Leonard Carmichael Papers, 1898-1973


Date: Circa 1917-1973 | Size: 183 Linear feet, ca. 180,000 items


Leonard Carmichael was a psychologist whose most significant contributions were made in the fields of child psychology and biopsychology. Educated at Tufts and Harvard, he taught at Princeton, Brown, and Rochester, later returning to Tufts to serve as its President from 1938-1952. An outstanding administrator, Carmichael served as executive officer for the Smithsonian Institute from 1952-1964, and was subsequently vice president for research and exploration at the National Geographic Society. In his later years, he served as President of the American Philosophical Society from 1970-1973. This large and varied collection reflects the entire range of Carmichael's prolific career. It includes a variety of types of records, including correspondence, committee reports and records, long series of articles and speeches, drafts of papers and books, and pocket notebooks. All phases of his professional life are covered, from his years in academia, to his time at the Smithsonian Institute and the National Geographic Society, as well as his involvement in a large number of professional organizations.

Background note

Leonard Carmichael was born November 9, 1898 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. His parents were Thomas Harrison Carmichael, a physician, and Emily Henrietta Leonard Carmichael, a graduate of Wellesley College. His maternal grandfather, Charles Hall Leonard, was Dean of the Crane Theological School of Tufts University, a fact that presages Carmichael's long association with that university.

Trained as a psychologist in the early years of this field, he also pursued research in zoology and biology. Carmichael's greatest contributions were in the areas of child psychology and biopsychology, with a special emphasis on the importance of genetic determinants of behavior. He was educated at Tufts (B.S., 1920) and Harvard (Ph.D., 1924) and taught at Princeton (1924-1926), Brown (1926-1936), and Rochester (1936-1938). During his time at Brown, he collaborated with Herbert Jasper in the earliest EEG studies in this country. He was president of Tufts University from 1938-1952, where he was simultaneously Director of the Laboratory of Sensory Physiology and Psychology. In 1946, he published his Manual of Child Psychology, which is considered a milestone in the scientific treatment of human development. The fourteen years he spent at Tufts were a time of great expansion in facilities, finances, and enrollment. One of his most important jobs was guiding the University's activities through the WWII time period.

Carmichael left Tufts in 1952 to become the executive officer of the Smithsonian Institute, a position he held until 1964. During his tenure there, he was responsible for the modernization of what was called the "nation's attic." Under his leadership, the Institute greatly expanded, with the creation of the Museum of History and Technology, and the addition of two wings to the Museum of Natural History. He left that position to become Vice President for Research and Exploration for the National Geographic Society. During his time in this position, the Society sponsored a great deal of exciting and ground-breaking research, including the Leakeys' anthropological studies in East Africa, Jane Goddall's work on primate behavior, and the underwater explorations of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.

Carmichael was active in a number of professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association of Museums. During World War II he headed the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel, which recruited scientists and engineers for the war, and later he was Chairman of the Army Scientific Advisory Panel (on Manpower). Carmichael served as chairman of the Division of Anthropology and Psychology of the National Research Council, and he was also a member and chairman of the advisory board of the Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology. He served as president of the American Psychological Association in 1940. The honor of which he was said to be the most proud, however, was his election to the American Philosophical Society in 1942. He served as the President of the Society from 1970 until a few months before his death. Carmichael died September 16, 1973 in Washington, D.C.

The Carmichael Auditorium at the National Museum of History and Technology was dedicated in his name in 1974. But perhaps an even more fitting indication of the lasting impact he made is the Leonard Carmichael Society, still an active volunteer organization at Tufts University. Started in 1958 by Richard Dorsay, it originally consisted of a group of students who would make regular visits to a nearby mental hospital. In the year 2000, it has a volunteer corps of over 1000, a staff of 85, and serves as an umbrella organization for 40 different programs which focus on such issues as homelessness, health, literacy, and youth mentoring. The Leonard Carmichael Society states that "The legacy that this elegant, wise and kind man built throughout his 75 years grows and expands every time Tufts students, faculty members, and staff members join LCS in the belief that they too can change the world."

Scope and content

This voluminous collection reflects the varied and prolific career of Carmichael. It includes a variety of types of records, including correspondence, committee reports and records, long series of articles and speeches, drafts of papers and books, and pocket notebooks (ca. 500 pp.). Significant and more voluminous material consists of series relating to professional organizations of which he was a member or officer. These include: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Association of Museums, American Council of Education, American Psychological Association, Brookings Institution, College Entrance Examination Board, Committee of New England, Educational Testing Service, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, National Science Foundation, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

There is significant material for the Tufts period, post 1938, including reports, committee meetings, and correspondence. There are similar types of material for his student years at Harvard; and his teaching time at Princeton and Brown, but less material for his time at the University of Rochester. There is also material on the Society for Research in Child Development. Outside the academic world he functioned in various capacities, all producing significant series within his papers. There is a great deal of materials for his period at the Smithsonian Institution, but less for his tenure at the National Geographic Society.

There is a sizable group of material for the Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory at Bar Harbor, Maine, and also for his work as an editorial adviser for psychology at Houghton Mifflin Company. Of further note are the over 150 folders concerning animals, from antelope to zebra, which present his research into their development and behavior. Also of significance is the material on the use of motion pictures in psychology. Lastly are the eleven bound volumes of papers written by Carmichael's psychology students at Brown and Rochester University from 1932-1938. These are grouped under the subject headings: Audition, Emotion, Endocrinology, Learning, The Lower Senses, Perception, Response, Thought and Language and Vision.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information


Presented by the estate of Dr. Carmichael, 1974.

Preferred citation

Cite as: Leonard Carmichael Papers, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recataloged by Alison M. Lewis, 2001.

Related material

Tufts University has 8.75 linear feet of documents primarily relating to Carmichael's tenure (1938-1952) as President of that institution.


Corner, George W. "Leonard Carmichael (1898-1973)," American Philosophical Society, Yearbook 1974.

Pfaffmann, Carl, "Leonard Carmichael: November 9, 1898-September 16, 1973," Biographical Memoirs NAS, Vol. 51. (Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences, 1980).

Physiology, Biochemistry, and Biophysics Note

Scholars of physiology, biochemistry, or biophysics may find the following of interest:

Cohn, Edwin J. (Edwin Joseph), 1892-1953 Correspondence (1 item)1953English

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Association of Museums
  • American Council on Education
  • American Psychological Association
  • Brookings Institute
  • Brown University
  • Educational Testing Service.
  • Harvard University. Museum of Comparative Zoology
  • Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Laboratory of Sensory Physiology and Psychology
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • National Geographic Society
  • National Research Council (U.S.). Division of Anthropology and Psychology
  • National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Princeton University
  • Roscoe B. Jackson Memorial Laboratory.
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • Tufts University
  • U.S. Army. Scientific Advisory Panel
  • University of Rochester
  • Yerkes Laboratories of Primate Biology, Inc

Personal Name(s)

  • Abel, Theodora Mead, 1899-1998
  • Adams, James P. (James Pickwell), 1895-1969
  • Allport, Gordon W. (Gordon Willard), 1897-1967
  • Angulo y González, Armando Wandegército, b. 1900
  • Arnold, Frederic Bartlett, Sir
  • Arnold, Samuel Tomlinson, 1892-1956
  • Bayne-Jones, Stanhope, 1888-1970
  • Beck, Lester F. (Lester Fred), 1909-1977
  • Beebe-Center, John G. (John Gilbert), 1897-1958
  • Boring, Edwin Garrigues, 1886-1968
  • Bray, Charles W. (Charles William), 1904-1982
  • Bush, Vannevar, 1890-1974
  • Carmichael Leonard, 1898-1973
  • Cattell, James McKeen, 1860-1944
  • Conant, James Bryant, 1893-1978
  • Corner, George Washington, 1889-1981
  • Craig, Wallace
  • Cruikshank, Ruth M.
  • Dallenbach, Karl M., 1887-1971
  • Ducasse, Curt John, 1881-1969
  • Fernberger, Samuel Weiller, 1887-1956
  • Gates, Louise W.
  • Gilbert, Roger
  • Goldfarb, Alvin I.
  • Guthrie, Edwin R. (Edwin Ray), 1886-1959
  • Haskins, Caryl P. (Caryl Parker), 1908-2001
  • Hooker, Davenport
  • Hull, Clark Leonard, , 1884-1952
  • Hunter, Walter Samuel, 1889-19
  • Kennedy, John L.
  • Koffka, Kurt, 1886-1941
  • Kuo, Zing Yang, 1898-1970
  • Langfeld, Herbert Sidney
  • Lashley, Karl Spencer, 1890-1958
  • Marshall, Laurence K.
  • McFarland, Ross Armstrong, 1901-1976
  • Morey, Robert
  • Munn, Norman Leslie
  • Murchison, Carl Allanmore
  • Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, 1929-1994
  • Pfaffmann, Carl
  • Pollock, Martha C.
  • Pratt, Carroll C. (Carroll Cor
  • Roberts, S. Oliver
  • Schlosberg, Harold, 1904-1964
  • Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Fredric), 1904-1990
  • Warren, Howard C. (Howard Cros
  • Wendt, George Richard, 1906-1977
  • Wilson, E. Bright (Edgar Bright), 1908-1992
  • Windle, William Frederick
  • Woodworth, Robert Sessions, 1869-1962
  • Yerkes, Robert Mearns, 1876-1956


  • Behavior science
  • Biology
  • Child development.
  • Endocrinology
  • Perception
  • Psychology
  • Scientists in World War I
  • Zoology

Detailed Inventory

 Leonard Carmichael Papers
ca. 1917-1973 Box 1
 Abbey, David S.
 Abbott, C. D.
 Abbot, Charles Greeley
 Garber, Paul E
 Ripley, S. Dillon
 Menzel, Donald H
 Abbott, Donald G
 Abbott, Everett
 Abbott, Frederic E., Rev.
 Abbott, Preston S.
 Abbott, R Tucker
 Abel, Theodora M
 Abelson, Philip H.
 Abramson, Harold A
 Academic Career Rejections
 Fernberger, Samuel W
 Titchener, E B
 Givler, Robert Chenault
 Cousens, John A
 Holmes, Henry W
 Allport, Floyd H
 Richtmyer, F K
 Gill, R C
 Kruse, P J
 Works, George A
 Dearborn, Walter H
 Sanderson, Dwight
 Payne, Bruce R
 Miner, J B
 Adams, J P
 Ogden, R M
 Neilson, W A
 Spaulding, F E
 Boring, E G
 Moore, Clifford H
 Murchison, Carl
 Mead, A D
 Langfeld, Herbert S
 Academic Costume
 Academic Honors,
 Academic Honors,
 Academic Honors,
 Academic Press
 Bittig, Carol H
 Academic Standing - Committee on
 Academy of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
 Academy of Political Science
 Accokeek Foundation
 Perez, Gabriel Garcia
 Ach, N
 Achilles, Paul S
 Achilles, Theodore Carter
 Acker, John Edward
 Ackerman, Arthur W
 Ackerman, Robert E
 Acta Psychologica Keijo
 Acton, Gladys
 Adams, Arthur S
 Adams, C R
 Adams, Donald K
 Adams, E James
 Baker, Robert C
 Adams, Henry F
 Adams, Howard
 Adams, J W
 Adams, James P
 Adams, Mrs. James P
 Adams, John P
 Adams, Joseph P
 Adams, Lois
 Adams, Mrs. Rachel
 Adams, Raymond D
 Adams, Russell B
 Adam's Rib Restaurant
 Faraclas, John E
 Adenauer, Konrad
 Adkins, Dorothy C
 Adler, Helmut E
 Aero Club of Washington
 Adams, Joseph P
 Aerospace Medical Ass'n.
 Aesthetics and Psychology
 Goodrich, Lloyd
 African Research and Development Co., Inc.
 Afshar, H K
 Agriculture in New England
 Aguas, A. de Oliveira
 Aguirre, Emiliano, S J
 Aibs Education Review
 Aiken, Herbert Austin
 Ainsworth, Mrs. Roy C
 Air Force Association
 Air Force Museum
 Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc.
 McKnew, Thomas W
 McConnell, J P
 Grant, L J
 Grosvenor, M B
 Kettering, E W
 Airlie Foundation
 Akeley, Carl
 Salseth, David K
 Dr. Payne
 Akers, Floyd D
 Akin, Ted M
 Akre, Charles T
 Alabama, University of
 Thompson, James A
 Alaska Geographical Society
 Alba, Jaime
 Albright, Alan B (Caribbean Research Institute)
 Albright, Alan B (C.R.I.)
 Albright, William Foxwell
 Albright, Mrs. William F
 Alcoa Seaprobe
 Hobbs, F Worth
 Snider, Ed
 Alden Foundation, Inc. (Mrs. Bonnie Alden Phillips)
 Aldine Publishing Company
 Aldred, F D
 Aldred, F W
 Aldrich, Emma B
 Aldrich, Mrs. Helen M
 Aldrich Chemical Company, Inc.
 Alee, W C
 Alexander, Charles P
 Alexander, D D
 Alexander, Edward P
 Alexander Hamilton Bicentennial Commission
 Alfalfa Club
 Bredin, J Bruce
 Trew, Shirley M
 Dinner Ctte., Alfalfa Club
 Bell, William T
 Walters, Velma I
 Gardner, John W
 Beers, Thomas M
 Oliphant, S Parker
 Mr. Sanders
 Brown, J Carter
 Weber, C Swan
 Jennings, Lewellyn A
 Alfred University
 Algonquin Club of Boston
 Mock, Harold A
 Thompson, Cameron
 Haller, Julius F
 Manager, Algonquin Club
 Kittredge, Wheaton
 Ali-Aba-Cle Review
 Allen, Betty
 Allen, Clarence E
 Allen, Faith
 Allen, Mary K
 Allen, Myron S
 Allen, R D
 Varney, Charles E
 Wish, Fred D, Jr.
 Gentry, C B
 Nooton, F C
 Verdlanck, F A
 MacBride, Bessie
 Young, Edward S
 Haggard, Roy S
 White, Helen M
 Allen, Robert F, Jr.
 Reymers, Lynda A
 Allentwon Art Museum
 Allgrove, Arthur Eames
 Alliance in Art
 Kreeger, Mrs. David Lloyd
 Allighan, Garry
 Allport, Floyd H
 Allport, Gordon W
 Alpert, George
 Alpert, Richard
 Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society
 Alschbach, Philip A
 Alter, Chester M
 Althin, Torsten
 Marbach, Ruth Ann
 Altiere, Edward S A
 Altman, Joseph
 Altmann, Stuart
 Alyea, Hubert N
 Amalaraj, A
 Amazon Research Center
 Ambassador Club
 Ambrosia, Sister
 Amen, Elisabeth W
 America - Israel Society
 Cassidy, George
 America's Young Men
 Howes, Durward
 Amer. Ass'n Advancement of Sci.
 McGeoch, John A
 Ward, Henry B
 Anderson, John E
 Woodley, Samuel
 Dashiell, John F
 Dunlap, Knight
 Gray, William S
 Hargan, James
 Miles, Walter R
 Ingraham, Mark H
 Anderson, John E
 Dwight, Charles A S
 Johnson, H M
 Watkins, Ralph J
 Buswell, G T
 Hull, Clark L
 Gates, Arthur I
 Allport, F H
 Davis, Charles
 Porter, James P
 Shepherd, William T
 Wickland, Carl A
 Woodrow, Herbert
 Riddell, Newton
 Wagner, Mazie Earle
 Fernald, Grace M
 Blakeslee, Albert F
 Thorndike, Edward L
 Root, William T
 Schoen, Max
 Hunter, Walter S
 Richards, T W
 Blakely, Clarence L
 Am. Assoc. Adv. of Sci. Annual Meeting
 Adams, Arthur S
 Taylor, Raymond L
 Brode, Wallace R
 Emery, Alden H
 Lindsay, G Carroll
 Dunn, R Roy
 Stephens, Thomas E
 Killian, James R
 Eisenhower, Dwight David
 American Academy of Arts and Sciences
 Ball, Mabel Frothingham
 Davis, Tenney L
 Campbell, C Macfie
 Boring, E G
 Lewis, C I
 Davis, T L
 Clark, Walter Eugene
 Oleson, Alexandra
 Branch, Claude R
 Sutherland, Arthur E
 Mead, Leonard C
 Voss, John
 Hoagland, Hudson
 Wilson, Edwin B
 Edsall, John T
 Phillips, Henry B
 Romer, Alfred S
 Holton, Gerald
 Land, Edwin H
 American Academy of Arts and Sciences -- Nominations an New Memberships
 Brewer, George F
 Burhoe, Ralph W
 Wessell, Nils Y
 Greene, William C
 Burchard, John Ely
 Wilson, Edwin B
 Harrison, George R
 Hoagland, Hudson
 Stewart, Robert B
 Sachar, Abram Leon
 Land, Edwin H
 American Academy of Neurology
 Bailey, Pearce
 Imus, Henry A
 Swedien, Thomas D
 American Academy of Political and Social Science
 American Airlines
 American Art League, Inc.
 American Association for the Advancement of Science
 Godfrey, Kneeland A., Jr.
 Deason, Hilary J
 Trew, Shirley
 Campbell, Louise
 Backstrom, James R
 Wolfle, Dael
 Abelson, Philip H
 Burtt, Harold E
 McGill, Thomas E
 Seeger, Raymond J
 Branscomb, Lewis M
 Henderson, Mr.
 Butler, James C
 Wolff, Kathryn
 Deason, Hilary J
 Sommer, Richard G
 Reymers, Lynda A
 McGeoch, John A
 Anderson, John E
 Woodley, Sam
 Watkins, Ralph
 Cattell, James McKeen
 Gray, William S
 Booth, Windsor Peyton
 Cantrell, Lawson J
 Taylor, Raymond L
 Dunn, R Roy
 Siddons, F P H
 Oehser, Paul H
 Owen, Ed W
 Du Shane, Graham
 Klopsteg, Paul E
 Behnke, John A
 Dearborn, Walter
 Waterman, Mrs. Alan T
 Leake, Chauncey D
 Billman, Carl
 Berry, William
 Robinson, E S
 Ward, Henry B
 Keller, Fred S
 Bills, Arthur G
 Ogden, Robert M
 Shipton, W D
 Ingraham, Mark H
 Miles, Walter R
 Ruckmick, Christian A
 Dallenbach, Karl M
 Roos, Mary M
 Stone, Calvin P
 Tucker, A C
 Woodrow, Herbert
 Wheeler, Raymond H
 Darrow, Chester W
 Thorndike, Edward L
 Boder, David P
 Nafe, John Paul
 Higginson, G D
 Blakeslee, Albert F
 Freeman, Frank N
 Ledgerwood, Richard
 Elliott, R M
 Gilliland, A R
 Reed, H B
 Stroud, J B
 Whitely, Paul L
 Cole, Lawrence W
 Conklin, E S
 Hoisington, L B
 Lanier, Lyle H
 Miner, J B
 Rexroad, Carl N
 Robinson, M F
 Waters, R H
 Stone, Calvin P
 Cason, Hulsey
 Dingwall, Ewen C
 Mitchell, James M
 American Association of Geographers
 American Association of Museums
 Patterson, Joseph Allen
 Mr. Payne
 Alderson, William T
 Barney, Laura D
 Hammond, Frank H
 Pringle, George H
 Bittig, Carol H
 Yecies, Susan M
 McGrath, Kyran M
 Brown, James M III
 Bentley, Mr.
 Alexander, Edward P
 Coleman, Laurence Vail
 Bookstein, Irving
 McDaniel, Joseph M, Jr.
 Jones, Louis C
 Mauzy, Wayne L
 Rainey, Froelich
 Grobman, Arnold B
 Heinrich, Theodore Allen
 Hatt, Robert T
 Nagel, Charles
 Morley, Grace L McCann
 Reed, Gervais
 Crouch, Philbrick M
 Milliken, William M
 Brew, J O
 Coffey, Katherine
 Zepp, Erwin C
 Watson, Thomas, Jr.
 Hammond, Frank H
 Taube, Mortimer
 Copeland, Mrs. Lammot Du Pont
 Lloyd, George W
 Herzog, Henry W
 Harris, Paul S
 Kingman, Eugene
 Rodney, James D
 Crittenden, Christopher
 Dulles, John Foster
 Herdeck, Donald E
 McCardle, Carl W
 Stout, George L
 Grobman, Arnold B
 Morley, Grace L MCCann
 Burton, E Milby
 Netting, M Graham
 Welch, Robert C
 Zamoshkin, A
 Smith, James Kellum
 Hatch, John Davis, Jr.
 Mather, Kirtley F
 Romer, Alfred S
 Dorra, Henri
 Turnham, Mrs. Alice J
 Brown, Henry D
 Fuller, Richard E
 Still, John S
 Finley, David E
 Nixon, Richard M
 Lever, Michael
 Buckley, Charles E
 Montgomery, Charles F
 Kingman, Eugene
 Bridaham, Lester B
 Vail, R W G
 Hatch, John Davis, Jr.
 Easby, Dudley T, Jr.
 Roberts, H Radclyffe
 Cairns, Huntington
 Adams, E James
 American Association of Museums - Committee on Feasibility of 5-Year Plan for Annual Meetings
 American Association of School Administration
 American Association of State Psychology Boards
 Terris, Lillian D
 American Association of University Professors
 Adams, C R
 Damon, L T
 Himstead, Ralph E
 American Association of University Women
 American Atheists, Inc.
 American Book Company
 American Book Publishers Council, Inc.
 American Business and Professional Trust
 American College Bureau
 American Committee to Preserve Abu Simbel
 McCullough, Max.
 American Council for Higher Education
 Wilson, Logan
 Dobbins, Charles G
 American Council on Education
 Zook, George F
 Miller, George S
 Conant, James Bryant
 Brown, Francis J
 McGrath, Earl J
 Fuller, Edgar
 Johnson, Louis
 Walters, Raymond
 McDonald, Ralph
 Brumbaugh, A J
 Tolley, William P
 Day, E E
 Donovan, H L
 Chase, Henry W
 Friley, Charles E
 Hill, Henry H
 Malott, Deane W
 Morrill, J L
 Robbins, Frank E
 Stoddard, George D
 Horton, Mildred McA
 Fine, Benjamin
 Howes, Raymond P
 Cahill, George A
 Davidson, Carter
 Little, Dr. J. Kenneth
 Adams, Arthur S
 Toepelman, W C
 Lunden, L R
 Minutes of Meetings, [Ctte. on Relationships of Higher Education to the Fed. Gov't.]
February 5 and March 5, 1971. 
 Waterman, Alan T
 Mather, J Paul
 Morrill, J L
 Howes, Raymond F
 Wann, Harry A
 Thackrey, Russell I
 Distler, Theodore A
 Howes, R H
 Anderson, Hurst R
 Broughton, Robert W
 Stone, Donald C
 Hussey, Fred G
 Wilson, Logan
 West, Elmer D
 Dobbins, Charles G
 Boozer, Howard R
 Hauck, Arthur A
 Reed, Robert H
 American Elsevier Publishing Company
 American Engineer
 American Enterprise Institute
 American Ethnological Society, Inc.
 Lesser, Alexander
 American Federation of Arts
 Pope, John A
 Prior, Harris K
 American Federation of Teachers
 Davis, Jerome