Project Description

William James

William James

The Father of Modern Psychology

Born in 1842, William James is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of modern psychology.  In 1875, James taught one of Harvard’s first courses in psychology, “The Relations between Physiology and Psychology.” He established the first U.S. experimental psychology laboratory, and oversaw Harvard’s first doctorate in psychology, earned by G. Stanley Hall in 1878.  In 1890, James published his highly influential Principles of Psychology. His books were widely read in North America and Europe, gaining attention and praise from Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung in Vienna. James would later meet both Freud and Jung at Clark University in 1909. The meeting between Freud and James was arranged by James’ former student, G. Stanley Hall, then president of Clark. It turned out to be Freud’s only trip to the United States.

One of the few high-rise buildings on the Harvard campus, William James Hall, today houses the Department of Psychology.  James brought Hugo Munsterberg to Harvard to grow the department and advance the field.