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Women, Feminism, and Psychology in the United States and Canada, 1848-1950s


The historic Seneca Falls Convention on Women's Rights in New York State marks the beginning of the women's suffrage movement and first-wave feminism in the United States. The Declaration of Sentiments is signed by 68 women and 32 men; the principal author was Elizabeth Cady Stanton.


Sojourner Truth delivers her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio


Christine Ladd Franklin: First woman to complete all the requirements for a PhD at Johns Hopkins University, a degree she was not granted until 1926


1891 - Mary Whiton Calkins establishes a psychology laboratory at Wellesley College


1891 - Calkins and Ladd Franklin: First female members of the American Psychological Association    


1894 - Margaret Floy Washburn becomes the first woman to be officially awarded the PhD degree in psychology, at Cornell University under E.B. Titchener


1895 - Calkins and Cordelia Nevers begin their debate with Jospeh Jastrow about the Community of Ideas of Men and Women


1895 - Milicent Shinn publishes an article in Century Magazine in which she explores the reasons for the lower rates of marriage among college-educated women, concluding that educated women have more freedom in their choice of mates and more economic independence


1903 - Helen Thompson (Woolley) completes the first dissertation on sex differences, entitled The Mental Traits of Sex


1903 - Ladd Franklin, Calkins and Washburn named to American Men of Science; Emma Sophia Baker becomes the first woman in Canada to earn a PhD on a psychological topic


1905 - Mary Whiton Calkins: First woman to be elected president of the APA  


1910 - Woolley publishes A Review of the Recent Literature on the Psychology of Sex in the Psychological Bulletin


1914 - Anna Berliner becomes the only woman to complete a PhD under Wilhelm Wundt


1914 - Leta Stetter Hollingworth publishes Variability as Related to Sex Differences in Achievement: A Critique in the American Journal of Sociology


1914 - Hollingworth publishes her doctoral dissertation entitled Functional Periodicity: An Experimental Study of the Motor and Mental Abilities of Women During Menstruation


1916 - Hollingworth publishes Social Devices for Impelling Women to Bear and Rear Children in the American Journal of Sociology

1916 - Anthropologist Robert Lowie and Hollingworth publish Science and Feminism in Scientific Monthly    


1920 - Constitutional amendment gives women the right to vote in the United States


1921 - Margaret Floy Washburn is the second woman to be elected president of the APA


1921 - Leta Stetter Hollingworth is cited in American Men of Science for her research on the psychology of women


1929 - the Famous Five succeed in having the Supreme Court of Canada declare women as persons in the eyes of the law in the famous Persons Case


1931 - Margaret Floy Washburn: First woman psychologist elected to the National Academy of Science


1933 - Inez Beverly Prosser: First African American woman to receive a doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati, in educational psychology


1934 - Ruth Howard (Beckham): Second African American woman to receive a doctoral degree in psychology, first within a department of psychology, at the University of Minnesota


1935 - Helen Flanders Dunbar founds the American Society for Research in Psychosomatic Problems and is the first editor of the society's journal, Psychosomatic Medicine: Experimental and Clinical Studies; Alberta Banner Turner earns her PhD from Ohio State University

1936 - The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) is founded.  Although none of its founding members are women, women soon make up one-third of the society's membership


1939 - Rose Butler Browne becomes the first African American woman to earn a PhD in Education at Harvard University


1941 - Karen Horney founds the American Institute for Psychoanalysis


1941 - National Council of Women Psychologists (NCWP) is formed to mobilize women psychologists in the war effort


1942 - Florence L. Goodenough: First president of the newly created National Council of Women Psychologists, which became the International Council of Women Psychologists in 1946 and then the International Council of Psychologists in 1959


1943 - Mamie Phipps Clark is the first African American woman (and second African American) to receive a PhD from Columbia University


1944 - Ruth Tolman serves as SPSSI's first female council representative


1944 - SPSSI Committee on Roles of Men and Women in Postwar Society chaired by Georgene Seward issues a report concluding that sex differences are based largely on differential training and social myth


1946 - Georgene Seward's Sex and the Social Order is published


1946 - Mamie Phipps Clark establishes the Northside Center for Child Development in New York City


1952 - Keturah Whitehurst earns her PhD from Harvard's Radcliffe College and goes on to become the first African-American psychologist licensed in Virginia




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