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Ainsworth, Mary (01 December 1913–21 March 1999), developmental psychologist, who devised an experimental procedure called the Strange Situation to investigate attachment patterns in young children, was born Mary Dinsmore Salter in Glendale, Ohio, the daughter of Charles Salter, a successful businessman, and Mary Dinsmore Salter. She spent most of her childhood in Toronto, Canada, where she attended the University of Toronto, which awarded her a B.A. (1935), an M.A. (1936), and a Ph.D. (1939), the last two for work at the Department of Psychology. She mainly worked with the child psychologist William E. Blatz, whose security theory, research on children's emotional development, and use of naturalistic observation methods inspired her subsequent work on attachment. Mary Salter was a lecturer at the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto from 1939 until 1942, when she was commissioned in the Canadian Women's Army Corps, attaining the rank of major. In 1946 she returned to the University of Toronto as assistant professor and further developed her psychodiagnostic skills (co-authoring a book on the evaluation of results obtained with the Rorschach inkblot test in the process). In 1950 she married Leonard Ainsworth, a graduate student in psychology, and moved with him to London, England. There, she worked with the psychoanalytically trained child psychiatrist John Bowlby at the Tavistock Institute. At that time, Bowlby was investigating the detrimental effects on young children of being placed in institutions providing foster care and of prolonged separation from primary caregivers in general. Breaking with then-prevalent psychoanalytic assumptions, Bowlby intended to investigate the effects of actual life events on the course of child development. Ainsworth and Bowbly initiated a lifelong collaborative association; Ainsworth contributed two chapters to Bowlby's seminal ...

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Bibring, Grete Lehner (11 January 1899–10 August 1977), psychoanalyst, was born in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Moritz Lehner, a businessman, and Victoria Stengel. She attended the Humanistic Gymnasium for Girls, where she became fluent in Greek and Latin. She first learned of the work of Sigmund Freud at age sixteen in a psychology class at the Gymnasium. On the way home from school that day she purchased two of his books....

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Bronner, Augusta Fox (22 July 1881–11 December 1966), psychologist and expert in juvenile delinquency, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Gustave Bronner, a wholesale milliner, and Hanna Fox. Both of his parents were of German ancestry. Bronner’s maternal grandfather had been the founder of Louisville’s Reform Jewish Temple, and the Bronner family was active in the town’s Jewish community. Augusta, the middle child of three, was encouraged by her open-minded family to pursue a career instead of confining herself to housework....

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Joyce Brothers. Dr. Joyce Brothers, half-length portrait, facing slightly left, holding a book she wrote, 1957. Photographic print by Phyllis Twacht. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117953).

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Brothers, Joyce (20 October 1927–13 May 2013), psychologist, television and radio personality, and columnist, was born Joyce Diane Bauer in Brooklyn, New York, to Morris K. Bauer and Estelle Rappaport Bauer, a Jewish couple who shared a law practice. She and sister, Elaine, were raised in Queens, where Joyce was an honors student at Far Rockaway High School....

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Bühler, Charlotte (20 December 1893–03 February 1974), psychologist and psychotherapist, was born Charlotte Bertha Malachowski in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of Hermann Malachowski, a successful architect, and Rose Kristeller, a former opera singer. Born into an assimilated Jewish family, she attended school in Berlin and then studied psychology and philosophy at the Universities of Freiburg, Berlin, and Munich, completing her doctorate at the latter institution with research on thought experiments in 1918. She met ...

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Calkins, Mary Whiton (30 March 1863–26 February 1930), psychologist and philosopher, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Wolcott Calkins, a Protestant clergyman, and Charlotte Whiton, a social activist. The close-knit family included two daughters and three sons, and Mary remained devoted to her family and its Christian values her entire life....

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Casal, Lourdes (5 Apr. 1938–1 Feb. 1981), poet, literary critic, social psychologist, and political activist, was born Lourdes Emilia Irene de la Caridad Casal y Valdés in Havana, Cuba, the daughter of two professional parents, Pedro Casal, a doctor in medicine and a dentist, and Emilia Valdés, an elementary school teacher. Of mixed heritage, Casal’s family included black, white, and Chinese ancestry....

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Clark, Mamie (18 April 1917–11 August 1983), psychologist and community mental health pioneer, was born Mamie Katherine Phipps in Hot Springs, Arkansas, one of two children and the only daughter of Harold H. Phipps, a prominent physician and resort owner, and Katie Florence Phipps. She described her upbringing in the Jim Crow South as largely happy and secure despite racial tensions and the economic privations of the Great Depression....

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Benjamin Harris and Merle Curti

Curti, Margaret Wooster (18 February 1892–19 September 1961), psychologist, was born in Silver Creek, Nebraska, the daughter of Charles Wooster, a newspaper publisher and progressive politician, and Lillie M. Todd. At the University of Nebraska (B.A., 1913, A.M., 1915) she learned experimental psychology from ...

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Deutsch, Helene Rosenbach (09 October 1884–29 March 1982), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born in Przemyśl, Poland, the daughter of Wilhelm Rosenbach, a lawyer, and Regina Fass. Her parents were Jewish, but she grew up a Polish nationalist. As early as 1898 she became romantically involved with a much older man, Herman Lieberman, who was a Social Democratic leader. Lieberman was married, however, and a divorce in those days was politically out of the question; nonetheless, their affair lasted for years. Although formal schooling was impossible in Poland for a woman, tutoring enabled her to enroll at the University of Vienna in 1907. From the outset she was interested in a psychiatric career....

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Downey, June Etta (13 July 1875–11 October 1932), psychologist, was born in Laramie, Wyoming, the daughter of Colonel Stephen Downey and Evangeline Owen. Both parents were strongly committed to public service. Colonel Downey, a trial lawyer, was one of the first territorial delegates from Wyoming to the United States House of Representatives, while Evangeline Downey was active and influential in church, educational, and political affairs in the town of Laramie. Although socially prominent in their community, the Downeys were not wealthy. June Downey recalled that as children she and her nine siblings lived in a small crowded house in somewhat narrow circumstances. And after her father died in 1902, when her youngest sibling was not yet seven, Downey’s mother began handpainting china to help support her family. Downey herself never married and continued to reside throughout her life with her mother in the family home....

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Dunbar, Helen Flanders (14 May 1902–21 August 1959), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and pioneer in psychosomatic medicine, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Francis William Dunbar, a mathematician and patent attorney, and Edith Vaughan Flanders, a genealogist. She attended a series of private, largely experimental schools, graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1923....

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Frenkel-Brunswik, Else (18 August 1908–31 March 1958), psychologist, was born in Lemberg, a Polish town in the Austro-Hungarian empire (and later Lvov in Russia), the daughter of Abraham Frenkel, a banker, and Helene Gelernter. The family moved to Vienna in 1914 to escape a pogrom....

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Fromm-Reichmann, Frieda (23 October 1889–28 April 1957), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, the daughter of Adolf Reichmann, a merchant and banker, and Klara Simon, a teacher. Believing that young women should be educated and able to support themselves, Klara Reichmann directed the education of her daughters in the arts and sciences and encouraged their professional training. Frieda Reichmann entered the medical school at Albertus University in Könisberg, Germany, in 1908, receiving her medical degree in 1913....

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Gibson, Eleanor J. (7 Dec. 1910–30 Dec. 2002), experimental psychologist, was born Eleanor Jack into a middle class family in Peoria, Illinois. Her father, William Jack, was a businessman, and her mother, Isabel Grier, was a graduate of Smith College, a prestigious women’s college. Eleanor attended the local public schools and enrolled at Smith College at the age of sixteen. At Smith Eleanor first encountered psychology and met her husband, ...

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Gilbert, Ruth Alice “Ronnie” (7 Sept. 1926–6 June 2015), folksinger, actor, and therapist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Sarah and Charles Gibson. Her mother was a dressmaker and her father was a factory worker; both parents were Jewish. Ronnie inherited her lifelong leftwing politics particularly from her Polish-born mother, who was long involved with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and who took her daughter to a ...

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Lillian M. Gilbreth Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101773).

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Gilbreth, Lillian Evelyn Moller (24 May 1878–02 January 1972), industrial psychologist, was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of William Moller, a partner in a large retail hardware business, and Annie Delger. Lillian was tutored at home by her mother until she was nine, after which she attended public elementary and high schools. In high school she studied music with John Metcalfe, for whose song “Sunrise” she wrote the verses. Her lifelong interest in poetry began at this period. She attended the University of California in nearby Berkeley, receiving a B.Litt. degree in 1900. She was the first woman commencement speaker at Berkeley. She then moved to New York to begin graduate studies in English literature at Columbia University, but she soon left before getting a degree and returned to Berkeley, where she received an M.Litt. in 1902. Her thesis was on Ben Jonson’s ...

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Goodenough, Florence Laura (06 August 1886–04 April 1959), developmental psychologist, was born in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Linus North Goodenough and Alice Gertrude Day, farmers. Considered intellectually gifted early on, she attended a rural school in Rileyville, Pennsylvania. In 1908 she received a B.Pd. from Millersville (Pa.) Normal School....