Division 19 History

Roots of Div. 19

The formal beginnings of Div. 19 are grounded in the massive reorganization of APA between 1944 and 1946; especially in the absorption of the American Association for Applied Psychology (AAAP) into the reorganized APA.

The AAAP was founded in 1937 as a national organization to promote applied psychology. AAAP grew out of a federation of several applied psychology organizations, the most prominent of which was the New York based Association of Consulting Psychologists (ACP). The ACP and other applied groups had come into existence as a result of the failure of APA to serve applied psychologists’ needs for professional certification and educational opportunities. It seems APA preferred to remain dedicated to academia and to the advancement of psychology as a science as called for in its bylaws rather than deal with problems of applied psychologists. The ACP was the nucleus of the newly formed AAAP and Douglas Fryer, the president of ACP, served as the first president of AAAP. The ACP also gave its successful Journal of Consulting Psychology to the new AAAP (Benjamin, 1997).

AAAP was, arguably, the most powerful applied psychology organization that the National Research Council and the APA had to deal with in their reorganization of American psychology in 1944.

WWII and the Birth of the Div. of Military Psychology

In 1939 the National Research Council’s Division of Anthropology and Psychology, voted to establish the Committee on Public Service in the Event of War. The committee, chaired by John Jenkins, was soon renamed the Committee on the Selection and Training of Military Personnel. The APA also organized an Emergency Committee, as did AAAP. Finally, the NRC sponsored a coordinating committee to pull together these different national efforts into one national effort under the leadership of Karl Dallenback. This was the Emergency Committee on Psychology and many prominent psychologists of the day served on that committee, including Robert M. Yerkes. 

Dallenback saw the role of the Emergency Committee as advisory in nature. Yerkes, on the other hand, saw the committee as an opportunity to unite academic and applied psychologists under one banner. As a result he organized the powerful Subcommittee on Survey and Planning that permitted him to take charge. In early 1942 he organized a conference on long-range planning. 

The conferees chosen by Yerkes were: Richard Elliot, E. G. Boring, Edga Doll, Calvin Stone, Alice Bryan, Ernest Hilgard and Carl Rogers, all prominent members of APA and AAAP. The outcome of this conference was the recommendation that a Central American Institute of Psychology should be established along the lines of the WWI Office of Psychological Personnel (OPP). 

Part of the recommendation was to convene an intersociety convention to discuss the formation of a central institute. This proposal was endorsed by the Emergency Committee and an intersociety convention was planned for the spring of 1943. This proposed convention came to be known as the Inter-society Constitutional Convention and delegates from all major (and some minor) psychology organizations were invited to attend. Yerkes and his committee members prepared a handbook/agenda and suggested three alternative national structures: modification of the APA, a federation of the current represented societies and an ideal new society. 

The convention lasted three days and what emerged was a plan to reorganize APA to permit the voice of special interest groups such as AAP, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (APA Div. 9) and the Psychometric Society to be represented. Part of this proposal was that all five sections of MAP, including the military psychology section, would become charter divisions within APA. The new organization of APA was realized in 1944 when both APA and AAAP members ratified the plan. Sitting chairmen of the five sections of AAAP automatically became the temporary chairmen of the charter divisions they represented. The new APA began operation in September, 1945; however, it did not really get underway until 1946 with the election of new division officers. This was in part due to the cancellation of the 1945 annual APA convention because of war-time travel restrictions.

Early Division Presidents Define Post-War Military Psychology

Chauncey M. Louttit (1945-1946). Louttit automatically became the temporary chairman of the charter division of military psychology as part of the APA reorganization. Louttit was the immediate past president of the AAAP and was the current chairman of its military psychology section at the time AAAP was absorbed into the new APA structure. The military psychology section, along with the other four sections of AMP, formed five of the original 19 charter divisions of the new APA organization.

Sitting chairmen of the five sections of AMP automatically became the temporary chairmen of the charter divisions they represented. At the time of his appointment as temporary Division 19 chairman, Louttit was serving in the Navy as the commanding officer of the Service School, Naval Training Center in Bainbridge, Md. He left the service to take a teaching position as professor of clinical psychology at Ohio State University eventually becoming chairman of the psychology department at Wayne State University from 1954 until 1956 when he died of Hodgkins disease at age 55. He was also editor of the Psychological Abstracts from 1947 to 1956.