Sounds of the Human Sciences: Uncovering Hidden Sound Recordings at the Center for the History of Psychology


The collection consists of 4,760 sound recordings dating from 1919 to the present and contains both commercial and noncommercial recordings that document the history of psychology and related human sciences in the United States. It is comprised mainly of cassette tapes and reel-to-reel audiotapes, but also contains vinyl records, compact discs, and wire recordings. The majority of the collection is in the English language. The precise condition of the materials is unknown, but examinations of random samples of the collection indicate the majority are in good condition. Sample genres include oral history interviews, instructional and self-help recordings, therapy sessions, and radio appearances. Sample items include recordings from a 1950 workshop on motherhood, 1940s vocational guidance interviews with returning servicemen, a lecture on coping with stress given at a Veteran's Administration hospital in 1966, and 1970s radio parenting advice from psychologist Lee Salk. The collection provides a fascinating view of changing ideas about cognition, emotion, and behavior throughout the twentieth century. Because of the widespread influence of psychology in American society, these titles are of potential use to a variety of scholars, including social and cultural historians, historians of science and technology, and students of American studies and media studies. They are also inherently interesting to museum-goers, who encounter applied psychology in their everyday lives.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded

Year Added



Center for the History of Psychology


  • Cathy Faye

Collection Size

4760 objects

Date Range

1919 - 2012

Geographic Scope

Items to be cataloged originated in the United States and are primarily relevant to American history.