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Christine Ladd Franklin Essay

1342 words - 6 pages

Christine Ladd-Franklin
History and Systems of Psychology

Christine Ladd-Franklin
Christine Ladd-Franklin would make history with her remarkable achievements in psychology. Christine was a mathematician, logician, and psychology. Christine had many influential people in her life that helped support and encouraged her passion for learning in a culture where women found it hard to enter college. These influences included her father, mother, and aunt as well as academic professors, such as Maria Mitchell, James Sylvester, Charles Peirce, G.E. Muller, and Herman von Helmholtz. This paper will describe Christine Ladd-Franklin’s life, background, theory, and contributions to the field ...view middle of the document...

Because of financial issues, Christine had to leave Vassar after one year. The year Christine Ladd was away from Vassar, she taught German, music, and reading courses. Upon her return to Vassar the following year, Christine excelled at physics and astronomy, as well as acquired the science skills she needed to achieve her career goals as a mathematician, logician, and psychologist (Vassar Encyclopedia, 2012). Christine received her A.B. degree from Vassar in 1869.

Vassar was also influential in the development of Christine’s interest in women’s rights. While at Vassar, Christine fought for women’s rights by lobbying to join the Titchener’s Experimentalist group. The Experimentalist was a men-only group of psychologists that met annually to discuss current research. A fight she fought to no avail.

After graduating for Vassar, Christine took up teaching as well as pursued her interest in private studies such as physics, analytics, and music. In 1871 she moved to Washington, Pennsylvania, for a better teaching job. While living in Washington, she would often attend math seminars put on by George Vose, Professor of Mathematics and Engineering at Washington and Jefferson College (Vassar Encyclopedia, 2012). Christine idolized Professor Vose. Christine often emulated Vose in her article to The Analyst: A Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics that entailed analyzing and solving problems. After teaching in secondary school for about 10 years, Christine set out to fulfill her dream of obtaining a degree in mathematics.

The first primary research institution, John Hopkins University opened in 1876. Possessing the same road blocks as Vassar, John Hopkins was officially closed to women (Goodwin, 2008). Not to be discouraged, Christine still applied in hope of attending. Joseph Sylvester, a John Hopkins Faculty member who worked in the research department noticed Christine Ladd’s name on the application list and urged the university to accept Ladd. Sylvester was familiar with Christine’s publications in London’s Educational Times (Vassar Encyclopedia, 2012). According to the John Hopkins online Chronicles, the university only allowed Christine to attend Sylvester’s lectures. However, after displaying her exceptional abilities and acknowledgement of her work in mathematics and science, Christine was admitted to lectures of preeminent logicians, and philosophers. While at John Hopkins, Christine met Charles Pierce, whose works in symbolic logic caught her interest. Christine wrote a dissertation, “The Algebra of Logic” covering her symbolic logic invention of a technique for reducing syllogisms to one formula called the analogism (Vassar Encyclopedia, 2012). Despite Christine’s prestigious work at John Hopkins and completing her doctoral requirements by 1882, she was not awarded the official degree until 44 years later.

While at John Hopkins, Christine met and married her husband Fabian Franklin. Fabian worked in the...

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