council of eminent people like that doing it
today for a 1ittle researcher?" (P. 28). It was, no doubt, a simil iar
snt rit that prevailed when Mary undertook her important and ful fill i ng
work with Dr. Watson, a few years earlier.
Dr. Watson and Mrs. Jones
It was Mary Cover Jones who was probably the last graduate student
to work directly under Watson's supervision. In Senn's (1968) interview
238
with Lois Stolz, she tells of her attempt to make a simi1iar connection:
Dr. Thorndike said, "There is someone who is interested [in
child research] and I think you ought to go see him." And
he to1 d me that John B. Watson... was goi ng to do some
research for Teacher's College; that they had been given a
grant, the fi rs t ... by the Laura Spelman Roc kefe 11er
Memori a1 a tri a1 grant... to beginto try to get people
interested in research with chi 1dren; and so they tried to
get Dr. Watson to come back into the field, so to speak.
(PP.34)
Stolz continues by noting that Watson was a "tall, handsome man who was
so courteous and so interested...." (p.4). Mary (Jones, 1974) has al so
commented upon Watsonls style and his somewhat formal manner:
I have never assumed a firstname basis in talking of John B.
Watson. Our relationship was more formal than not. This may
be due to the custom at that time for contact between
colleagues, especially in the student-teacher relationship,
to remain impersonal. Watson regularly addressed his
colleagues in correspondence by their last names.... I
never lost the feeling of awe that I had for Watson, the
scientific innovator. It would have been very uncomfortable
for me to have called him John. This may be only a
reflection on professional style in the 1920's, but I suspect
it tells you something about our respective personalities as
well. (p.583)
In another place Mary sheds more light upon her personal
relationship with Watson (Jones &Senn, 1968). She is speaking about her
own happy married life and how completely involved she was, at this stage
of her 1ife, with her personal relationship with her husband, and she
adds:
This is one of the reasons why perhaps I can't recall as much
or was not as influenced by other factors during this early
period. As live mentioned, I knew Dr. Watson but his
personality wasn't important to me. His visits and his
comments about my research and so forth were very important,
but people who have asked me to reminise about him 1
1m
sure
have found my reminiscences disappointing, and this is
probably true of other movements and other people at this
period, probably because of my engrossment in one person....
I was a little insulated in my own family situation. (p.26)
239
Mary elaborates this point again (Jones, 1983):
One reason I wasn't so impressed with him [Watson] was that I
met him through a friend... more personal than professional.
The other thing is, ... I was first married and I was just
attached to Harold, and other men didn't exist for me, even
to look at, apparently! Although I will say that I enjoyed
Watson very much, and did appreciate his style. He was a
Southern gentleman. (p.50)
In an earlier publication (Jones, 1975) Mary concurs with the
assessment given by Lois Stolz:
Henry Murray labelled him "charismatic" and that he was!
Handsome, self-assured, able, ambitious, a Southerner with
persuasive manner. (p.183)
And then she states, "He was a generous person," in speaking of his
insistance that Mary's name appear alone on the studies of fear (Jones,
1983, p.52).
To return to Lois Stolz's statement, she also sheds light upon the
Heckscher Foundation (Stolz &Senn, 1968):
Thi s was a foundation that took care of chi 1dren that were
abandoned, and sometimes they took care of children whose
parents were temporarily in the hospital or a mental
hospital. And he [Watson] told me that there was a young
woman who had started research down there, and that I should
go to see her to get some ideas about what I might like to
do; then he would be glad to talk to me again. (p.4)
She did go to Heckscher House, and:
Lo and behold, the person whom I met there was Mary Cover
Jones. She had moved with her one year old baby, Barbara, to
the... Foundation to do research on some of the children. Her
husband had also moved in, but he was teaching at Columbia.
I started to do some observing••• [but] the children got
diphtheria; the Heckscher Foundation was closed, and I
wasn't allowed to go in; ... I had to give up hopes of
working under Watson. (p.4)
In commenting on her good fortune in working under Watson's
supervision, Mary herself has said (Jones, 1975):
240
I believe I was the last graduate student fortunate enough to
work with Watson. If there is any value in having me here
today, it is to illustrate how events may shape lives and how
one's dignity, in the Skinnerian sense, evaporates when
fortuitous causes of one's destiny are revealed. (p.182)
This appraisal eloquently expresses the chance aspects of Mary's destiny:
the good luck of being in the right prace at the right time.
There is another aspect that must be factored in, however, whi ch
Maris modesty overlooks. It is expressed most succinctly in the well-
known quotation, IIIn the fields of observation, chance favors only the
mind that is prepared!'[63] This text is amplified for the present case
most adequately by an old friend and close associate of Mary, Nevitt
Sanford, in hi s Introductory Notes to her Oral Hi story in the Bancroft
Library archives (Jones, 1983):
Mary represents a kind of psychologist that has become too
rare; that is, one brought UP in the stern tradition of
experimental psychology and thoroughly schooled in rigorous
quantitative methods for the study of personal ity but who
remains open to radically different approaches. (ii-iii)
Sanford's statement documents Mary's training, undergraduate and
graduate, that prepared her to utilize the complex set of circumstances
that destiny bestowed upon her as an opportunity.
To return to Mary's own view of the matter, she remembered that she
went to a gathering in Teachers College where Lawrence Frank had come to
discuss the new Rockefeller grant:
He was going to be at Teachers College seeing people and
there was a group of us who met with him and he told us about
graduate fellowships which would be multidiscipl inary, to
find out about children. I applied and got one of those. I
took a course in Medical School. I took courses at Teachers
College and at Columbia, but I still got my degree in
psychology at Columbia.
.r
241
In another, earlier interview, Mary talks about this same situation
(Jones, 1983):
I had the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Fellowship in Child
Development for two years. It was a matter of branching out
from psychology to take in nutrition, neurology, early
ch t l dhood education, ... chil d development was i nter-
di sciplinary. (p.35)
This interdisciplinary thrust was new at the time. It was fostered
by Larry Frank, who was sensitive to the complex currents in psychology
and education that were coming together to form the discipl ine to be
known as chil d development.[64] Frank's skill as an inspirational
organizer coupled with his influential position relative to funding for
the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial were pivotal to the movement.
When combined with the open and eclecttc outlooks of both Thorndike and
Woodworth, the stage was set at Columbia. Watson had only to enter, in
a consultative capacity, as supervisor of a young graduate student and
researcher interested in the new, exciting fiel d of Chi 1d Development.
Mary, 1iVing with her family at Heckscher House, observing and studying
the children there, found a youngster called Peter, who manifested an
advanced case of the kind of fear reactions Watson and Rayner (1920) had
instilled by conditioning a few years earlier at Johns Hopkins, in the
famous case of Albert. Mary (Jones, 1924b) cites the astonishing
parallels between Albert and Peter in her paper called IIA Laboratory
Study of Fear: The Case of Peter":
This case is a sequel to one recently contributed by Dr.
Watson and furnished supplementary material of interest in a
genetic study of emotions. Dr. Watson's case illustrated how
a fear could be produced experimentally.... Albert, eleven
months of age, was an infant with a phlegmatic disposition,
afraid of nothing... except a loud sound made by striking a
steel bar.... By striking the bar at the same time that
242
Albert touched a white rat, the fear was transferred to the
white rat. After seven combined stimulations, rat and sound,
... this fear had spread to include a white rabbit, cotton
wool, a fur coat, and the experimenter's hair. (pp.308-309)
Mary continues by quoting Watson's next question, the one that fate
prevented his answering in his own laboratory with little Albert himself,
"lf you take away anyone of these objects producing fear and
uncondition, will fear of the other objects in the series disappear at
the same time? That is, will the unconditioning spread without further
training to the other stimul i?" (P. 309). Mary then continues by
pointing out that Dr. Watson had intended to continue the study of Albert
to try to answer this question, "but Albert was removed from the hospital
and the series of observations was discontinued," (P. 309). Then Mary
explains:
About three years later this case, which seemed almost to be
Albert grown a bit older, was discovered in our laboratory.
Peter was 2 years and 10 months old when we began to study
him. He was afraid of a white rat, and this fear extended to
a rabbit, a fur coat, a feather, cotton wool, etc., but not
to wooden blocks and similiar toys.(P. 309)
After a detailed description of Peter's fear responses, contrasting
them with the normal responses of a developmentally healthy child, Mary
states: "This case made it possible for the experiment to continue where
Dr. Watson had 1eft off" (o, 310).
Mary wrote another paper about Peter publ ished in the same year
called "The Elimination of Children's Fears" (Jones, 1924a). These two
articles document the careful, patiently painstaking method for removing
a fear reaction that had been a response previously acquired by a child.
By trying out, in a systematic way, a number of theories about methods
for removing fears, Mary was able to eliminate them, one by one, and
243
finally select the two methods which yielded "unqualified success"
(Jones, 1924a, p. 390). To quote directly from the summary paragraph of
this article:
By the method of direct conditioning we associated the fear-
object with a craving-object, and replaced fear by a positive
response. By the method of social imitation we allowed the
sUbject to share, under controlled conditions, the social
activity of a group of children especially chosen with a view
to prestige effect. Verbal appeal, elimination through
disuse, negative adaptation, 'repression', and 'distraction'
were methods which proved sometimes effective but were not to
be relied upon unless used in combination with other methods.
(p. 390)
In the concluding remarks of Mary's second article, also about
Peter, she makes the point that this study "is still incomplete" (Jones,
1924b, p. 315) because:
Peter's fear of the animals which were shown him was
probably not a directly conditioned fear.... Where the fear
originated and with what stimulus, is not known. Nor is it
known what Peter would do if he were again confronted with
the original fear situation. All of the fears which were
"unconditioned" were transferred fears, and it has not yet
been 1earned whether or not the pri mary fear can be
eliminated by training the transfers. (p. 315)
In Watson's Behaviorism (1924, pp. 132ff.), he speaks at some
length about Mary's work with Peter. Prior to this, however, in the same
book, Watson outlines a paper that he and Rosalie Rayner publ f shed in
Scientific Monthly in 1921. He quotes directly from that article to
explain the conditioning of a fear response to a white rat that was
induced in the infant Albert; continuing, he explains how this reponse
was then transferred to other objects: a rabbit, a dog, a fur coat and
cotton wool (PP. 125-128). Watson states that in 1918 he began his work
upon the problem of how fears arise in children early in life, and
continue into adulthood. It was not, however, until the summer of 1919
244
that he and Rosalie Rayner began their landmark work with Albert B., the
11 month old son of one of the wet nurses in the Harriet Lane Hospital,
who was remarkable for being a "wonderfully 'good' baby.1I
After outlining the experiment and explaining that the
deconditioning could not be completed, Watson turns to Mary's
contribution, explaining when and how it came about:
The matter of further experimentation rested until the fall
of 1923. At that time a sum of money was granted by the
Laura Spel man Rockefell er Research of Teachers College, a
part of which was used for continuing the study of the
emotional life of children. We found a place for work - the
Heckscher Foundation. Approximately 70 children are kept
there ranging in age from 3 months to 7 years. It was not an
ideal place for our experimental work because we were not
allowed full control of the children and because of the
frequency with which work had to be stopped on account of
unavoidable epidemics of one kind or another. In spite of
these handicaps much work was done. While I spent
considerable time there as consultant and helped to plan the
work, Mrs. Mary Cover Jones conducted all of the experiments
and wrote up all of the resul ts.... (P. 132)
The footnote designated in Watson's text then cites the article liThe
Elimination of Children's Fears" (Jones, 1924a) as one which has "al ready
appeared. II
Mary talks about her feelings and thoughts about these publications
which have been called "a cl assic" (Senn, 1975, p. 27). First of all,
she was reluctant to publish them under her name alone. She knew that
this piece of work was the only research with which Watson was any longer
connected. "He gave lectures at the New School of Social Research in the
Village, and other places, and he wrote books, but this was the only
research he was still doing,1I she said. She asked him to let her publish
jointly with him. He, however, replied, IINo, you are young and just
beginning your career, Mrs. Jones; you have done the research and written
245
it up yourself; you should be the one to pUblish i ~ I have all ready
done my work," Mary then told him that her husband, Harold, had helped
her in writing the articles, suggesting a chart that she included. She
thought perhaps she should publish jointly with Harold. Watson remained
adamant, saying, uNo, you, and you alone, should sign these art.tcl es."
In a study by W.A. Kaess and W.A. Bousfield (1954 p. 147) analyzing
the frequency with which authorities are cited by the authors of nine
textbooks of introductory psychology, Mary is ranked among the top 26.
Yet, when these first two articles appeared in print in 1924 IINo one",
according to Mary's testimony, "had any idea they would become so well-
known later on," She adds, laughing, IINobody wanted my reprints; I've
still got them!1I Moreover, since the studies used too few cases, it did
not earn her a Ph.D. IIS0 1l , says she, III didn't think it was tmpor-tant,"
Mary's primary motive in undertaking this piece of work was not to
see her name in print, but to help Peter overcome his painful fears. She
also hoped that she might be able to demonstrate a method that would be
helpful to other youngsters in the future.
The Home for Happiness
Meanwhile, the Jones' family life flourished in the apartment at
Heckscher House. Barbara was not a lonely little girl in these first
years. While she lived apart, with her mother and father, she could find
pI aymates among the youngsters in the Home. Most of them were "under
four years of age" (Jones, 1924a, p. 385). Barbara herself was only a
year old in the Fall and Winter of 1923 - 1924, when the study of Peter
was undertaken. Watson has testified to Barbara's fearlessness in the
246
presence of loud noises.[65] Mary recalled her daughter as a mild-
mannered little girl of easy disposition.
When Barbara was a newborn, Mary thought she looked 1ike Harold's
mother. Later, when Lesley was born, she favored Harold, in Mary's eyes.
Friends tended to see a resemblance between Barbara and Mary, and Harold
and Lesley. In later years, Mary could see that both daughters resembled
her, in each ones own way. Mary had a friend and associate of many years
who told her, "I always thought Lesley favored her father, but now I can
see quite a bit of you in Lesley; not just in looks, but in temperament,
too.II Beginning early in their 1ives, the sisters differed in basic
temperament. Lesley had always been quite active and somewhat more
extroverted than her older sister. When Lesley was observed in nursery
school many years ago by the same long-standing associate and friend
quoted above, she told Mary, "Lesley always knows exactly what's going on
there, all of the time! II Mary bel i eved tha t the temperamenta1
differences between the sisters were not a result of differing child-
rearing practices, or environmental factors, but rather a matter of
innate predispositions or tendencies.
During the years that Mary earned her stipend as a research
associate of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Foundation, through the
auspices of the Institute of Educational Research of Teachers College,
and Harold was teaching on the faculty of Columbia in the psychology
department, from 1923 to 1927, the young family visited both sets of
parents quite often. Harold's parents were close by, still in New
Canaan, Connecticut. The two youngsters, Barbara and Lesley, were their
247
only grandchildren.
Harold's older sister, Florence, married when she was quite young.
Her husband taught at the Massachusetts Agricultural College and also
worked at the Agricultural Experimental Station attached to the college.
later on, when he retired, the coupl e moved to Tucson, Arizona. They
never had c h i l d r e ~
During this same span of years, while the Jones' daughters were
infants and then toddlers, the family also took trips to visit Mary's
folks in Johnstown. This usually occurred during the Christmas holidays.
The Covers had four grandchildren. John and Ebba Cover's older child,
June, was born in 1919 on June 7th. She had just turned six when lesley
was born to Mary and Harol d, June 8, 1925. June's 1ittl e brother, John
Higson Cover, Jr. (Jack) was about four years old when lesley was born,
and Barbara was two and a half. All four grandchildren, with parents,
did not visit the senior Covers at the same time!
There were two summers spent in Vermont during these years. Harold
was working on a project there and Mary worked with him. Herbert Conrad,
a student of Harold at Columbia, was also working with them, under
Harold's supervision. They were giving intelligence tests to community
members in the town of Bethel, Vermont. The results of this work were
pUblished by Harold. Herbert Conrad became a close friend of the
Joneses. When they went to the University of Cal ifornia at Berkeley,
Conrad followed later, working under Harold's direction for his Ph.D.
Conr ad met Mi1 dred, his wi f e- to- be, at the Ins titute 0 f Chi 1d
Development, or, as it was at first called, the Institute of Child
Welfare. Mildred Conrad was widowed for a number of years. The couple
248
moved back East, settling in Washington, D.C., many years ago. Mary and
Mildred remained friends, but because of the geographical distance
between them, they rarely saw one another.
In these early years in New York City the Joneses had another
student friend, John Reid, who also followed them to California later on
and found a wife at the Institute. She was Nancy Bayley, the
psychologist who designed the developmental scales now known as the
"Bayley Scales". John Reid became a professor of philosophy at Stanford
University.
Although Mary has made the point that she did not think of Watson as
a personal friend and was always a bit in awe of him, there is a passage
in the Bancroft Oral History that suggests a more friendly and informal
relationship, if not actually a collegial one:
He [Watson] really didn't talk much about his theories...
with me. He would talk more about how much it cost him to go
out.. Saturday night, and whether, for a talk, he should wear
a blue suit or a brown one. Once I told him "a business
suit", when he was going to be on the platform to speak at
Teachers College... and everyone else had blue suits. He
scolded me for not having properly prepared him... I think he
just was glad to get away from that [Le, theoretical talk]
on Saturday's when he came up to our house. (Jones, 1983, p,
50)
Contrapuntally, Mary's academic and professional interests
continued, along with her full domestic life, social interaction and
expanding maternal responsibilities. After completing the study on
children's fears and preparing them to be published in 1924, Mary became
pregnant for the second time. Both Barbara and Lesley were born earlier
than expected; Barbara, a couple of weeks before her due date; Lesley,
about ten days early. The births themselves were normal. Mary spent two
249
weeks in the hospital for each delivery, as was customary in those days.
She suffered only a 1ittle from morning sickness early in her
pregnancies. Both infants were healthy and good-natured.
By the time Lesley was born in the early summer of 1925, Mary was
well launched on her dissertation. It was published in 1926 in the
Pedagogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology. In December of
that year it was reprinted by the Child Development Foundation.
The Dissertation
In reference to her dissertation research, Mary has said (Jones,
M.C., 1975):
Watson suggested that for my dissertation I extend his
observations of infants developmental activities to a larger
and more representative sample in order to provide normative
data... I compared my measure based on data from well-baby
clinics in New York City with those of baby biographers -
from Pestalozzi in 1784, Darwin, 1877, and Shinn, 1900, to
Gesell1s tests on 24 children published in 1925. Many of
these behaviors have continued to figure in developmental
schedules, (P. 182)
The activities of infants that Mary measured included smiling, eye
coordination (horizontal, vertical, circular), bl inking, head support,
thumb opposition, reaching, sitting, and the Babinski reflex. (Jones,
M.C., 1926, p. 539). In speaking of the number of cases Mary states:
Three hundred and sixty-five cases were included in the
study, and a total of 735 examinations were made (a mean of
about two examinations for each child). A weekly visit was
made to each clinic [of the three Baby Welfare Stations
selected] over ~ period of eight months. (Jones, 1926, p.
541)
She continues by reporting:
Two months were spent in acqulrlng a technique and in making
revisions in method as experience suggested. Practice on
over two hundred cases not only standardized but practically
250
automatized the details of the procedure. (P. 541)
While doing this, Mary was also running her household and living her
private life as has been detailed above.
Mary's study of Peter had been "conducted on her own time", not
staff time as a research associate, (Stevens &Gardner, 1982, vol. 2, p.
42). Concomitantly, she was busy with other research to fulfill her
obligations as a staff member. It was that research that Watson (1924)
cited in Behaviorism:
Mrs. Mary Cover Jones has made an extensive study of smiling.
In a large group of children she found that conditioned
smiling - that is, smiling when the experimenter smiles or
says babyish words to the infant (both auditory and visual
factors) - begins to appear around the 30th day. In her
total study of 185 cases, the latest age at which the
conditioned smile first appeared was 80 days. (p. 93)
Even though Mary was working in these studies with a sizable sample, it
did not meet the standard for her dissertation. Mary agreed that there
was a possibility that two of the three members of her dissertation
committee might have allowed her to use this data for her dissertation,
but the third member, Helen Woolley, was unalterably opposed. This was
the woman whose letter was cited above, asking Mary to accept a research
fellowship at the Merrill-Palmer School (Appendix F, item 50, pp. 2 and
3). Mary expressed the matter this way:
Helen Woolley was on my Committee. She had come from
Detroit-- the Merrill-Palmer Institute -- to Teachers
College, and, well, I just had the feeling she wasn't too
satisfied with what I was doing.
Helen Bradford Thompson Woolley
Dr. Woolley, the only woman faculty member on Mary's Dissertation
Committee, came to Columbia University in 1926 "to accept a desirable and
251
honored position as Professor of Education and Director of the Institute
of Child Development of Columbia University's Teachers Col Ieqe," (Stevens
&Gardner, 1982, vol. 1, p. 127). It was at this time that she was asked
to serve on Mary's committee.
Shortly after her arrival, however, and after joining Mary's
Committee, Woolley took a leave of absence and went on a trip to Europe.
It had become apparent that she was not able to fulfill her teaching
post, even though she inspired "feel ings of awe... in some of the
Columbia students" (Stevens & Gardner, 1982, vol. 1, p. 127). Stevens
and Gardner explain that Helen Woolley's illness was directly traceable
to "a broken heart" suffered from the break-up of her marriage two years
earlier, in 1924 (p, 127). Out of respect for her impressive past
accomplishments, and no doubt in hope that she could recover her health,
she was not asked to resign from her position at Teachers College until
1930, according to Stevens and Gardner.[66]
Helen Woolley was renowned for her feminist psychology, especially
the early work she did, helping to refute intellectual differences
between the sexes (Stevens & Gardner, vol. 1, p. 125). Later, in the
years just prior to leaving Merrill-Palmer for Columbia, she had become
"an acknowledged leader in the areas of mental testing of children and
infants and in child development research", (Stevens & Gardner, vol, 1,
p. 127).[67] She, with her colleague at Merrill-Palmer, Helen
Cleveland, had developed "the famous Merrill-Palmer Scale mental tests
for chi 1dren based upon Montessori apparatus" (p. 127).
She was asked to serve on Mary's Committee probably, in part,
because she was the Director of the newly founded Institute which had
252
employed Mary as a research fellow, and also because she was "an
innovator of the interdiscip1 inary approach to the study of children" (p,
127). She offered balance, too, as a woman; since the other two faculty
members were men. Then, too, she was a psychologist working at Teachers
College, and could function as a 1iason between the psychology and
education departments of Columbia.
In view of Dr. Woolley's ill health and unhappy frame of mind, it is
not too surprising, albeit unfortunate, that she was unable to take a
more acquiescent position about Mary's research. There was another
psychologist on the faculty of Teachers College during this same era.
She was leta Stetter Hollingworth -- a woman whose portrait, drawn by
Stevens and Gardner (1982, vol.L, pp. 176-186), suggests a more relaxed
and sanguine temperament than Woolley's:
One of America's most respected and beloved psychologists. A
women whom lewis Terman called "one of the outstanding
figures in American psycho1 0gy" and Poffenberger listed
"among the eminent psychologists of her time." (P. 176)
And perhaps even more germane to poss i b1e membersh i p on Mary's
dissertation committee, "unlike many of the women psychologists born
during the decade 1881-1890, leta was happily married" (P. 176). It
might be noted that her husband, a member of the psychology department of
Columbia, was Harry L Hollingworth. leta was closer to Mary's age than
was Woolley. leta was only ten years older than Mary; Woolley was a
contemporary of Washburn, and 22 years older than Mary.
Why could not leta Hollingworth have been selected to serve on
Mary's committee, rather than Helen Woolley? Perhaps because she took
her doctorate in education, rather than psychology. Perhaps because she
253
was identified more with mental testing than child development. Or
perhaps because Woolley's own need, at that critical period in her life,
and the desire to help her recuperate, if possible, in this new position,
were paramount considerations. There may have been any number of
reasons, unguessed and unguessabl e. It was Wooll ey, not Holl ingworth,
who was chosen to serve.
Mary has asked none of the above, nor speculated about alternative
outcomes: she has said only, "I did feel that she [ D ~ Woolley] was not
especially friendly." And who can say what might have been? At any
rate, Mary also noted that many of the behaviors she tested in her
research "have continued to figure in developmental schedules," and that
surely makes it all worthwhile (see Appendix F, item 55, bottom of pages
1 and 2, for another worthwhile closure).
254
Chapter V
CONSOLIDATION AND NEW DIRECTIONS
Mary held the Research Fellowship of the Laura Spelman Rockefeller
Memorial (LSRM) Foundation for two years, from 1925 to 1927. She spoke
very positively about this experience. She felt an inner sense of reward
from her work during those two years. The modest stipend she received
was a help to the young couple just beginning to rear a family. Most of
all, however, she recalled just "feeling good" about having the
Fellowship, being productive, and being a part of the staff at Teachers
College. She said, "I wasn't publishing to get ahead professionally. I
don't remember ever being concerned about getting ahead professionally. I
never expected to; I mean, I just was doing what I could."
At this same time, it should be recalled, Mary was the mother of two
young children--an infant and a toddler. There was no equivocation when
she was asked about the most satisfying aspect of her life during this
era. The answer was, liMy family - Harold, and the children."
Another Shared Living Experience: The House on West 94th
There was a young professional woman, Edith Burdick, a nurse working
towards a doctorate in psychology, whom Mary knew. Edith was also a
recipient of a LSRM fellowship. She, too, was interested in studying
young children. An older man of some means, who had been her patient and
was grateful for her excellent care, helped make it possible for her to
255
achieve this goal by providing a place. Mary explains in Jones (1983):
A Mr. Harmon, a wealthy real estate man... felt that she
[Edith] had saved his life [and] wanted to do something for
h e ~ . . . So Harmon bought a house and we lived there, Harold
and I and both the girls, and Edith Burdick... set up as a
foster home, where babies... waiting to go back to their
parents or... up for adoption were cared for. (p.58)
The Jones fam; ly was there for a year, and, continued Mary, "that's when
we were offered the job out here" [i.e., Berkeley].
There were not many children in this house at anyone time - maybe
two or three, sometimes as many as four. They usually came through
referrals from a department of the City of New York. Edith and Mary kept
detailed records of their observations of the youngsters (Jones, 1983,
p.58). Edith Burdick stayed on in the house after the Joneses left,
continuing her studies. Mary thought Edith probably used this research
for her dissertation and perhaps published her findings at a later date
(see Appendix F, item 56).
An Opportunity
While living in the big house on the West Side, Harold Jones
continued teaching at Columbia, and was also writing a treatise on
experimental methods in college teaching (Jones, 1983, p.59). He spent
more time in his office and the classroom on the campus than he did in
the house on 94th Street, according to Mary. Nevertheless, when he was
at home he certainly must have felt the impact of the child development
movement.
Concurrently, larry Frank, through the lSRM, was laying the
foundation for the growth of developmental psychology as a branch of the
behavioral sciences. This discipline flourishes in the 1980s, in
256
research institutions attached to prestigious universities across the
country. In the beginning, however, the Foundation's emphasis was on
studying the child and educating its parents so that a new and better
society could evolve through applying improved child rearing practices.
Elizabeth Lomax (1977) states:
After World War I, knowledge about children was largely
unavailable, although enthusiasm for their welfare abounded.
Through them, a new society was to be born, dedicated to
peaceful and constructive ends. This goal was principally to
be achieved through "progressive" education and by
encouraging whol esome patterns of chi 1dcare to ensure the
development of healthy adult personalities. (p.284)
There was a tacit assumption, at first, that the theories had only to be
imparted to parents and good practices would follow. A number of child
study professionals, educators and psychologists, knew better, and they
began voicing their concerns to Larry Frank. No one was more persuasive
than Robert S. Woodworth in behalf of the need for basic research in
child development. As Senn (1975) puts it:
Through his insistence on the importance of research in child
development as a member of the National Research Council
(NRC), Robert S. Woodworth, Professor of Psychology at
Columbia, was probably second only to Lawrence Frank in
contributing to the unification of the field and in helping
it to become a respected division of psychology. (p.25)
Senn continues documenting Woodworth's contribution to the promotion of
the new discipline by pointing out that it was during Woodworth's
chairmanship of the Division of Anthropology and Psychology of NRC that
"the old child welfare committee of the division was superceded by the
Committe of Child Development in 1925" (p.25). It was this committee,
according to Senn, that channeled funds from the LSRM for fellowships to
attract young people into the study of child growth and development
257
(p.25).
Quoting from others Senn provides some personal testimony to the
importance of Woodworth's influence on child development as a
psychological discipl ine. He cites George Stoddard's remark that lithe
founding of the Society for Research in Child Development... was pretty
largely the brainchild of Professor Robert Woodworth, a wonderful
psychologist and a wonderful personal ity" (p.25). Stoddard continues:
Everybody loved him, and when he came out for this movement,
which was not common among psychologists (many of them more
or less raised their eyebrows at anybody being interested in
persons or in chi 1dren)... and accepted the fi rst pres i dency
of this society, it gave the movement a great boost. (pp.25-
26)•
Finally, Senn quotes John E. Anderson as saying that because Woodworth
contributed so much to this movement, Anderson thought of Woodworth as
lithe strong silent man of our history, a man famous enough outside our
field, who was for us over many years a real father figure." Certainly,
the Jonesei would have concurred with that statement. In fact Senn
(Jones &Senn, 1968) quotes Mary, in another place:
Now he [Woodworth] had not contributed specifically in this
field [Child Development] in writing, but he was a force in
getting... [it] recognized by the Social Science Research
Council and the National Research Council, and I've always
felt that his interest was influential, both upon Harold
(Jones) and upon me. (PP. 1-2)
With Mary's work in the field, and with Harold as her helpmate, and with
Woodworth's commitment to this new direction, it is small wonder that
Harold might begin to shift his primary interest from experimental to
developmental psychology. Although at this time Harold was still
teaching in the experimental field, it has been noted that he was working
on a paper that focuses on experimental methods as applied to college
258
teaching, an educational perspective; portending, perhaps, a shift in his
interest from experimental psychology per se, toward a more peop1e-
oriented perspective. Strong influences in that direction, from both the
professional and the personal sides, were being brought to bear upon
Harold Jones during these early years of his professional career.
In any case, IIBy 1926,11 according to Lomax (1977), lithe Memorial was
supporting child study at Yale, Iowa, Minnesota, Columbia and Toronto"
(p.285). Lomax goes on to say that Jean Walker (later, Macfarlane), a
psychologist at Berkeley, began "pat tently prodding Frank to start some
kind of laboratory nursery school in San Francisco or Berkeley" (p.285).
Years later Jean Macfarlane is quoted by Lomax as saying, about Larry
Frank, IIHe got us all to work like fool s" (p.285).
Larry Frank met Harold Jones through Mary in 1923 at the time she
was appointed an Associate in Psychological Research with Teachers
College. Frank knew Mary and Harold for at least three years by 1926,
and Larry was not slow to recognize ability and competence. As Frank
firmed up the plan to found an institute in child development on the west
coast, and worked out a contract with the University of Cal ifornia at
Berkeley, he looked to Harold Jones as a promising young academician with
the kind of credentials needed to direct such a research institute.
Beyond these professional qual ifications, there were others, more
personal, that may have recommended Harold to Frank. These are well
enunciated in Haro'ld's Obituary (Sanford et al., 1960):
Creat i vi ty, and jUdgment of what was i mportant, ... hi s
persistence, careful p1annin,9, and devotion to his
purpose; ... a spec i a1 courage... raj capacity to make friends
with people in all walks of life and to win loyalty of
students and associates. (p.598)
259
Whatever combination of traits and temperament, acquired or innate,
recommended Harol d to Larry Frank, Frank recommended Harol d Jones to
President William Wallace Campbell of the University of California to be
the first Director of the New Institute of Child Welfare.[68]
Mary and Harold were excited over the prospect of moving to
California, and gratified that Harold had been chosen for such a
position. President Campbell called upon Harold and Mary in their home
and personally offered Harold the Directorship of the Institute.
Encouraged to accept by Dr. Woodworth, Harold did, after asking IIWill
there be a job for Mary?1I and being assured that there woul d be.[69]
Mary reflects that IIthere werenlt very many men in this field. If
Woodworth thought this was the thing to do, 1
1m
sure it influenced
Harold. Of course, the heads of all these institutions were menII (Jones,
1983, p.65).[70]
An Interim Phase
Dr. Harold E. Jones did become the Director of the Institute at
Berkeley, but not until 1935 (Sanford et eI., 1960, p.595). Just how it
came about that Harold became the Director of Research first rather than
the first Director of the Institute, is somewhat opaque. Mary said that
there was "somebody out there" in California who said that "Harold was
too young and he wasn't a Cal ifornian, and shouldn't be the director."
Mary saw a letter once that clarified the matter for her. In any case,
by the time this transpired, Harold and Mary felt committed to move. As
Mary put it, IICalifornia seemed great to us -- and to our friends, toO!1I
260
Across the Continent
And so the Jones family began the trek across the continent in the
summer of 1927. The four of them said goodbye to Harold's parents in
Connecticut and to Mary's in Johnstown. There is no doubt that the older
generation was less enthusiastic about the western migration than the
younger. But after all, everyone understood that Harold had been offered
an exciting career opportunity, and, in any case, Mary was not the first
of the Covers to head west. Mary's sister, Louise, after earning her
Masters in Botany at Columbia University, had taken a job in the State of
Washington. In the meantime, John Higson Cover had moved with his
family to Denver, Colorado, where Dr. Cover began teaching at the
University of Denver (see Appendix F, item 56, especially p.2, column 2).
By the time Mary and Harold, with their two young daughters, packed
up and boarded the train en route to San Francisco, Mary's sister was
also in Denver, but under less happy circumstances. Louise had succumbed
to tuberculosis while working in a greenhouse at the University in
Seattle (Jones, 1983, p.26). Her father, Mr. Cover, was paying for her
to have the best medical care available. She was being treated in a
sanitarium in Denver, where the c1 imate was col d and dry, conditions
thought to be therapeutic for TB in that era. Fortunately for Louise,
her brother, John, was living there. His moral support as well as his
good jUdgment in overseeing her care was available to her. Mary thinks
John's being in Denver probably influenced her father and Louise's
decision in selecting that particular sanitarium.
Before Mary left New York she had been treated for a bladder
infection. It flared up again, while she was traveling, and became quite
261
distressful by the time the train arrived in Denver. The Joneses had
planned to stop over to visit John and to see Louise. While staying with
John, Mary consulted a physician. He wanted to perform surgery for the
infection, but when Mary and Harold spoke to her doctor in New York via
long distance telephone, he said, "Don't!" In a short time the infection
subsided, the Joneses resumed their westward journey, and Mary never had
the surgery.
Before leaving New York Mary spoke to her children's pediatrician
about his thoughts regarding such a change of environment for the little
girls. He thought California sounded like an excellent move for them.
The train trip supported his conviction. Barbara and Lesley loved it!
They especially enjoyed sleeping in the upper berth of their pullman
car, with Mother and Dad in the berth below. In spite of John's
suggestion that Barbara might be feeling some strain from the trip - he
found her behavior "a little negative" - the children's overwhelming
response was a positive one.
Northside, Southside and ~ Home in the Hills
It took a while for the Jones family to find their niche in
Berkeley. Dr. Edna Bailey, to whom Mary had written about job prospects
in Berkeley, lived in a house on Spruce Street, on the north side of the
campus (see Note 69 and Appendix F, item 57). She shared the house with
her two daughters and a close friend, Anita Layton. Both of these women
taught in the field of Education: Edna at Berkeley; Anita at San Jose
College. Since Edna, Anita, and the two children were planning to be
away for the summer, Edna offered the house to the Joneses for that
262
period. This gave Mary and Harold a place to stay for their first month
or so in Berkeley, while looking around for more permanent quarters.
After a brief sojourn on Spruce Street, Harold and Mary found a
house on Durant, on the south side of campus. There were two houses on
one property. The Jones family occupied the one in the back for less
than a year. Then they found a house on Shattuck, close to Live Oak
Park. This house was designed by Bernard Maybeck, the renowned
architect. They lived there for a couple of years.
By 1928 Mary and Harold found their lasting home, the house where
Mary 1ived for 58 years. It was an ampl e three story house buil t on a
sloping double lot. As with many Berkeley homes, the living area was on
the top floor, adjacent to the street. In the 1980s it looked like a
cottage by the side of the road as one approached it through a wooden
gate and across a brick terraced garden. From within, however, it was
spacious and gracious. The entry way opened onto the living room, which,
in turn, looked out over the treetops through a wall of windows,
yielding, in the distance, a panoramic view of the Bay, three bridges,
and the San Francisco skyline on a clear day.
There were three bedrooms and a bath, plus a maid's room with a bath
on the lower floor and an apartment beneath them. Some of the
furnishings were antiques handed down by Harold's early American
forebears. The quilts that were on Mary's bed were made by Grandmother
Higson.
There was a deck on the south side of the house, just beyond French
doors that opened off the formal dining room. Mary kept a bird feeder
there, well-supplied with wild bird seed, and the birds frequented it
263
daily. Mary could watch them while she dined, or while she worked at her
large dining room table which sometimes served as a desk for writing
and reading. This large table was made by Harold. At other times this
table was the setting for family and friends who gathered at lunch time
or for dinner. Often it was Mary1s grandchildren and great-grandchildren
who shared the table with her. Sometimes it was friends from out-of-
town, or neighbors from the hills, or from the flats below. Sometimes,
however, Mary's company took a cup of tea with her more informally in the
living room, a pleasant place to be at anytime, but especially lovely
when the sun was about to set.
Shortly after Mary and Harold arrived in Berkeley, they were invited
by Herbert Stolz and his wife, Edgel, to visit in their home in
Kensington. The Stolzes had a daughter a bit older than Barbara. Mary
kept through the years a snapshot taken of the three little girls
together. Mary and Harold had been wondering how it would be to direct a
research program under a physician who had worked in the field of parent
education for the State of California. Harold's background was, of
course, quite different. There were some problems, largely around
allocation of funds, but none that were insurmountable. This first
meeting of the two couples with their children got everyone off to a good
start. Mary reported that Dr. Stolz "was an easy person to tal k to,"
and, on the whole, he and Harold had a cordial and cooperative
relationship. Herbert was always supportive of Mary in her work at the
Insitute, and her good relationship with him may have been helpful to
Harold in his role as Research Director with Herbert as Director.
264
Chapter VI
THREE FAMOUS STUDIES AND HOW THEY GREW
Beginning Work at The Institute of Child Welfare
The wonderment that Mary spoke about feeling as she and Harold
approached their new venture at the newly founded Institute of Child
Welfare could be construed as a personal reflection and response to the
integration of diverse discip1 ines that were conso1 idating into a new
sc i ence. A new sc i ence, sugges ts Robert R. Sea rs (l97 5) in "Your
Ancients Revisited: A History of Child Development", was being
established:
Child development as we know it today has all the character-
istics of a science....many research practitioners, well-
equipped laboratories, the normal media for scientific
communication, and respected academic status. (p.3)
Sears continues by pointing out, however, that the discip1 ine of chi1 d
development came into existence by a different route from the more
traditional 1ife sciences. These sciences were more "self-contained and
self-stimulating in their growth" developing "within the academic
structure" and their histories are "1 arge1y intell ectual" (p.3). Chi1d
development, on the other hand:
Was formed by external pressures broadly based on desires to
better the health, the rearing, the education, and the legal
and occupational treatment of children. (p.3)
Sears sees these pressures converging "from many social sources
ll
at
the end of the 19th century, as an expression of lithe deeply changing
265
ethos of the times" (p.4). The professions of medicine and education
were primary forces in this new ethos, with "social work as a helping
profession... clearly visible" (p.4). Sears continues tracing the
emergence of child development as a separate and distinct scientific
discipline by noting that it was after the first World War, in the 1920s,
that:
Scientists from several non-professionally oriented ("pure
science") discipl ines began to join the researchers from the
child-oriented professions to create what we now view as the
scientific field of child development. (p.4)
Sears draws an analogy between this new science and engineering,
which also grew out of the Ill pure sciences'" of "physics and chemistry."
He states that, "like the engineering sciences... child development is a
product of social needs that had little to do with science qua science"
(p.4). Sears then devotes a paragraph as a warning to child development-
alists to look to their history and heed it. If they want the discipline
to continue to flourish they must continue to function as a mechanism of
del icate bal ance, mediating between theoretical and appl ied fields to
accomplish their purpose:
Child development is a reflection of the tremulous
partnership that always seems to exist when pure and applied
science, and the services of scientists, are directed toward
fulfilling social rather than purely intellectual needs.
Today's novitiates in the "science" of child development
must not complain when they feel the heat of social demands
put upon them. The field grew out of relevance. Its content
and its multidisciplinary structure are a product of the
demands for soci a1 useful ness. Furthermore, there is some
risk that it will fractionate into its component disciplines
- and disappear as an entity in the world of science - if
that relevance is not maintained. (p.4)
Just so, perhaps, Mary served as an intermediary between Harol d's more
academic and experimental approach to the field and Herbert Stolz's
266
medical and educational point of view. Mary was pivotal professionally,
having been trained as a psychologist under Woodworth at Columbia
University and having worked as a research associate under the auspices
of Teachers College and the LSRM Foundation.
El izabeth Lomax (1977) call s attention to Mary's having a foot in
each of two worlds when she says:
Of the 38 fellows in child development funded by the LSRM for
1926-27, Mary Cover Jones was the only one with a doctoral
degree. She was awarded the degree in 1926 and had already
published four research papers, including the classic "A
Laboratory Study of Fear: The Case of Peter," describing a
study of conditioning and reconditioning made in
collaboration with John B. Watson. (p.292, ftnote 11)
In any case, Mary did feel that her good working relationship with Dr.
Stolz was helpful to all concerned as the new Institute began
functioning.
The Nursery School
Early in Dr. Senn's interview with Mary he asks about psychologists
who may have influenced her and Harold in their work with young children,
suggesting G. Stanley Hall, John Dewey or Sigmund Freud (Jones & Senn,
1968, p.s), Mary's response, in relation to Hall, is to acknowledge
indebtedness to his book as a foundation for "more modern methods of
procedure," but she continues, "we just didn't want to proceed that way
[i.e., the questionnaire approach]. We wanted to be in touch with the
actual individual." In response to Dewey's influence, she states, "We
took courses with John Dewey, but I don't think our interest was as much
in the philosophical approach to education as it was in more practical
research projects." What could be more practical or more tangible than a
267
nursery school set up for observation and research? That is precisely
how it all began.
Mary points out that in 1927 nursery schools were still somewhat
novel. The new school was a demonstration school in the sense that
students taking education courses at the University came to observe the
children in the Nursery School; some of Edna Bailey's students were among
those observers. These students waul d write up thei r observations for
class reports. As a project of the Institute, however, the Nursery
School functioned independently of any academic department in the
University (Jones, 1983, p.63). For example, one of the Directors of
the Nursery school, who retired in the late 1970s,was Catherine
Landreth. She came there through the Department of Home Economics in
1938 (Jones, 1983, p. 74; p. 106). Supported in part by tuition, the
school drew pupils from the community at large with a preponderance
coming from the children of university faculty and staff. Lesley
Elizabeth Jones was among those first pupils. Mary, in her role as a
Research Associate of the Institute, helped select the first Director of
the new school, Pearl Crawford.
In the late 1980s this nursery school still operates off campus on
southside Berkeley. It is known as the Harold E. Jones Child Study
Center, and students of child development still observe interactions
among the pupils and teachers as they did over 60 years ago.
Dr. Herbert Stolz came to the Institute from the State Department of
Education in California. There he had been Chief of the Bureau of Child
Study and Parent Education which ran a program financed by the LSRM fund
as early as 1921. Dr. Stolz continued working on a part-time basis for
268
the State Department of Education after taking the directorship of the
Institute (Jones, 1983, p.73; p.99). Harold Jones also had a part-time
position in addition to the directorship of Research at the Institute.
Dr. Jones taught courses in the Department of Psychology at the
University.
Mary was not allowed to teach in the Department of Psychology at
U.C. 'to avoid any question of nepotism that might have arisen. Mary's
professional work at this time and for some years to come was her job as
Research Associate in the Institute of Child Welfare (see Appendix F,
item 58). She was appointed to this position by Dr. Stolz and she worked
directly under him. One of Mary's first responsibilities was to work
"with parents who were going to be 1eaders of parents' groups" (Jones,
1983, p.63). Her work encompassed research on language development,
somewhat later, as well as other facets of development in early childhood
(see Appendix F, item 59). Mary spoke often before various groups in the
community about the Nursery School and its research projects. She also
met on a regular basis with teachers' groups (Jones, 1983, p.63; also see
Appendix F, item 60). A newspaper account from Mary's hometown paper
gives a glimpse of some of the early projects that the Institute was
undertaking in this period prior to the inception of the three studies
for which it has become renowned (see Appendix F, item 61; note last
para. ).
Launching the Longitudinal Studies
In January 1928 the first of three longitudinal studies began at the
Institute of Child Welfare. Harold E. Jones, in his capacity as Research
269
Director, hired Jean Walker Macfarlane to supervise the Guidance Study
(GS). It was planned, according to Dorothy H. Eichorn's chapter on
Samples and Procedures in Present and Past in Middle Life (1981), lias a
six year study of a normal sample" (p.33). The sample was drawn "from a
socioeconomic survey of every third birth in Berkeley between January 1,
1928 and June 30, 1929" (p.34). The original purposes were threefold:
to find out "how prevalent and severe were behavior problems of the kind
reported for preschool children brought to therapeutic clinics," to
determine the "biological and environmental factors associated with the
presence or absence of such behaviors," and to evaluate lithe influence of
intensive discussions with parents about child-rearing practices on
children's problem behavior." At the end of the six year period, Eichorn
reports, lithe GS continued... with the intent of examining the
interactions of psychological, social, and biological factors in
personality development" (p.33). Although there were "248 original
participants," the sample was divided into two subsamples. When each
infant reached 21 months of age s / h ~ was assigned to either "a Guidance
or a Control group, each with 124 infants" (p.34).
Macfarlane was a clinical psychologist on the faculty of U.C.
Medical School in San Francisco. She also taught part-time in the
Depa rtment of Psychol ogy at Berkeley. She had a background in
developmental psychology, having worked with a chil d psychol ogist in
Boston previously (Jones, 1983, p.34). Jean Macfarlane's background lent
itself to a study "especially fruitful in the field of personality"
(p.101). In the beginning, when the infants were very young,
Macfarlane's study concentrated on interviewing the parents.
270
Jean Walker Macfarl ane is the woman who was a friend of Lawrence
Frank, and who was influential in persuading him to initiate an institute
for child study in the Bay Area.
The second study, the Berkeley Growth Study (BGS) began "with 61
infanis born between September 15, 1928 and May 15, 1929" (Eichorn, 1981,
p.36). Harold Jones hired Nancy Bayley as a Research Associate to direct
this study. She came to Berkeley from the University of Wyoming in the
Summer of 1928 (Coe, 1987). She had been teaching psychology at Wyoming,
and had experience in mental testing. Bayley never sought an academic
appointment at U.C. Berkeley; teaching was not of interest to her (Jones,
1983, p.100). She became a recognized authority later on, when she left
the Institute to become Chief of the Division of Child Development of the
National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D.C. She is best
known for her development of the First Year Mental Scale (often referred
to as the "Bayley Scale"). It is still widely used to assess early
development - intellectual, physical and motor.
This is the woman who met and married the Jones' young friend, John
Reid, when he followed his mentor, Harold Jones, to Cal ifornia. Reid,
who had become a philosophy professor at Stanford University, later
accepted an appointment at Johns Hopkins. Nancy then went to the NIMH
post in Washington, D.C. to be with her husband. Still later they
returned to California, and she came back to the Institute. Eventually
they retired to Carmel (Jones, 1983, p.100). Mary mentions Nancy Bayley
as the kind of developmental psychologist who combined the technical
skills of measurement and assessment with clinical skills of a high
order, an uncommon combination (Jones, 1983, p.91).
271
The BGS was designed to trace normal intellectual, motor, and
physical development during the first year (Eichorn, 1981, p.36). It is,
however, still an ongoing part of the combined studies. When Dr. Bayley
retired, Dorothy Eichorn took her place on the staff. After Harold
Jones interviewed Dr. Eichorn, he introduced her to Mary. Mary recall s
that Harold later expressed some misgivings to her about hiring someone
who was living in Napa, quite a distance from Berkeley. He thought it
might be too far for daily commuting. Mary notes, with some amusement,
that Harol d's concern was ill-founded, since Dorothy Eichorn has been
successfully commuting between Napa and Berkeley for over 30 years. Dr.
Eichorn is the Associate Director of the Institute and has simultaneously
held the position of Executive Secretary of the Society for Research in
Child Development (SRCD). She executes multiple administrative tasks
while serving on many professional committees (Jones, 1983, p.lOl).
At an earl ier period in Dr. Eichorn's 1He, when she was pregnant,
she and her husband, a Chaplain at Napa State Mental Hospital, stayed in
Mary and Harold's home for a brief time to be closer to the
obstetrician Dorthy Eichorn was using. His practice was in Berkeley. Mr.
Eichorn formed a very favorable impression of Mary during this visit,
Dorothy Eichorn told Mary years later. Several years ago, Mr. Eichorn
suffered a coronary, and Mary wrote a get-well note to him while he was
recovering in the hospital. Since then Mr. Eichorn visited Mary often
and these two old acquaintances developed an active friendship, rewarding
to both.
272
The Oakland Growth Study (OGS)
The third study "was undertaken in 1931 by Harold E. and Mary C.
Jones and Herbert Stolz" states Eichorn (1981, p.38). During the 1ate
1920s, as the GS and BGS progressed, it occurred to Lawrence K. Frank
and Harol d Jones that it would be at least a dozen years before these
infants would reach adolescence. Frank suggested that if Harold started
a pre-adolescent group it would forestall the necessity of waiting for
the infants in the other two groups to grow into teenagers before
beginning to study adolescent development. This study was originally
called the Adolescent Study. The name was changed to the Oakland Growth
Study in 1955 (Jack Block, 1971, p.21). The study was to include
"physical and physiological maturation" (Eichorn, 1981, p.38), but,
according to Mary, there was also a strong emphasis on peer
relationships. "The 212 original participants were recruited from the
high fifth and low sixth grades of five elementary schools in Oakland"
(p.38). Mary explained that Harold Jones first gained permission for the
study from the Superintendent of Schools in Oakland. Then Herbert Stolz
spoke to the principals of the five elementary schools, selected for the
study because they were feeder school s for the Cl aremont Junior High,
which, in turn, sent its students on to the University High School (see
Appendix F, item 62). Both of the latter schools cooperated with the
Department of Education at U.C. Berkeley, as laboratory schools for
research in progressive educational methods.
Once permission had been gained at the top level, Judith Chaffey,
who became the children's Counsellor, went into the homes of the students
to explain the purpose of the study to their parents and gain permission
273
for the children to volunteer to participate in the study. Chaffey had
been a tenured French teacher at the University High School and had then
gone to St. El izabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. for a year to take
her M.A. in psychology to qualify as a counselor. She was hired to work
on the aGS in her new professional capacity in part because of her past
experience as a teacher in the school the children would eventually
attend.
The Joneses thought she would be an asset and so she proved to be as
time went by. The children called her "Aunt Judy" and she became not
only a counsellor, but a driving instructor as the youngsters grew older,
and a friend as they approached adulthood. Judith Chaffey was still
living in the late 1980s, although she was no longer robust. She is
remembered fondly by many of the aGS members (Jones, 1983, pp.102-103).
Mary visited Judith in the retirement residence where she was living from
time to time.
Finally, the children themselves were visited in their schools.
This was Mary's initial contribution. When she explained the study to
the youngsters, she must have done a good job. She recalled hands
shooting up allover the classrooms, as the children volunteered to join
the exciting new research project. That their enthusiasm persisted
through many years has been attested to by their willingness to continue
in the research through three adult follow-up studies, by their personal
testimonials, and by their attendance at a number of reunions, most
recently in November 1985 (see Appendix F, item 63).
Mary wrote a personal note on the Christmas letter sent by the IHD
to every remaining study member each year. She received over 40
274
greetings in return in 1985. There were other ways that Mary kept her
re1ationships a1 ive with the members. She telephoned each on her/hi s
birthday, not only to extend good wishes but to receive any news the
member might wish to share with her. She also visited those who were ill
whenever she was able, and especially when a member was hospital ized.
These personal efforts supplemented the Institute's more formal methods
of keeping members connected with the study and one another, such as the
mailing of periodic newsletters. At the reunion November 185 one study
member took it upon himself to have a commemorative plaque made and
presented to Mary, along with special name tags imprinted with the same
message that is engraved on the plaque (see Appendix F, item 64). The
member who was responsible for this commemoration was the first in the
group to have become a father and Mary said that he recently became a
father again by his second wife. Since he is now in his sixties, he may
be the last study member to achieve fatherhood, as well as the first!
The Clubhouse
As the children grew into adolescence and began attending the junior
high school the researchers real ized that they would need to devise a
method to continue observing the study members and their interactions
with one another in the larger more dispersed setting of the new school.
They decided to open a Clubhouse. The Institute rented a house next door
to the junior high and turned it into a place to meet and socialize.
This was the era of the depression and "in addition to the university
staff, the Federal Works Progress Administration furnished personnel to
sponsor athletics, dramatic productions, and art lessons" (Jones, 1983,
275
p.86) •
Mary explained that the Clubhouse was open not only to study group
members, but to their families and their friends. They frequented it on
their 1unch periods as well as after school and on Saturdays. Dancing
was one of the favorite activities. It was the youngsters themselves who
came up with the idea of using the Clubhouse on weekends for parties.
Staff members substituted for parents as chaperones. Soon the facilities
were booked months ahead by various groups in turn for Friday and
Saturday night gatherings (Jones, 1983, p.87).
Excursions
When the group advanced to senior high school "excursions were
planned to provide situations in which unstaged behavior could be
observed" (Jones, 1983, p89). The Clubhouse had served its purpose well
in the earl ier years, but now cl iques were forming, "fostered by high
school invitational social clubs" (p.89), and as the young people's
interests widened, the Clubhouse was too circumscribed an environment.
More than 11 excursions were held, including "a boat trip around the
bay; two ice skating parties; an overnight snow trip; a roller skating
party; several three-day camping trips; a day at the Fairview Country
Club; a night on the train, and an evening around the campfire. A
graduation party was given at U.C. Men's Gym, complete with band led by
Sal Carson who now leads a well-known orchastra (Jones, 1983, p.89).
After the events, staff, including a nurse and a physical education
director, would meet to report their observations, concentrating on
behavior of individuals. These "Culture Notes", as they were called,
276
included behavior that reflected values, such as daring stunts performed
by some of the boys, as well as dirty words sometimes used. Aspects of
emerging femininity were observed in the girls' behaviors, such as a
change from previous clowning to more reticent demeanor; or a change in
appearance, perhaps a more attractive style of coiffure or dress, or
simply a more approachable manner (Jones, 1983, p.89). Mary was among the
regular observers of these OGS activities. Although Mary did not publish
her observations of these occasions in the lives of OGS members, she
wrote them up informally, entitling the essays "Boy meets Girl" and "In
the Eyes of the B e h o l d e ~ " One of her colleagues, John A. Clausen, read
her articles and plans to use some of her observations in his future
publ ications, with Mary's permission.
Primary Professional Interests in Mid-Life
Some of Mary's research contributions from this period are reflected
in the collection of studies edited by Mary Cover Jones, Nancy Bayley,
Jean Walker Macfarlane and Marjorie Pyles Honzik (1971) in The Course of
Human Development. This compilation "was undertaken at the suggestion of
the late Raymond G. Kuhlen, who conceived it 'a useful addition to the
instructional material in developmental psychology as well as a
documentation of the work which has been done on the longitudinal
studies' at the Institute of Human Development, University of California,
Berkeley" (Preface, p.v), Maris six studies included in this text are
adaptations and abridgements of longer studies published originally from
1950 through 1965. They reflect one of Maris primary interests in the
field of psychology, aspects of maturational rates. Two of the studies
277
are categorized as motivational. These were published jointly with her
co-worker, Paul H. Mussen in 1957 and 1958. They deal wi th early and
late maturing adolescent boys and girls: how maturational timing may
i nfl uence self-concepts and i nterpersona 1 atti tudes as well as
motivations.
The next three studies fall under the rubric of social development.
The first one, published in 1950, was co-authored with Nancy Bayley and
is entitled "Physical Maturity Among Boys as Related to Behavior." Mary
explains how this collaborative effort came to pass (Jones, 1983):
Harold said, "took, Nancy·Bayley·s doing X-rays of the wrists
to get skeletal age...you'r-e observing them in school and
social situations and seeing what happens as they go through
puberty. •..you and Nancy work together on th i S.II SO the
first article on early and late maturing was Nancy·s and
mi nee (p.70)
The next study was originally publ ished in 1958. Entitled "A Study of
Social ization Patterns at the High School Level ", it is an analysis of
how high school students' status among their peers, or lack of status,
correlates with early and late physical maturation.
Finally, the third article listed under the category of social
development was published originally in 1960. This study compares the
attitudes and interests of adolescents over two decades. The samples are
drawn from the same school, but widely separated in time. The first
group was studied in 1935; the second, in 1953; before and after World
War II.
The sixth and last of Mary·s studies included in the text published
in 1971 falls under the heading of interrelationships among variables and
over time. The title is "Psychological Correlates of Somatic
278
Development." Originally published in 1965, it is the second of two
reports on adult status of early- or late- maturing boys in the 06S
(Jones et al., p.272). According to the abstract, this second report was
published eight years after the first adult follow-up, and the members in
this report would be approximately 41 years old, well into middle-age.
This cursory citation of selected articles is meant only to
highl ight Mary's primary focus in the early and middl e years of the 06S.
To begin to grasp the quantitative aspects of her work, refer to her
Cumulative Vitae (see Appendix F, item 65, pp.5-9). A fuller listing of
her publications can be found in the holdings of the Bancroft Library at
U.C. Berkeley, under Harold E. Jones and Mary Cover Jones, Partners in
Longitudinal Studies (Jones, 1983, pp.121-134).
Mary herself said that she believed that she had been able to
produce as much work as she had for two reasons. First, from the
beginning of her adult life "back in New York as well as throughout her
life in California, Mary had more or less constant domestic help. When
the children were growing up this included help with the cooking as well
as general housekeeping chores and some childcare. Sometimes Mary's
household helpers were women who brought their own children with them to
her home during their working hours. Second, Mary said that her
daughters have noted that she and Harold did not appear to them to be as
"social" as many parents in their peer group. Mary believed that her
daughters meant that she and Harold did not do a great deal of
entertaining in their home, nor spend many hours socializing outside of
their home. Mary tended to agree with this assessment. Later, however,
Barbara said that her parents did a lot of entertaining, although perhaps
279
not the kind that they might have called parties. They had people in for
dinner or tea or picnics in the garden or in the country. Barbara
thought maybe her mother was recalling her teenage daughters' conceptions
of what other teenagers' parents were doing by way of entertaining.
Intergenerational Studies
As time went by and attrition took its toll of each of the three
study samples, the researchers devised a means for merging the remaining
members of the three studies into one large sample. This was
accomplished in a two-step operation. First, "a common means for
describing personality characteristics at different ages that could be
derived from the diverse sorts of data collected earl ier in the three
studies" was found in Q-sort assessments (Eichorn, 1981, p.41). Jack
Block (1961, The Q-sort method in personality assessment and psychiatric
research) had prepared the way for the IHD's later use of this
methodology. Having performed thi s operation, a follow-up study was
planned "in which identical new data from merged samples could be related
to archival data" (p.42). This plan, in the form of a proposal, was
entitled "Intergenerational Studies of Development and Aging" (IGS
1)( p, 42).
Prior to the merging of the samples, adult follow-up studies were
completed on the three samples independently. Mary recalled that the
first OGS adult follow-up, called Adult 1, occurred when the members were
in their mid-thirties in 1958. Adult 2 follow-up was completed in 1964,
when the members were in their early forties. After this second follow-
up, and before Adult 3 when the members were approximately 60 years old,
280
Jack Block (1971) conducted his analysis of the data. He publ ished his
findings in Lives Through Time. For a detailed explanation of the data
collection program as well as an overview of the three studies, see Jean
Walker Macfarlane (Jones et al.,1971), the first two chapters in this
text.
By the time that the three independent studies were collapsed into
the IGS, the Institute of Child Welfare had been renamed the Institute of
Human Development. This occurred in 1958, close to the time when the
Adolescent Study became the Oakland Growth Study (Sanford et el., 1960.
p. 598). Dr. Harold E. Jones was responsible for renaming the Institute,
to keep the name representative of the population continuing to be
studied.
Adult 3 study, the first one to be completed under the new IGS
proposal, was conducted in 1980. Eichorn, Clausen, Haan, Honzik, and
Mussen (1981) published the.findings in Present and Past in Middle Life.
For an excellent review of this text, with succinct summaries of the
histories of the three studies as well as of the findings throughout the
various chapters, see R. R. Sears and P. S. Sears (1982), Lives .i.!l
Berkeley. The Sears' note, in their opening paragraph, that "from that
first generation of researchers only Mary Cover Jones has contributed to
this volume; the rest of the editors and authors are second generation"
(o. 925). The review ends with this tribute:
Most edited books are no more than a one-time issue of a
nonrefereed journal. This volume is quite the opposite. It
is a coherent report of more than a dozen aspects of a single
body of data. The writing is stylistically consistent, the
findings in one chapter are related to those in others, the
same measures of personal ity, motivation, and intell igence
are used repeatedly for significantly different purposes, and
281
the findings themselves are incredibly rich. In fine, it is
probably the most important unified research contribution to
adult social and personality psychology of the last three
decades. (p.927)
This high praise is impressive in any case. It becomes more so when it
is viewed from the perspective of Milton J. Senn's assessment of the
importance of the several child study institutes across the Continent.
Speaking before the audience assembled at the bienniel meeting of the
Society for Research in Child Development, held in Philadelphia in March
1973, Senn ended his address by saying:
The several child study institutes are the foci in America
for providing sustained support of training programs for
persons in child development and the resources needed to do
good research.
Senn was listing many of the names all ready familiar in the present
paper and documenting some of the major contributions they have made
through the years to the child development movement. Then he pointed out
the important contribution that lawrence K. Frank made through his work
in establishing the Institutes in the 1920s and 1930s, with the help of
the lSRM funding.
Senn (l973) does not mention the financial crisis during the
Depression, but lomax (1977) does, a few years later, in her article
about the lSRM and its contributions to child development research.
Speaking about the Institute at Berkeley, she states:
In 1933, because of the depression, the state legislature
proposed a two-million dollar cut in the University of
Cal ifornia's bUdget, which would lead to the termination of
several academic programs. The Institute was a recent
addition and was vul nerabl e for that reason... • Fortunately,
President Sproul was unequivocally in favor of the child-
research program... The Rockefeller trustees... finally
provided survival funds, evidence of the high esteem in which
the Berkeley studies were held. (p.286)
282
In a footnote, Lomax explains that the "Institutes were set up on a cost-
sharing basis, the Spelman trustees providing research funds while the
universities were responsible for building and maintenance costs"
(p.292). She adds that the trustees had expected that by 1934 the
University would have been able to fund the entire program. Because the
Berkeley Institute "had given more attention to the question of
cumulative growth studies than any other of the child research centers",
says Lomax, quoting Frank, he was especially zealous in trying to help
the Institute survive this early financial crisis.
In any case, survive it has, and Harold E. Jones is also quoted by
Lomax in explaining how the Institute managed to remain loyal to its own
convictions and keep fiscally afloat:
The original mandate had not required a longitudinal
approach, but by the early thirties the Berkeley
investigators had determined to continue studying some of
their original sample groups of infants and children for as
long as possib1e... while waiting for an accumulation of
growth data sufficient to provide useful information they
published findings from numerous cross-sectional statistical
studies, in part to satisfy current academic requirements.
(p.286)
And now, with this most recent publication (Eichorn et al., 1981), surely
the value of this early strategy has proven itself.
Latest Professional Interest
Mary's chapter in this latest book reflects another of her primary
interests and is entitled "Midlife Drinking Patterns: Correlates and
Antecedents." This interest developed later in Maris life, after her
,
retirement in 1960. More will be said below about how the interest
emerged. It is appropriate to point out here, however, that Mary
283
continued an active career in developmental psychology at the research
level some 20 years beyond her official retirement.
The editors of this most recent compilation of studies which
includes Mary's chapter are not merely colleagues of many years; some
have grown, through the years, to be included among Mary's closest
friends (see Appendix F, item 6 6 ~
.!:!Q. on Shasta Road
Through the years Mary was asked by different interviewers how she
felt about her life as a wife and mother juxtaposed to her life as a
professional woman. The answer takes a somewhat different form
depending upon the variations in how the question is framed, but the
essential message remains constant:
I was a mother. And I was doing work when I had the time; I
wasn't feeling professional. I thought of myself as a mother
and a wife, and if there was time left over to do a job, that
was fine.
In her Oral History Mary says, in response to a query about her work as
an observer in the 065., III feel like I couldn't have had a better life
[l augh] in regard to my Job" (Jones, 1983, p.82). Then, in response to a
question about the most satisfying aspect of her life, she adds:
My family came first, but the job certainly has been
very important. I never thought too much about having a
career, it just kind of happened, and it's been just
wonderful. The same about annuity, it's wonderful to have.
I mean when I was working I didn't think this was going to
add up to money in my old age, but it has. (p.83)
When Milton Senn (1968) asks Mary about her professional life, she has
this to say:
284
I wasn't very ambitious, I was more interested in being a
mother than I was in being a professional woman, and I never
had to ask for jobs. There were always jobs available.to the
extent that I wanted to be useful. (p.21)
Mary recalled that when she was in high school (or it might have
been during her undergraduate days at Vassar), she had a tal k with her
mother about plans for an advanced education. Her mother asked Mary if
she were sure she wanted to work as hard as necessary to prepare for and
then to have a career. Years later Deana Logan (1980), in her
biographical essay, "Mary Cover Jones: Feminine as asset," alludes to
this incident when she says, "Her resolution to be a professional and a
mother violated her own mother's values" (p.111). Logan also notes:
At" the top of her [i.e., Mary's] list of priorities... was
her relationship to Harold. Even now (1980), 19 years after
his death, she can say, "He's still very much a part of my
life.
1I
She consistently mentions him first, when asked to
rank her greatest satisfactions, her most supportive
relationships, or her deepest friendships over the years...
Her choice of motherhood no doubt also affected the magnitude
of her professional contribution.... Although she was
employed throughout her career, she never worked full-time
while her daughters were at home. (p.111)
In exploring the question of motivation in Jones (1983, p.62) the
interviewer alludes to Deana Logan's essay in which Logan (l980) states
(quoting from Jones, 1975, p.185):
Mary contends that her life, like Edward Thorndike's, has
been more a response to "outer pressures or opportunities
rather than to inner needs," (p.62)
Riess asks Mary for clarification, and Mary responds by saying that in
both her own and in Harold's life, lithe motivation was inner but the
direction it took depended upon outer circumstances.
1I
she continues:
285
I wouldn't have kept on as long as I did, if there hadn't
been something inside. I think this was due to my father and
brother - my father who was very pleased with anything I
accomplished, and my brother who set an example. Yes, there
was motivation there, certainly. (Jones, 1983, p.62)
Riess then asserts that lilt sounds 1ike...you're talking about other
people's expectations." Mary responds, "Yes. Well, you want to meet
other peonle's expectations. Sure there's a good feel ing about getting
somewhere and accompl ishing something" (p.62).
At this point Mary recalls a question Senn (1968, p.5) asked her
about whether or not she mi ght have worked more with Watson, had she
stayed in New York, and perhaps have gone into the field of behavior
therapy. She tells Riess that she answered Senn affirmatively then, but
that "Now, as I think of it, I'm not sure I would have. I don't think I
wou1 d have been suited to that" (Jones, 1983, p.62).
Child Rearing: Theory and Practice
Another question interviewers frequently asked Mary related to how
she and Harold applied psychological theories of child development to
their own child rearing practices in their family. Sometimes the
question was posed in a way that contrasts Watsonian and Freudian views.
Before looking at Mary's responses it may be helpful to glance at
E1 izabeth M. R. Lomax's (1978) Science and Patterns of Child Care. The
author devotes two chapters to out1ining Freud's and Watson's positions
on child rearing practices in this country in the first half of the 20th
century. She points out that Freud and Watson share a basic belief in
determinism, each of them stressing the importance of early childhood
experiences in shaping adult behavior in later years. This leads to
286
their both emphasizing the importance of the early mother-child
relationship. When one looks at the specifics of this relationship,
however, a wide divergence emerges between the two experts' points of
view.
Lomax explores these differences. In reference to psychoanalysts,
Lomax states that although their precise theories may vary, they:
A11 stressed the importance of breast-feedi ng, prompt
attention to the infants needs, gradual weaning, and toilet
training at the child's own pace to ensure emotional
stability. Such requirements seemed so obvious and so
natural that they were accepted without demur. (p.96)
This was not happening, however, until lithe 1940s and the early 1950s".
Although Freud and Watson were contemporaries, Freud was writing in
German in Vienna (later, in England), and his analytic followers in the
United States were not too numerous prior to the beginning of World War
II.
In the meantime John Watson was writing in English in the United
States in the 1920s. Furthermore, much that he wrote reached the
average 1iterate American parent through popul ar oubl ications after he
left academia in 1920. There was another important reason for Watson's
popularity with his audience. Unlike Freud, who aroused anxieties but
did not allay them with easy answers, Watson gave concrete rules of
behavior for mothers to follow, such as:
Reward the behavior that you want your child to maintain and
punish him for the behavior that you do not want him to
maintain; apply that principle consistently for 10 years and
you will have produced your "dream chi1d". (Lomax, 1978,
p.109)
287
As Lomax says, "Behaviorism was and continues to be more in accord with
America's preference for pragmatism and simplicity" than Freudianism
(p.109). Watson, after all, was endemic: by birth, language and
temperament.
Watson was not opposing Freud when he insisted upon the primacy of
b e h a v i o ~ It was, rather, the "tradition in the academy of experimental
psychologists that had led to subjective introspection and a foundering
of the new science of psychology" that Watson was attacking (p.110).
Later on, as Freudian psychoanalytic theories began to be popularized by
clinicians in this country, the concept of the dynamic unconscious
replaced Watson's original target of "subjective introspection." Lomax
suggests that Watson was not interested in child rearing practices as
such, but that in his zeal to demol ish the old "s ubjective
introspection," repercussions were felt in both education and child
rearing.
Outlining some of Watson's precepts for child rearing practices,
Lomax mentions that liThe mother was not to hug, fondle, or kiss her
infant" and that "Parents must be objective and detached, leaving the
child to discover the world for himself, insofar as this was consistent
with safety. He must be told about sex in a matter-of-fact manner and in
a language he could understand" (p.124).
Between the rules and regulations proposed by Watson, and the "many
hazards associated with each stage of psychosexual development" (p.124)
propounded by Freudians, Lomax suggests:
The clearest concept to emerge during the 1920s and 1930s was
that child rearing was not a simple or natural process, but
one that should follow scientific principles. (p.140)
288
Accordingly, psychologists who defined themselves as development-
alists were not clearly in either of these two camps. They were, states
Lomax:
In the main... atheoretical; they felt that no other course
was justifiable until the norms of human physical and mental
growth had been more carefully mapped out. Much was known
about the life history of the rat, very little about that of
the human being. Consequently, all existing theories of
development... seemed premature. (p.128)
It was while the longitudinal studies were just getting underway
that Mary was rearing her youngsters. Data had not yet been gathered,
much less analyzed. How, then, did Mary approach this thorny question of
child rearing?
As early as 1927, as reported in the Johnstown Tribune (refer to
Appendix F, item 55, p.2, column 1), Mary and Harold are referred to as
"specialists in child research" who do not concur in lithe theory that
babies should be sternly ignored when they cry." The article also notes
that among the children to be studied are lithe two infants of Dr. and
Mrs. Jones," Since the New York Times published this article, Mary had a
number of occasions to clarify, modify, elaborate and/or change her
views. In Dr. Senn's (1968) Oral History, Mary answers his questions
about Freud's influence upon her early ideas about child development in
thi s manner:
Freud we didn't know personally and had no contacts with him.
He influenced Watson both positively and negatively, and
perhaps through this we were first influenced. I think maybe
we were not as aware of the tremendous influence that Freud
was going to have as some other people were, and as other
people have been more recently. Perhaps this was one of our
blind spots. ...1 would say that we were behaviorists. (p.4)
289
Having taken the label, however, Mary continues with this modifying
statement:
I can remember that I tried not to be too influenced by
theory and fashions in raising my own children, and some
people have been surprised at this....1 have always tried to
steer clear of too much association with the school of
behaviorism and to raise my children more naturally, I would
say. (p.5)
Nevitt Sanford, in his introduction to the Bancroft Oral History
has this to say about Mary's theoretical orientation:
Mary... originally trained in the theory and methodology of
behaviorism and during most of her career worked in accord
with the tenets of this school of thought. One of the
enemies of behaviorism was, and is, psychoanalysis, and it is
my ont nion that Mary, and her husband, Harol d, made 1ittl e
use of this body of theory and concepts. Yet they were
always willing to listen to what I had to say on this
subject. They gave the impression that they were eager to
learn about it. I think they were eager to learn, period.
(Jones, 1983, p, iii)
In line with Sanford1s opinion, Mary states that she and Harold were
"not anti-Freudian by any means," and to substantiate this she recalls
that the two of them underwent didactic analysis for perhaps as long as
six weeks on two different occasions, over two summers: IIWe lay on a
couch and told our dreams, and tal ked" (p.44). She adds that Harold and
she talked to each other lI a good deal about how we should handle our
cnt ldren" (Jones, 1983, p.44). Furthermore, Mary and Harold were part of
a Freudian reading group; this group included the Edward Tolmans and Don
and Jean Macfarlane. These couples got together regularly lI and read
Fr-eud" (p.43).
Mary continues by stating that the interdisciplinary approach that
both Harold Jones and she believed in was being implemented at the
Institute by bringing in psychologists from diverse theoretical
290
orientations, and the dynamic approach was well-represented by such
people as Erik Erikson, Else Frankel-Brunswik, and Nevitt Sanford (Jones,
1983, p.44). Mary adds, III think that our Institute probably had more
vari ed personnel than other i nst i tutes. We had physiologists,
physicians, psychologists, sociologists, social workersII (p.44). She
suggests that this was "pretty largely due to Harold's influence....It
was under his directorship that many people from other disciplines came
f n" (p.44). Harold Jones assumed the Directorship in 1935, and by this
time refugees with analytical training were beginning to arrive in the
United States from war-threatened Europe.
Mary has quite a bit to say about Watson and Freud in her Oral
History (Jones, 1983). Some of it is reminiscent of the Lomax quotations
above. She suggests that Watson and Freud are thought of as
representative of a theoretical antithesis, but:
Actually, they both believed that childhood is the very
formative period, that parental influence was extremely
important. ...Watson thought the answer was for parents to
keep their hands off and not have children become too at-
tached or dependent upon their parents....Freud thought
children should be associated with their parents much more•
••• Watson thought they shouldn't be sUbjected to too much
parental influence... lt was partly Freud's influence that
parents got the notion that they needed to spend more time
with their children and were responsible for their parent-
chi 1d rel ationships. (p.44-45)
How, then, does Mary sort it all out, in relation to her parenting
of her own children? Looking back over the years, Mary said:
I never wanted to follow Watson's advice to parents. We were
thrilled by his theoretical point of view in psychology,
contrasted with what we'd had from Tischner and other
1aboratory psycho1ogi sts. He had a chapter in his book on
personality, and there were few psychology text books at that
time, if any, that had a chapter on personal ity... but when it
came to his advice to parents, we weren't with him. (p.50)
291
When Mary and Harold settled down in Berkeley and began to think and talk
about how to bring up thei r two 1ittl e girl s, they knew that they had
never subscribed to Watson's severity and rigidity. They always picked
their children up when they cried. Their behavior was dictated by
temperament as well as by design. Neither Mary nor Harold were very
demonstrative. They did not lavish the children with "a great deal of
affection; we weren't always hugging our kids," but "Lesley told me,"
says Mary, "that she always knew her parents loved her."
In talking about her natural reserve, Mary was reminded of a recent
instance in which she was able to overcome her reticence in deference to
another's need. This was not a child, but an adult member of the OGS who
was seriously ill. Mary was visiting him in the hospital. She said, "I
finally put my arms around him. It isn't something that is easy for me
to do, but in thi s case I thought it was necessary."
Two Little Sisters Growing Older
As the two youngsters, Barbara and Lesley, began to develop into
toddlers, it became quite apparent that they were temperamentally
different. Mary bel ieved thi s difference was a "qtven," and not a result
of any difference in the way she treated them in their early months or
earliest years. Barbara was a placid, easy-going child; Lesley was more
active and outgoing. When the young family moved to Shasta Road, Barbara
was in elementary school, while Lesley was still in Nursery School at the
Institute. Barbara attended Hillside School about a mile or so down the
winding road. It was easy to drop her off on the way to the Institute
Nursery School. The Nursery School and the Institute were located at
292
that time in a large old Berkeley house on Bancroft Way. Dropping
Barbara off at school and picking her up in the afternoon was right on
Marls traffic pattern. Before very long Barbara could walk back and
forth by herself. Both girls went to Hillside throughout the elementary
school years. In the early 1980s Hillside was deserted. The Berkeley
school board closed it in 1984 because, Mary said, "They say that there
are no longer enough school children in this neighborhood to warrant
keeping it open",
In talking to Mary about these early years in her cht ldren's lives,
she said that no serious problems surfaced. Mary recalled a Mother1s Day
poem that Barbara brought her from school one year. As soon as Lesley
heard it, she spontaneously composed her own version, aloud, on the spot
for her mother (see Appendix F, item 67). According to Barbara this poem
is not complete nor is it original. Barbara remembered that her own
children brought the same poem home from school when Mother1s Day rolled
around.
Mary recalled that Lesley was one of the more lively youngsters in
her grade school class. Once, while being restrained on the playground
by a teacher Lesley broke free. The teacher had grasped Lesley by her
hands and Lesley wal ked up the teacher's legs and quickly executed a
backflip, freeing herself. One of Lesley's classmates who witnessed this
exploit on the playground, exclaimed, "0h, Lesley, you climbed up dear
Miss Watts!1I Mary said that Lesley told her this story herself and, IIS0
that was Lesley!"
293
On another occasion during the elementary school years, Lesley must
have decided, while on the playground, that she would prefer being at
home. She simply walked there, straightaway. The details of this
incident are buried in the sands of time. While Lesley's behavior was a
bit atypical, it was decidedly not a problem.
Barbara sucked her thumb for a while when she was quite young, but
Mary was not sure what, if any, measures she may have taken to discourage
this behavior. Barbara said that she read an article in the newspaper in
the 1980s about child-rearing practices in the 1920s. It was illustrated
with a picture of aluminum mitts used to prevent thumb-sucking. Barbara
recalled that Lesley wore a pair in 1927. Barbara added, "but I don't
imagine for long!"
All in all, life was moving along smoothly. Mary said, in looking
back, "It was good." If there were any worries around thi s time, they
must have been minor; for Mary could not remember any.
Meanwhile Back in Johnstown
~ = ; . ; . . ; . . ; . ~ - - - -
According to a newspaper clipping from the Johnstown Tribune Mary
was coming home for a visit in March, 1930, and this was her first return
since she moved West in 1927. The occasion that prompted the trip was a
speech she was giving at a conference in Chicago. Mary was reporting on
her studies at the Institute of Child Welfare (see Appendix F, item 68).
This was the last time Mary saw her father. He was 75 years old.
In another month or so he became ill suddenly and died a few days later
in the hospital following surgery.[71] According to his Obituary his
death occurred on May 3, 1930. Mary's mother stayed on in Johnstown for
294
a few years, moving into a smaller house (see Appendix F, item 3).
John Cover happened to be in Pittsburgh when his father was
hospitalized, and he was able to hasten to his Dad's bedside. Following
his father's death, John stayed on for a few days to comfort his mother
and help her through the crisis of her husband's sudden terminal illness.
Before the end of the decade just beginning with the death of his
father, John's own life underwent a big change. Sometime during this
period John and Ebba were divorced. At the end of 1938 John remarried.
His second wife, Mary Leyman Cover, is an artist of some renown (see
Appendix F, item 70, PP. 1 and 2). Several years after their marriage
they went to live in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where Mrs. Cover had many
friends and where they have stayed through the years. Mary visited with
John and his wife every week on the telephone.
Turning back now, to the clipping outlining Mary's itinerary in
early March, 1930, it mentions that Mary will visit New Canaan,
Connecticut. Harold's parents were from New Canaan. Prior to the death
of Mary's father, Harold's mother had suffered a fatal heart attack.
Harold went home at that time to be with his father and help him cope
with his loss. Mary was, no doubt, going to see her father-in-law on
this trip back East. Mary was uncertain exactly when Mr. Jones came to
live with Harold and her. He may have made his home with Florence,
Harold's older sister, in Amherst for a number of years before moving to
California. In any case, he did live with Mary, Harold and the children
in Berkeley for some time after he became a widower. Later he moved to a
very fine nursing home in Santa Barbara. It was during a visit to the
house on Shasta Road one Christmas that he suffered a stroke and died.
295
Sometime after the death of Maris father, Mrs. Cover, who was in
her late seventies, moved to Berkeley to stay with Mary, Harold and the
girls, now young teenagers. This was around the time that Harold assumed
directorship of the Institute, an event he found very gratifying.
Mary expressed some sense of misgiving about her mother's stay with
her. This was a very busy period of Mary's life. She wished she had
taken more time out from her full schedule to spend with her mother. For
example, she could have taken her mother to see Yosemite -- a trip Mary
felt, in retrospect, that her mother woul d have appreci atsd. Instead,
Mary spent her leisure time primarily with Harold.
After a couple of years Mrs. Cover went down to Santa Barbara to be
close to Louise, who was now living on a farm, called "Oneiros ," near
Solvang. While there, Mrs. Cover lived in a friendly boarding house.
One day, while visiting Louise and helping her with the laundry, Mrs.
Cover had a stroke. Louise told Barbara that the family had no knowledge
of such an impending event. Carrie Cover lived only about 24 hours after
her stroke, according to Louise.
The doctor told Mary that her mother would not recognize her. Mary
went down to Santa Barbara anyhow, and was very glad she did. When Mary
entered the room and stood at the bedside of her mother, she opened her
eyes and said, IIOh, Mary, you're here! I didn't expect you to come. How
long can you stay?" Mary rep1i ed, liAs long as you need me," And then
her mother closed her eyes and never spoke again (Jones, 1983, p.28).
296
Friendships in the 1930s
The decade of the thirties was a busy one for the Joneses. The
three longitudinal studies were well-launched. As early as the mid-
thirties pub I ications were beginning to appear from the studies'
r e s e a r c ~ The Director of the Institute, now H. E. Jones, pUblished a
paper in 1938 outlining the inception of the three studies. Bay1ey's
California First Year Mental Scale was published in 1933. M. C. Jones
pUblished a paper on the vocational interests of the OGS high school
students in 1938. For a detailed list categorizing these early
puhl ications, see the Preface to Jones, et a1 (1971,v.).
It was not all work and no p1 ay, however. Mary's daughters have
made the point that their parents were not as "socially active" as some
parents of the youngsters' peers, and Mary agreed. Perhaps a brief
quotation from Dr. Tolman, one of the members of the Freudian reading
circle, may shed some light on this subject. Marx & Hillix (1979, p.323)
quote Tolman's conclusion to his final published statement in which he
speaks about the "tremendous realms of the uncertain and the unknown" in
all the sciences, but especially in psychology, and the importance,
therefore, in following ones own bent. Tolman concludes with this
sentence:
In the end, the only sure criterion is to have fun. And I
have had fun. (p.152)[72J
Certainly the Joneses must have found a great deal of fun in accom-
p1 ishing their tasks. Moreover, Mary's sister, Louise, also concurred
with Barbara's recollections (see above, pp, 278-279). Louise told
Barbara in 1988, "Your parents were very social. They entertained a lot,
297
(often informally). Harold had a lot of young satellites. He was a
practical joker....1'
Some of the peopl e Mary worked with in the Nursery School as well as
on the OGS were not seen so much as friends in these early years, but
rather as colleagues. Everyone was following the same goal on her/his
own path. Sometimes the paths converged; usually they were tangential if
not actually separate. The relationships that Mary had with this work
group were cordial on the whole, but not actually intimate. This changes
later, but in these early years the focus was on the goals.
Mary recalled that Jean Macfarlane once told someone interViewing
her that Mary was "a more approachable person" than Harold. This could
have been a function of their respective positions in the bureaucratic
hierarchy, of course, as well as temperament per see Anyone who knew
Mary, however, would almost certainly agree that she was easy to
approach. Superficially, the approachability might appear to be an
outcome of the kind of friendl iness that small towns in America were
noted for at the turn of the century, prior to World War I. Upon closer
observation, however, Mary's temperament took on a complexity not easy to
describe. She conveyed the feeling that she was engaged with the other
person in a manner committed to the best interests of that person, as
that person would define them. There was a 1iberating quality to the
interchange that allowed the other to experience and realize dimensions
of the self not always easily accessible. Yes, Mary was quite an
approachab1e person.
298
Deana Logan (1980), in assessing Mary's priorities for marriage and
motherhood over professional advancement, quotes Mary on the importance
of friendship in her life:
In 1940, she says, three researchers at the Institute rated
each other on nine of Murrayls needs which they had just used
with the study members. The others rated Mary highest on
"desire for social ties." "It was obvious I wanted others to
1ike me and I worked at it". (p.112)
Logan continues by quoting from Nevitt Sanford's personal communication
to her about Mary (July 26, 1978):
Sanford agrees with her own perception, though he says he
would personally have rated her highest on "nurturance."
"She has seen friendships as enormously important, as
valuable and durable," he said, "I have really appreciated
her friendship and support over the years". (p.112)
When Mary was interviewed several years later, she referred to these
remarks of Sanford, saying, "Well, if 1
1m
nurturant, I get it from my
mother" (Jones, 1983,p.1).
However that may be, Mary was, according to those who knew her well,
as well as her self-assessment, a person who placed a high priority on
friendship. On the other hand, she was not very interested in
socializing in the more conventional sense of engaging in "small talk"
and attending large parties.
Mary has mentioned one kind of gathering that she and Harold missed
when they first moved to the West Coast. In speaking about the move to
Berkeley, she noted, "We realized that being in the West has some
isolating features. We didn't go to as many meetings" (Jones, 1983,
p.66). For one reason, Berkeley in the 1930s, with a brand new
Institute of Child Welfare, could not generate immediately the kind of
stimulating milieu Mary and Harold had been participants in at Columbia
299
University and Teachers College. Moreover
t
they could not hop on a
trans-continential airline bargain flight and wing it to the East every
time an interesting conference c o n v e n e ~ Trains were time-consuming as
well as costly in that era.
It was not longt however, before Mary and Harold were enjoying a
cozy and 1he1y ci rc 1e of congeni a1 friends. Some of them were
colleagues - Jean Macfarlane and Nancy BayleYt as well as Edgel and
Herbert Stolz, were among this group. There were two couples not among
their colleagues that the Joneses came to know well. Mary met the wives
through the parent education groups she led. These women were leaders in
those groups: Margaret t whose husband was Ralph Ftsher-, and Josephine
t
who was married to Allen Blaisdell. Mr. Blaisdell was director of the
International House in Berkeley. These two couples had children close to
the ages of Barbara and Lesley; so that the fami 1i es were congeni alas
well as the couples. The Stolzes also had a daughter "just about the age
of our children" (Jones, 1983
t
p.67). Mary recalled that she often read
to the children - Rosemary Stolz, the three young Fishers, and the
Blaisdells' two youngsters, along with Mary's own girls - mid-afternoons,
after school, in her 1iving room (p.67).
There was another friend of Mary and Harol d, who was transpl anted
from New York to California.[73] He was Gilbert van Tassel Hamilton,
M.D., a psychoanalyst who had done a study of marriage before leaving New
York. The Joneses participated in this study as subjects when they were
newlyweds back in New York. Later the findings were published in a book
by an associate of Dr. Hamilton (Jones, 1983
t
p.43). Sometime later Dr.
Hamilton set up his analytic practice in Santa Barbara. When Louise,
300
Mary's sister, recovered from TB, Mary and Harol d referred her to Dr.
Hamilton as a possible secretary. Louise worked for him for a number of
years, until she had a reoccurrence of tuberculosis. This was the work
she was doing while Mrs. Cover was living in Santa Barbara.
The End of an Era
Mary was 31 years old when she came to California to begin working
with Harold, under Dr. Stolz's supervision, at the new Institute of Child
Welfare. By the time the decade of the 1930s was over, Mary was a
middle-aged matron in her early 40s whose children were 18 and 15 years
old. Harold had been the Director of the Institute for five years.
Mary's life was quite rewarding. She was enjoying her work, but her
roles as a wife and mother were still her primary commitments.
Mary has stated a number of times that one reason her life was such
a pleasant and satisfying one was Harold's loving devotion and his strong
support for her endeavors, domestic and professional. She says it
forthrightly to Dr. Senn (1968):
I think I was fortunate in being very much in love with my
husband.... 1 think I was very fortunate in never having a
moment's doubt [about whether or not Harol d was the right
person] and being completely consumed with this relationship
at the early period.... 1 also feel that this was
reciprocated; so that I had a smooth kind of 1ife. (p.26)
In addition to loving and feeling loved, Mary had a husband who
demonstrated his regard in concrete ways, by helping her with the
c h i l d r e ~ She recalls that he would "talk to them [the little girls] at
their level, and seemed to appreciate them at their level," even in such
mundane matters as washing their hands before dinner (Jones, 1983, p.41).
301
Mary told Dr. Senn (1968) that she used to be asked frequently:
"How could 1 continue to be professional and how did my
husband take it?" We don't ask these questions any more, but
at that [earlier] time it was an important aspect of the
possibility that 1 could continue with my career. (p.3)
later, the old question returns, in a more subtle guise and with a
different emphasis, "Would Harold have been very disappointed do you
think, if you had just given it all up and stayed at home?" Mary's
answer: "I don't think so. But 1 think he was very pl eased that 1 was
goi ng ahead" (Jones, 1983, p.38).
Mary's testimony sounds similar to that of some professional women
of the 1980s - the lucky ones. This was not happening to Mary today,
however. It was happening in the 1920s and the 1930s and on into the
1940s and 1950s. Very few of her contemporaries could equal it. Not
very many career women in their prime today can match such testimony.
302
Chapter VII
FAMILY LIFE FROM THE MIDDLE YEARS TO THE 1980s
The 1940s
Two Teenagers
In 1935 Mary and Harold bought a little place in the country, adding
a few acres from time to time as the children were growing up. This
provi ded a retreat for them from the busy 1i fe in Berkeley. They
remodeled the old farm cottage which had fallen into disrepair, planted
fruit trees, and grew vegetables. Until a water system was established,
the whole family carried buckets to help get the trees established!
Harold also planted evergreens and they eventually grew into a forest.
Sometimes they invited friends to join them there on weekends and
hal idays. Twenty years 1ater Harol d topped many of the evergreens and
gave the tops away for Christmas trees.
Barbara was an enthusiastic horseback rider, and she had a horse
which she kept on the farm. Lesley was indulged in a wish to build a
little house of her own--a one room house with a porch. Harold arranged
to have the essentials done but the planning and much of the work was
done by her.
Back in Berkeley, the girl s attended University High School; the
same school that the OGS members attended just a few years earlier.
303
While Barbara was a teenager she begame interested in religion.
Mary recalled that one day Barbara said to her, IIMother, some of my
friends go to Sunday School. How come we don't?1I To which Mary repl ied,
IIWhy, Barbara, .l.Q.!:!. can go to Sunday School if you 1ike." Barbara's
response was, IIBut Mother, that's not the way it's done. You and Dad are
supposed to make us go to Sunday School l" Shortly after this exchange
Barbara did attend Sunday School with a friend who was a Christian
Scientist. later Barbara found her lasting church home in the
Congregational denomination.
In the meantime, over the oceans, war clouds were gathering.
Barbara graduated from high school in the Spring of 1939. That Fall she
went off to Vassar, her mother's Alma Mater. At Christmas time, however,
upon returning home for the winter intercession, Barbara came down with a
severe case of influenza. Mary left her daughter's bedside to go down
the coast to say her last goodbye to her mother.
Upon Mary's return, she, Harold and Barbara talked about Barbara's
returning to Poughkeepsie. Barbara did return and completed her Freshman
year. Vassar was very far from home. Barbara would have liked to
transfer to Pomona College in Southern California. This school, however,
did not accept Barbara because it was her Sophomore year. The concensus
that the three of them reached was that U.C. Berkeley had a lot to offer,
after all.
Not too long after entering Cal, Barbara became active in the
university chapter of the YWCA. This led to her becoming president of
the organization. There was also a chapter of the YMCA on campus, and
the president of that group at the time of Barbara's presidency in the
304
women's group was a young man named Kenneth Coates, called "Kenny" by his
friends. Barbara and Kenny hit it off rather well when they met. They
both lived in the Berkeley hills. Kenneth's family home was nearby on
Cragmont Avenue. Kenny and his fol ks were members of the local
Congregational church and Kenny was active in the Youth Group there. It
was around this time that Barbara began attending that church.
In 1940 the Nazis invaded Belgium and the Low Countries and their
troops and panzer divisions circumvented the impregnable Maginot Line.
France fell that fateful summer. Allied soldiers evacuated the Continent
at Dunkirk, sailing to England. The blitzkrieg began battering London.
Pearl Harbor was still a year and a half off, but the United States was
becoming the arsenal of the free world. Some of our young men were
rushing to volunteer for the branch of armed services they preferred,
before they were drafted. Some young women were eying the trim uniformed
women on the WAC and WAVE amd MARINE CORPS posters and toying with the
idea of helping the service men win the war and strike a blow for
freedom. Others were bent upon completing their education first.
College conferred deferment for many young men, but Kenny was not one of
that group. He was drafted in July, 1942. It was not until the war
ended that Kenny finished his last term of college. In the meantime
Barbara decided to major in Sociology. She graduated in February, 1944.
Barbara and Kenny's friendship grew into a serious romance. They
decided to be married in March, after Barbara's graduation. At this time
Kenny was stationed at Thermal Air Force Base and they both thought he
would be there for the duration.
305
Wedding Bells on Shasta Road
On March 15, 1944 Barbara and Kenny exchanged their vows in the
Jones' home on Shasta Road. The setting was the 1iving room, with the
Bay and the San Francisco skyline for a backdrop. The minister who
officiated was from the Congregational church of which the bride and
groom were members. As soon as they returned from their honeymoon, Ken
was shipped overseas.
Mary said that it was an easy task being mother of the bride. The
wedding was relatively informal, attended by family and close friends of
Barbara and Ken. The bride wore a traditional long white dress with
fi ngertip vei 1.
A New Generation
While Kenneth was finishing his work on his college degree, he began
thinking about changing his career goals. Previously he had thought he
would study law after college. Now he began to think about going into
the Ministry. After counselling with his own minister, he decided
definitely to become a Minister.
Kenneth was accepted as a divinity student at Union Theological
Seminary in New York City. It was then that he and Barbara moved to the
East coast. Their first child, Carol, was born there in 1947, two years
after the end of the war. Mary remembered traveling across the continent
by train to see her first grandchild and to initiate Barbara into the
rites of motherhood. She recalled that the baby arrived ahead of her
and, as she puts it, "I was late!" Kenneth worked during the summers at
churches in the East while he was still in theological school.
306
After graduating from theological school, Rev. Coates was called to
a church in Hillsboro, Oregon. Next the Coateses served a church in El
Cerrito, California, next door to Berkeley. In 1960 they returned to
Oregon, to a suburb of Portland called Parkrose. Their next assignment
was to the English-speaking Union church in Kobe, Japan for four years.
David, their youngest, joined them there after graduating from high
school. He became proficient in the Japanese language and that became a
continuing interest for him. Finally, the Coateses returned to
California, this time to Long Beach. They remained there for eleven
years. Throughout these years Barbara was an active minister's wife,
fully supportive in the multiple facets of her husband's work.
In the mid-1980s, the Coateses sold their home. They have settled
in a retirement community in Claremont, California.
The Coateses have four children and seven grandchildren (refer to
Appendix F, item 1 for dates of birth). The two eldest are daughters;
the younger, sons. The last grandchild, Barrett, was born after Mary's
death.
Carol was married in the late '60s and she and her husband have two
daughters, K a t i ~ and Laura (a photograph of Laura, taken several years
ago, is in Appendix F, item 71). This family of four lives in Ashland, a
small Wisconsin town. The father, David Pauli, is a librarian. Carol
works in a children's pre-school program similar to Headstart.
The Coates' second-born, Lynne, was Valedictorian of her high school
class. She studied accounting for a while, but turned to childcare work
instead. Lynne is married to Ralph Krumdieck. Ralph is trained as a
hospital aide. The two of them operate a Day Care Center for working
307
mothers out of their home. They live in Eugene, Oregon.
Ralph has a son, Chad, from a previous marriage. Ralph and Lynne
have two daughters of their own; so the little girls, Emily and Alice,
have an older brother in the family. In December 1987, a new little
brother was born. This was Barrett, the Coates' most recent grandchild
(referred to above).
Ji m, the Coates' 01der son, lives in Oakl and. He attended the
University of Oregon for three and a half years. He and his wife, Katie
Allen, had two young sons, Benjamin and Julian. Mary's youngest great-
grandchild was Julian, four in 1987. His brother, Benjy, born on Leap
Year Day, celebrated his seventh birthday early in 1987. Mary enjoyed
the company of these little boys frequently. Since Jim and his family
1ived nearby, they often visited Mary on weekends and hol idays, or they
took Mary with them on family picnics and outings of various kinds.
Jim is a skilled carpenter and cabinet maker. He helped Mary with
household repairs. He also enjoyed singing in a well-known local chorus.
The younger son, and youngest of the four Coates' children, is
David, who had an even closer connection with Mary. He had a room in
Mary's home on Shasta. David was Mary's most intellectual grandchild.
He graduated from Friends World College in Kyoto, Japan, majoring in
Japanese history. Presently he works as a Japanese language adviser for
a local firm.
David is a bachelor. During Mary's convalescence from an illness,
he sometimes cooked her supper along with his own. Having David in her
home provided Mary with a sense of security as well as company.
308
Another Romance
There was a second Berkeley marriage in Mary's family in the 1940s,
but this time the ceremony was not celebrated in the home on Shasta.
The romance began down in Solvang where louise was living. When louise
came to visit Mary and her family on Shasta Road, she stayed in their
basement apartment. Bob Hill came up from the San Joaquin valley to visit
louise in Berkeley. Before long, Bob and louise were married. The
ceremony was held in the Unitarian church, then located on Bancroft Way.
After the wedding, louise and Bob moved to a small dairy farm near
Merced that Bob had purchased. In the early 1950s the Hills heard about
a place on Highway 49, a half hour from Mariposa that was for sale. It
was a delightful seven acre farm. They told Mary and Harold about it,
and together the Hills and the Joneses decided to buy it. They called it
"Up Yonder,"
Mary and Harold spent many happy hours in this country spot. There
was a beautiful view of Mt. Miami from the little house, which Harold
especially appreciated. When Harold and Mary heard from louise and Bob
that a fire had ravaged Mt. Miami, Harold said, "I don't think I ever
want to go back there again and look at that burned-over mountain!1I
This happened not long before Harold's retirement. Mary added, "He never
did." As is discussed at greater length in a later section, Harold died
shortly after his retirement.
After Harold's death Mary, knowing how much her sister and brother-
in-law loved the place, gave her share of the property to them. Whenever
Mary visited, she returned to the house and grounds that she and Harold
once enjoyed so much. Mary noted that the Hills have made many
309
improvements there over the years.
During the couple's pre-retirement years, while they were living on
the dairy farm, Louise wrote a column, "The Diary of a Dairy Wife" (see
Appendix F, item 72, pp. 1-3). This column was published daily for
approximately 17 years (Jones, 1983, p.26).
Louise no longer has her daily column in the Merced Sun-Star. She
does, however, occasionally publish a note in either the Mariposa Gazette
or the Sun-Star. Bob Hill, some years ago, founded the Historical
Society in Mariposa and was one of the early presidents (Jones, 1983,
p.27) •
Mary enjoyed her sister's poetic essays which Louise sometimes
enclosed in her letters to Mary. The theme is usually about nature and
the out-of-doors. Louise has another avocational interest in the arts.
She makes beautiful colorful notepaper using pressed wild flowers which
she gathers from around the countryside. Louise realizes that these
notes have commercial value; but she told her sister that she is not
interested in selling them; only in making them, and giving them to
family and friends. She also likes to sew and sometimes sent Mary
handmade aprons and nightgowns. In the light of Louise's life-long
interest in nature, it is not surprising to find that she has been active
in the local garden club (see Appendix F, item 73, pp. 1-9).
Mary said:
I call her [Louise] every Sunday morning at 8:30 on the
phone.... She seems to have a feeling that now that Harold's
gone, people can look at me: the idea that I wasn't as
important as Harold; but now that he isn't here anymore, I
can be a little more vts tb l e", (Jones, 1983, p.27)
Louise put another thought in writing in a letter to Mary, saying:
310
Harold always expected so much of you, and you always came
through. I think that is why it is hard for you to accept
the little daily things as normal. Your challenge has to be
bi g. (p.27)
louise and Mary have both suffered quite severe hearing losses in
recent years. Sometimes, when visiting on the telephone, the sisters
used Mary's brother-in-l aw, Bob, to faci 1i tate thei r communication with
each other. This same problem arose when Mary and her brother, John,
tried to carryon a telephone visit. John's wife, Mary, sometimes helped
out in a similar way. John's hearing was not, however, as impaired as
Mary's and louise's. Mary said that neither of her parents had this
problem. They did not live into their 80s and 90s, however.
Back to Berkeley in the 1940s
At Home
Sometime towards the latter half of this decade Mary had to take
time out from her active life at work and at home to have a hysterectomy.
Mary recalled that a friend of hers, a younger woman, faced a similar
crisis a few years later. She turned to Mary for guidance and counsel,
asking Mary how she had felt about cutting short her child-bearing years.
Mary was a little surprised to realize that she had not really given it
much thought at the time. While discussing this matter and the whole
question of mid-life crises with the present interviewer, Mary suddenly
said, "Oh, I think I may have once lost a child." This incident had
occurred in the summer of 1927. Mary recalled that at that time, when
she was hospitalized in Denver for about a week to cure a bladder
infection, the doctor attending her suspected that she was also having a
miscarriage. Mary recalled the bladder infection, but the other
311
condition remained hazy. It was as though Mary·s family was quite
complete with Harold and the two little girls. It never occurred to her
to think about its being otherwise.
Another Wedding
lesley was in college at Stanford in the mid-1940s. Not too
surprisingly, she majored in Psychology. After receiving her BA, she
came back to Berkeley and decided to take a Masters at Cal. She also
decided to live at International House up on Piedmont Avenue. While
there lesley met a young man, Alec Alexander, who was studying at Cal and
living at I. House, too. He was born in the United States but had lived
abroad for most of his life. His parents were of Greek origin and when
he was qut te young they returned to Greece. Now Alec had come to the
United States to complete his education. lesley and Alec fell in love.
They decided to marry after lesley completed her MA and prior to Alec·s
finishing his doctorate in Economics.
lesley was married in lafayette, returning to her family home on
Shasta for the reception. The wedding date was February 28, 1953. She,
too, had an informal wedding with family and close friends attending.
Mary recalled that lesley wore a street length skirt and a hat with a
little veiling. Alec had a teaching assistantship at U.C. while he was
completing his Ph.D. The newlyweds lived part of the time at Mary and
Haro'ld's country place near lafayette. Once Alec received his degree,
he took a faculty position at Northwestern University, later moving to
teaching at U.C. Santa Barbara, where he remained. They had two
chil dren. Jane was born on November 10, 1956 and Peter, on June 25,
312
1958. Jane graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Business
Economics, and took a job in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she could also
raise horses. Peter graduated from Colorado State, also at Fort Collins.
He majored in Mechanical Engineering and subsequently took a position
with a medical tool manufacturer near Santa Barbara.
Lesley taught school until her children were born. When they were
older, she worked in real estate and took part in some civic endeavors.
Later, when she and Alec were no longer together, she managed properties
part time. However, her main interest was in exploring the field of
ceramics.
Mary had a close relationship with both daughters. They visited
frequently on the telephone and several times throughout the year in one
another's homes. These visits occurred around major holidays, but were
not limited to such occasions. There were family reunions every year or
so which included aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and cousins as well
as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
313
Chapter VIII
PROFESSIONAL LIFE IN THE MIDDLE YEARS
At the office
The 1940s was the period when the United States began to experience
a by-product of the war that has permanently and immeasureably enriched
this country. In familiar parlance it became known as the "Brain Dratn,"
As Hitler rose to power in Germany and his persecution of the Jews became
widespread within the borders of that nation, and then followed in the
wake of his invasion of neighboring European countries, refugees who were
able to escape fled to England and the United States. Scientists,
scholars, intellectuals from many disciplines (many, if not most, were
Jewi sh) sought refuge in the United States. One person, among others,
who helped in the relocation of "displaced scholars from Nazi Germany"
was Lawrence K. Frank (Senn, 1975, p.52). Mary has spoken about Harol dis
commitment to an interdiscipl inary staff. There were two names that
stand out among those who came to work at the IHD in that era. Not only
were they outstanding scholars renowned in their fields, as married
couples they became close friends of Mary and Harold, enriching their
personal 1ives as well as contributing professionally to the Institute.
These were the Eriksons and the Brunswiks. In speaking about Erik
Erikson's professional influence, Mary said:
I would say that we had always been hospitable toward the
psychoanalytic point of view, but ... we hadn't had anybody who
was straight, dynamic psychology in the sense that Erikson
was. So I think that his way of looking at parent-child
314
relationships and personality... was beneficial and enriching
to us. (Jones, 1983, p.102)
Else Frenkel-Brunswik also had a psychoanalytic orientation. She
came to this country from Germany through the intervention of her
husband, Egon Brunswik, who was in the psychology department at Berkeley.
Mary said that Frenkel-Brunswik used the IHD data to develop a depth
study on motivation and behavior that only she could have done. Mary
also added, "They [the Brunswiks] were next door neighbors and friends
of ours" (Jones, 1983, p.103).
By this time Harold was in full-stride as Director of the
Institute, having succeeded Dr. Stolz in 1935. Mary continued:
Our objective was to contribute to an understanding of the
"whole" individual, a biological organism in a cultural
setting: first the infant, then the child, then the
adolescent, now the adult. This required an interdisciplinary
staff with different theoretical orientations, different
techniques for collecting and processing data, for reporting
and evaluating findings. (Jones, 1983, p. 98)
It was just such a progression that was occurring in Mary's own work.
She began, back in the 1920s, with her studies of infants. Even at this
later period, her early work was still having an impact in the popular
press as well as the professional journals (for an example of the
former, see Appendix F, item 74, p.3, last two paragraphs).
By the decade of the '40s most of Mary's publications deal with
adolescence (refer to Appendix F, item 64). An example of the kinds of
issues that Mary was interested in exploring is shown in a paper entitled
"Studying the Characteristics of Friends" (see Appendix F, item 75; an
Abstract of this paper appeared in the American Psychologist, 1, 1948).
315
In addition to publishing her research, Mary was also making
contributions to the wider community in a variety of ways. She served on
a number of committees in the 1940s. Among them, the Berkeley Civilian
Defense Program Committee on Children in War Time, the Advisory Committee
of the San Francisco War Manpower Commission for Care of Children of
Working Mothers, the Advisory Committee of the Berkeley Mental Health
Association, the Advisory Committee of the Children's Bureau, Federal
Security Agency, to name a few.
She lectured extensively: at the Family Life Institute in San
Francisco on Child Development; to the Western Psychological Association
(WPA) in Detroit on IIDifferences in Adolescent Sex Roles as Revealed by
Colloquial Speech."; to the American Psychological Association in
Philadelphia, Boston and Denver; at numerous parent-teacher groups in
northern and southern Cal i forni a.
She consulted to city and county Teachers' Institutes; also, to the
Russell Sage Foundation on studies of adoption. She was a member of an
Interdisciplinary Conference on Culture and Personality at the Viking
Fund in New York.
Mary also found time to serve on the Bay Area Vassar Club Scholar-
ship Committee.
Yes, the '40s were full and fulfilling years. Just how full is hard
to imagine. For the listing above is only a sample from the resume,
which is only a partial listing of Mary's contributions. It is well that
Mary and her family had their retreat in the country at Lafayette.
316
The 19505
Hard Choices
It was in 1949, according to Nevitt Sanford, that the Board of
Regents of the University of California first required its academic staff
to sign Loyalty Oaths prior to renewal of their contracts.[74] This is a
relatively early manifestation of a political storm that swept across the
country in the first half of the decade of the 1950s. Mary speaks about
this period in her Bancroft History (Jones, 1983). Alexander Meiklejohn
was a mentor of Harold Jones. Meiklejohn was President of Amherst
College when Harold took his BA there and Mary says:
Harold tutored his [Meiklejohn's] two sons.... [He] was some-
what in awe of Meiklejohn, but also very closely associated
with the family... Meiklejohn is a liberal, a strong civil
liberties advocate... Harold signed the Oath. Meiklejohn
would never have signed that Oath. He [Harold] used to go
walking with him [Meiklejohn] but he didn't follow his
po1iti ca1 1ead. (p.42)
Mary continues by saying that there were arguments in the Jones' home
with both Tolman and Meiklejohn, and she concludes:
He [Harold] just didn't feel he wanted to object to the
extent of resigning. I would have been more willing not to
sign. In fact, I talked to Tolman about it, and Tolman
advised me to go ahead and s i g ~ I think partly because he
knew Harold wasn't going to resist. I don't think I would
have added anything, as far as my status was concerned, to
Tolman's group [chuckles]. (p.42)
Among those Mary remembers being at some of the meetings were the
Eriksons and Stuart Chase "who was visiting here then" (p.43). She
believes that Erikson did not sign, but recalls that he was very quiet at
the time and she could not have guessed his intentions.[75] Mary does
not mention the Nevitt Sanfords. In the lecture cited (note 74 above),
317
Sanford, however, speaks at some length about his personal stand. He did
not sign the Oath and as a result he was fired from the Faculty at U.C.
Berkeley in 1950. Sanford makes the point, in his talk, that:
Very good people had to sign the Oaths against their
consciences... [this necessity arose] not so much for personal
reasons as a range of aspects -- social, cultural and
economic.
In fact, according to Sanford, only about a score or two throughout the
entire university system in the state ended up not signing the Oath.
Mary and the Media
It was early in the '50s that a new technique called television
burst upon the communication scene and revol utionized the media. Mary
was the first on the West coast to demonstrate its potential as an
educational tool at the college level (see Appendix F, item 76).
Prior to Mary's entry on the screen, she became a Lecturer in the
Department of Psychology at U.C. Berkeley in 1946. She held this
position until her retirement in 1960. In 1948 Mary and Harold became
responsible for a Correspondence Course in Child Psychology through the
University Extension Division. Then, in 1951, both of them became
responsible for a Correspondence Course on Adolescence.
In 1951, the University suddenly received an offer of time on a
commercial station, providing it seized the opportunity promptly. Mary
explains the response (Jones, M.C., 1955):
Hurriedly, we charted our course and marshalled our resources
to create the University's new educational medium - the tele-
course - the first of its kind offered for credit on the West
Coast. (p.1l)
318
The show was aired beginning January 15, 1952 (see Appendix F, item 77).
In another place Mary says that Harold told her, "You can handle a
discussion much better than I," and thus it was settled that this would
be Mary's class (Jones, 1983, p.48). Mary adds, however, that Harold "of
course... was on the program quf te often" and that "actually we gave the
program together" (p.48). Mary learned that, according to Harold, she
looked "better on Hink's TV than on Sear's" (p.47), and Harold rushed out
and bought a Hink's model (see Appendix F, item 78).
The course was presented Tuesday and Thursday mornings for fifteen
minutes (see above Appendix F, item 77). Contrary to the anticipation of
some, the course was "an unqual ified success" (see Appendix F, item 79).
In this same newspaper article it is noted that the students signing up
for the. correspondence course were returning their exams "nearly... lOO
percent... which is rather unusual for correspondence courses." Mary
makes the point in the Vassar Alumnae Magazine (1955) that there were
many guests from disciplines allied to psychology and that these guest
participants enlivened the lecture, making for spirited discussions.
This format allowed Child Development to be presented in its inter-
disciplinary complexity, showing its relationship to the biological
sciences, as well as other social sciences and to the field of child
rearing practices (p.l7).
Mary also brought parents on the screen as discussion participants,
and chi 1dren as guests became 1hi ng exemplars of some of the
developmental principles being expounded, such as the individuality of
each child's style and pace within an orderly developmental sequence
(Jones, 1955, p.18).
319
To forestall the reader1s concluding that staging this experiment in
educational technique was just a jolly lark, Mary addresses some of the
contingencies that she had to meet and resolve to achieve the smooth and
polished product:
Certainly, we always aimed to create the impression of an
effortless performance. Actually it was hard work!
... writing scripts, answering mail, supervising readers,
consul ting staff, schedul ing IIguests.1I Then the rehearsal
before the "show", (1955, p.20)
These were preliminary tasks. The actual performance was difficult in
other ways:
Watching for the signals on where to look and how the time
was going, getting to the blackboard and back again, throwing
cue words to our fellow participants, "managingll the
children, watching the "mont tor" mas one's pencil followed
a chart or graph - and always the split second timing. The
traditional classroom was never like this! (p.20)
Mary hints that the expression "limp from exhaustion" is not too
extravagant to describe how she sometimes felt after the performance on
screen. Nevertheless, the show was a success and Mary must have felt a
sense of triumph when the pilot series came to a close. According to Dr.
Paul Mussen and Dr. Dorothy Eichorn, colleagues at the IHD, Mary
participated in a similar course at the University of Minnesota (see
Appendix F, item 161, para. 6 ~
Two years following Mary1s initial telecourse the Berkeley campus
sponsored a more ambitious television series, in "a semi-documentary
format" called "Inqutry" (see Appendix F, item 80). The press release
indicates that these programs would be half hour sequences covering the
broad spectrum of arts and sciences. Mary comments on this later
experiment in her summary statement in the Vassar article, (1955):
320
I have participated in some rather pretentious experiments
directed by professionals with an eye to large audiences and
with a popular appeal. (p.20)
By way of explaining an earlier remark in which she makes the point that
television as a teaching medium presents special problems for educators
which the TV "professionals" can not be helpful in solving, Mary
continues:
For a series of Sunday afternoons, recently, Bay Area
viewers have seen a succession of University scholars, men
and women of dignity and distinction, made to look silly
among the trappings of an elaborately "dramatized" pro-
duction. At the same time the legitimate audio-visual re-
sources of the profession (including the impact of
individual personalities) were inadequately utilized or
(unintentionally) distorted. (p.20)
Mary ends on a more hopeful note:
Tel ecourses are not a substitute for the coll ege cl assroom
but there are many ways in which television can facilitate
teach i ng. And as an accompa ni ment to correspondence
courses, this medium, literally, opens new vistas. (p.20)
Meanwhile, Mary did not neglect more tried and true paths for
disseminating newly gained knowledge. She continued her community out-
reach in the form of lectures and seminars (see Appendix F, item 81).
One example of this more traditional approach was her work on the
Citizens' Advisory Committee on Youth Activities. Mary was asked to
chair this committee by the Berkeley Council of Social Agencies. It was
as an outgrowth of Mary's work on the youth survey in 1952 that she was
appointed to the Citizen's Advisory Committee which was formed to study
the needs of young people as revealed by the survey. Speaking at the
College Women's Club is an example of Mary's efforts to circulate new
knowledge as she helped uncover it through research findings, her own as
well as that of her coll eagues at the Institute. Mary was not only a
321
research scientist, she was also a hands-on professional educator.
Professor Jones
By the time Mary gave this particular lecture at the College Women's
Club she was an Associate Professor of Education. In 1952, the same year
that Mary initiated the TV course, she also became an Assistant Professor
in the Department of Education. She held that position until 1955, when
she was appointed Associate Professor.
Mary explains that academic tenure comes via departments (Jones,
1983) :
In my case I was offered a position in the Education
Department only if I would take it full time. The dean
implied that he wanted to be sure my commitment was to the
Department of Education. I couldn't get a teaching position
unt i1 way into the '50s. I went inafter Edna Ba i1 ey
retired. They offered me a job, and I didn't want full time.
They wouldn't take me until I would sign up full time. (p.75)
Mary began working as a full time Assistant Professor less than a year
prior to Lesley's marriage. By this time she had two granddaughters and
a grandson, Barbara and Ken's first three children. Their fourth child,
DaVid, would be born the following year.
Around this time, Mary recalled, there was an informal gathering
among some of the faculty interested in Child Development. It was called
the "The Lunch Group". These fol ks woul d bring their brown bag 1unches
once a week and gather at the lunch hour for informal "shop talk." On
balmy days they assembled at a pleasant spot on campus. Mary remembered
Millie Almy particularly. She was in the Education Department as well as
on the Advisory Council of the Institute (Jones, 1983, p.81). Mary
continued to see Millie Almy quite often through the years. She was a
322
neighbor living close by in the Berkeley hills.
An Apex: 1959-1960
It was not until 1959 that Mary became a full Professor in the
Department of Education. She held this position for one academic year.
until both she and Harold retired in the Spring of 1960. By the time of
her appointment. Mary was a grandmother of six. Her last grandchild was
born in the summer of 1958. a year prior to her promotion.
Mary was qUick to point to her slow rise and short tenure as a full
Professor. but she was more reticent about her very extensive vitae. In
fact. Mary gave one the impression that she was always searching for some
worthwhile way to spend her time. almost as though she had yet to find
it. There was no resting on laurels won or foundations laid or miles
traversed. In the mid-1980s. however. there was an emerging attitude
that suggested a change. Mary said. IIMaybe live done enough. Perhaps
some of the younger people might want to pick up my data and incorporate
it into their data sources." She said this somewhat tentatively. but
also with characteristic determination. This fresh perspective might
become a harbinger of a new plateau for Mary.
Harold Jones was instrumental in changing the name of the Institute
in 1958. It then became the Institute of Human Development. In the
Spring of 1960. as Harold and Mary prepared to retire from their active
professional roles and to assume the status of Professors Emeriti. they
also prepared for a long-anticipated trip to Europe. There was an
international conference on Child Development in Europe that summer.
They planned to attend those meetings first and then have an extended six
323
months vacation in France and Western Europe.
Harol d had a grant propos a1 in at the un ivers i ty for some
gerontological research that he hoped to do with a physiologist, Dr.
Harden Jones. They planned to use the data amassed from the OGS. There
was another trip that Harold was looking forward to even more than this
first one; that was a tour of Egypt and the Nile Valley in the land of
the pyramids. Mary and he were planning this second vacation to follow
the gerontolog'ical study. Mary said that although she was looking
forward to the trips herself, travel was not as important to her as it
was to Harold. She felt a special sense of regret, therefore, that
Harold did not live to experience these anticipated pleasures.
In the Spring of 1960 as Mary and Harold were winding up their work
at the Institute and preparing to retire one last big project at the
Institute was nearing completion. The new Child Study Center was being
readied for o p e r a t i o ~ located "on the south side of the campus at the
corner of Atherton and Haste," this new building would house the
Institute Nursery School, situated, until now, on Bancroft Way. Harold
Jones had chaired "the Buildings and Campus Development Sub-Committee for
the building." (see Appendix F, item 81). The opening of this new Center
was being commemorated by a conference sponsored by IHD. The program for
The Berkeley Conference reads like a "Who's Who" for Child Development,
and Harold E. Jones heads the list as General Chairman and Director,
Institute of Human Development (see p.2 of item 82). later the Center
would be named The Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, but when opened it
was simply called The Child Study Center.
324
Chapter IX
TRANSITIONS
The 1960's
Going Abroad
Mary and Harold did not want retirement parties given for them as
they were preparing to leave their posts at the Institute and the
university. They were planning to return, as emeriti faculty, and really
did not want to celebrate their retirement.
Mary appreciated the letter that Dr. Brownell, the Dean of the
School of Education, wrote to her as a farewell tribute, and she kept it
through the years (see Appendix F, item 83, p.L), Years later Mary
joined Dr. Brownell and another colleague in writing an obituary about a
third colleague, Dr. luther Calvin Gilbert (item 83, pp.2-3).
The City of light
The Joneses flew to Paris, their first and final stop on foreign
shores. Without a doubt, Mary's fourth night there ushered in the
darkest day of her 1ife. On June 7, 1960, shortly before dawn, Harol d
Jones suffered a fatal heart attack. Mary heard him callout to her, and
she, in turn, called for help. The telephone rang, but no one answered
her call. She ran from their hotel room and cried out down the elevator
shaft; no one heard her. Mary was alone and bereft in a strange country.
It was several hours before anyone could be found at the hotel, and
325
before someone from the American Embassy arrived to help her.
Lesley was staying, with her family, in the Shasta Road home while
her parents were away, and Mary telephoned her daughter as soon as
possible. With Lesley's counsel in Berkeley and the assistance of
Embassy personnel in Paris, Mary was enabled to change the joint passport
to single status and return to the United States.
Back Home Again on Shasta Road
When Mary's return flight landed in New York, her brother, John, was
at the airport to meet her and help her make connections with a San
Francisco flight. When the plane arrived in San Francisco, both Barbara
and Lesley were there, with their husbands. It was Lesley's 35th
birthday.
Mary returned to her home in Berkeley. Some days later she and her
daughters arranged a quiet memorial service for Harold at their Lafayette
farm with only family attending. Mary then buried Harold's ashes in the
orchard at Lafayette.
Beyond her personal grief, Mary recalled the regret she felt (and
continued to feel on occasion) that Harold never had a chance to live a
retired life and travel as he had expected to do. She also regretted
that Harold never fully realized his intentions of pursuing in-depth
studies in the field of gerontology. Relieved of administrative
responsibilities after retirement, Harold Jones would have been able to
devote his gifts and his energy to gerontological research.
Not only had he and Dr. Harden Jones written their grant proposal
prior to Harold's departure for Europe, but Harold's leadership was all
326
ready recognized in th i s newest branch of the human development
discipline, that relating to aging and its developmental tasks. Harold
Geist (1981) cites Harold Jones, in the Introduction to the second
edition of The Psychological Aspects of the Aging Process with
Sociological Implications as one of the pioneers in this burgeoning
field. Noting that "the Section on Aging as part of the National
Insitute of Mental Health was organized with Birren as its head" (p.9) in
1953, Geist continues by citing the United States as the nation most
active in research in this area. He mentions Havighurst and his
colleagues in social psychological research who were on the Committee on
Human Development at the University of Chicago in those early days. Then
Geist states:
Certa i n key names are promi nent in the psycho1ogi ca1
literature. These are Harold Jones, John Anderson, Irving
Lorge, Bi rren and others. (p.9)
Mary was surely correct in her conviction that Harold would have made
many more contributions to the study of aging, had he 1ived beyond his
66th year.
Even so, he did serve as President of Maturity and Aging, Division
20, of the American Psychological Association. For a full but concise
review of Dr. Jones' career as well as a summation of his outstanding
personal strengths and his primary interests refer to the Obituary
written by three of his colleagues appended herewith (Appendix F, item
84 ).
In more recent years, Mary found that her earlier regrets were
mitigated by the realization that Harold's premature death spared him the
losses and pain that tend to accompany aging. He died at the height of
327
his powers, having realized many goals, made many contributions, lived a
fulfilling life and given generously to others--family, friends,
colleagues, associates.
The First Years of Widowhood
Mary·s memory of the first months following Harold·s death was
somewhat blurred. She did have a housekeeper working for her two days a
week; so Mary was not alone all through the week. Somehow, she muddled
through, sustained by the loving support of her daughters and her brother
and sister, as well as the comfort, solicitude and affection of life-long
friends and colleagues. Two examples of condolence letters, drawn from a
volumi nous coll ection, illustrate the qual ity of these friendships. The
first is from the wife of a couple, friends of both Mary and Harold and
the second letter is from an- old college friend of Harold (Appendix F,
item 85, p. 1, and pp. 2-3). Both letters confirm the view expressed in
the obituary, but their more personal tone and informal style convey an
even fuller portrait of Harold Jones, the friend whom so many admired,
respected and loved.
After Harold Jones' retirement, a committee of the Institute of
Human Development selected a new director, John A. Clausen. Dr.
Clausen's field is sociology. He is still connected with the IHD. In
an emeritus capacity in the 1980s, Dr. Clausen is one of the editors of
Past and Present in Middle Life (1981) in which Mary's chapter, IIMidlife
Drinking Patterns: Correlates and Antecedents," appears. Mary enjoyed a
warm colleagial relationship with Dr. Clausen, developed over the years
as she continued her work with the members of the Intergenerational Study
328
(IGS) (see Appendix F, item 86 for an update on Dr. Clausen). Mary told
Dr. Senn (1968), in response to his question about the preferred
discipline of the director of the IHD that:
I think this doesn't matter. We have had a physician, we've
had two psychologists; a sociologist. I don't think it
matters, if they are favorable toward an interdisciplinary
approach and a broad point of view. (p.14)
She adds, however, "I would like to see a physician again as Director of
our Institute. I think it is time we come back to emphasizing the
medical aspects" (p.14).
These words were spoken in the late 1960s. Mary notes in her oral
history (Jones, 1983), "When Harold died, Herbert [Stolz] said, 'I think
they should put you in as director' ... which of course never happened" (P.
72). Mary adds, parenthetically, that she quoted Dr. Stolz to point out
that he had always been very supportive of her.
ANew Research Task in a New Setting
Mary had not begun to cast about for alternatives to continuing her
work as an emerita volunteer at the IHD, when a new path opened to her.
In 1961 an old friend, Dr. Nevitt Sanford, who had known both Harold
and Mary since 1940, was directing a new Institute at Stanford
University. Dr. Sanford explains, in an article entitled "The Human
Problems Institute and General Education" (1965), that this new program
was funded by two research grants:
One for studying and making pol icy recommendations affecting
problems having to do with alcohol and alcoholism, the other
for studying how students develop as individuals as they go
through c o l l e ~ e and how they might be induced to develop more
fully. (p.648)
329
Certain that his old friend and colleague, Mary Jones, could make a
contribution to this new enterprise, Dr. Sanford was eager to engage her
services. Mary has explained (Jones, 1983) that:
Nevitt Sanford helped me through that period of simultaneous
widowhood and retirement by giving me a job at his new
Institute for the Study of Human Problems at Stanford where I
worked for five years on his study of Stanford students and
alcohol problems. Nevitt believed in and promoted
interdisciplinary research, so at Stanford once again I
benefitted by associations with a number of people, many from
other discip1 ines. (p.104)
Mary had pointed out the interdisciplinary approach at the IHO previously
in the same interview:
We... have what we think of as seven panels of data... physi-
cal, motor, physiological, mental, personality, home, school,
a variety of data as well as a long time span. (p.12)
Nevitt Sanford (1965), speaking about the interdisciplinary approach
at his new Insitute has this to say:
The staff of the Institute soon embraced at least one person
trained in each of the following fields: psychology,
sociology, anthropology, political science, social welfare,
psychiatry, education, law, literature, public heath, philo-
sophy, and biostatistics. (p.648)
In looking back from the perspective of the 1980s, Mary said, with a
little laugh, that she went to Stanford and worked on health and alcohol
problems because her old friend, Nevitt Sanford, "had money to study that
problem." It was Mary who suggested that she use the Oakland Growth
Study (OGS) members as her data base. She realized that these members
were now in their middle 40s. By interviewing a number of them in their
homes and by mailing questionnaires to those who were not close enough
for her to visit, Mary amassed enough data to support some of the
generalizations about personality antecedents and drinking problems that
330
she later published (Jones, 1968; 1971). With her first report, on the
men interviewed from the OGS, two articles followed hers, preceded by an
Editor's note introducing them (Sanford, 1968):
Because the study by Mary Cover Jones contains unique data
concerning the possible personality origins of alcoholism,
the Editor has invited the following two discussions of her
paper by Nevitt Sanford and Edith Lisansky Gomberg. (p.13)
Sanford says, "It is Jones' work on the personality correlates of non-
problem-drinking and abstaining that really breaks new ground
ll
(p.15).
In the next article (Gomberg, 1968, p.5; pp.10-11) quoting
Jones'conclusion that her data support the concept that there are
patterns of personal ity that pre-date drinking patterns and that may
indicate "a pre-disposing factor" for later drinking behavior, Gomberg
then states:
We seem to be coming, in alcohol studies, a full circle back
to the position which puts psychological predisposition into
a primary place in etiology. (p.19)
That Mary's work in the early 1960s at the Institute for the Study of
Human Problems has been seminal is further validated 20 years hence by
two recent contributions to the ongoing dialogue about the etiology of
alcohol ism. The first of these articles, both of which appear in the
American Psychologist, was publ i shed in May 1982: Vai11 ant's and Eva
Milofsky's "The Etiology of Alcoholism: A Prospective Viewpoint." The
second, by Robert Zucker and Edith Gomberg, entitled "Etiology of
Alcoholism Reconsidered: The Case for a Biopsychosocial Process," was
published in July 1986. Both of these articles refer to Jones' papers of
1968 and 1971.
331
Mary continued studying the question of alcoholism and personality
patterns, as is documented in her chapter in Eichorn et ale (1981). This
chapter (9, pp. 223-242) is an excellent summary of her contributions to
this subject.
AContribution of Another Kind
Sanford has mentioned another contribution that Mary and a fellow-
researcher at the Institute for the Study of Human Problems made. These
two documented, by their exemplary behavior, one of Sanford's fundamental
principles of personality development: that significant changes leading
to growth and development in personality are fostered by placing an
individual in new and challenging situations. One of Sanford's (1980)
fuller accounts of this vignette appears in Learning After College:
Two more or less retired professors, a woman and a man,
joined the staff of the Institute for the Study of Human
Problems at Stanford soon after its beginning and immediately
began to take a new lease on life. Their gaiety, eagerness
to learn, and capacity to find excitement in a new venture
contrasted sharply with the grim know-it-all coolness of the
striving academics who surrounded us.
People no longer taken up with making a success in the
world have a great deal of freedom: having little to prove,
they can afford to take risks. And older people can be sure,
too, that they have some developmental deficits, which can
now be made up for. Old defensive structures, if they have
not disappeared, are at least pretty brittle. Events such as
physical changes and intimations of the approach of death
provide opportunities to find new meanings. (PP. 61-62)
Sanford identifies Mary as the woman professor to whom he refers in this
passage in the Introduction to the Bancroft Library Oral History (Jones,
1983; PP.ii-iii). This sketch is of particular interest in this instance
for the light it throws on Mary's outlook as she embarked on a new phase
of her professional life, a year after Harold Jones' death. It is no
332
wonder that Mary speaks about Nevitt Sanford's offer to her at that time
with such a sense of heartfelt gratitude.
In addition to Mary's research on alcohol and personal ity
antecedents, she also interviewed some Stanford University students to
help collect data for the Institute's study of personality problems that
impeded growth and development in the student population, but Mary never
wrote up her findings from these interviews. This work was rewarding for
her in quite another way.
A New Friendship
Experienced as Mary was as a professional psychologist, a
researcher, and an emerita university professor, she nonetheless felt
some consternation at the prospect of the clinical interviewing she was
about to undertake in the Stanford project. She turned, naturally
enough, she felt, to a new colleague on the Institute staff for help,
Marjorie Lozoff. Marjorie was 20 years Mary's junior, but quite
experienced in just those techniques that Mary felt she needed to
develop. Mary exemplified, by this action, another of Sanford's
principles that he was hoping to foster at the new Institute through the
interdisciplinary approach. Sanford (1965) puts it this way:
There are highly important scientific reasons that the
institute should work on several problems at the same time.
It is just this kind of exposure to differing problems, and
the accompanying association with colleagues from different
disciplines, that serves to educate the staff in the
general ist orientation....work on different problems at the
same time would... lead the staff to look for underlying
affinities among them, for processes central to a diversity
of surface phenomena, and then to make advances on the
conceptual and theoretical front. (p.651)
333
By Mary's seeking assistance from Marjorie Lozoff she was meeting some of
her professional needs, as Sanford would have wished, but she was also
opening a door to a valuable lasting friendship for two people.
Marjorie Lozoff took her undergraduate degree in sociology from the
University of Wisconsin in 1937. Later, after her marriage to a young
doctor who was planning to become a psychoanalyst, Marjorie earned a
Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in social work.
Marjorie's husband, Milton Lozoff, took his analytic training at the
Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. It was during this period that
Marjorie worked as a medical social worker and began developing her
clinical interviewing skills. In the 1940s she worked as a psychiatric
social worker under David Rapaport on the historic study of the Rorschach
Test that Dr. Rapaport and Merton Gill conducted (M. M. Lozoff, personal
communication, July 1986, refer to Note 76).
Although Marjorie had a full resume, which included teaching at the
college level as well as extensive clinical experience, she believes that
it was her psychoanalytic research experience, with its emphasis on
interviewing, that won her the job on Nevitt Sanford's team in 1961. She
was keenly aware that she was the only researcher there who did not have
a Ph.D.
When Mary walked into Marjorie's office a few days after they both
arrived at Stanford, and asked for Marjorie's help, the younger woman was
quite moved. After all, Mary was a psychologist of renown. The
realization that this distinguished woman was asking help of her gave
Marjorie a sense of her own legitimacy on the staff of the Institute and
helped her recognize her own potential contribution to the new research
334
endeavor. The friendship that began that day in 1961 continued steadfast
throughout the remaining years of Mary's 1He.
To and Fro
While Mary was working at the Human Problems Institute at Stanford,
she lived on campus in an apartment, owned by the university, called
"Ki ngscote". On weekends she woul d drive up to her home on Shasta Road
in Berkeley. "I drove back and forth every Friday and Sunday," Mary
said, and added, "I sometimes wonder why I came home on weekends, because
I could have met more people, if I had stayed down there; but I wanted
to, and I did."
It was in the summer of 1961 Lesley's husband, Alec, received an
appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of California in
Santa Barbara, and they moved down there with the chi 1dren. Jane was
then four and a half years old and Peter had recently turned three.
A year earlier Barbara and her family had also moved. Kenneth
Coates had been called to a church near Portland, Oregon (see p. 306
above). The Coates' children ranged from 7 to 12 years at the time of
this move.
Mary continued her correspondence with her brother, John, and his
wife, Mary. They talked frequently by long distance telephone as well.
(For an update on John's vocational and advocational activities, refer to
Appendix F, item 87, pp. 1-3).
Mary's sister, Louise, and her husband, Bob, were living on the
farm, "Up Yonder," near Yosemite (see above, p.308). Mary visited them
quf te often in the 1960s, and the Hills were still living there in the
335
mid-1980s. (Refer to Appendix F, item 88 for a snapshot from this
earl ier era).
Then there was Mary's nephew, John H. Cover, Jr., known as "Jack",
who visited Mary on Shasta Road in 1962 (see Appendix F, item 89).
Jack Cover is an engineer and he 1ives in Southern Cal ifornia. He has
become known in more recent years for his inventions. For background on
Jack's training, academic and technical, as well as his extensive
professional experience, refer to the letter his father wrote to the
Attorney General of the United States in December, 1975 (Appendix F, item
90, n.b, para. 3). This 1etter from John Cover, Sr., and the one he
wrote to Mary early in 1976, with a copy of a tel egram to Senator J.
Glen Beall, Jr., enclosed with the letter, give his father's view of
Jack's invention, the Taser (Appendix F, item 91, pp. 1-2). The
journalistic articles included offer additional perspectives (see
Appendix F, items 92 and 93). Taken all together, these documents tell
an interesting story about Mary's nephew.
In the mid-1980s Jack Cover was still inventing. He kept Mary
informed of his creative endeavors by telephone, correspondence and
occasional visits in person. Jack was working on the model for a
geothermal power plant. In his mid-60s Jack calculated that the goal he
was pursuing would not be realized before, "say 2050" (see Appendix F,
item 94, pp.1-6).
In addition to commuting weekly between Stanford and Berkeley,
visiting her sister at the farm, keeping the family network functioning
through correspondence and long distance telephone visits, as well as
developing friendships in her new work setting, Mary was also fulfilling
336
professional commitments beyond the research she was conducting at the
Human Problems Institute in the '60s era.
Moving Right Along
As well as the publications on adult drinking patterns (Jones, 1968;
1971), Mary published other papers in the early 1960s. One of these,
"Individual Differences in Early Adolescence," appeared as Chapter VIII
in the 61st Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education.
Under the authorship of both Harold and Mary Jones this paper succinctly
reviews 37 years of research on adolescent studies (Jones &Jones, 1962).
In doing so, it places the adolescent studies from the IHD at Berkeley
into a larger context. Beginning with the Lewis M. Terman study of
gifted children, published in 1925, and continuing into 1960, the Joneses
gave a comprehensive overview of the field of adolescent development,
with emphasis on how these studies relate to the educational process.
Writing for the community of the teaching profession, the article
concludes, "This Chapter has dealt with the influences of nature and
culture upon the growing organism at adolescence" (p.141), and then the
Joneses ask:
What is the significance of this for the individual teacher
whose primary concern is to help children in the learning
process? To characterize an age-and-grade group (fourteen-
year-olds, eighth grade) with their striking differences in
size, personal .and interpersonal security, motivations,
defenses, and attitudes, illustrative individual profiles are
presented. (p.141)
What follows are vignettes of prototypic adolescents; vivid descriptions,
giving examples of interpersonal interactions with peers as well as with
parents, sibl ings, and teachers. These anecdotal illustrations breathe
337
life into the generalizations drawn from the vast body of developmental
research amassed through the years and surveyed by the Joneses. They
flesh out in concrete detail how nature and culture impinge upon the
growing child as he or she approaches adulthood, in a more or less
adaptive manner, in the home and in the classroom.
Mary·s contributions to her profession during the early 1960s were
varied. As well as her primary task, the research on drinking patterns
at the Human Problems Institute, Mary also chaired the Committee on
Fellows of the Division of Developmental Psychology of the American
Psychological Association (APA), 1961-1962. From 1962-63 she chaired the
Membership Committee of the Society for Research in Child Development,
and delivered a paper at the Society's Symposium in Berkeley in 1963.
Mary's Correspondence Course in Chi 1d Psychology given through the
Extension of the University of California, which began in 1951,
continued.
In 1963 Mary was a Visiting Professor of Child Development at Mills
College. She also served as a consultant, 1963-64, to the Endocrinology
Division of the Program on Longitudinal Research at the Scripps C1 inic
and Research Foundation.
Then, in 1963-64, Mary was elected President of the Division of
Developmental Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She
del ivered her presidenta1 address, entitled Psychological Correlates of
Somatic Development, in Los Angeles in August 1964. (See Appendix F,
item 95 for a Berkeley news item on this talk).
338
With such a full agenda, it is not easy to think of Mary as a
reti ree. In 1965 Mary's work at Nevi tt Sanford's Human Problems
Institute drew to a close. The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco
engaged her to speak about her work on drinking patterns and in April she
gave an address there ent i tl ed "A Study of Dri nki ng Patterns and
Personality Correlates."
In May 1965 Mary returned to Johnstown briefly, with her sister,
Louise, to attend Mary's 50th Class Reunion at Johnstown High School.
Mary "was en route to a scientific meeting in Toronto, Canada." (Refer to
Appendix F, item 9 6 ~
Then, in the following month, Mary presented a paper at the Annual
Meeting of the Western Psychological Association (WPA) in Honolulu,
entitled "Correlates and Antecedents of Adult Drinking Patterns" (see
Appendix F, item 97). This meeting remains especially memorable for
Mary because she took her first grandchi 1d, Carol Coates, to Honolul u
with her. Carol had just graduated from high school and Mary had just
celebrated the 50th anniversary of her own high school graduation. Carol
and her grandmother visited all five islands of Hawaii and had a jolly
time sightseeing t o g e t h e ~
A year later, from June 27th to July 2nd, 1966, Mary attended the
International Congress of Gerontology in Vienna, Austria. She had been
invited to give a paper on aging, and she spoke about the longitudinal
studies at the IHD at Berkeley. For companionship this time Mary invited
her grandchild, Lynne, Carol's younger sister, to accompany her. Lynne
had just turned 16 and had not yet graduated from high school.
Grandmother and granddaughter visited not only Vienna, but Venice, Italy
339
and England as well after the Congress adjourned. One of the outstanding
events for both Mary and Lynne was a visit to Stonehenge, the prehistoric
megalithic momument on the Salisbury Plain some 80 miles west of London.
Back to Berkeley and the IHD
By the Fall of 1965 Mary was back home in Berkeley and beginning
again at the IHD. She had a new office in Tolman Hall. This bUilding
was being erected at the time that Mary and Harold were retiring in the
summer of 1960. Located on the northwest side of the U.C. Berkeley
campus, Tolman houses the Departments of Psychology and Education as well
as the IHD. Mary had only to drive down the hill from Shasta, cross
Hearst Street, and pull into the faculty parking lot adjacent to Tolman.
As a Professor Emerita in the Department of Education and Consultant to
the Intergenerational Studies (IGS) of the IHD, Mary was pensioned but
non-salaried. Having an office at Tolman facilitated Mary's continuing
productivity and professional contribution.
As Mary settled back into the IHD, she began to find a new role that
met her own needs while furthering the goals of the IGS as well as
benefiting members of the study. Logan (1980) speaks about Mary's
contribution to the success of the IGS at this time:
One of her tasks at the Institute has been helping to
maintain contact with the study members. We can see the
strength of her warmth and caring here not only as a personal
attribute but as a professional attribute as well. The
special relationships she worked to develop between the
research staff and the study participants is surely one of
the primary reasons for the lack of major attrition, a
problem of great magnitude in longitudinal studies (Jones,
1967). It also makes the work extremely satisfying. Many of
the study members have become her friends. In fact, one
piece of work she would still like to do is to write up an
account of what it's been like to be part of the studies over
340
the years. (pp.112-113)
Some of the remaining study members, those from the Oakland Growth Study
(earl ier known as the Adolescent Growth Study), were in their mid-40s
when Mary returned to the IHD in the latter half of the 1960s. Mary was
the person who had recruited them when they were 10 or 11 years old, in
the 5th and 6th grades. At this period many of those members had become
parents of adolescents. As younger professionals joined the IGS staff,
Mary's continuing presence provided the study members with a link to the
past. She, as they, had been there in the beginning.
One way that Mary fostered her relationship with members, and
thereby strengthened the tie with the IGS, was by writing personal notes
on the holiday greeting cards sent annually by the IHD. Another, even
more vital touch, was the telephone calls she made to each member when
her or his birthday rolled around every year. Not only did this act
express her personal concern, it also gave Marya chance to record any
data that the member might want to share with her for the record. This
outreach to the members has, through the years, yielded rich rewards for
all concerned: the members themselves, the Institute and the IGS, as well
as Mary. Mary was profoundly aware of her own enrichment through those
efforts and she often spoke of how important these relationships came to
be for her throughout the years. Part of the value no doubt lay in the
trust that was established between the individual members and Mary, as
the one-to-one relationship developed over the years. Many confided in
her and grew to feel a familial connection with her. Often they have
expressed this in terms of a mothering relationship. The study itself
has been a profound experience for many of the members who have continued
341
in it, and Mary must surely have become the embodiment of its spirit for
them.
Not only Marls relationship with study members deepened over the
years since her retirement. She also noticed a change in the way she and
her colleagues related. Mary said that they and she gradually became not
merely friendly colleagues, but rather, personal friends. Mary believed
that these improved relationships evolved, in part, because all of them
were under less pressure after they retired, and began working as
emeritae staff. They began seeing each other, through the more recent
years, by choice -- going places together; to concerts, to tea, having a
cocktail or glass of wine at each others' homes, or maybe joining one
another at a lecture or a luncheon. The need to "discuss business" no
longer pressed upon them. They grew to see that they had more in common
than merely their professional interests. In a sense, the work
relationship itself became more collaborative. When they were younger,
there was less time to enjoy each other's company.
National Recognition
As the decade of the '60s drew to a close Mary was honored at the
American Psychological Association Convention in San Francisco. On
September 2, 1968, the day following her 72nd birthday, Mary received the
G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Contributions to Developmental
Psychology. This is "the highest accolade given in developmental
psychology" (Logan, 1980, p.103). The Executive Committee of the
Division on Developmental Psychology states that "the criterion for
selection is scientific excellence" (refer to Appendix F, item 98, pp.1-
342
2).
And so the 1960s close, and Mary's 1ife moves on into the '70s.
The 1970s
An Editorial Task
to view the text "as a progress report of research" since:
These studies are still going forward with more than two-
thirds of the approximately 500 study members still
actively participating. A number of books, monographs, and
papers are currently in press and in preparation. (P.v)
The Preface continues, noting that "we have had to omit five times
as many papers as we have included" in adhering to the selection
criteria, which were primarily longitudinality and breadth of coverage
"to show different facets of development and changing relationships
between these over time" ( p . v ~ Examples of the kinds of papers omitted,
343
which are cited in a 1ist of publ ications, are then outl ined and there
follows a brief description of the contents of the chapters that comprise
the body of the text.
Finally, the Preface concludes with a tribute to the late Dr. Kuhlen
who served as consulting editor to the four editors, Mary and her
collegues, Nancy Bayley, Jean Walker Macfarlane and Marjorie Pyles
Honzik. They credit Dr. Kuhlen with furnishing "the initial impetus and
continuing supportive encouragement that impelled this venture to
completion" (p.v t 1)[77]
This publication is the most recent entry on Mary's citation in
Who's Who in the West (refer to Appendix F, item 99).
A Continuing Alliance
By 1968' Nevitt Sanford returned to Berkeley. There, in July of that
year, he founded a non-profit educational organization that "has as its
major aim the creation of means whereby the resources of social science
can qUickly be brought to bear upon the problems that arise in the
Community," according to an early brochure prepared by Martha Wagner
(1970, opening page), which continues:
It [The Wright Institute] studies these problems
with a view to finding the leverage points for action,
proposes actions and assists in carrying them out,
and evaluates the effects of particular actions.
The problems on which the Institute is working
during this stage of its development
are in the areas of intergroup hostility and prejudice,
poverty, innovation in higher education,
and the development of youth.
344
Dr. Sanford, in a Proposal written at the time of the founding of
the Institute, has this to say about the problems it would undertake most
immediately:
We have established in the San Francisco Bay Area an
institute devoted to research, training, and action bearing
on some of the major psycho-social problems of our society --
problems such as ethnic prejudice and intergroup hostil ity,
the alienation and demoralization of youth, alcohol ism and
drug addiction. (p.2)[78]
Originally the Wright Institute did not include a graduate school of
psychology. This component was added soon after its founding:
Early in May, 1969, less than a year after the Institute was
incorporated, Mervin Freedman proposed to me that we start a
training program at the Ph.D. level, in clinical psychology.
I agreed, and the program was begun about 20 weeks later.
(Sanford, 1980, p.86)
Sanford continues by developing his ideas about education as a means
of fostering personal ity development in the individual and promoting
community, first in the educational institution and then in the larger
society (p.96). Because large centers of learning, such as universities,
"have been expanding and becoming differentiated at a rate far beyond
their capacity to achieve the integration which is necessary to any
1iVing system" (p.96), Sanford bel ieves that the smaller, free-standing
institute might be helpful in solving the problem of learning "how things
fit together" (p.97) which, he suggests, "is at least as important a part
of science as knowledge of how things may be divided for the purposes of
analytical study" (p.9?). Therefore, as Wagner (1970) puts it (on the
2nd page of the brochure):
345
The Institute's approach is multidisciplinary
and action oriented.
It is multidisciplinary because
problems of the kind mentioned do not order themselves
in accord with the present arrangement
of professions and disciplines.
Moreover, the solution of such problems
requires the close cooperation of scientists and practical men.
Accordingly, the staff of The Wright Institute
includes both scientists representing a wide range of specialties
and men and women of action and experience
but without higher degrees.
Craig Comstock, the editor of Sanford's Learning After College
(1980), suggests in the preface that Sanford attained "a kind of creative
marginability" (p.vf t) in the Institute. As time goes by, the purpose
that Sanford envisoned for the Wright Institute continues to evolve,
integrating into its philosophical point of view aspects of its basic
values that are reflected from a somewhat different perspective in the
1970s and 1980s. These perspectives are addressed in the catalog printed
approximately 11 years after the foundation of the Institute; it is the
first catalog distributed after Dr. Sanford's retirement in 1979. The
opening statement is:
The Wright Institute is an independent, non-profit
institution devoted to education, training and research in
psychology, the social sciences, and education.... The
Institute pursues an interdiscipl inary research effort... in
social-clinical psychology and in psychosocial development
and education.
In both its research and educational programs, the Wright
Institute attempts to integrate and synthesize two
orientations that are not commonly found together: the
conceptual rigor and high scholarly standards associated with
the best traditional universities, and the devotion to
individual and social development and holism that emerged in
the 1960s. (p.L)
346
The statement continues by affirming "a broader vision" [than]
'value free' education and research... [or] professional training in
psychology, education or other discipl ines" (p.t):
Rather, both its [Wright's] research and educational programs
are seen as mutually complementary parts of a broader vision,
one which affirms a positive value: The active enhancement
of human development, as well as the study of it, is the core
value which underlies all the Institute's work. (p.L)
It is within the parameters outlined above that Mary played an
active rol e at the Wright Institute from its founding and through the
first decade of its institutional life. She states, "Nevitt Sanford
retired from the Wright Institute, which he established, but he goes back
and gives a course in the history of psychology. Every once in a while
he asks me to come back and talk to his class" (Jones, 1983, p.9S). In
the Spring of 1981 the present writer attended a class at the Wright
Institute on the history of psychology. It was a graduate seminar led by
President Emeritus Nevitt Sanford and Dr. Glenn Hunter, a member of the
administration at that time. This student recalls Dr. Sanford's remarks
about Mary's contributions to a number of his prior classes.[79] He
spoke with a keen appreciation of how Mary's presence stimulated class
participation, deepening the personal exploration and sharing. The
warmth and forcefulness of her forthright contributions added a lively
dimension to what might have become a mere catalog of dry facts and
tedious arguments from the historical texts of American psychology.
Mary's style, as well as her substantive content, facilitated the
learning process among class members, according to Dr. Sanford's
recollections that day.
347
ADeepening Association
There were other aspects of Mary·s association with the Wright
Institute that gave her satisfaction and pleasure. Marjorie Lozoff, the
new friend that Mary met at Stanford, was becoming an old friend through
a deepening association back in Berkeley. Marjorie, whose home was in
San Mateo, was commuting back and forth between Berkeley and her home at
least once a week during the 1970s. Marjorie Lozoff was continuing
research begun at the Institute for the Study of Human Problems. From
1973 to 1976, she co-di rected the Adult Development Study and Graduate
Education Study under the auspices of the William James Center of the
Wright Institute.
Prior to that, from 1971 to 1973, she was co-director of a study on
Desegregation and the Berkeley Schools, also conducted through the Wright
Institute.
From 1974 to 1976, Lozoff was the Associate Director of the William
James Center of the Wright Institute.
Beginning in 1973 and continuing to 1980, Marjorie Lozoff co-
directed Evaluation Research in the Doctor of Mental Health Training
Program at the University of California, San Francisco; at Mount Zion
Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco, and in the Health and
Medical Sciences Program at the University of California in Berkeley.
Marjorie's work in Berkeley gave Mary and her a chance to see each
other face to face and so deepen their friendship. Marjorie did not rely
upon these personal encounters alone, however, to keep the friendship
flourishing. She telephoned Mary often and their long telephone
conversations were rewarding for both of them.
348
New Connections
Another research team that was operating out of the Wright Institute
in the 1970s and well into the '80s was the Doctors Abraham and Frances
Carp. This husband and wife team is well-known in the field of
gerontology. Mary met the Carps through her association at Wright. It
was Frances Carp who introduced the young educator, Dr. Deana Logan, to
Mary. Dr. Logan wrote a biography of Mary that appeared first in the
special edition of the Psychology of Women Quarterly (1980) and later in
The Women of Psychology, Volume II (Stevens &Gardner, 1982).
In Logan (1980) another project of Mary's that grew out of the
Wright connection, is mentioned:
In addition to her [Mary's] work at the Institute of Human
Development, she is currently working on a grant proposal on
retirement with Nevitt Sanford, Frances Carp and others at
the Wright Institute. (p.1l3)
Logan adds, "She is also called upon from time to time for consultation
with students from the University of California and the Wright Institute
regardi ng thei r research."
Update from Brother John
In the meantime, while Mary was making a contribution to develop-
mental psychology by editing the papers in the Course of Human
Development (1971), and taking part in Dr. Sanford's innovative graduate
education program in psychology, John Cover was keeping Mary abreast of
news from Johnstown High School as well as other family developments (see
Appendix F, item 100, pp, 1-2, as well as correspondence cited above,
items 90 and 91, from the mid-1970s).
349
SAGE
In the mid-1970s Mary learned about a new community program that was
being offered to older people in the Bay Area (see Appendix F, item 101,
for an overview of SAGE six years after its One of
the founder's of the group, Gay Gaer Luce, spoke about SAGE at a meeting
of the Western Psychological Association in San Francisco. Mary liked
what she heard and promptly signed up for membership in the second core
group, starting at about that time in Berkeley.
Dr. Luce, a psychologist and a popular as well as a scholarly
writer, explains how the program got its name in her book, Your Second
Life (1979):
In the Summer of 1975 we decided to apply to the Alameda
County Mental Health Association for a grant. We then
realized that a group without a name would be discounted.
One dark night when everyone was especially weary, we met to
se 1ect a name. We thought of hundreds. There was a
consensus on none. After a while we were too tired to care,
and we wanted a name by the morning. The name SAGE had been
a file heading when the project was still a fantasy in my
head under the title: Rediscovering the Mysteries.... The
name grew on us. SAGE fit our image.... We fi 11 ed in the
acronym with the words: Senior Actualization and Growth
Explorations. (pp.20-21)
Perhaps serendipitously SAGE contains within it the word "age." At any
rate, the group was founded in 1974, a year before it was named.
In her introductory remarks, in Your Second Life, Luce explains the
incident that led to the founding of a group for older people (rather
than one for children, as she had originally intended). Out of her own
needs, Dr. Luce had been studying skills in relaxation and other
techniques for handling feelings in productive ways that would enhance
the abil ity to concentrate and to "actually control and use [one's] body
350
as [an] instrument" (p.3).
Before Luce had developed the skill s well enough to impl ement the
program, her mother came to visit, and Luce realized:
As we spent time together [that] these were skills she could
use, too. For instance she was having a hard time fall ing
asleep. I thought that if she could relax at will she could
fall asleep. She practiced it with the help of a biofeed-
back instrument. (p3)
Luce continues with a testimonial about how this and other learning
experiences that her mother had the following month proved helpful to her
when she became involved in a life-threatening automobile accident soon
afterward. Luce concludes, about her mother, ' ~ t the age of seventy-one
it was the opening of a door she had not looked through since childhood"
(p.4).
Mary found the experience in SAGE enlightening and helpful, and even
a decade later, she mentioned it quite often and was re-reading Your
Second Life.
Samarkand
A year or so after Mary's experience with SAGE she began to think
seriously about moving to a retirement home. Her decision grew out of
the real ization that many of the better 1ife-care institutions, those
providing a range of medical care on various levels to meet the changing
needs of residents, were no longer accepting applicants beyond the age of
75 or 80.
In the Spring of 1977 Mary decided to move to Samarkand. She
learned about this retirement community through friends. It was most
attractive, and well-located for Mary. Santa Barbara is Lesley's home
351
town, and also quite a bit closer to Barbara than Berkeley.
By entering in the Spring of 1977, Mary allowed herself time to
settle in and see how she liked the place before her 81st birthday on
September 1st. I n any case, she planned to return to Berkeley in the
fall to attend the 50th reunion being held by the IHO for members of
their studies.
Mary found several congenial companions there who soon became
friends. There were no serious flaws in the new surroundings.
Nevertheless, Mary was not really happy there. Her state of mind is
reflected in a letter she wrote to her old friend and confidante,
Marjorie Lozoff (see Appendix F, item 102).
Never easily daunted, Mary decided to consult someone objective to
help her sort out her feelings and make up her mind as to whether or not
(or for how long) to "stick it out," as the man she refers to in her
letter advises. Lesley helped her mother find a psychiatrist with whom
to discuss the matter.
In conferring with the doctor, Mary told him that she was planning
to return to Berkeley in the fall for a visit at the time of the IHO
reunion with study members. In the course of this discussion she
mentioned her office in Tolman Hall. The doctor expressed some mild
surprise, saying (in words to this effect), "You mean you still have an
office you could go back to there?" Mary assured him that she did, and
that it included her emerita position as research consultant with the
I HO. Somethi ng in the manner of the doctor's response to th i s
information conveyed a message to Mary that struck a responsive cord.
352
Soon after this visit Mary decided to return to Berkeley -- to
Shasta Road and to her office in Tol man, with their attendant
responsibilities and rewards. She came back in time for the 50th
Reunion.
Samarkand kept Mary's initial fee that was required upon her entry
there. Mary thought that having been there earlier may have helped her
be accepted as a resident nine years later.
The 50th Reunion
Deana Logan (1980), Mary's biographer, 1ists some of the
"luminaries" who came to Berkeley "to honor this group of researchers and
their study participants whose work is now proudly claimed by psychology"
(p.108). Among the luminaries Logan cites were: Margaret Mead, Robert
Butler and Alice Rossi. Then Logan mentions some of Mary's distinguished
colleagues who have worked at the IHD through the years, among them, Paul
Mussen, Jack and Jeanne Block, Dorothy Eichorn, Erik Erikson, Else
Frenkel-Brunswick, Norma Haan, Marjorie Honzik, Nevitt Sanford and
Brewster Smith. Logan speaks al so of an earl ier reunion, in 1969, when
Mary was given a citation that described her:
As "a player of many parts in the Institute's history -
charming hostess and helpmate to her husband, who for 25
years was the Institute's director and a distinguished
scientist in her own right... ."
Logan continues by saying that Mary was applauded for "her 'sensitivity
and perceptiveness' which led her to make 'multiple distinguished
contributions to the field of human development'" (p.108).
Shortly before the 50th Reunion, Deana Logan took a step that led to
her writing the biography from which the quotations above are taken
353
(refer to Appendix F, item 103). In logan's letter (June 8, 1978) she
expresses succinctly many of the thoughts she develops more fully in the
two pUblished biographies (1980; 1982). Her letter also conveys the
special regard in which she holds Mary, as a mentor and friend.
For an excellent overview of the IHD from its inception in 1927,
with particular attention to the longitudinal studies, see "Out of the
Cradle Endlessly Rocking" (Appendix F, item 104). This article from the
California Monthly includes the perspectives of representative study
members as well as commentary by the professional staff.
354
Chapter X
THE LATE 1970s AND EARLY 1980s
Back to Tolman Hall
Mary returned to her office at the IHD with ease. She continued her
position as Research Associate, retired, while deepening her commitment
to the study members. Her birthday greetings by telephone and cards, as
well as annual holiday notes, continued. On occasion she visited shut-
ins or those who were hospitalized. When members returned to the
Institute for follow-up assessments, Mary met them and had lunch with
them at the Institute. Thus she facil itated their continuing
participation in the longitudinal studies by acting as liason between
members and the interviewing staff.
For an overview of the study members as a group and their ongoing
links with the IHD, refer to selected newsletters (Appendix F, items 105,
Pp. 1-6). The June 1978 issue (PP. 4 and 5) presents a summary of prior
newsletters and highlights the general progress of the group as a whole:
You are maturing thoughtfully. A number of you have "moved
over" gracefully (reti red) to make room for a younger
generation. As always you are enjoying your own children,
adoring your grandchildren, and at least one of you is
entranced with a great-grandchild! (p.5)
The update ends on this note:
Perhaps most cheering, especially to the elders in our
society is your appreciation of and tenderness for your
surviving parents. (p.5)
355
A little more than three and a half years later, in the most recent
follow-up study, a member has the following to say about aging:
I don't intend to be old. I was looking at Mary Jones today
and saying to myself she's the kind of person who walks
through our life and you look and say, "That's the way I
will be." I don't intend to be a dottering little old lady,
that's on everybody's nerves, I'll jump off the bridge if I
get to that point. My mind is far too active and interested
in things for me to bother being old. My body may be old but
my mind is not going to be 01d.l80]
Mary, at this time, was well past her 85th birthday. This statement no
doubt reflects the assessment of more than one study member.
A New Grant
- - ~ ; ; , ; ; . . ; . . ; .
In 1985 Mary was awarded a new grant. She had submitted two
proposals through the IHD. One was for a follow-up on her research about
adult drinking patterns; the other, a follow-up on her earlier long term
research on early and 1ate to mature in puberty. Both proposals were
acceptable to the funding source, but Mary had to choose between them.
She decided to select her prior interest, those members who were early or
1ate maturi ng, and to concentrate, at first, on the men in the 1atest
follow-up, Adult 3:[81]
The emphasis for the first publ ication from the 3rd "Follow-
up" concluded in 1984 will be on the older Oakland group of
men (early sixties) with comparisons to the group of men
approximately 7 years younger, to women and to earlier
findings.
Mary further stated that:
The Intergenerational longitudinal Studies at the Institute
of Human Development interviewed and tested some 250 study
members in 1982-83. That material is now available for
research. At this time I want to bring up-to-date findings
on the health, mortality, social, behavioral and
psychological status of study members whose rate of maturity
was assessed over the puberal and adolescent years.[82]
356
In the IHD Annual Report by Guy Swanson and Dorothy H. Eichorn
(1984-85) Mary's research is listed under the category of Biological
Development, and a summary statement of the findings are given:
Jones finds that some differences in personality and activity
noted during adolescence and in the subjects' early 30s and
40s continue. Early maturing boys appear to "take on" the
adult culture and to be treated by peers and adults as more
grown-up. This acceptance of the prevailing culture is
associated with responsible, dependable achieving, if
somewhat conservative, and concerned behavior. Late maturers
experience a longer latency period, continue to appear more
juvenile in adolescence. As adults they seem to be less
conforming, less accepting of the culture but able to cope
with life in a psychologically minded fashion. (p.19)
As Mary began working with the data, she said, "I've decided... that
I cannot put the Oakland Growth Study and the Guidance Study together for
many items; I'd like to have more cases, but they don't go together."
She added:
There were some differences in selection; we [OGS] took
people who were going into a certain junior high school and
certain high school; they [GS and BGS] took children born in
Berkeley.
She explained that the children in the BGS and GS were approximately
seven years younger than the OGS sampling. The younger groups were,
moreover, from Berkeley, rather than Oakland. The OGS members were
children of the depression and young adults in World War II. The other
two groups entered adolescence later.
Mary continued, explaining that she was looking at each of the three
groups separately. She would concentrate on the OGS data, but she would
be able to refer to similarities and differences in the other two groups
as her analysis progressed.
357
Later, as Mary began looking at the data more closely, she
discovered that among the approximately 100 subjects remaining in her
sample from the OGS, the extremes needed for comparison between early and
late maturing males yielded too few members for quantitatively
significant results. At this point, she learned that a colleague, Harvey
Peskin, a psychologist from San Francisco State University, was working
on the same question from a different theoretical point of view. Using
data from the GS, Dr. Peskin was examining it for differences in early
and late maturing youngsters from a psycho-dynamic perspective. Mary and
he decided to try to pool their samples and do a collaborative study.
Dr. Peskin believes that Mary's learning theory approach is compatible
with his psychodynamic point of view. He draws on Jungian as well as
Freudian theory, and finds Mary's conclusions about late maturers' being
more psychologically minded than the early maturers complementing his own
theoretical formulations.
Mary as Doyenne
It was Dr. Joseph Wolpe, the medically trained, psychoanalytically
oriented physician from South Africa, who first bestowed the epithet,
Mother of Behavior Therapy, on Mary Jones. By that time Dr. Wolpe,
having found his psychoanalytic techniques unsatisfactory when he began
working with patients who were veterans from World War II, had become
proficient in behavior therapy. He began his studies in this discipline
by reading John Watson's published works, articles and books, as well as
Mary's early studies on childhood fears, especially her work with little
Peter.
358
When Dr. Wolpe came to the United States, he visited Mary. He was
then at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in
Stanford, California. Mary gave an address entitled "Albert, Peter and
John B. Watson" at the First Annual Southern California Congress in
Behavior Modification in Los Angeles in 1969.
Later Dr. Wolpe became a citizen of the United States and taught at
Temple University in Philadelphia. It was in Philadelphia in November
1974 that Mary gave the keynote address at the first Temple University
Conference in behavior therapy and behavior modification. "A 1924
Pioneer looks at Behavior Therapy" was the title of her address. This
conference was celebrating fifty years of progress in this field from
1924 to 1974 (Jones, 1975, p.181, footnote). It was on this occasion that
Dr. Wolpe called Mary the "Mother of Behavior Therapy."
Although Mary would demur, it might be equally appropriate in the
1980s to call Mary the mother of the OGS. Certainly she fostered and
nurtured the study through the years, beginning with the recruitment of
members in 1931. This she did by going into the fifth grade classrooms
and describing the procedures for the study to the youngsters. Just as
she was often asked about Dr. Watson and little Peter, so, also, was she
called upon to tell the story of the longitudinal studies, especially the
OGS, and to recount the history, as she remembered it, of the IHD.
Without attempting an exhaustive recitation, some of the more noteworthy
examples of Mary's contributions to archival collections, to historical
accounts, to monographs by other scholars recording the history of child
development, as well as her helpfulness to graduate students whose
dissertations she was asked to enrich, will be cited.
359
First, the oral history taken by Suzanne Riess for the Bancroft
library (Jones, 1983), referred to throughout this paper, contains
valuable information about the work with Watson, the early history of the
child development movement, the founding and progress of the Institute of
Human Development at Berkeley, as well as rich biographical data about
both Mary and Harold Jones.
Then there are the transcriptions of the interviews with Milton J.
E. Senn which are a part of the Bancroft library holdings also (refer to
Appendix F, item 1 0 6 ~
A decade later Mary contributed interviews to Elizabeth M. R. lomax
for her history of child development theory, with special inquiry into
the IHD at Berkeley and its longitudinal studies. The results of Dr.
lomax's study are contained in the monograph Science and Patterns of
Child Care (lomax et al., 1978; see Acknowledgements, p.xtv),
Deana logan's biographies (l980 and 1982) not only document
important facts in Mary's personal and professional life, they also
capture facets of her character and personality in a lively and accurate
manner.
In 1981 Vicki Green from Oklahoma State University, working as a
Research Associate at IHD, interviewed Mary for a project on the history
of the IHD. In Dr. Green's letter, dated April 30, 1981, and signed by
her and Dorothy Eichorn as Associate Director of IHD, they state, in
part:
Because so much historical information is only in the
memories of persons who have made IHD hi story, data wi 11 ...
be obtained through tape recorded interviews with
professional and administrative staff who have worked at IHD.
Because you were associated with the Institute for a long
360
period of time, we would like to interview you.
The letter also states that "there is renewed interest in historical
material in the fields of child development and life span development"
and that "IHD is a central part of such history."[83]
In 1983 Marian Studenski of Sonoma, California asked Mary for an
interview to "use as an addendum to my dissertation", which "will
examine advice to ~ a r e n t s between 1930 and 1980" in popular literature to
determine "the impact of sociohistorical change and psychological theory"
upon this advice. Dr. Studenski's dissertation title is: 1930-1980 .:.
Fifty years of advice to parents: The impact of sociohistorical context
on American prescriptive 1iterature. Mary granted Studenski's request
and the transcri bed i ntervi ew covers 24 typewri tten pages. Upon
completion of the several interviews, Dr. Studenski sent a copy to Mary
of the chapter introducing it with a cover letter (refer to Appendix F,
item 107).
Another request that Mary complied with came from Cynthia S.
Pomerleau (1984) who published the outcome of her interview in Women and
Health. This article is biographical as well as historical.
Again, in 1985, Mary consented to an interview transcribed under the
title liMy Life with a Longitudinal Study: Mary Cover Jones." This
interview was conducted by Alice Smuts of Ann Arbor, Michigan. That Mary
was pleased with the results can be seen by her letter (refer to Appendix
F, item 108).
In March 1986 Mary received a request from a colleague who formerly
worked at the IHD, Nathan W. Shock. He and his associate, Leonard
Giambra, at that time at the National Institute of Health in the
361
Gerontology Research Center, wrote Mary asking her lito participate in an
experiment" that might hasten understanding "the phenomena of aging"
(refer to Appendix F, item 109).
In addition to oral and written interviews, Mary contributed her
wealth of knowledge and experience in other ways. She wrote prefaces to
texts as well as introductory chapters. She proofread texts written by
colleagues as well as bUdding young professionals. She engaged in
editorial work with her community of peers.
A recent example of such a contribution is the Forward Mary wrote
for a textbook, in press, called Children's Phobias, by Neville King et
al, a behavioral psychologist in Australia. Another author, Angela
Schorr, published a text in 1984 on behavioral therapy in German. She
wrote to Mary, requesting her photograph to include in the book entitled
Die Verhaltens Therapie: Ihre Gerschichte.Y..Q.!!. den Anfangen bis zur
gegenwart.
In the spring of 1986 Mary received another such request, along with
printer's proofs of a new text being readied for press. This book,
entitled ~ History of Modern Psychology, 4th edition, is by two
psychologists, Duane Schultz and Sidney Schultz (1987, Harcourt, Brace &
Javanovich; see Appendix F, item 1 1 0 ~
Mary's friend and colleague, Francis Carp, also sought help from her
in editing a chapter that Dr. Carp is contributing to a new text on
aging. Dr. Carp's chapter is entitled "Maximizing Data Quality in
Community Studies of Older People." This text is edited by the Doctors
M. Powell lawton and Regula Herzog.
362
In early 1987 Mary was busy preparing a speech she had been asked to
give before the Counselling and Career Service of the University of
California at Santa BarbarL It was to be historical in nature and run
for an hour to an hour and a half. Mary was to be introduced by Dr.
Robert Sherman of the Psychology department.
In these ways Mary passed on the mantle, offering help,
encouragement and hope to those on her path.
Mary as Public Citizen
On Mary·s Curriculum Vitae (Appendix F, item 65, pp.2-4) there is a
section under Experience labeled "b. Public Service." Many of the items
1i sted there are addresses given before profess i ona1 peer groups. Some,
however, are addressed to a more general audience. These contributions
were especially prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s. Mary continued her
public as well as her professional contributions. In 1983 she was
interviewed by Brenda Payton, a local columnist for the Tribune in
Oakland (see Appendix F, item 111). Ms. Payton calls Mary lithe resident
historian of the institute [IHD] and the field of developmental
psychology" (p.z), She quotes Maris reference to OGS members as "1 ike
an extended fami Iy" for her (p.2).
Later in the same year a longer story about Mary appeared in the Los
Angeles Times (see Appendix F, item 112). This narrative gives a fuller
account of Maris personal 1ife and history as well as her professional
contributions.
More recent publicity Mary received in the Bay Area is cited above
on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the OGS on Sunday, November 3,
363
1985 (refer to Appendix F, item 63).
Study members took dozens of colored photographs of Mary that day.
One of the better ones that highlights Mary's profile (as well as her
corsage) is included here in black and white (Appendix F, item 113).
Coverage in the local press and as far afield as Los Angeles confirms
Mary's role as a public citizen as well as a renowned psychologist.
Society for Research in Child Development: SRCD
In April 1983 the SRCD had its 50th Anniversary meeting in Detroit,
Michigan. At first Mary hesitated, when she was invited to attend the
gathering and speak about the history of IHD. She was pressed into this
service, however, when officials reminded her that Harold Jones was one
of the early Presidents of the SRCD. Sanford et al. (1960) has this to
say about Dr. Harold Jones' contributions:
Jones was a charter member of the Society for Research in
Child Development, a member of its governing council from
1940 to 1945, and president in 1952-1953. (p.596)
While staying at a hotel near the conference hall, Mary and other
honored guests were driven to the conference with a police escort. This
gave Mary a good story to bring back to her grandson, David, who shared
her home on Shasta Road at that time. He had worried aloud to Mary about
her traveling so far from home without his being nearby to "help you
manage." She was able to tell him that she had a police escort "to help
me manage" while in Detroit! The photograph appended also attests to
Mary's continuing social skills (Appendix F, item 114).
364
Group Life
Gerontological Luncheon Group
In the early '80s a number of professionals in the East Bay who were
doing research in the field of aging decided to form a group that would
meet monthly and inform one another about their work in progress. Among
the founders of the "East Bay lunch bunch" (as it was informally called)
were Drs. Abraham and Francis Carp. The Carps were working out of the
Wri ght Ins ti tute at that time. Mary was a charter member of th i s
network. She was one of the first to share her research findings with the
group. One member was able to provide a regular meeting place in a
delightful setting, the Berkeley City Club, through her personal
membership there (see Appendix F, item 115).
The Group: Pot Luck Dinners
In 1980 another group was formed; this one was just for fun (Jones,
1983). Christine and Nevitt Sanford were the founders. They called it
simply "The Group", naming it after Mary McCarthy's best sell ing novel of
earlier years, which celebrated her friendship network at Vassar College.
Nevitt had led a research project at Vassar in 1952 and he had pleasant
memories from this experience (see Sanford, 1980, for details). Mary
said it was really Christine's group. Christine was quite active in the
local chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Some of the women who were her friends in that organization were invited
to join The Group. Anumber of them were widows. In Mary's own words:
Christine got a group together for dinner once a month...each
person takes something and we meet at one of the houses. The
hostess has the main dish. (p.95)
365
One of the members was Margaret Rowell. She is a cellist who teaches at
the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. For her 80th birthday the
Conservatory gave a concert with 80 cellists playing in her honor. Mary
says, lilt was marvelousl" (p.96).
Another group member was Catherine Caldwell; she taught Chinese art
history at Mills College and her husband had been a professor at U.C.
Berkeley. Peggy Calder Hayes, sister of Alexander Calder, was also a
member. Mrs. Hayes wrote a book about her brother and the Calder family.
E1 izabeth El kus, whose husband had been a professor in the music
department at U.C. Berkeley, was another member of The Group.
The conversation at the dinner parties was 1ive1y. Topics varied
and were quite spontaneous, as a rule. Nevitt did, however, get the idea
on one occasion "of having everyone tell where they came from," and Mary
said that this gave her "a chance to tell about the Johnstown f100d"
(p.96).
At another time someone tried to draw out Nevitt and Erik Erikson by
tal king about her dreams. Nevitt said, "Wel1, what ~ your dream?"
Whereupon, the woman told her dream and it was met with silence by Nevitt
and Eri kson, Shop ta 1k was an unspoken taboo (p.96).
Mary found these pot 1uck dinners stimu1 ating and fun. Gradually,
The Group began meeting less frequently. The Sanfords left Berkeley
every summer for their cottage in New England. In the mid-180s, they
decided to move down the California coast. Before leaving Berkeley they
gave a dinner party that Mary remembered with pleasure.
The Sanfords have since returned to Berkeley, but Mary in the
meantime moved to Santa Barbara. They and she visited on occasion, and
366
talked on the telephone, but The Group no longer meets on a regular
basis.
The Vassar Alumnae Group
Mary usually attended meetings of the East Bay Chapter of the Vassar
Alumnae, whenever her busy schedule permitted. In the Spring of 1985 the
Madrigal singers from Vassar College came to Oakland. Mary was asked to
distribute posters for this visit, which she did (see Appendix F, item
116). She also attended the concert with some alumnae friends.
GEL: The Group for Enriched Living
Unlike the Group that the Sanfords generated just for fun, GEL began
with a serious purpose in mind. Fun came as fallout. Marjorie Lozoff
founded this group in the summer of 1980. Its first official meeting was
in September of that year.
GEL grew out of Marge's long friendship with Mary. From the time
these two social scientists met at Stanford, in Nevitt Sanford's
Institute in the 1960s, their friendship had grown deeper and stronger,
enriching the lives of both. Marge telephoned Mary on an almost daily
basis and these visits became very important to each of them. Mary often
told Marge that talking over with her the little annoyances and irritants
of daily living was more satisfying and helpful than talking to a
psychiatrist, and Marge felt that she profited a great deal from Mary's
rich life experience.
Then, in 1980, Marge was stricken with an infection in her inner
ear, acute labyrinthitis, which left her with permanent damage that
affected her sense of balance. Marge's doctor explained to her that had
367
she been younger, the damage might have been barely perceptible; had she
been older it would have been, in all probability, much more severe. As
it turned out, Marge has accommodated to the deficit remarkably well,
over time. This incident, however, gave her pause. For perhaps the
first time in her life, Marge began to think of the so-called "aging
process" ina personal way.
For years Marge had been actively i nvol ved in research on
personality development -- first with college age young people, and then
with young and middle-aged adults. In her friendship with Mary, who is a
generation ahead of her on the chronological scale, Marge felt that she
was seeing a preview of some of the developmental tasks that lay before
her.
At around this same time, Marge had joined a group called Overeaters
Anonymous. She liked some of the techniques of group dynamics used in
those meetings.
These several aspects of Marge's life -- her confidante relationship
with Mary; her recent illness with its vestige of disability; the group
experience -- led to an interesting idea. Why not, she. thought, start a
group of older adults who were aging well? By having the group meet
weekly, not for friendship, but in a more impersonal way, to discuss
whatever surfaced for them as meaningful, with no pre-determined format
and a minimum of regulations, it might, Marge thought, lead to some
interesting data about personal ity development in 01 d age. Marge was
already associated with a psychoanalytic group doing research in the
field of aging.
368
Marge talked over this exciting idea with Mary. Mary recalled her
own positive experiences in SAGE, and real ized that Marge's idea for a
group made up of thoughtful, open-minded, articulate and still developing
adults might suit her present needs even better. Mary agreed to become a
charter member of the group. Marge planned to call it the "Group for
Enriched Aging."
The next step was to find the appropriate setting. Marge knew two
psychologists who were special izing in psychodynamic work with older
peop1e. In outl i ni ng her idea to them, these young men were
enthusiastic, and offered a room in their office complex at Mount Zion
Hospital and Medical Center in San Francisco for the weekly meetings
(refer to Appendix F, item 117).
The group was small at first, only about four people, inclUding its
founder, acting as facilitator-participant leader, and Mary. One of the
first changes the group underwent was a change of name.
An early recruit, a 94 year old woman, said she could not possibly
belong to a group that called itself a "Group for Enriched A g i n ~ " When
Marge asked her for a better name, she said with alacrity, "Why not call
it the 'Group for Enriched Living?'" Marge was happy to comply.[84]
Beginning as a small group, a pilot experiment, GEL soon grew to two
small (sometimes not-so-small) groups. Each group met for an hour and a
half; one in the morning, the other in the afternoon, on the same day of
the week. Appropriate to the age and character of the members, the
original site for the meetings was a wide-windowed room in an Old
Victorian house, familiarly known as the "Dream House" (since it had
former1y housed a sleep 1aboratory).
369
Through the 1980s the group that Mary inspired and helped found
continues. Mary was an active member as long as she remained in
Berkeley. She became quf t e fond of the woman who renamed the group.
Recently, in receiving news in Santa Barbara about a group meeting from
one of the members, Mary exclaimed, 1I0h, how I wish I could have been
there! II
Continuing Education
At around this period, in the Summer of 1983 or 1984, Mary decided
to take advantage of a computer course offered on the UCB campus. After
all, Mary was still working as a research associate. She was writing a
grant proposal. She needed to keep her research skills au current (see
Appendix F, item 1 1 8 ~
A Happy Occasion: June 23, 1984
Dr. Milton Lozoff and Marjorie Lozoff decided to have a party to
celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. They were still living in
their San Mateo home where they had reared their three daughters. The
rambling house on several levels was beginning to be a bit IItoo much
ll
for
Marge of late, however. Such an occasion would commemorate a long and
happy life there and provide the chance for an ingathering of family and
friends before selling their home. On a lovely sunny day several score
gathered in the Lozoff garden to enjoy the Lozoff's hospitality and wish
them many happy returns (Appendix F, item 119). Two old friends of the
Lozoffs are caught chatting at the party (see snapshot, p.2, top). Avis
Worthington writes romantic novels in her free time and was a baby sitter
for the Lozoffs many years ago, in an earlier home, when their daughters
370
were quite young. Avis and Mary knew each other through their
association at the IHD where Avis worked as a secretary. Small world,
sometimes.
371
Chapter XI
INTEGRITY, DESPAIR AND WISDOM
While Mary's busy life flowed along in its customary professional
and social paths, on a more personal level there were harbingers of
change that foreshadowed a new way of life.
It is Erik Erikson (1963;1950) who first suggested that wisdom is
the outcome of the successful integration over a lifetime of varied
stages of psychosocial development (1963, p.274). Just how a person
negotiates the task is the subject of Vital Involvement in Old Age by
Erik Erikson, Joan Erikson and Helen Kivnick (1986). A major point the
authors stress is that this adaptation is not a one time accomplishment.
It is, rather, a matter of a "current resynthesis of all the resil ience
and toughness of the basic strengths already developed" (p.40).
Mary was reading this text with a great deal of interest in early
1987. She said that she believed it speaks directly to her own condition
at this stage in her life. Although Mary enjoyed excellent health
throughout her life, she had, for a number of years, a hearing deficit.
She said that both she and her sister, louise, had a more serious
hearing loss than their brother, John. All three, however, shared this
disabi1 ity, a not unusual accompaniment of advancing years. Mary
adjusted very well to her impairment with the help of a hearing aid. Her
aUdiologist in Berkeley was Ethel Mussen, the wife of her colleague, Dr.
Paul Mussen. Mary found it hel pful, too, to use an amp1 ifier on her
372
telephone. She became, through practice over the years, skillful in lip
reading.
In early 19B5, however, Mary was struck with another sensory loss:
the vision in both eyes was seriously diminished from macular retinal
degeneration.[B5] Mary's ophthalmologist could not offer her any hope
for amelioration, but he did assure her that she would not become blind -
a vast re1ief. With this reassurance, Mary set about adapting. She
went to the eye clinic at the School of Optometry at UC Berkeley and
ordered a number of magnifying devices, one equipped with a special high
powered light. These appliances allowed Mary to continue her work in the
office as well as at home.
Mary was able to renew her driver's license, but as time went by she
decided against driving. In pleasant weather she enjoyed walking down
the hill from Shasta Road to Euclid Avenue, a distance of a half mile or
so. There she could catch a bus that would stop at the corner across the
street from the entrance to Tolman Hall. Going home was a bit more
strenuous, since the inc1 ine up the hill is quite steep. However, she
used a walkway for pedestrians called Rose Steps, which had stairs in
steeper areas and a wide parapet on landings for easy seating en route.
Mary liked to take this walk, stopping to rest along the way, enjoying
the fragrance of the blossoming shrubs and the beauty of the houses and
trees along the path. This way was, moreover, a shortcut to her house.
It allowed Mary to proceed in a straight line rather than follow the
winding roads that the automobile traffic must take.
Rainy days pose a problem, however, for the pedestrian. Rain in
Berkeley tends to be accompanied by a drop in temperature. The dampness
373
and chill combine to threaten with a head cold at the least anyone
intrepid enough to venture forth on such days.
On such inclement mornings Mary usually arranged to ride with a
neighbor who lived across the street and drove his youngster to school on
a route that passed Mary's destination. She soon found a colleague who
drove past her house on his way home at the close of the day. This was
especially welcome as winter approached, since the days were growing
shorter. Mary seldom had to resort to taxis for her trips to and from
the office; although this recourse was sometimes necessary for
appointments with the doctor or dentist, and other non-routine errands.
A weekly grocery order could be pl aced by telephone, charged, and
delivered to the door. Mary's grandson, David, who still lived in her
home, was happy to pick up those items that often turn up missing between
weekly grocery deliveries. David, who does not drive, would stop off at
the Co-op on hi s way home from work.
All in all, Mary found that she could manage quite well without her
car. Still, she wanted to keep it. It was a Dodge Dart, in excellent
condition. David's older brother, Jim, who lived in Oakland, was glad to
help his grandmother out by driving her on errands from time to time. In
this way the car battery could be kept charged, as well.
Had the vicissitudes of aging stopped with Mary's decrement in
vision, in all probability Mary would have continued living on Shasta
Road. There was more to come, however. In the Fall of 1985, towards
late September, Mary suffered a back injury. She was working at home, at
her table in the dining room. When she rose from her chair to leave the
room, she felt a sharp pain in her lower back on the left side in the
374
lumbar region. Trying to walk after that was almost impossible. Her
doctor tol d her, after taking x-r-ays , that her vertebrae were
"crumbling." He advised her to stay in bed until those that had been
i nj ured cou1d mend.
Mary was reluctant to bother her daughters, but she also realized
that she needed to consult with them, and that they would certainly want
to know about this new development. Mary telephoned each of them.
Barbara and lesley flew up to Berkeley. Between the two Mary was
ministered to competently as well as lovingly. This problem was not
resolved overnight, nonetheless. Mary·s pain was eased with medication,
but the healing process took time. lesley insisted upon consultations
with other doctors and gradually a regimen was worked out that allowed
Mary to regain her strength and become ambulatory again. First, she
walked with the aid of a walker; later, she used a cane, and finally she
could walk without e i t h e ~
During the weeks of recuperation that followed, Mary had the help of
a physical therapist who came to her home and, for a short time, a
visiting nurse. later on, lesley helped Mary find a woman who was a
practical nurse. She not only assisted Mary personally but also helped
prepare meals and straighten the house. Mia, Mary's regular house
worker, continued to come in twice a week to do the heavier household
tasks, as she had been doing for years.
Sometimes David would cook dinner for Mary and himself. Mary found
him to be quite a good cook. Although his menus were not Mary's
customary fare, she enjoyed the change. One night, she recalled, he
served abalone with ham, Chinese pasta, carrots and peas. Most of all,
375
Mary appreciated David's helpfulness. As she put it, lilt's just a new
life! II
There were some good times and some bad ones during this
convalescent period. Both Barbara and Lesley visited frequently.
It was during this period that the OGS hel d its 50th anniversary
celebration (Appendix F, items 63 and 113). Mary had been working on the
preparations for this event prior to her back problem. She had been
looking forward to seeing the members of the study again, but now she had
some misgivings. She did not want to attend the reunion leaning on a
cane, but her colleagues at the IHD said, "You must attend!" She did;
and without the cane in sight.[86]
About a month later, Mary fell in her living room while trying to
close the window. She hit her forehead on the window frame as she lost
her balance. This was a relatively benign mishap, although it left one
eye badly bruised for a few days. In part because of this accident, Mary
began to give serious thought to her ongoing living arrangements.
Although leaving her home and her office was not an option Mary
liked to entertain, she found it intolerable that her daughters should
have to keep disrupting their lives by travelling to and fro from their
homes so often. Lesley lived closer to Berkeley than Barbara. Barbara,
moreover, was preparing to move as her husband's retirement approached.
Lesley was better able to travel, but she was by no means without
responsibilities. Although she reassured her mother that she enjoyed
travelling and that she wanted, most of all, for her mother to do what
was best for her, Mary knew that her incapacities were interrupting her
daughter's routine. Finally, Mary was most concerned because she did not
376
know how long she would need this order of attention from her daughters.
When Lesley returned to Berkel ey to spend Thanksgiving with Mary,
mother and daughter talked over the whole situation. Mary would visit
Lesley in her home for Christmas and, they decided, while in Santa
Barbara Mary would make some preliminary visits to several retirement
homes in the area, including Samarkand. This is the home where Mary had
stayed for a few months in 1977, and where she had left her initial fee
when she returned to her home in Berkeley that fall.
Mary flew to Santa Barbara on Friday, December 20th. She had
considered taking Amtrak down the coast in the company of David, who was
spending the holidays with his parents further south. In discussing the
pros and cons of this idea, however, Mary decided that boarding the train
and then sitting for hours en route would probably be more taxing than
the short air flight. With the help of a wheelchair to reach the
departure gate at the end of the long corridor, Mary managed the flight
quite easily. The return, on January 1st, was even simpler. She had
only to take a wheelchair from the gate to a taxi at the curbside, the
attendant assisting her with her small overnight case.
Decisions, Decisions
Upon her return home from her Christmas holiday, Mary asked her
doctor for a statement about her abil ity to manage without assistance
(see Appendi x F, item 120). She needed the 1etter to support her
appl ication to a retirement home that she and Lesley visited and that
Mary thought might be best for her in the long run. Mary also requested
a letter from another doctor who had been treating her for her back
377
injury. He not only gave her a recommendation relative to her physical
health, but, according to Mary, a personality recommendation as well.
Mary did not have a copy of that letter, but the doctors's nurse read it
to her over the telephone.
The home in question is for retired teachers. To be eligible one
must have taught in California schools for at least 10 years. Mary
thought that in a community of former teachers she would be sure to find
a number of congenial friends. Furthermore, her sister's sister-in-law
(Whose first name is also "Mary") lives there. This home is a smaller
and more modest facil ity than Samarkand. Unforntunately, even though
Mary's physicians were happy to comply with the letters required for her
application, it was not accepted.
The mechanics of applying were quite time-consuming. After the
doctors' letters were mailed to the retirement residence and Mary's
application mailed around the same time, in early January, 1986, Mary was
required to visit the home again to be examined by the resident's doctor.
She went with Lesley and they found that the administrative director with
whom they had originally spoken had been replaced. The new director
explained that the facil ity had changed its pol icy, in the interim, and
was now committed to "a wellness program."
Ma ry was di sappoi nted but not defeated. She dec i ded to try
Samarkand again. The policy there, as explained to Mary, is that if the
prospective resident physician's report, submitted on the form furnished
by Samarkand, meets the home's standards, the appl icant must then move
into the apartment selected within two months of the acceptance date.
Mary's response was, "Thats where we are now. If they don't take me, I
378
may just stay at home in Berkel eyl"
They did take her, and Mary's moving date was the first of April,
1986 (Appendix F, item 121).
A Moment of Despair
Mary suffered a return of her lower back pain shortly after she
returned home from her Christmas sojourn, in early January. The pain was
excruciating; IIS0 bad," said Mary, "that I was talking to myse'l t'I" David
heard her cry out. He left the TV set in the living room and went to her
room to see what was wrong. IIGrandma," he asked, IIAre you depressed? I
heard you talking to yourself.
1I
To his question she answered, IIYes!1I
David then suggested that maybe she needed to tal k to someone who was
trained to be a helpful listner. Mary agreed that might be a good idea.
Alternatives
It was not that Mary had to move into a retirement home at this
point. She had the option of staying in her home on Shasta Road and
renting the ground floor apartment to someone who would be at home most
of the time, or at least not out of town very often. Mary's grandson,
Jim, was a possibility. He and Katie had separated recently. He offered
to move in, but he would need to have two bedrooms on the main floor
reserved for his two youngsters when they came to visit. This sounded
good to Mary. Jim was then a cabinetmaker and he liked to help Mary by
making household repairs. His Christmas gift to Mary was to fence in her
garbage cans to prevent the racoons and 'possums from turning them over
at night. Mary was not sure, however, that she might not need the spare
rooms on the lower floor for guests or even, perhaps, live-in help, if
379
she decided to remain in her home indefinitely. That contingency might
arise just when Jim·s children needed to visit.
Then there was a young Black student at UC Berkeley who was
studying Arabic. He was a friend of the grandson of some of Mary's
associates. This young man was interested in the possibility of renting
one of Mary's spare rooms, if he could have kitchen privileges.
Mary·s old friends, the Sanfords, were interested, also, in the idea
of a vacation home in Berkeley. They thought Mary·s apartment would meet
their need and be helpful to her as well. It would not, however, allow
Mary the security of having someone living on the premises day in, day
out, who could be available more or less constantly in an emergency.
There was a young woman, a vocational counselor from the Pacific
School of Religion, who would have liked to rent the apartment, sharing
it with a friend (to help pay the rent), but Mary felt the space was too
small for two adults living there full time.
Much as she would have preferred to have her grandson, Jim, she
decided it would not be fair to let him move in when her own longterm
plans were so uncertain. He would only have to relocate if she decided
to sell her house and move, after all.
In the end, Mary arranged for a young woman to move into the
apartment in return for her services. She was a graduate student working
toward a Ph.D. in Classics at UC Berkeley. Mary heard about her through
Mia, Mary·s houseworker. Mia worked for a neighbor of Mary, and the
young woman was this neighbor·s friend. In working out the detail s of
their arrangement, Mary explained that she could not promise indefinite
tenure. As it happened, the graduate student needed residency for the
380
spring semester, and both of them felt fairly certain that this would be
available to her. Even if Mary left before the term was over, the house
could hardly be sold that rapidly.
They had the help of an attorney in defining their agreement. The
young woman agreed to water the garden regularly, to house sit and to
forward Mary's mail to her, should she be out-of-town on a visit or
should she move to Santa Barbara. Mary agreed to the young woman's
moving her baby grand piano into a downstairs bedroom. For her services
the woman would live rent free in the apartment. Before she took
occupancy, she met David, and Jim, too.
Other Options
In early March, after Mary's application to Samarkand had been
processed and accepted, Mary visited two retirement homes in Oakland,
"just to be sure." Both homes were recommended to her by friends. Mary
did not care for either one, really. At the end of this excursion, she
said that she felt certain that if she were going to leave Berkeley, she
would much prefer Santa Barbara to Oakland. Samarkand was more to her
taste than either of the two places in Oakland, and besides, "Les1ey is
in Santa Barbara."
Meeting Challenges
Mary's sister, Louise, expressed qut te well Mary's abi1ity to adapt
to big challenges in life•. In a long, undated letter, probably written
early in 1985, around the time that Mary's sight began to fail her, there
is a paragraph that speaks to this ability (see Appendix F, item 122).
This excerpt offers an astute observation from someone who had been close
381
to Mary throughout the years. Although it is written prior to the crisis
Mary faced later about her living arrangements, it might well be a
foreshadowing of future events. Mary's response to the changes that
occurred over the months that followed offered confirmation of Louise's
conviction: "You always come through" when challenges are big.
Another family member, from a younger generation, also wrote Marya
long letter a bit later in the year (see Appendix F, item 123; note
accurate date on postmark). June, Mary's niece, shows in this letter how
much ties with the extended family mean to her. Mary and June spoke on
the telephone around the time of Mary's birthday, when Mary turned 89.
June followed up on the long distance call with the letter. It is filled
with memories of her childhood vacations spent at the old Cover home in
J o h n s t o w ~ Clearly, this woman, now in her 60s, thinks of her paternal
grandparents with loving nostalgia. June is the firstborn child of John
and Ebba, who was a toddler when her "Aunt Betty" (Le., Mary) was a
young matron and a new mother. This was the era when Mary was working as
a graduate student at Columbia University, researching children's fears,
under Dr. Watson's supervision. Mary had a close tie in those years with
June's mother, who is no longer living. The letter reveals a special
place in June's heart for her Aunt Betty.
~ Neighborhood Network
In 1984 and early 1985 Mary became involved in yet another group.
This was quite small and informal, composed of several women in Mary's
neighborhood. The woman who initiated the gathering had an invalid
husband. He had sustained a very crippling stroke and his wife suffered
382
the stress of his disability, also. She reached out to her neighbors for
support. The women she bought together met in one another's homes once a
week to talk over morning coffee. Some of these neighbors were women
Mary knew through other connections. One was a fellow alumna from
Vassar; another was the wife of a former colleague of Mary, a professor
in the Education Department at UC Berkeley. This woman had suffered a
number of strokes herself. Although Mary did not find these meetings
very helpful to her, personally, she liked the women and was glad to
attend the coffee hour as long as the others found the group beneficial.
~ Change of Direction
Towards the end of 1985 and the beginning of 1986 Mary was
continuing to work on her grant. Although she was no longer able to go
to her office on a daily basis, Dr. Peskin, with whom she was working
co11aborative1y, would come to her home. Other colleagues conferred with
her by telephone and by appointment in her home.
More and more, however, she needed to spend her time going through
papers amassed through the years. Some were filed in her office, others
were at her home. She sorted them into categories -- some would go into
the archives at the IHD; some would be kept with Harold and her Oral
History in the Bancroft Library; some belonged in the archives of others.
Other papers and letters belonged to her daughters and to other family
members. Those that belonged to her alone also required sorting and
filing for easy retrieval. To help with this task Mary hired a skilled
secretary part-time.
383
These matters, professional and personal, required her attention
before she could turn to the more mundane, but arduous, job of packing
household objects. Decisions had to be made, of course, about what
furniture as well as more personal belongings she would take to her new
studio apartment; what she would give to children and grandchildren, and
what would go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. The actual packing
itself would be done largely by Barbara and Lesley, with a lot of help
from Jim. He would drive a U-Haul van down to Lesley's after Mary moved,
taking in it, among other items, the large dining room table built by his
Grandfather Jones.
The house on Shasta Road would still be lived in while being shown
to prospective buyers. David would be there for a while, although he was
looking for a new place. For the time being the new tenant was still in
the a p a r t m e n ~ Most of the antique furniture would remain in the house
until it was sold. The antiques came from Harold's family. Mary's
family lost all of their really old pieces in the big flood in 1889.
Among Mary's cherished possessions that she would not take into her
new home were the qUilts from Grandmother Higson. Barbara has them now.
All of the paintings that she took with her were done by either family or
old friends. The two paintings by an old friend, Flo Holmes, would go
with Mary, to grace the walls of the studio. Flo Holmes' late husband
was a professor whom Mary knew in the Department of Education at UC
Berkel eye When Mary and Harol d reti red in 1960, Dr. Hol mes suggested
that Flo give one of her paintings to Mary as a retirement gift.
Florence had studied brush painting under a Japanese artist, Mr. Obata,
at UC Berkeley. The gift is a landscape of a cypress tree along a
384
shorel tne. Later Mary purchased another of Flols works that she
especially liked; it is a brush painting of a rooster, delicate and full
of grace. Flo and Mary remained good friends through the years. Their
friendship continued through the exchange of letters after Mary's move.
Mary brought other art work with her into her new quarters. Some
time ago Maris sister-in-law, Mary Cover, had given Marya brightly
colored impressionistic cityscape in varied hues of orange. Mary hung
this painting in her new apartment.
Another favorite that Mary brought with her from Shasta Road is a
landscape called "Capri." The artist is an OGS member who had been
working for some time on Maryls portrait, using a colored photograph
taken at the 50th Reunion of the OGS in November 1985. His first
rendition did not satisfy him because, he explained to Mary, it did not
capture the expression in her eyes. On June 7th, 1987, he and his wife
brought the finished painting to Santa Barbara. After having dinner with
Mary and Lesley in Les ley's home, the artist and his wife took the new
work, which measures 2' x 3
1
, to Maris apartment and the artist himself
hung it on her wall. When Mary awakened each morning the portrait fell
in her line of vision. In the painting she is wearing a blue and white
ensemble that highlights the color of her eyes. The artist turned next
to working on a smaller variation of the portrait to give to the IHD.
Mary entertained one of Les Iey's friends in the new setting. She
and Lesley joined Mary for dinner at Samarkand and they spent the evening
visiting. This vts ttor's bread-and-butter 1etter eloquently captures
Maris success in making the apartment into her home (see Appendix F,
385
item 124).
Some Abiding Ties
Moving from the home where Mary had spent the greater part of her
adult life was fraught with more than the ordeal of sorting and packing;
more than the dilemma of deciding what to give to whom, what to discard,
and what to take into her new setting.
As anyone who has moved knows, going through 01d correspondence,
writing notes to friends about an impending move, receiving responses, in
the form of auf Wiedersehens as well as letters wishing one happiness in
the new setting - all such activities tend to turn ones thoughts to a
life review. Mary shared her thoughts - often of hopes and sometimes of
fears - with those closest to her, as well as those with whom she
anticipated becoming closer in her new surroundings. (For some of the
responses she received refer to Appendix F, items 125 and 126, pp. 1-3).
The first item (125) is a card sent to Mary by a study member who was
celebrating his own retirement. It is not a response, but rather a
foreshadowing. This member did not know that Mary was preparing to leave
her home on Shasta, overlooking the Bay, and move into a retirement home
at the time he sent her the postcard. He was responding to his own
reminiscences upon viewing the lights of his wife's home town in far away
Germany. And yet the card reads as though he might have known, and it
struck a responsive chord for Mary when she received it, in the midst of
preparations for her move.
The next two items are answers Mary received from two friends she
had made upon her first sojourn in Samarkand nine years ago (126, pp. 1-
386
3). The photograph in color on the original of the postcard in item 126
is of Samarkand.
More Abiding Ties
The loving note that follows comes from Mary's brother John, and his
wife, Mary (Appendix F, item 127).
Not all the letters that Mary read at this time were newly written.
Some were uncovered in the sorting and packing process. Among the most
rewarding were those that came from Lois, Mary's friend from Vassar
college days and those early days in New York. Three letters and a note
on a newspaper clipping from Lois, written in the first half of the
decade of the 1980s, are included (Items 128 through 131). Mary's
response to these newfound mementos was one of gratitude. She felt as
though her old friend had been restored to her. As she put it, "When I
found the box filled with letters, clippings, and notes from Lois, and
re-read them, I realized she thought about me more than I supposed she
did. This makes me feel better about our relationship. Previously I had
thought I cared a lot more about her than she did about me; now I no
longer feel that way."
The first one of Lois' letters, written in the Spring of 1982,
speaks about the demands made upon a retiree's time, and Lois demurs a
bit at Mary's remark about being intellectually active "to keep brain
cell s fi t,"
In the next 1etter, Loi s suggests there is a part of Mary that is
still young, again reflecting on a prior letter from Mary to which Lois
is responding. Then Lois expresses pleasure at being included in Mary's
387
oral history (Item 129).
The following month Lois sent Marya clipping from a Santa Monica
newspaper about an activity to which Lois was commiting her time and
talent, the Senior Health and Peer Counseling Center (SHPCC). Mary
responded to this by noting that her friend appears to be more "growth"
motivated than she (see also the following item, 131, p.3, for more about
psychological growth). Mary's point, apropos of the prior reference, is
that Lois began her professional life as a musician, a concert pianist,
and in her later years she has found a new and quite different creative
endeavor in peer counsel ing. She has switched from the performing arts
to the helping professions. Mary, on the other hand, saw herself as a
comparative II stick in the mud", since she continued along the same path,
that of developmental psychology.
In November 1983, over a year after Lois sent Mary the clipping
about SHPCC, the two old friends had a face-to-face visit in Mary's home.
While there, Lois attended a GEL meeting with Mary (on Tuesday, November
15th) and, among other topics, Lois told the group how rewarding she
found the peer counseling program.
Lois' enthusiasm fo-r SHPCC may have had some influence upon Mary's
decision to telephone Lois and have a long distance visit with her in the
Spring of 1984 (refer to item 130). JUdging from Lois' letter, the two
spent quite a bit of their visit talking about Mary's considering whether
or not to participate in a research project that provides 16 sessions of
psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy for adults over 50. Two goals
of the project were to help the clients deal with developmental tasks of
aging and to evaluate the efficacy of the research methodology. Mary
388
learned about the project through her connection with GEL. She did
decide to enter the research project as a subject and she completed the
series of therapy sessions.
Another especially heart-warming letter that Mary received, this one
in the winter of 1986 while she was caught up in the logistics of moving,
came from her old friends, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Wolpe (see Appendix F,
item 132). The Wolpes were visiting their son in southern Cal ifornia.
They had hoped to visit Mary, too, but the timing did not work out well
for them. Mary, involved with the multiple tasks of moving, found the
Wol pels 1etter a moral e booster.
A few months later, in April 1986, after Mary moved to Samarkand,
Dr. Wolpe and she had a chance to visit. Mary said, "Wolpe was here. I
talked to him and went to the conference he was attending. I was
'hailed' by the audience, and I enjoyed meeting some young people there."
The "young" people, Mary added, were in their 60s.
Later still, towards the end of July, Mary heard from Dr. Wolpe
again (Appendix F, item 133). In forwarding a copy of this brisk letter,
Mary penned her own commentary, written on one of Louise's wildflower
note papers (see Appendix F, item 134).
During this same period, from early 1986 when Mary began
preparations to move and through the spring months while she was
settling into her new place, Mary received several letters from another
coll eague of 1ong-s tandi ng, Dr. Jack 81ock, Thi s correspondence
continued through the following year. About these letters Mary had this
to say:
389
He [Jack Block] writes me letters which I greatly appreciate.
Thank God (or whomever) for my friends in Berkeley!
Sustaining correspondence was not 1imited to colleagues who were
also dear friends. There were letters from Mary's family as well. One
that she treasured particularly came late in April from her grandson,
David, who was still living on Shasta Road at that time. Other family
members kept up steady correspondence with Mary, especially her grandson,
Jim, and her sister, Louise. Four letters from Louise, all written
within a few months of each other, in the first half of 1986 (one, dated
1985, appears from internal evidence to have been written in 1986), gave
evidence of Louise's concern for her older sister and her hope that Mary
would be able to make the transition from Berkeley to retirement at
Samarkand satisfactorily (see Appendix F, items 135, 136, 137 and 138).
Soon after Mary moved into her new home she began visiting a
psychiatrist, once every other week. This was the same docter who had,
nine years earlier, helped Mary decide to leave the retirement home and
return to her office in Tolman Hall and her home in Berkeley. Now, Mary
reported, the doctor appeared to believe that she had made the right
decision in returning to Santa Barbara. Mary wrote, in May 1986, "I still
see my psychiatrist and go to three classes!"
A month earlier, less than two weeks after arriving in Santa
Barbara, Mary wrote about her new status:
That Mary Jones••• is now in a retirement residence trying to
adjust! She likes being near her daughter, the sunshine, the
bird calls (mocking birds), but she misses her former life
and friends ..... Lesley is a wonder - the best thing about
S.[anta] B.[arbara].
390
Then, a month later, Mary spoke about a new friend. This woman used
to be employed in Berkeley at the School for the Blind and Deaf. Now she
herself had been losing her hearing and her eyesight. Mary and she ate
dinner together, at a table seating five. Sometimes the friend visited
Mary after dinner in her apartment and they watched the MacNeil/Lehrer
newscast and the nature programs that follow soon afterwards on the
public television channel.
Mary met other people she also found likable. One of these was a
woman from Amherst, Massachusetts whom Mary met originally through Harold
Jones' sister, years ago. Mary and she had exchanged Christmas cards
through the years. Now they found themselves living in the same place.
This old acquaintance was born in China. Her parents were medical
missionaries. Recently she had been quite ill and had to go into the
hospital at Samarkand; but she recovered and returned to her own
apartment on the third floor, down the hall from Mary's apartment.
The two friends whom Mary knew from her earl ier days at Samarkand
were not as available as Mary had thought they might be, when she first
decided to return. One of them had a sick husband who required a great
deal of his wife's time and attention. She sat at the same table as Mary
at dinner time, however; so they did have a chance to visit while dining.
The other woman had become very active in the community of Samarkand.
She was involved in many projects that are time-consuming and she also
worked in the gift shop at the residence.
In the early weeks following Mary's move into her new environment,
while renewing old acquintances, making new friends, and trying to find
her niche, Mary wrote to her grandson, Jim. She must have confessed to
391
feel ing a bit IIgloomyll, jUdging from Jim's response, which was perceptive
and loving (refer to Appendix F, item 139). Jim took note, on his
dateline, that he was writing to his grandmother on the birthday of his
sister, lynne.
392
Chapter XII
SETTLING IN
As the weeks grew into months at Samarkand, Mary kept extremely
busy. There were the customary telephone visits with her brother, John
and Mary, his wife, as well as with her sister, Louise, and her husband,
Bob. Mary's old friend, Marjorie Lozoff, continued her telephone visits
with Mary frequently, although Marge did not call Mary daily, now that
she was in her new surroundings. Shortly after Mary moved to Samarkand
she received a telephone call from Ike, a member of GEL who lives in
Napa, California. Ike's wife, Dorothy, was both a colleague and a friend
of Mary from the IHD. Ike also corresponded with Mary, keeping up their
friendship that began years earlier and grew stronger when Dorothy and
Ike stayed in Mary and Harold's home during the latter part of Dorothy's
pregnancy.[87] Travel ing back and forth from the Eichorn's home in Napa
to the Institute in Berkeley had become difficult for Dorothy as her
pregnancy progressed. More recently, Mary's and Ike's friendship
flourished through the meetings of GEL.
There were neighbors from Berkeley with whom Mary also kept up an
active correspondence. One of them, Catherine landreth, was also an
early associate from the IHD. Catherine was Director of the Nursery
School at the Institute in its early days (see above, p . 2 6 7 ~
letters and cards poured into Mary's new mailbox from OGS members.
Mary continued telephoning these folk on their birthdays, and she sent
393
them birthday cards with personal notes, as she has been doing through
the years.
Mary was an excellent correspondent who answered letters from
family, friends, and colleagues, as well as study members, fully and
punctually. Visits were important to her - either in per-son or by
telephone. Notes and cards were also highly valued. All of these media
of communication helped Mary keep her interpersonal relationships alive
and well.
Mary entertained visitors in the residence dining room as well as in
her own apartment, and she was often invited out to dinner. lesley and
Mary shared many meals together; sometimes at Samarkand; often in
lesley's home. On Mother's Day Barbara and Ken came to lesley's for an
overnite visit and Mary spent the day there with all three of them.
In addition to an active social life, Mary was settling in in other
ways. With lesley's help, Mary found a new dentist as well as a new
physician. The dentist fitted her mouth with new bridge work. The
doctor was a young man of 40 years or so who received his training at
Johns Hopkins. He gave Marya complete medical evaluation prior to
recommending changes in her medication. This required a number of visits
-- some in the form of house calls by the doctor; some to the hospital by
Mary. She took a battery of 1aboratory tests. The doctor gave tests
that none of her former doctors had given.
Mary also had a new hearing device fitted. All of these procedures
required a great deal of time, as well as a considerable outlay of
capital.
394
Finding a new hair stylist was another item on the agenda. Mary had
(as may be noted from photographs in Apprendix F) an abundant head of
hair. It needed to be properly cut to enhance its natural curl and allow
it to frame her face gracefully.
Samarkand, Mary found, has a good 1ibrary. It is located close to
the dining room. Mary visited it often, checking out books to take back
to her apartment for reading at her leisure.
Beyond Mary's own strategies for settling into her new milieu,
Samarkand abetted the process by offering a number of activities that are
scheduled on a week-to-week calendar (see Appendix F, item 140). Mary
was looking forward to the Chautauqua days scheduled for mid-May (refer
to "This week" at the top of the Activity Highlights on the Calendar,
p.1). She found this a disappointment, however. This activity failed to
capture the essence of Chatauqua, as Mary recalled it from those
rewarding summers spent there in her childhood and early teenage years.
One of the classes Mary attended regularly she found quite
interesting. It is called "Recollecting and Writing" (item 140, n.z,
under Wednesday 5/14). The group met for two hours once a week. The
teacher was a member of the faculty of Santa Barbara City. College. She
was competent and enabl ing. There were around 15 members. Everyone
brought written assignments to class and each took a turn reading aloud
from her/his paper.· Then the class members critiqued one another's
papers. Mary said that the class was supportive of each member's work.
The interchange among classmates was what Mary liked most about the
classes (see Appendix F, items 141 and 142, for two examples of Mary's
contributions. Note her comment above the cartoon in item 141).
395
There was another class that Mary enjoyed. It was held at a
neighboring retirement home, Valley Verde. The teacher was Bill Downey,
who wrote a book entitled Writing From the Right Side of the Brain. This
class drew on the larger community for its students and it numbered close
to 30. Mary found the group stimulating. She re-worked some of her
earlier unpublished writings about the OGS members for this class.
Another subject Mary was writing about was her own retirement. She
called this paper "When Did I Retire? 1960 or 1980?" (see Appendix F,
item 143). Marls only complaint about these two writing classes was
that she found typing troublesome. Marls psychiatrist was encouraging
her to do some writing independent of these class assignments. He
suggested that she might keep a journal, focusing on her feelings. Mary
began giving the suggestion some serious thought.
Another class that Mary tried soon after her arrival in Santa
Barbara was one in Current Events. She found this unsatisfactory because
she could not hear well enough to participate in the discussions.
Athird class that Mary attended was one in exercising. It was held
for an hour once a week at Samarkand. Her exercise was not limited to
this hour once a week, however. She walked to and from the dining room
for all of her meals. This was a pleasant walk, in Santa Barbara's
customarily sunny weather. It was almost a block each way, past a fish
pond stocked with beautiful Japanese carp.
Getting Around
It was important to Mary not to become too dependent upon Lesl eye
That, after all, was one of the reasons she moved to Santa Barbara in the
396
first place; so as not to work a hardship on her daughters. She was glad
to find, therefore, shortly after her arrival at Samarkand, that an
unusual transportation service was available to her. It was, said Mary,
"not cheap, but worth the money it cost," A woman named Jean provided a
service for seniors, especially. She called it "Jaunts with Jean,11 and
her customers paid a fee by the month, rather than a fare by the ride.
Jean drove the passenger wherever s/he needed to go within the greater
Santa Barbara environs. Mary used the service for transportation back
and forth from the writing class that Bill Downey taught. She also used
Jaunts with Jean for occasional appointments with her psychiatrist, and
other errands she might need to run. The service was highly
personalized. Jeanls car was equipped with a two-way radio.
Samarkand had its own van that would take residents for more routine
doctor or dental appointments, as well as for special events sponsored by
the residence, such as the Santa Barbara Symphony (see item 140, p.2,
last entry). With these two services Maryls transportation needs were
well met.
First Weeks of Summer in Santa Barbara
By mid-May Mary was settling in quite well. After Mother's Day
Lesley took a brief vacation to visit her daughter, Jane, in Fort
Collins, Colorado. The day after arriving back home, Lesley had her
Sierra Club group in for a new members meeting.
Mary was spending more time in chapel and church than had been her
custom in Berkeley. Towards the end of May she joined Lesley for a
Sunday service at Lesley's church. The minister spoke to the question,
397
IIWhat Is A Ltberal ?" He also quoted from Carl Jung (whose last name,
Mary noted, he pronounced "younq"),
A hymn frequently sung at Unitarian-Universalist services gave Mary
special pleasure (see Appendix F, item 144).[88]
The wife of the minister at the church to which Lesley belonged had
had training with SAGE. This was several years ago. She and Mary spoke
about the possibility of starting a SAGE group under the auspices of the
Unitarian Universalist church of Santa Barbara.
On June 1st Mary went to religious services tWice. In the morning
she attended chapel at Samarkand and in the afternoon she visited a
service of the Chinese Free Church with some of her new friends at
Samarkand.
The following Sunday was Lesley's birthday and she and Mary went to
church together again. This time the service included a celebration of
the ending of the church school year. The youngsters of the congregation
were responsible for the program. The theme they chose was peace.
Teachers were recognized for their service to the church school
throughout the preceding year, and Lesley received an award for her
teaching.
Mary enjoyed occasionally attending service with Lesley. In
general, however, formal rel igion was not Mary's cup of tea; not since
her philosophy course at Vassar. Mary was not opposed to religious
observances. It was simply something that she did not feel she needed in
her own life. This caused her some discomfort in her new living
situation. Most of the residents at Samarkand attend church regularly.
They say blessings at mealtimes. They talk about religious concerns
398
frequently. Prayer is a part of their daily lives. Since Mary had a
son-in-law, Ken, who is a minister, her new friends naturally assumed
that she, too, would be a devout Christian. Upon learning that she
occasionally attended services with her daughter lesley, two of her new
friends asked her, one day, if she bel ieved in the Holy Ghost. Mary's
reply to the question was, "The Unitarians don't; make you." Theological
discussions tapered off after this compendious response.
Mary had read another kind of bible in recent years. This is a book
by Derek Humphrey called let Me Die Before 1 Wake. It is advertised as
'The bible of the euthenasia movement."[89] Mary was reminded of the
book since movi ng to Samarkand because she found another book, in the
1ibrary, called Euthenasia and Religion, publ ished in 1985. This book
examines the question of euthenasia as a number of modern religions look
at it -- the Roman Catholic Church, the Hebrew religion, Christian
Science, and other denominations of Protestantism. Mary found this to be
an interesting b o o ~
Changes in Traffic Patterns
Mary knew, at the time she pl anned moving to Samarkand, that the
residence was embarking on a building program (refer to Appendix F, item
125, para. 1). In June of 186 the renovation was in full swing. An old
building was being razed and a new one erected in its place. This
reconstruction entailed ground breaking as well as removal of shrubs and
trees. The blue jays, which Mary had enjoyed feeding on her window sill,
were frightened away by the construction work. Mary and her neighbors
were re-routed for their trips back and forth from apartments to dining
399
room. There were more stairs to navigate up and down on the new pathway.
At times Mary had to revert to using her cane. The workmen arrived
early, around 7:30 in the morning, and the noise was deafening. All in
all, this was not a pleasant experience.
It was around this time that Mary had been looking forward to a
visit from her old friend, Lois. She and a friend of hers had planned to
drive up to Santa Barbara from Santa Monica to visit Mary. This trip was
cancelled at the last minute, however, because Lois developed a severe
back pain. This made the long automobile drive out of the question.
Lois and Mary decided that Mary would visit Lois, instead, when Mary goes
to Long Beach for Barbara and Ken's retirement celebration at the end of
June. Santa Monica would be on the way.
Family Gatherings: Another Retirement
Lesley's son, Pete, came home from college in Colorado in mid-June.
Barbara came up to visit, and Louise and Bob came down to Santa Barbara.
The occasion for this gathering was the celebration of Lesley's birthday.
Barbara's son, Jim, sent a cassette of a song he wrote for Mary (see
Appendix F, item 145). He set it to music and accompanied it with a
gUitar. Although the heading on the copy furnished Mary is "Jim's Song",
Mary said that he referred to it as "Grandma's Song." Mary shared Ji m's
letter, written to her on May 21st, with her granddaughter, Jane, Jim's
cousin, when Jane visited her mother, Lesley, in early June. Jim's song,
dedicated to his grandmother, makes a heart-warming follow-up to his
earlier letter (see item 139).
400
All of the extended family who were in town gathered for dinner at
Lesley's home on Sunday, June 15th. Pete was there, and his aunt,
Barbara, as well as Bob and Louise and Mary, and, of course, Lesley
herself. The following day Barbara accompanied Mary to her class, but
the instructor was not there. Barbara and Mary returned to Samarkand for
lunch. Then Bob and Louise, as well as Lesley and Barbara, joined Mary
for dinner at Samarkand. That evening, because of the renovation work
still underway, the electricity in Mary's building was turned off. Since
Mary lived on the third floor and the elevator would not be operating,
Mary's company decided they had better leave early to avoid the hazard of
descending the long stairway in the dark.
Barbara left for Long Beach on Tuesday. Louise and Bob stayed on at
Lesley's for a few days. On Thursday evening the four remaining members
of the family joined Mary Hill, Bob's sister, for dinner out in Santa
Barbara. Mary Hill 1ives at the retirement home to which Mary applied
just prior to her return to Samarkand.
These festive occasions were sobered by the news of a sudden death
in the family. John Cover's grandson, a young man in his late 30s, died
in his sleep a week or so prior to the family gathering. Mary was
uncertain of the cause of his death. He was a scuba diver, and she
believed that his death might have been related to his work under water
in some way.
Mary's plan to visit Lois while en route to Long Beach for Barbara
and Ken's retirement party at the end of June met with frustration. Mary
had planned to travel with Lesley, stopping one night at Lois' home in
Santa Monica and another night at the home of a friend of Lesley. The
401
plans had to be cancelled at the last minute because Lesley thought she
would not be able to take the trip. Her husband, Alec, was to undergo
emergency surgery at that time. As it turned out, the surgery was
cancelled, but too late to reinstate the original itinerary. Once again,
Mary and Lois postponed their visit. Lesley and Mary were able, however,
to drive down to Long Beach for the retirement celebration.
Ken had been the parish minister at the church in Long Beach for
eleven years. His congregation had grown over the years of his ministry
and the church body was sorry to see him and Barbara leave. To show
their gratitude for his and Barbara's services and to express their
affection, the parishioners were giving the couple a six week vacation in
England. This would be in September and October. First Ken and Barbara
would move to their new home at Pilgrim Place, a retirement community in
Claremont, California.
The family gathering for the farewell celebration included all four
adult children of the Coates. There were: Carol from Wisconsin; Lynne
from Oregon; Jim and David from the Bay Area. Then there were the
grandchildren: Carol's daughters, Katie and Laura (14 and 8 years old,
respectively); Lynne's girls, Emily (9 years old) and Alice (4 years
old); Jim's sons, Benjy (6 years old), and Julian (3 years old). Ken's
brother also came. Altogether, the party numbered 15.
Jim brought his guitar and played the song he wrote for Mary,
accompanied on the piano. The entire family group attended a picnic
lunch in the park on Saturday.
The festive reunion at the church on Saturday night was well
attended. Mary thoroughly enjoyed it. She and Lesley had to leave early
402
Sunday morning. David managed to find time, while in the area, to visit
an archeological museum in Ventura. He wanted to see the Chinese digs on
display there. He also squeezed in a side trip to the art and history
museums in los Angeles. Mary was gratified to find him so motivated.
Professional Pursuits
Before the month of June was over Mary had a visit from her old
friend and colleague, Frances Carp. This was both a meeting about
professional matters and a social occasion (see Appendix F, item 146).
Mary began looking forward to writing a chapter for the new book that Dr.
Carp is planning (see para. 4 f f ~
In her letter (para. 2), Dr. Carp offers a suggestion not unlike
the one made by Mary's psychiatrist, when he suggested that she might
find it enlightening to keep a journal. Mary was not sure she wanted to
follow through on either of these suggestions, however. She thought,
instead, that she might prefer trying her hand at creative writing.
Mid-Summer at Samarka