An Influential Person Margaret Floy Washburn

Margaret Floy Washburn is considered one of the most remembered psychologists. She served psychology with a desire and purpose that noticed her become the primary girl to obtain a Ph. D within the topic and in addition the president of the American Psychological Association. By any measure, she served and achieved way over most other individuals like her. Born on July 25, 1871 in New York to Rev. Francis and Elizabeth Floy, Washburn was the one baby to her parents and spent the primary eight years of her life in her ancestral house amid grown ups, flowers and gardens.

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In her autobiography ‘History of Psychology in Autobiography’ Washburn reminisces her childhood days at her ancestral house. She doesn’t point out any of her childhood companions in any of her writings, but takes satisfaction in being the only baby. She says that, being the one baby had given her the privilege of being undisturbed during leisure time. Although she didn’t go to school till she became seven, she had learnt to read and write nicely before that.

Washburn attended public college when she was eleven years old and graduated high school at fifteen.


Washburn took up chemistry and French whereas attending Vassar College, however whereas graduating in 1891, she was already interested in philosophy and science. As the two areas have been combined as experimental psychology, which was then an rising new area of science, she wished to check in the newly shaped Columbia University psychological laboratory. Although Cattell, her information beneath whom she was to study welcomed and inspired her, Columbia University would not enroll a woman graduate.

However after three months of persuasion, she was lastly admitted as a ‘hearer’ in Cattell’s class.

Cattell later advised her to get herself transferred to the Sage School of Philosophy, at Cornell University the place she not only had the prospects of receiving a degree, however a scholarship too. In 1892, Washburn grew to become Titchener’s student and took her MA degree in 1893. The subsequent yr she obtained her Ph. D from Cornell, making her the primary woman to obtain a Ph. D in psychology. She quickly took to teaching psychology, philosophy and ethics as a professor at Wells College, while being in contact with Cornell, attending seminars and visiting its libraries.

In 1902, when she took up the place of assistant professorship in Cincinnati University, she was the one girl college member. Washburn returned to Vassar College in 1903, which marked a big turning point in her profession. It was in this 12 months that she was included in Cattell’s list of ‘important men of science’ and also grew to become the cooperating editor of the American Journal of Psychology, which she held for thirty-six years. She was with the Vassar College for the rest of her life, the place she proved herself as a profitable trainer and administrator.

One of one of the best undergraduate psychology courses within the nation was soon established at the Vassar College. There was lots of effort in every of her lectures, each being brilliant, clear and with plenty of referencing and citing. Apart from being a thorough scientist, Washburn had a receptive persona with private appeal and had considerable influence over her college students and colleagues. Washburn labored in a quantity of areas of psychology and was particularly known for her work in theory development, animal behavior and experimental work.

Her necessary contributions to psychology embody over 200 scientific articles and two books, ‘The Animal Mind’ and ‘Movement and Mental Imagery’ published in 1908 and 1916 respectively. In 1921, when she was the president of the American Psychological Association, she acquired a money award of $500 from the Edison Phonograph Company for her research titled, “The Emotional Effects of Instrumental Music” (Bumb Jenn, 2006). Washburn also held editorial positions in a number of other journals like the Journal for Animal conduct, Psychological Review and the Journal of Comparative Psychology.

In recognition of her providers to journals, her colleagues offered to her a commemorative quantity of the American Journal of Psychology in 1927. At the International Congress of Psychology in Copenhagen in 1932, Washburn represented the US. Washburn was completely dedicated to psychology and its teaching. She took a Mediterranean cruise throughout her solely vocational depart in 1928, and during the summers of 1929 and 1932, traveled to England and Copenhagen. Except for these breaks Washburn was by no means away from her work.

Her dedication to psychology and as an inspiring instructor was not without recognition. The development of her division, the increase within the number of college students in psychology, and the numerous analysis papers revealed by her girls students have been testament to the effectiveness of her teaching. Washburn had the will and talent to collaborate with young and the old, male and female colleagues on the lines of equality. Washburn also served in a number of important committees in numerous positions.

She was the chairman of the committee of the American Psychological Association; chairman of the division of Psychology and Anthropology at the National Research Council; chairman of the APA committee for certification of consulting psychologists and chairman of the N. R. C committee on emotion investigation. It was during her stint as chairman within the American Psychological Association that psychology evaluate publications were transferred to the Association from Professor Howard C. Warren. Washburn was also a member of the American Philosophical Society, Phi Kappa Phi, the National Institute of Psychology and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Washburn’s achievements and contributions to the sphere of psychology and the recognitions she obtained, may be listed endlessly. With no women role models and mentors for herself, Washburn ensured she grew to become an inspiring one for one for a number of women. Professor Washburn died on October 29, 1939 after combating cerebral hemorrhage for over two years.


Bumb Jenn (2006) Margaret Floy Washburn (1871-939). [Electronic Version]. Downloaded on fifth May, 2009 from http://www. webster. edu/~woolflm/washburn. html

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