Memorandum from Alan Gregg on interviews at Yale University regarding the Institute of Human Relations
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18-20 October 1937
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Support as Topic
Director of Medical Sciences, 1930-1945
Memo of Interviews Re. Institute of Human Relations, New Haven
New Haven Monday, October 18, 1937
Left for New Haven. Luncheon with Bayne-Jones and general discussion of plans for this visit. Bayne-Jones renewed and confirmed
decision of last year that psychiatric work of - Kahn should be separated administratively from the Institute of Human Relations.
General Review of Finances
Yale University is putting up about $450,000.00 for activities in the medical school, hospital and School of Nursing. Endowed
by the Foundation but now sharply limited by loss in income from capital. B-J. gave me memorandum of the budget of the Department
of Psychiatry under date of October 15, 1937.
Dr. Eugan Kahn
Then saw K. and it is quite evident that he would feel more content with affiliation in the medical school. Says that the
State hospitals for the insane are Middletown - about 3000 and overcrowded - and Norwich, about the same size. The Fairfield
Asylum in Newtown opened three years ago; now about 1000 to 1500. Expenditure is $.22 a day for food in these institutions.
They do no extra-mural work and are understaffed. They are run by separate hoards of trustees, No outside Department of Public
Health in Connecticut and no centralization.
There is a school for defectives called the Mansfield Training School, capacity 1200 and waiting list of same size. Not in
charge of a psychiatrist, but in charge of an educator. Appointments to these boards of the separate mental hospitals are
not entirely unpolitical. There is no State psychopathic hospital.
At the Institute Kahn is unable to take very noisy patients. Takes a few deteriorated patients and has to show some preference
for minor psychopathic or neuro patients. Sends the students to Middletown for one day and supplies men for duration of a
month at Middletown. Had three such last year. Could easily do more. The New Haven Community Chest supports the mental hygiene.
Kahn believes it cannot do much more.
Ratio at present of RF support to income from patients is 31 to 46. For the work of the clinic Kahn wants a junior at $50.00
a month and maintenance and a senior resident from $75.00 a month and maintenance. Applicants for junior resident; position
number 4, 3 Jews, and not a very choice selection.
Dinner with M. May, who regards the Institute as an association of men in Yale (and a few from the outside) interested in
a program looking toward a basic science of human behavior. Principal fields represented are psychology, anthropology and
sociology. - Sears has been taken on to university basis. Hovland also, though H. is resigning to go to Iowa. Doob will be
taken on to university salary next year.
Administratively the Gesell work is in the Department of Medicine. Gesell has been to B-J. insisting upon his medical connections.
Yale Institute of Psychology brought three men here on funds from tho Spelman in 1924: Yerkes, Dodge and Wisler, The Yale
Institute took over these men traditionally. Wisler was part time from New York with his heart in New York. Yale tried to
get him to stay, hut he would not go to New Haven. May suggested Sapir and wanted him for his correlation with the Institute.
Sapir understood that his status was to be independent of the Institute and used the money that he had from the Institute
for ethnography. May says that he is not going to ask the RF
for support of Sapir's anthropology.
May thinks that he has accomplished two things at least: namely, that anthropology has been given an opportunity to contribute
to the purposes of the Institute; and that sociology has been brought into psychiatry in n new arid significant way.
May has found jobs for 14 men who didn't fit into the Institute program and they hove left.
Underhill Moore is thought by Northrup to be promising. Hull is dubious, and May thinks the pros and cons for Moore are about
equal. Outside Yale, May thinks Linton in anthropology, Harry Murray in psychology, ad Ferris at Brown are particularly favorable
to the Institute and for the Institute to keep in touch with. Also Robert Lind. May would like to bring these men to Hew Haven
for short periods of time end give them funds with which to work.
Clarke Hull has a number of theorems on the nature of learning which he is getting tried out by various pupils in other institutions
and who still need Hull's guidance.
In any plan that May has in mind now the salaries would be taken care of as follows: Hull would be taken by the University;
Dollard, May says, would be taken by Furniss; Zinn would fall on the University or the Institute, but not in the medical school
with Kahn (possibly could be taken on by Psychology eventually) ; Homburger would be in the same category as Zinn; and Dorothy
Thomas, a useful worker, but Yale is opposed to the appointment of women on the teaching staff.
May told Furniss that he wanted Institute funds for the following purposes: first, one-year assistantships to work with older
men or independently with academic range, but not on the promotional ladder; second, for secretaries and technicians; third,
possibly for May's salary and central expenses of the Institute; fourth, for free beds to permit keeping patients for
a longer period under study or for the expenses of going to Worchester or Middletown for treatment material; and fifth, for
supplies for researches done by members of the University staff. Miles' salary May would not ask to put on the Institute
budget. May thinks that psychology is not so important to medicine as to be really fundamental for psychiatry. Miles is trying
his best to collaborate with the Institute and is a superior character.
Tuesday. October 19, 1937
D. believes that the main idea at the outset of the Institute was to have a "universe of discourse"; i.e., terms through
which various specialists could exchange ideas, this with particular reference to sociology and psychology. Thinks that this
has to a certain extent been accomplished and that the results are considerable. Notes that Kahn's younger people do not
attend The Monday night seminars to my great extent.
As a whole the Institute does not have enough of the clinical attitude; i.e., the study of actual cases. This is principally
due to the lack of this tradition in psychology and to the emphasis on rigorous experimental rather than to clinical observations
which exists here. Some of the teachers get in their teaching work a sort of clinical experience. Furthermore, the sociologists
are rather removed from a clinical attitude, since they take sociology as an entity and belittle the role which individuals
Lunch with Walter Miles
M. points out that there are five psychologists who were originally closely affiliated with medicine: himself, Gesell, Dodge,
Yerkes and Angier. These five were originally on the committee of the medical school. This has subsequently been abolished.
I raised with Miles the question of whether it would not be more satisfactory for him to be transferred to the University
Department of Psychology. He seemed to find the suggestion somewhat novel, but I did not feel that he was distressed. I pointed
out that the total budget for psychology in the medical school psychiatry was rather a large one, though there was no implication
that its contribution was inadequate or unsatisfactory.
H. not verifiably interested in the set up of the Institute, but enthusiastic and categorical in his defense of his theorems
of learning, which he finds so rigorous and mathematically logical.
Dinner at President Seymour's
With Furniss, Winternitz, Bayne-Jones, Farnam, and Mark May. Seymour asked for an opinion on the Yale Institute of Human Relations.
I gave a rather extensive resume of my impressions, indicating the position of the Institute's objectives in current research
work. Apparently Seymour has not seen the Institute in this light. I quoted the opinion, concurring with it, that the actual
work and responsibilities of the psychiatrists were more logical under the medical school set up than in the University; and
further, commented upon the rather large ratio that exists within the psychiatric work between psychology and psychiatry.
Said that I thought that some contribution from Yale University should be made at the present time and suggested that Miles'
salary ($10,000.00) be assumed by Yale University. If this could be done, I should be prepared to present a recommendation
that would involve the support of psychiatry transferred to the medical school at its present level, together with the expenses
for patients' care - and this up until July, 1943. Said that I would be prepared to recommend also that in 1943 the Foundation
would appropriate a capital sum in the neighborhood of $1,100,000.00 to $1,250,000.00 for the endowment of the Department
of Psychiatry, provided the item of patient care could be supplied by Yale in the present quarters or by the State of Connecticut
in a psychopathic hospital that might be constructed by the State in the neighborhood of the Institute.
I then made the point that these comments were offered on the basis of tackling the whole Institute problem in two entirely
different divisions; i.e., taking the psychiatric work now and reserving the question of the Institute to the spring meeting
in April, 1938. This division seemed imperative, both for logical and for budgetary reasons. Said that I had spoken to Miles
regarding his academic status
and had indicated that I would bring it up at this time. There was no objection voiced to the separation of the budget of
psychiatry from the budget of the Institute, nor any objection to the transfer of Miles except that Winternitz insisted that
psychology could at sometime be of as much help as the original provisions had implied.
After the dinner had broken up, May expressed satisfaction with the point of view I had outlined.
Wednesday. October 20, 1937
Talk with Marquis
No special points other then Marquis' belief that objectives of the group at the Institute were far more clear and the
policies better defined than had been the case in the past.
Saw President Seymour again. Also Furniss. Seymour would prefer to have the assumption of Miles' salary postponed for
one year and believes that he could get the Corporation to accept it from the termination of the present grants from the RF
to the Institute. Said I would confirm this later by telephone from New York (done).
Final discussions with May and Bayne-Jones, in which I indicated plans for taking up the matter of the Psychiatry Department
at the December meeting and deferring the rest of the Institute to the April, 1938 meeting,
Apropos of the Childs' gift, both May and B-J, pointed out that the Childs' gift resulted from a favorable impression
created by various men at Yale working on RF grants in aid and the fluid research funds, The Childs' gift is larger than
has been reported and in fact is so large that beneficiaries will be both in and outside of Yale. B-J. has assumed responsibility
and finds it pretty onerous. He is going to give up his mastership at Trumbull and give his time exclusively to the medical
school and the Childs' fund.