Margaret Floy Washburn

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Margaret Floy Washburn was born July 25, 1871. She died October 29, 1939. Washburn was one of the main psychologists from the United States in the early part of the 20th century. Many historians believe that Washburn’s best known work was in the behavior of animals and in developing motor theories. Even with her extensive work in both areas, she is best known to the general public as the first woman to be grated a PhD in psychology in 1894. Washburn was also the second woman after Mary Whiton Calkins, to be the president of the American Psychological Association in 1921. (American Psychologist, 1970) Washburn was born in New York City in 1871. Her father Francis, an Episcopal priest and her mother, Elizabeth Floy, who was from a very wealthy family, raised her into adulthood. When Margaret was 9 she moved to Ulster County, New York after her father was placed in a parish there. In 1886, at just 15 years old, she graduated from high school. The following fall, she enrolled at Vassar College in New York. She was first introduced to psychology during her undergraduate years in college. During this time, she also developed a strong interest in philosophy after reading poetry and other literary works. Margaret became determined to study under James McKeen Cattell in the psychological laboratory at Columbia University following graduation from Vasser in 1891. Washburn was only admitted at Columbia as an auditor as that college had never admitted a female graduate student. After just one year at Columbia, Washburn entered the Sage School of Philosophy at Cornell University, after the strong urging of Cattell. While she was a student at Cornell, she studied as psychologist E.B. Titchener’s only graduate student. While at Cornell, at Titchener’s suggestion, she conducted a study of the methods of equivalences in tactual perception. She earned her Master's

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