James Mark Baldwin, (1861-1934)

In 1889 James Mark Baldwin came to Toronto from Princeton to found the first psychological laboratory in the British Empire. The Baldwin appointment created considerable controversy in Toronto. Baldwin was a proponent of the "new" experimental psychology emanating from Germany, especially the laboratory of Wilhelm Wundt at Liepzig. Torontonians of the late 1880’s harbored strong nativist tendencies and did not want an outsider teaching in Toronto. In addition, many in the academic community held to an idealist philosophy and refused to accept Baldwin’s "materialistic," "elemental" view of mental life.

Baldwin won the appointment with the help of President Sir Daniel Wilson. He was made professor of Logic, Metaphysics and Ethics in the philosophy department. To the chagrin of his opponents, Baldwin soon became a popular professor on campus. Misfortune, however, delayed Baldwin’s grand plans to establish a psychological laboratory at U of T. A month after his inaugural lecture (given to the public, students, and faculty), a fire destroyed University College. In the two years that followed, Baldwin received funding to establish a new laboratory. The university provided four rooms on the second floor of the West wing of the restored University College building. In 1893, with the laboratory well established, Baldwin left U of T for a higher paying position at Princeton. Hoff, (1992); Myers, (1982).

In the 1890’s Baldwin emerged as a leading figure in experimental psychology. He was a founding member of the American Psychological Association in 1892 and the sixth President of the APA in 1897. In 1893, Baldwin organized the psychology exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. His landmark work on mental development in children (Baldwin, 1895b) included, for the first time in psychology, experiments with children (namely, his own daughter Elizabeth). Baldwin was one of the first experimental psychologists to apply Darwin’s theory of evolution to his theories of development, (Murray, 1988). In 1902, he published the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, which contained contributions from the leading figures in psychology and philosophy at the turn of the century.

In the Literature:

Baldwin, J. M. (1887). Postulates of Physiological Psychology. Presbyterian Review, 8, 427-440.

Baldwin, J. M. (1889a). Handbook of Psychology: Senses and Intellect. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1889b). The Idealism of Spinoza. Presbyterian Review, 10, 64-76.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890a). Philosophy Its Relation to Life and Education, Inaugural Address. Toronto: University Of Toronto Press.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890b). New Work In Psychology, University of Toronto Quarterly, 1, 70-97.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890c). Psychology at the University of Toronto, American Journal of Psychology, 3, 285-286.

Baldwin, J. M. (1890d). Origin of Right or Left Handedness, Science, 16, 247-248.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891a). Notes. American Journal of Psychology, 3, 593.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891b). Handbook of Psychology: Feelings and Will. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1891c). Suggestion in Infancy. Science, 17, 113-117.

Baldwin J. M. (1892a). The Psychology Laboratory at the University of Toronto. Science, 19, 143-144.

Baldwin, J. M. (1892b). Suggestion and Will. In International Congress of Experimental Psychology, Second Session, London, 1892 (pp. 49-56). London: Williams and Norgate.

Baldwin, J. M. (1892c). Origin of Volition in Childhood, Science, 20, 286-287.

Baldwin, J. M. (1893). New Questions in Mental Chronometry, Medical Record, (N.Y.), 47, 455-456.

Baldwin, J. M. (1894). Imitation: A Chapter in the Natural History of Consciousness. Mind, 3, 25-55.

Baldwin, J. M. (1895a). Types of Reaction. Psychological Review, 2, 259-273.

Baldwin, J. M. (1895b). Mental Development in the Child and the Race: Methods and Processes. New York: Macmillan & Co.

Baldwin, J, M. (1895). Memory for Square Size, Psychological Review,2, 236-239.

Baldwin, J. M. (1896). The Type Theory of Reaction. Mind, n.s. 1, 81-90.

Baldwin, J. M. (1926). Between Two Wars: 1861-1921 (2 vols.) Boston: Stratford Co.

Baldwin, J. M. (1930). James Mark Baldwin. In C. Murchison (Ed.). A History Of Psychology in Autobiography (vol. 1.) New York: Rinehart & Winston.

Hoff, Tory L. (1992). Psychology in Canada One Hundred years Ago: James Mark Baldwin at the University Of Toronto. Canadian Psychology, 33: 683-694.

Murray, D. (1988). A History of Western Psychology, 2nd edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Myers, C. R. (1982). Psychology at Toronto. In M. J. Wright & C. R. Myers (eds.) A History Of Academic Psychology in Canada (pp. 68-99) Toronto: C. F. Hogrefe.


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