The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology has many interesting and unique collections in the archive. I stumbled across a chapter in an edited volume written in 1928 by Felix Krueger entitled, The Essence of Feeling. This chapter is extensively annotated with handwritten critiques, questions and comments of Krueger’s work. Whose handwriting could it be? I did some digging, and with the help of one of the archivists, I found out that the book came from Robert Ward Leeper’s private library.
I had never heard of Robert Leeper and was curious to find what contributions he made to psychology. Upon doing some research, I found he was born in 1904 and passed in 1986. Throughout his career, he published several written works as a theoretical psychologist with a focus on personality. He briefly taught at the University of Arkansas, and later worked with Karl Lashley, a psychologist and behaviorist, on a fellowship in Chicago, before moving to the University of Oregon for the remainder of his career (Taylor, 1987).
Leeper appears to give much thought to Krueger’s chapter! When flipping through the book, Krueger’s chapter was the only chapter extensively annotated with comments! He even notes throughout the chapter using exclamation points, “Xs,” question marks and large slashes through the text to give indication to how he felt about Krueger’s proposal.
I found that Leeper’s notes described Krueger’s work as “easy to see why his writings have not had much influence in this country.” These notes on Krueger’s chapter are dated February 22, 1969, but Leeper returns to this chapter and notes on September 7, 1969 “I think his proposal is less like mine than I thought.” I believe Leeper’s interest in psychology outside empirical data may have initially contributed to some likeness of Krueger’s work.
Leeper’s note in quotation that Krueger is “really something” brings a lot of personality to Leeper. The extensive notes really give you a sense of who Leeper was, and how critical his thought process was! It is fascinating to see the compelling comments Leeper makes on Krueger’s work. Leeper seems to have an intelligent opinion about everything and it is very exciting to read!
The Cummings Center for the History of Psychology really has amazing things to discover. Krueger’s The Essence of Feelings annotated by Leeper is truly one of those great finds! The personal notes and reactions Leeper makes about Krueger’s chapter add conflicting view points to really help interpret the discussion of feelings in the chapter. It is like reading a debate between two great minds of the past! Leeper’s dedication to annotating so thoroughly, really makes me excited about other works in his private library he may have annotated!
Krueger, F. (1928). The Essence of Feeling. In Arnold, M.B (Eds.), The nature of emotion (97-108). Great Britian: Penguin Books.
Tyler, L. E. (1987). Robert Ward Leeper (1904-1986). American Psychologist, 42(7), 752-753. doi:10.1037/h0090790