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Abstract

The collection represents the data that Roe (Mrs. George Gaylord Simpson) collected on 64 scientists for her 1953 book, The Making of a Scientist. The material for each scientist includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of the scientist's publications, and letters several years afterward the interview asking for additional information. There are also photostats of letters and notes by the scientists dating earlier than 1949; holders of the originals of these letters is unknown.

Background note

Anne Roe (1904-1991) was a clinical psychologist and researcher on various psychological topics before embarking upon major studies of creativity and occupational psychology. Her two major publications were The Making of a Scientist (1953), a study of sixty-four eminent male scientists in biology, physics and the social sciences, and the Psychology of Occupations (1956), in which she attemps to develop a vocational classification system that transcends the Dictionary of Occupational Titles categories.

Roe was the second of four children born in Denver, Colorado to Charles Edwin Roe and Edna Blake. Both of her grandfathers had been prominent in state affairs, her maternal grandfather publishing an early Denver newspaper and her paternal grandfather serving as the Colorado Adjutant General. However, during the 1920s her father’s transport business went bankrupt, and her mother was forced to support the family from her teacher’s salary and the monies earned as a national secretary of the Parent Teacher Association. Since her mother was busy supporting the family, Roe took charge of the household responsibilities, including the care of her siblings. As a result of these experiences, she early developed a sense that she could fix things that were broken and manage what was falling apart. Under her mother’s influence she also came to believe that women can excel and assert themselves in a male-dominated society.

A precocious student, Roe graduated with a B.A. from the University of Denver in 1923, at the age of nineteen. As an undergraduate, she studied methods for assessing differences among students in dental school, between those who went on to become “good” dentists and who did not. She received an M.A. from the University of Denver in 1925, during that time assisting the educational psychologist Thomas Garth, who studied Southwestern ethnic groups. Her Master’s thesis was a critical analysis of Native American intelligence test scores. With Garth’s help she got a position working for Columbia University’s Edward L. Thorndike (1875-1949, APS 1932), one of the founders of modern educational psychology. She received a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Columbia in 1933. Her dissertation was a study of musical aptitudes and the specific kinds of errors musicians make in sight reading. Roe married world-renown paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984, APS 1936) in 1938.

Roe would become best known for research on creativity and the psychology of occupational choice even though she did not have the option of developing a long-range research program, since her research was periodically interrupted by bouts of brucellosis and heart disease, by raising four stepdaughters and by her husband’s demanding academic schedule. Instead, she conducted research on such diverse topics as alcohol education in schools, studies of identical twins raised separately and breast feeding newborns during the first four weeks of life. In 1931 Roe helped her colleague Kathryn McBride in a study assessing the normal intellectual functioning of hospital patients with a variety of medical diagnoses. This study allowed her a first glimpse of the importance of an occupation for a normal, non-intellectually impaired individual’s health and life. In this study she talked to men who liked their otherwise menial jobs, since they afforded them recognition by important people or because the work made them feel superior to others. Roe would incorporate these early insights into her later theories about the job and personal characteristics of eminent scientists or artists.

One biographer noted that Roe’s varied professional and research experiences had a sort of “velcro quality” in the sense that while she met her family’s needs, she would connect with each opportunity that came her way, and make the most of it. Also, she demonstrated a unique “cumulative mental process” by which some part of each preceding research endeavor would become a part of the next. Likewise, some features of an early project, that seemed little more than asides or observations, often turned up in one of her two major works. She also had a special talent for collaborating with colleagues on a variety of research projects. For example, in 1939 she coauthored the book Quantitative Zoology with her husband George because she was convinced that paleontologists knew nothing about statistics, while he recognized that she knew little about paleontology. Consequently, they cooperated in the endeavor.

When her husband George moved to Yale University, Roe got a grant to study the effects of alcohol on artists. In the process of interviewing her subjects about their life histories and administering Rorschach and Thematic Apperception tests, she noticed a strong correlation between an artist’s personality structure variables and the content and style of their works. Around the same time a colleague told her about a Public Health grant to study the lifestyles of scientists. She received the grant that allowed her to study sixty-four eminent male scientists in biology, physics and the social sciences. The study, which employed projective personality and intelligence tests, together with structured interviews, resulted in her 1953 book The Making of a Scientist. Later, she organized much of the data gathered from her studies of artists and scientists in her 1956 Psychology of Occupations. This work employed a new occupational classification system focused upon interests and interpersonal relationships that she based directly upon Abraham Maslow’s personality theory.

In 1959 Roe became the ninth woman to be appointed to Harvard’s faculty, serving in the Graduate School of Education as lecturer, research associate, then professor. Afterward she became the founder and director of the University’s Center for Research on Careers. After they retired in 1967, Roe and her husband George moved to Tucson, Arizona, where they accepted adjunct lectureships at the University of Arizona.

Roe was active in professional psychological organizations, especially the American Psychological Association. From 1953-59 she served on the American Board of Professional Psychology for the American Psychological Association and became president of its Clinical Division in 1957. She served on the Council of Representatives of APA and was a member of APA’s Board of Directors during the early 1960s. She was also recognized for her scholarly accomplishments, receiving the Richardson Creativity Award from the APA in 1968 for her assessment work with scientists and artists. In 1984 she received the Leona Tyler Award from APA’s Division 17 and honorary doctorates Lesley College in 1965 and Kenyon College in 1973. She was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service from Columbia University Teachers College in 1977 and a Lifetime Career Award in 1967 from the National Vocational Guidance Association.

In addition to her scholarly endeavors, Roe was an excellent cook, who wrote her own cook book. She was a jigsaw puzzle enthusiast and a talented musician. She was a “multifaceted person,” who was comfortable in a variety of roles throughout her life. Roe died on May 29, 1991 at the age of 86, after a long illness. She was predeceased by her husband George, who died in 1984. She was survived by her three stepdaughters Helen, Joan and Elizabeth; six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Scope and content

The Anne Roe papers is comprised of two series. The first contains the data that Anne Roe collected on 64 scientists for her 1953 book, The Making of a Scientist. The material for each scientist includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of the scientist's publications, and letters several years after each interview asking for additional information. There are also photostats of letters and notes by the scientists dating earlier than 1949; holders of the originals of the photostats are unknown. The secomd series is a collection off-prints of Roe’s published research works from 1927-1974.

Collection information

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access:

These files were restricted and not to be consulted until ten years after the death of the individual.

Provenance

Presented by Anne Roe and accessioned, 03/03/1978 (1978 308ms).

General physical description

Ca. 6000 items.

Related material

In addition to the Roe materials at the American Philosophical Society in the Anne Roe papers there is a box of unprocessed materials in the collection of her husband's--George Gaylord Simpson--Papers. [Mss Ms Coll 31] These materials include a dictated 50 page personal history, a file of miscellaneous records and correspondence dating from the 1950s and 1960s, correspondence relating to various honors and awards and a file of Rorschach protocols related to Roe's Painters' Summaries.

Physiology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics Note

During the 1940s Anne Roe (wife of George Gaylord Simpson) was working on the book The Making of a Scientist, which was published in 1953. In it Roe tried to account for the psychological attributes -- intellectual aptitude, emotional make-up, and interests -- which characterized practitioners of the natural sciences, keeping their identities confidential. She collected material on 64 prominent scientists, including transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, and follow-ups she gathered over a decade later. The collection has two major limitations: 1) there is a ten-year restriction from the date of death of each scientist, thus rendering some files inaccessible to scholars at this time; 2) due to Roe's social biases, and the now questionable validity of some of the psychological tools she had relied on, the data and their interpretations require a critical eye. Nevertheless, within these limitations, the available files contain much valuable biographical material (including interesting anecdotes) and scientific bibliographies.

AuthorFormatDateLanguage
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Luis Walter Alvarez. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Alvarez's publications (including "Adventures in Nuclear Physics"), and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1932-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. George Wells Beadle. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Beadle's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1930-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Jesse W. Beams. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Beams' publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1929-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. James Frederick Bonner. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Bonner's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1930-1972English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Ralph E. Cleland. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Cleland's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1915-1973English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. George Washington Corner. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Corner's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1913-1972English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Edward Adelbert Doisy. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Doisy's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1937-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. John Gamble Kirkwood. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Kirkwood's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1942-1952English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Karl Spencer Lashley. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Lashley's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1949-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Hermann J. Muller. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Muller's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1945-1965English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. John Howard Northrop. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Northrop's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1913-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Linus Pauling. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Pauling's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1917-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Tracy M. Sonneborn. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Sonneborn's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1947-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Wendell M. Stanley. ( These materials offer a wealth of biographical information on Stanley through the 1950s. They are especially helpful in following up on his scientific career after he left the Rockefeller Institute in 1947 to become director of the virus research center at the University of California at Berkeley, an enormous scientific enterprise that included cancer research. Includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Stanley's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1927-1971English
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991. Alfred Henry Sturtevant. ( The material includes transcripts of interviews, Rorschach and Thematic Apperception Tests, personal data, reprints of Sturtevant's publications, and correspondence.) Manuscripts (2 folders)1909-1971English
Stanley, Wendell M. (Wendell Meredith), 1904-1971 ( The interviews with Stanley in the Roe Papers offer a wealth of biographical information on Stanley through the 1950s. These materials are especially helpful in following up on his scientific career after he left the Rockefeller Institute in 1947 to become director of the virus research center at the University of California at Berkeley, an enormous scientific enterprise that included cancer research.) Correspondence (2 folders)1927-1971English

Indexing Terms

Occupation(s)

  • Scientists.

Personal Name(s)

  • Allport, Gordon W.(Gordon Willard), 1897-1967
  • Alvarez 1911-1988, Luis Walter
  • Anderson, Edgar, 1897-1969
  • Babcock, Horace W., 1912-2003
  • Beach, Frank A., (Frank Ambrose), 1911-1988
  • Beadle, George Wells, 1903-1989
  • Beams, Jesse W., (Jesse Wakefield), 1898-1977
  • Bearden, J.A. (Joyce Alvin), 1903-1987
  • Bonner, James Frederick, 1910-1996
  • Bruner, Jerome S. (Jerome Seymour), 1915-
  • Cleland, Ralph E., (Ralph Erskine), 1892-1971
  • Coon, Carleton S., (Carleton Stevens), 1904-1981
  • Corner, George Washington, 1889-1981
  • Doisy, Edward Adelbert, 1893-1986
  • Epling, Carl, 1894-1968
  • Ewing, W. Maurice, (William Maurice), 1906-1974
  • Furry, W.H. (Wendell Hinkle) , 1907-1984
  • Guilford, J. P. , (Joy Paul), 1897-1987
  • Hallowell, A. Irving , (Alfred Irving), 1892-1974
  • Hansen, William Webster, 1909-1949
  • Harlow, Harry Freerick, 1905-1981
  • Hilgard, Ernest R., (Ernest Ropiequet), 1904-2001
  • Joseph Edward, Mayer, 1904-1983
  • Kirkwood, John Gamble, 1907-1959
  • Kluckhohn, Clyde, 1905-1960
  • Knudsen, Vern Oliver, 1893-1974
  • Lashley, Karl Spencer, 1890-1958
  • Lindsey, Donald B.
  • Linton, Ralph, 1893-1953
  • Mayer, Joseph Edward, 1904-1983
  • McMillan, Edwin M. (Edwin Mattison), 1907-1991
  • Morse, Philip M., (Philip McCord), 1903-1985
  • Mueller, J. Howard, (John Howard), 1891-1954
  • Muller, H. J., (Hermann Joseph), 1890-1967
  • Mulliken, Robert Sanderson, 1896-1986
  • Muskat , M. (Morris) , 1906-1998
  • Northrop, John Howard, 1891-1987
  • Pauling, Linus, 1901-1994
  • Rhoades, Marcus M., (Marcus Morton), 1903-1991
  • Ritcher, Curt Paul, 1894-1994
  • Robbins, William Jacob, 1890-1978
  • Robertson, H. P., (Howard Percy), 1903-1961
  • Roe, Anne, 1904-1991
  • Rogers, Carl R., (Carl Ransom), 1902-1987
  • Romer, Alfred Sherwood, 1894-1973
  • Schwinger, Julian Seymour, 1918-1994
  • Sears, Robert R., (Robert Richardson)
  • Shapiro, Harry L., (Harry Lionel), 1902-1990
  • Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Fredric), 1904-1990
  • Smith, Homer William, 1895-1962
  • Sonneborn, T.M., (Tracy Morton), 1905-1981
  • Stanley, Wendell M., (Wendell Meredith), 1904-
  • Stebbins, G. Ledyard, (George Ledyard), 1906-2000
  • Stevens, S. S., (Stanley Smith), 1906-1973
  • Stewart, Homer Joseph, 1915-2007
  • Stratton, Julius Adams, 1901-1994
  • Strong, William Duncan, 1899-1962.
  • Sturtevant, A.H. (Alfred Henry), 1891-1970
  • Tuve, Merle Antony, 1901-1982
  • Van Vleck, J. H., (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980
  • Willey, Gordon R., (Gordon Randolph), 1913-2002
  • Wright, Sewall, 1889-1988

Subject(s)

  • Psychology.


Detailed Inventory
I. Scientists
1949-1953 (bulk) Request Series
Alvarez, Luis W , 1911-1988
  Request File
Allport, Gordon W. (Gordon Willard), 1897-1967
  Request File
Anderson, Edgar, 1897-1969
  Request File
Babcock, Horace W. (Horace Welcome), 1912- 2003
  Request File
Beach, Frank Ambrose, 1911-1988
  Request File
Beadle, George Wells, 1903-1989
  Request File
Beams, Jesse Wakefield, 1898-1977
  Request File
Bearden Joyce Alvin, 1903-1987
  Request File
Bonner, James, 1910-1996
  Request File
Bruner, Jerome S. (Jerome Seymour), 1915-
  Request File
Chaney, Ralph W, 1890-1971
  Request File
Cleland, Ralph E, 1892-1971
  Request File
Coon, Carleton Stevens, 1904-1981
  Request File
Corner, George Washington, 1889-1981
  Request File
Doisy, Edward Adebert, 1893-1986
  Request File
Epling, Carl, 1894-1968
  Request File
Ewing, W. Maurice (William Maurice), 1906-1974
  Request File
Furry, W.H. (Wendell Hinkle), 1907-1984
  Request File
Graham, Clarence H, 1906-1971
  Request File
Guilford, J. P. (Joy Paul), 1897-1987
  Request File
Hallowell, A. Irving (Alfred Irving), 1892-1974
  Request File
Hansen, William Webster, 1909-1949
  Request File
Harlow, Harry F, 1905-1981
  Request File
Hilgard, Ernest R. (Ernest Ropiequet), 1904-2001
  Request File
Kirkwood, John G. (John Gamble), 1907-1959
  Request File
Kluckhon, Clyde Kay Maber 1905-1960,
  Request File
Knudsen, Vern O , 1893-1974
  Request File
Lashley, Karl S. (Karl Spencer) 1890-1874
  Request File
Lindsey, Donald B. , 1914-
  Request File
Linton, Ralph, 1893-1953
  Request File
McMillan, Edwin M. (Edwin Mattison), 1907-1991
  Request File
Mayer, Joseph E. (Joseph Edward), 1904-1983
  Request File
Morse, Philip M. (Philip McCord), 1903-1985
  Request File
Mueller, J. Howard (John Howard), 1891-1954
  Request File
Muller, Herman J. (Hermann Joseph), 1890-1967
  Request File
Mulliken, Robert Sander, 1896-1986
  Request File
Muskat, Morris, 1906-1998
  Request File
Northrop, John Howard, 1891-1987
  Request File
Pauling, Linus Carl, 1901-1994
  Request File
Pauling, Linus Carl, 1901-1994
  Request File
Robbins, William Jacob, 1890-1978
  Request File
Rhoades, Marcus M. (Marcus Morton), 1903-1991
  Request File
Richter, Curt Paul, 1894-1988
  Request File
Rogers, Carl R. (Carl Ransom), 1902-1987
  Request File
Romer, Alfred S. (Alfred Sherwood) , 1894-1973
  Request File
Redfield, Robert, 1894-1958
  Request File
Schwinger, Julian Seymour, 1918-1994
  Request File
Sears, Robert R. (Robert Richardson), 1908-1989
  Request File
Shapiro, Harry Lionel, 1902-1990
  Request File
Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Frederic), 1904-1990
  Request File
Smith, Homer W. (Homer William), 1895-1962
  Request File
Sonneborn, T.M. (Tracy Morton), 1905-1981
  Request File
Stebbins, G. Ledyard, (George Ledyard), 1906-2000
  Request File
Stanley, Wendell M. (Wendell Meredith), 1904-1971
  Request File
Stevens, Stanley Smith, 1906-1973
  Request File
Stewart, Homer Joseph, 1915-2007
  Request File
Stratton, Julius Adams, 1901-1994
  Request File
Sturtevant, Alfred, 1891-1970
  Request File
Strong, William Duncan, 1899-1962
  Request File
Tuve, Merle Anthony, 1901-1982
  Request File
Urey, Harold Clayton, 1893-1981
  Request File
Van Vleck, J. H., (John Hasbrouck), 1899-1980
  Request File
Willey, Gordon Randolph, 1913-2002
  Request File
Wright, Sewell, 1889-1988
  Request File
Roe, Anne, 1904-1991.
II. Reprints
1927-1974 Request Series