'Wallbreaking' at psychology archives


Archives of the History of American Psychology wallbreaking

Participants in the wallbreaking included, from left, Ted Curtis, UA vice president for capital planning and facilities management; Dr. Luis M. Proenza, president of UA; Dr. Ludy T. Benjamin Jr. a donor to the archives; Suzanne Morgan, chair of the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation; Dr. Nicholas Cummings a donor to the archives; Dr. David Baker, director of the archives and interim UA provost; and Aaron Glavis of the Smithsonian Institution.

Rather than hosting a traditional groundbreaking ceremony for its new museum-quality facility, the Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP) at The University of Akron broke the mold Feb. 26 and marked the start of construction efforts with a “wallbreaking” ceremony.

Longtime AHAP supporter Dr. Nicholas Cummings sat atop a hydraulic excavator to ceremoniously break through one of the building’s many plaster walls.

The “new-to-the-U” facility, which was built in or around 1916, is located on the north side of UA’s campus at 73 College St. the former site of the Roadway Express Records Building.

New home for impressive collection

The phase of the project currently under way, which will be completed by August, includes renovation of the first floor and lower level of the building. This renovation will feature a covered colonnade along College Street, masonry repairs on the exterior, new windows to admit daylight, along with a gallery to display objects from the AHAP collection. Other elements include a reading room, offices, administrative space, and space for handling new acquisitions. Subsequent renovations will occur in stages, as funding becomes available.

"We are pleased to add to the landscape of The University and the city of Akron this incredibly rich cultural resource," says Dr. David Baker, AHAP director and interim provost.

Roadway Express Inc. donated the 70,000-square foot building to the University in 2005, which formerly housed the company’s records. The new building will provide expanded space for AHAP’s growing collections which are fast exceeding available space in AHAP’s current home in the basement of UA’s Polsky Building.

About the Archives

The University of Akron has been home to the Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP) since it was established in1965 by psychology professors Dr. John A. Popplestone and the late Dr. Marion White McPherson. Their mission was to collect and preserve the history of the field. They quickly created a repository that draws scholars from around the world.

The archives, called “psychology's attic” in a Sept. 27, 2005, New York Times article, is home to the papers of more than 740 psychologists, instruments — some more than a century old, photographs and films. As a subject-matter archives, the AHAP staff has a comprehensive knowledge of both archival methods and the field of psychology.

In 1999, Dr. David B. Baker became director of the archives. He is now the Margaret Clark Morgan Director of the Archives of the History of American Psychology and a professor of psychology, as well as UA’s interim senior vice president and provost, and chief operating officer.

Under Baker’s leadership, the psychology archives has experienced some impressive milestones, including being the first archive in the nation accepted into the prestigious Smithsonian Institution Affiliations program in 2002.

See also:

orange-triangleThe Archives for the History of American History.

“We are extremely happy that this very important project is now proceeding, due to the donors who stepped forward to provide the necessary funds. This project will bring the world’s best collection of psychology materials to Akron and they will be able to be properly displayed in this new very accessible building,” says Ted Curtis, UA’s vice president, capital planning and facilities management. “These gifts allow the Archives to move from the basement of Polsky’s and into a very attractive and functional display area on a prominent location at The University of Akron.”

Established in 1965, the Archives of the History of American Psychology is dedicated to acquiring, preserving and making available the historical record of psychology in America. An affiliate of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution, AHAP houses the largest collection of its kind in the world. Its central feature, a manuscript collection, includes the papers of more than 740 psychologists.

Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or slane@uakron.edu.