Margaret Floy Washburn Margaret Floy Washburn was an advocate for equal educational opportunities for women and became the very first woman in the United States to be awarded a doctoral degree in psychology. Through persistence, Washburn convinced Columbia University to allow her to audit classes taught by noted psychologist, James McKeen Cattell. About a year later Cattell recommended that Washburn apply to Cornell University, one of very few institutions that would accept females as graduate students.
She belongs to the second generation of American psychologists, those trained under Americans who had themselves studied in Germany, many at Leipzig under Wilhelm Wundtthe reputed founder of the new experimental psychology. Washburn studied in the s at Cornell University under the Wundtian introspectionist E.
Titchener and attained her independent competence before J. Watson founded the American movement of behaviorism in It was much later that the American positivistic be-haviorists began to think of behavior as identical with the mind instead of merely furnishing the ground from which the nature of the mind can be inferred.
Washburn is best known for her surveys of the literature of animal psychology that appeared in successive editions of her book The Animal Mind ; the fourth edition appeared in For over a quarter of a century this repeatedly updated volume remained the standard text in comparative psychology, a secondary source consulted both by students and by scholars.
Washburn designed each study, made the interpretation, and wrote the report, but the experiment was conducted by a student under her supervision, and the paper was published under their joint names.
This well-known series reveals Washburn as a general psychologist, in the days when it was still possible for a psychologist to work on a broad range of topics in normal psychology— human or animal. One book, Movement and Mental Imagery: Outlines of a Motor Theory of the Convplexer Mental Processesrepresents her attempt to resolve the difference between introspectionism and behaviorism, the two horns of what was then the American psychological dilemma.
She was an only child, and the friends of her youth were books; by the time she went to school she was already an omnivorous reader. When she was ten, her parents settled in Kingston, New York. She attended Vassar College, from which she obtained her a. Facing the choice of a career, Washburn was torn between her love of philosophy and of science; as a compromise she chose psychology, as so many important psychologists facing the same conflict had done before her.
She went first to Columbia to work under J. McKeen Cattell, although it took the Columbia trustees some months to be persuaded to allow a woman to listen to the lectures. Cattell sent her to Cornell, where women were more welcome, and her arrival there coincided with that of Titchener, who had recently obtained his PH.
She received her PH. In those days it was not easy for a woman to obtain an academic position. In she was called to Vassar College, where for five years she was associate professor of philosophy in charge of psychology, and from on, professor of psychology. Her active career continued for almost three decades, until on March 18,she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, dying in Pough-keepsie, New York, on October 29, Washburn received many honors.
She was president of the American Psychological Association in and vice-president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Also in she received an honorary D. She was elected to the select Society of Experimental Psychologists inimmediately after the death of Titchener, who had opposed the admission of women.
In she was elected to the National Academy of Sciencesthe second woman to become a member of that distinguished body.She was then able to become the first woman to earn her doctoral degree in American Psychology and became one of the most influential psychologists.
Childhood And Early Education.
Margaret Floy Washburn was born on July 25, , in New York City. She grew up in Harlem with her parents, Francis Washburn and Elizabeth Floy.
Margaret Floy Washburn: , American Journal of Psychology, 53, Furumoto, L., & Scarborough E. (). Placing women in the history of comparative psychology: Margaret Floy Washburn and Margaret Morse Nice. Washburn, Margaret FloyWORKS BY WASHBURN SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY Margaret Floy Washburn  () was one of the few women in America to receive her PH.D.
in psychology before the turn of the century and to achieve distinction in this field soon after. Margaret Floy Washburn was a pioneering psychologist who was also the first American woman to be granted a Ph.D. in Psychology. Learn more about her life and career.
Margaret Floy Washburn was the first woman to earn a doctoral degree in American psychology () and the second woman, after Mary Whiton Calkins, to serve as APA President. Ironically, Calkins earned her doctorate at Harvard in , but the university trustees refused to grant her the degree.
Women in Psychology – Margaret Floy Washburn PSY/ May 23, Women in Psychology Margaret Floy Washburn was an accomplished and highly-recognized woman within the field of psychology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.