PREFACE [chapter]

1939 American Psychology Before William James  
THE history of psychology in America has never been written. In cm address delivered in 1898, J. M. Cattell asserted that "the history of psychology here prior to 1880 could be set forth as briefly as the alleged chapter on snakes in a certain natural history of Iceland-( There are no snakes in Iceland.'" 1 The neatness of the witticism and the authority of the speaker, combined with the general reticence of the historians of psychology, has contrived to invest some two hundred and fifty years
more » ... f American thought with the obscurity of the dark ages. J. Mark Baldwin, quoted literally by the German historian Klemm, remarks that "early American psychology was written by theologians or educators or both in the same person " 3 and dismisses it with this laconic note. In a half dozen pages of his valuable and scholarly three-volume work, G. S. Brett manages to single out the least important things in early American psychology for supercilious comment, pokes ftm at authors whose works were never referred to by any of their compatriots, and misses all the significant events of the rich and varied American past. W. B. Pillsbury allows three pages to the period, while E. G. Boring intentionally limits his profound study to the history of experimental psychology, and J. C. Flugel restricts his treatment to the last himdred years. In 1929, Gardner Murphy re-echoes the general impression in his statement that "prior to 1880, the only important Ameriv
doi:10.36019/9781978811300-001 fatcat:wlmuwqnco5gkpf6fujxj4ff5nq