W. B. Pillsbury papers: 1858-1960 (bulk 1890-1942)
Summary Information
Title: W. B. Pillsbury papers
Creator: Pillsbury, W. B. (Walter Bowers), 1872-1960
Inclusive dates: 1858-1960
Bulk dates: 1890-1942
Extent: 3.5 linear feet
Abstract:
Pillsbury was professor of psychology at the University of Michigan from 1897 to 1942. His papers include family and professional correspondence, University of Michigan materials, writings, and photographs.
Call number: 852269 Aa/2
Language: The materials are in English.
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Bentley Historical Library staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection came to the library from different sources in three accessions. In 1960, Walter M. Pillsbury donated some of his father papers. Donor no. 2777 Additional papers came in 1979 from other family members, and in 1999, Paul W. Pillsbury donated family materials. Donor no. 8801

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have not transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

item, folder title, box no., W. B. Pillsbury Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Walter Bowers Pillsbury was professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, teaching first in the philosophy department and then helping to establish a psychology department. Pillsbury was born July 21, 1872 in Burlington, Iowa. He studied at Penn College, the University of Nebraska, and Cornell University where he received his Ph. D. degree in 1896. After teaching for a year at Cornell, Pillsbury in 1897 came to the University of Michigan as an instructor in psychology (in the philosophy department). In 1901, he became director of the psychology laboratory. In 1910, he was made full professor and in 1929, when the department of psychology was established, he was appointed chairman.

Before coming to the university, there were only occasional lectures in psychology, given by philosophy professors. Pillsbury introduced regular courses in psychology. He also established the psychological laboratory which introduced students to laboratory work and stimulated extensive experimentation with humans as well as animals. In his research and writing, Pillsbury was renowned for his work in the area of reasoning and attention, publishing monographs on both topics. He was skilled as a teacher and lecturer, and was a prolific writer. Pillsbury retired from the university in 1942 and died in 1960.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Walter B. Pillsbury papers consisting of correspondence, course materials, writings, and photographs documents the career of one of the significant leaders in the early development of psychology as a discipline. The collection was received in three principal accessions from Pillsbury and members of his family. The series in the collection are Biographical/personal, Professional Files, Photographs, and Family Papers.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Psychology.
  • Voyages and travels.
  • World War, 1914-1918.
  • Laboratories -- Michigan -- Ann Arbor.
  • Photographs.
  • Burton, Marion Le Roy, 1874-1925.
  • Cattell, James McKeen, 1860-1944.
  • Henry Russel Award (University of Michigan)
  • Meyer, Adolph, 1866-1950.
  • Pillsbury, W. B. (Walter Bowers), 1872-1960.
  • University of Michigan. Dept. of Psychology.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • University of Michigan. Scientific Club.
  • Little, Clarence C. (Clarence Cook), 1888-
  • Pillsbury, W. B. (Walter Bowers), 1872-1960.
  • Adams, Henry Foster.
  • Allport, Floyd Henry, 1890-1978.
  • Angell, James Rowland, 1869-1949.
  • Arps, George Frederick, 1874-1939.
  • Bates, Henry Moore, 1869-1949.
  • Binet, Alfred, 1857-1911.
  • Boring, Edwin Garrigues, 1886-1968.
  • Cameron, Norman, 1896-
  • Gomberg, Moses, 1866-1947.
  • Hinsdale, W. B. (Wilbert B.), 1851-1944.
  • Hughes, Percy, 1872-1952.
  • Hull, Clark Leonard, 1884-1952.
  • Hutchins, Harry B. (Harry Burns), 1847-1930.
  • James, William, 1842-1910.
  • Johnston, Clarence Thomas, 1872-1970.
  • Judd, Charles Hubbard, 1873-1946.
  • Lewin, Kurt, 1890-1947.
  • Maier, Norman R. F. (Norman Raymond Frederick), 1900-1977.
  • Münsterberg, Hugo, 1863-1916.
  • Murchison, Carl, 1887-1961.
  • Seashore, Carl E. (Carl Emil), 1866-1949.
  • Titchener, Edward Bradford, 1867-1927.
  • Tolman, Edward Chace, 1886-1959.
  • Warren, Howard Crosby, 1867-1934.
  • Wenley, R. M. (Robert Mark), 1861-1929.
  • Wolfe, Harry Kirke, 1858-1918.
  • Woodburne, Lloyd S. (Lloyd Stuart), 1906-1992.
  • Woodward, Robert Simpson, 1849-1924.
  • Woodworth, Robert Sessions, 1869-1962.
  • Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956.
  • Yoakum, Clarence Stone, 1879-1945.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Biographical/personal [series]

The Biographical/personal series is a single folder containing a brief autobiographical sketch, the memorial written by the University Senate following his death in 1960, and a personnel form listing his education, positions held, and publications.

Box   1  
Autobiographical sketch, memorial essay, etc
 
Professional files [series]

The Professional files series documents Pillsbury's career as a psychologist, his research and scholarly contributions, and his relationship with students, university colleagues, and other members within his discipline. The series is further divided into subseries of Correspondence, University of Michigan related materials, Writings, and Miscellaneous.

 
Correspondence (by date) [subseries]

The Correspondence subseries is arranged by date and in one instance by topic. Pillsbury's correspondents include Henry F. Adams, Floyd Henry Allport, James R. Angell, George F. Arps, Henry M. Bates, Alfred Binet, Edwin G. Boring, Norman A. Cameron, James M. Cattell, Moses Gomberg, Wilbert B. Hinsdale, Percy Hughes, Clark L. Hull, Harry B. Hutchins, William James, Clarence T. Johnston, Charles H. Judd, Kurt Lewin, Norman Maier, Hugo Munsterberg, Carl Murchison, Carl Seashore, Edward Titchener, Edward C. Tolman, Howard C. Warren, Robert M. Wenley, Harry Wolfe, Lloyd S. Woodburne, Robert M. Yerkes, Clarence Yoakum, Robert S. Woodward, and Robert S. Woodworth. There are some family letters in this subseries, especially letters to his wife written while he was lecturing abroad, but the bulk of the letters among family members will be found in the Family Papers series.

Box   1  
Undated, 1893-1960 (61 folders)
 
Correspondence (by topic) [subseries]
Box   2  
E. B. Titchener memorial volume 1916-1917 (3 folders)
 
University of Michigan materials [subseries]

The University of Michigan subseries includes lecture materials, examination papers written by Pillsbury students, and a miscellanea of material pertaining to the university psychology laboratory and later the department of psychology.

Box   2  
Lecture notes undated (2 folders)
Box   2  
Examination questions circa 1909-1940
Box   2  
Student examinations (2 folders)
Box   2  
Psychology department and classroom miscellanea (scattered dates)
Box   2  
Record book (psychological laboratory) 1894-1922

(contains statistics, record of researchers, visitors, fatigue study, and clippings)

 
Writings [subseries]

The Writings subseries includes drafts of published writings, an unpublished novel, and published reviews.

Box   2  
Manuscript of novel
Box   2  
Manuscript of Psychology and economics
Box   2  
Manuscript of Concepts in psychology
Box   2  
Miscellaneous reviews, drafts of articles, notes, etc. (6 folders)
 
Miscellaneous [subseries]

The Miscellaneous subseries includes some Rorschach test materials, clippings, and other items not easily placed elsewhere.

Box   2  
Rorschach test materials
Box   2  
Announcement poster for Pillsbury talk; clippings
Box   2  
Reports, notes, unidentified (2 folders)
 
Photographs [series]

Photographs is a small series of two folders of portraits of Pillsbury, family members, and colleagues, in addition to group photographs.

Box   3  
Portraits of Pillsbury and others, group photos, laboratory apparatus, etc
Box   3  
Family snapshots (mother and child)
 
Family Papers [series]

Family Papers is a series of Pillsbury materials coming to the library in 1999. Consisting solely of family correspondence, diaries, and other papers, this series includes papers of his father (William H. H. Pillsbury) and his family and papers of his mother (Eliza Bowers Pillsbury) and members of the Bowers family. The series has been arranged into the following subseries: Correspondence, Other Family Materials, and Bowers Family. The Correspondence subseries includes letters of W. H. H. Pillsbury and his brother Nahum Pillsbury, written while serving in the Civil War. The bulk of this subseries begins in the 1890s and goes up to the 1910s, and includes mainly letters written by Walter Pillsbury when he was away at university and beginning his teaching at the University of Michigan (1897 and on). Other sequences of letters include letters of Margaret Elizabeth Pillsbury written while traveling in Europe in 1922 and letters of Walter and Margaret's son, Milbank, written while serving in the military during World War II. The Other Family Materials subseries is comprised mainly of travel journals of Margaret Pillsbury. The Bowers Family subseries is notable for the letters of William Bowers written to his sister Eliza (WBP's mother) while serving with a Maine regiment during the Civil War.

 
Correspondence [subseries]
Box   3  
Letter of William H. H. Pillsbury to sister 1858
Box   3  
Letters from William H. H. Pillsbury and Nahum Pillsbury written while serving in the Civil War 1862-1863
Box   3  
Family letters, various correspondents, mainly Walter B. Pillsbury to his parents and wife, especially when traveling abroad 1869-1900 (21 folders)
Box   4  
Family letters, various correspondents, mainly Walter B. Pillsbury to his parents and wife, especially when traveling abroad 1901-1924, 1956 (8 folders)
Box   4  
Letters of Elizabeth (Margaret Elizabeth) Pillsbury 1922

(written to parents while traveling in Europe))

Box   4  
Letters from son Milbank Pillsbury 1944-1945 (2 folders)

(written while serving with the military while stationed in England, France and Germany)

 
Other family materials [subseries]
Box   4  
Family history and genealogy
Box   4  
Accounts
Box   4  
Journal of Margaret E. Pillsbury of European tour 1913
Box   4  
Journal of Margaret E. Pillsbury of trip to Europe 1922
Box   4  
Journal of Margaret E. Pillsbury of European trip 1925-1926 (2 volumes)
Box   4  
Journal of Margaret E. Pillsbury of trip to Europe 1932-1933
 
Bowers family [subseries]
Box   4  
Letters of William Bowers to his sister Eliza C. Bowers while serving as a soldier in the Civil War 1861-1862 (2 folders)
Additional Descriptive Data
Selective Index to Correspondents
Adams, Henry Foster, 1882-1973.
  • Feb. 3, 1923 (letter commenting on President Marion L. Burton, the building program, the budget, and other University of Michigan affairs)
Allport, Floyd H.
  • July 22, 1921
Angell, James Rowland, 1869-1949.
  • 1905; Mar. 12, 1908; Mar. 18, 1908; Jan. 15, 1910; Jan. 29, 1910; Oct. 8, 1910; Feb. 16, 1911; Feb. 23, 1911; Feb. 25, 1911; Mar. 27, 1911; June 3, 1911; Jan. 13, 1915; Mar. 8, 1917; Mar. 14, 1919; May 13, 1919; May 8, 1920
Arps, George Frederick, 1874-1939.
  • Apr. 25, 1922
Bates, Henry Moore, 1869-1949.
  • May 14, 1942
Binet, Alfred, 1857-1911.
  • Sept. 20, 1896
Boring, Edwin Garrigues, 1886-1968.
  • May 21, 1921; Apr. 21, 1922; May 8, 1922; Mar. 14, 1928; May 16, 1930; May 21, 1930; Mar. 13, 1932; Jan. 22, 1937; Oct. 9, 1941; Apr. 22, 1942; Aug. 14, 1942; Dec. 5, 1947; Oct. 11, 1954; Dec. 31, 1954; Apr. 7, 1955
Burton, Marion LeRoy, 1874-1925.
  • Letters, Jan. 13, 1923, from Robert M. Wenley; and Feb. 3, 1923 from Henry F. Adams containing full comments on Burton and other University of Michigan matters
Cameron, Norman Alexander, 1907-
  • May 16, 1931; Nov. 13, 1931; Dec. 25, 1933; July 10, 1934; Jan. 31, 1935; Mar. 1, 1935; Mar. 6, 1935; Dec. 27, 1935; July 31, 1936; Jan. 13, 1937; Mar. 26, 1937; Apr. 9, 1937; Dec. 17, 1937; May 16, 1942; Aug. 3, 1942; Mar. 2, 1945
Cattell, James McKeen, 1860-1944.
  • Mar. 31, 1898; May 28, 1898; Dec. 7, 1904; Nov. 23, 1910; Dec. 9, 1910; Sept. 1, 1911; July 5, 1913; Oct. 2, 1917 (letter regarding his dismissal from Columbia during World War I); Mar. 11, 1921; May 23, 1921; July 12, 1923
Gomberg, Moses, 1866-1947.
  • May 11, 1942
Hinsdale, Wilbert Bartlett, 1851-1944.
  • Jan. 25, 1910
Hughes, Percy, 1872-1952.
  • Jan. 10, 1912; Jan. 17, 1912
Hull, Clark Leonard, 1884-1952.
  • Letter, undated
Hutchins, Harry Burns, 1847-1930.
  • July 5, 1910; Apr. 5, 1911; Nov. 22, 1911
James, William, 1842-1910.
  • Mar. 20, 1910
Johnston, Clarence Thomas, 1872-1970.
  • Nov. 27, 1922 (containing witty comments on the activities of the University of Michigan Scientific Club).
Judd, Charles Hubbard, 1873-1946.
  • Jan. 31, 1921
Levin, Kurt, 1890-1947.
  • Apr. 16, 1932; May 2, 1932
Maier, Norman Raymond Frederick, 1900-
  • Jan. 23, 1929; May 11, 1929; June 1, 1931; Nov. 23, 1933
Munsterberg, Hugo, 1863-1916.
  • Mar. 4, 1908; Jan. 2, 1912; Jan. 5, 1912; Jan. 8, 1912
Murchison, Carl, 1887-1961.
  • Dec. 7, 1928; and 1928-1935 (9 letters, scattered dates)
Seashore, Carl Emil, 1866-1949.
  • May 26, 1911; Nov, 18, 1911; Mar. 21, 1942; Apr. 18, 1942
Titchener, Edward Bradford, 1867-1927.
  • July 9, 1893; Jan. 2, 1895; July 21, 1895; Aug. 1, 1895; Aug. 26, 1895; Aug. 13, 1897; Oct. 26, 1897; Nov. 9, 1897; Jan. 26, 1898; Apr. 24, 1898; Oct. 19, 1898; Sept. 28, 1902; Mar. 25, 1906; Apr. 25, 1906; Mar. 13, 1908; May 14, 1908; July 18, 1908; Oct. 16, 1908; Oct. 25, 1908; Nov. 18, 1908; Feb. 16, 1909; Oct. 26, 1909; Dec. 12, 1909; Jan. 10, 1910; Mar. 22, 1910; Apr. 23, 1910; June 17, 1910; Apr. 24, 1911; Oct. 20, 1911; Jan. 10, 1912; May 1, 1912; Aug. 23, 1912; Sept. 5, 1912; Nov. 8, 1912; Sept. 1, 1915; June 15, 1916; July 24, 1916; June 13, 1917; July 8, 1917; Apr. 26, 1919; May 3, 1919; May 8, 1919;Mar. 9, 1920; Apr. 28, 1920; Oct. 15, 1920; Jan. 17, 1921; May 2, 1921; May 17, 1921; June 24, 1922; Oct. 18, 1923; Oct. 27, 1923; May 13, 1924; Mar. 23, 1925; Oct. 28, 1925; Nov. 2, 1925; Nov. 10, 1925; Mar. 14, 1928. Also comments about Titchener in letters from Edwin Bodin, March-May 1928.
Tolman, Edward Chace, 1886-1959.
  • Sept. 22, 1921
Warren, Howard Crosby, 1867-1934.
  • Mar. 17, 1910; Apr. 26, 1910; May 4, 1910; May 10, 1910; May 9, 1911; Jan.12, 1912; May 9, 1928; June 17, 1930; Feb. 25, 1931
Wenley, Robert Mark, 1861-1929.
  • Apr. 29, 1897; May 7, 1897; May 27, 1897; June 28, 1897; Aug. 5, 1897; Aug. 16, 1897; Dec. 1, 1904; Dec. 3, 1904; Feb. 24, 1905; Sept. 7, 1912; Nov. 20, 1917; see also Mar. 21, 1921 and Aug. 24, 1922; Jan. 13, 1923; July 8, 1927; Aug. 2, 1927
Wolfe, Harry Kirke, 1858-1918.
  • Jan. 30, 1893; Mar. 20, 1893; Aug. 18, 1894; Mar. 20, 1895; Nov. 2, 1895; Jan. 14, 1896; Mar. 27, 1896; Apr. 15, 1896; May 3, 1896; May 8, 1897; June 12, 1897
Woodburne, Lloyd Stuart, 1910-
  • Jan. 12, 1933
Woodward, Robert Simpson, 1849-1924.
  • Jan. 1, 1921
Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956.
  • Mar. 14, 1951
Yoakum, Clarence Stone, 1879-1945.
  • Apr. 2, 1924
Woodworth, Robert Sessions, 1869-1962.
  • Feb. 10, 1911; Nov. 3, 1911; Nov. 21, 1911; Dec. 4, 1911; Oct. 14, 1912; May 14, 1942; May 29, 1947