Shepherd Ivory Franz (1874-1933)

Copyright 2003 All Rights Reserved

Roger K. Thomas

The University of Georgia

This biographical essay is adapted from a chapter prepared for the forthcoming book, Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology Presidents and Presidential Addresses, James L. Pate, Editor, Amsterdam:Rodopi. 

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Shepherd Ivory Franz

(Circa 1919-1920)


From Birth to 1907

Shepherd Ivory Franz was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on May 27, 1874. His parents were D. W. William Franz (a native of Hanover, Germany) and Frances Elvira Stoddard Franz (Anonymous, 19261; Woodworth, 1934). Franz attended public schools in Jersey City. He enrolled at Columbia University in 1890, where he subsequently earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1894 and the Doctorate of Philosophy degree in psychology in 1899. As an undergraduate senior, Franz began working with James McKeen Cattell who was Wilhelm Wundt's first American doctoral student in psychology; Wundt is recognized, generally, to be the founder of experimental psychology. Franz also spent a semester in Wundt's laboratory in 1896, although Franz wrote that "Wundt was seldom seen except at the time of his lectures" (Franz, 1932, p. 92). Franz noted that he served as Versuchperson (subject) in three investigations in Wundt's laboratory.

Franz's doctoral dissertation was an investigation of parameters of visual after-images. However, most of his subsequent research involved basic and applied research on brain functions. Franz attributed much of his early education associated with the study of brain function to his colleagues and experiences during his first two post-doctoral positions, assistant in physiology (1899-1901) at the Harvard Medical School and instructor in physiology (1901-1904) at the Dartmouth Medical School (Franz, 1932; Murchison, 1929). At Harvard, Franz worked with Henry P. Bowditch, whom Franz (1932, p. 93) described as being "the dean of physiologists in this country" and to whom Garrison (1924) attributed the founding of the first physiological laboratory in the United States. Franz (1932) also paid a warm tribute to Harvard physiologist, W. T. Porter.

While he was at Dartmouth, Franz began to publish the research that would define his career, including the early monograph (Franz, 1902) that would be the basis for his claim to be "the first person who combined [animal] training and extirpation as a special method." (Franz, 1907, p. 583) Franz got into a wrangle with Otto Kalischer (1907) regarding priority for this method, but Franz made a convincing case.

In 1904, Edward Cowles, the Superintendent of McLean Hospital (a teaching hospital associated then and now with the Harvard Medical School) hired Franz to establish a psychological laboratory there. The main purpose of the laboratory was to develop psychological testing methods to be used with the mentally ill. Franz (1932) described his preparation for working with the mentally ill as follows.

"In 1904, I was practically ignorant of the problems and management of insane patients . . . [but three years at McLean gave me] a working knowledge of current psychiatry and a more intimate knowledge of the facts of abnormal psychology." (p. 106)

Regarding the significance of the McLean laboratory, Reisman (1966, 1991) and Watson (1977) attributed to Franz the establishment of the "first psychological laboratory in a hospital." However, Franz (1912a; see the dedication page) gave that credit unequivocally to Cowles, and, according to Watson (1953/1977, p. 201), G. Stanley Hall "influenced Cowles in establishing the psychological laboratory at McLean." Thus, the plan for the first psychological laboratory in a hospital appears to have originated with Hall and Cowles and to have been developed and implemented by Franz.

On January 1, 1907, Franz began working for Superintendent William A. White who had hired him to establish a psychological laboratory at the Government Hospital for the Insane in Washington, D.C. Thus, began Franz's association with the hospital that occupied most of his career. The Government Hospital for the Insane was also known informally then, and later formally, as St. Elizabeth's Hospital,2 (beginning in 1917 and continuing in the present). As will be described below, the St. Elizabeth's phase of his career came to a stormy end in June 1924.

Franz's St. Elizabeth Years (1907-1924)

Other than the standard published sources, most of the reference material used in this section and its subsections came from government records pertaining to St. Elizabeth's Hospital that are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter NARA) and by the United States Office of Personnel Management (hereafter OPM).3 There is much more of interest and importance regarding Franz's life and career during his St. Elizabeth's years than can be presented here. Five topics will be discussed, (a) Franz and White, (b) Franz's students during the St. Elizabeth's years, (c) Franz and the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology (SSPP), (d) Franz and Lashley, and (e) Franz, the "Neuro-Psychiatry" course, and John B. Watson. Contributing to the latter topic is the extensive correspondence Franz conducted with some well known persons who were asked to teach parts of the course. Particular emphasis will be placed on a few of the 16 exchanges between Franz and Watson.  Watson is generally acknowledged to be the founder of behaviorism.

Franz and White. William Alanson White (1870-1937) served as St. Elizabeth's superintendent from 1903 until his death in 1937. White was one of America's most prolific and influential psychiatrists.  With a great deal of enthusiasm, White hired Franz for the newly created position of Psychologist. White wanted a model psychological laboratory for St. Elizabeth's, and he knew that Franz was the best qualified person to develop it. White (1907) praised the laboratory effusively in the 1907 annual report, and he noted that the laboratory's main purpose was to "work out practical methods of examination."

Over the years, Franz was promoted from Psychologist to Scientific Director (1909-1919) and, then, to Director of the Laboratories (1919-1924). The latter gave Franz supervisory responsibility for eight departments (e.g., bacteriology, pathology, psychology, and roentgenology) as well as administrative responsibility for several buildings. In addition to these positions and during his St. Elizabeth's years, Franz held the following academic appointments: Professor of Physiology, George Washington University, 1906-1921 and Professor of Experimental Psychology, 1906-1924; Instructor of Neurology, Naval Medical School, 1920-1924; Lecturer in Psychology, The Johns Hopkins University, 1922-1923. (Murchison, 1929, p. 78)

In 1908, Franz contributed a chapter on psychological examination methods to White's (1908) well known textbook, Outline of Psychiatry. Franz (1912a) expanded the chapter to become a separate book, Handbook of Mental Examination Methods, which may have been the first of its kind for use with psychiatric patient populations. Franz and White, apparently got along well for many years, as suggested by Franz's promotions and other nominations and endorsements by White in support of Franz (e.g., Franz's membership on the National Research Council). However, there were often points of contention, usually in conjunction with Franz's administrative responsibilities, that eventually resulted in his humiliating demotion and salary reduction which, in turn, led to his resignation.

The proximate cause of Franz's resignation stemmed from a report dated March 28, 1924, by the Captain of the Watch, Henry Morosse. The report, addressed to White's administrative assistant, Monie Sanger, described some infractions regarding one of the buildings under Franz's supervision. The front door had been found to be unlocked after hours on two occasions (February 12 and 26), and on two other occasions (March 16 and 17) laboratory burners were found to be unattended and burning. Additionally, Morosse wrote, "The medicine room door was found unlocked almost every night, the last time being on March 27." As Director of the Laboratories, Franz was held to be accountable and was told to investigate the incidents. Franz appointed Harold Palmer, the bacteriologist, to conduct the investigation.

Palmer reported on March 29 that too much time had passed to determine responsibility for the unlocked doors (recall that some occurrences were six weeks previous), and he noted that the lock on the front door was faulty and may have failed to lock unbeknown to the last person leaving. Palmer also noted that the unattended burners resulted from an apparent oversight of a staff member and that the "chemical room" held nothing deemed worthy of its being locked. In his written response (March 31, 1924) addressed to Monie Sanger, Franz noted that the apparent negligence had occurred despite his clearly posted orders regarding both the burners and locking the doors and that, in the future, such errors might be more correctable if they were brought to his attention in a more timely manner.

Nevertheless, White took the matter before the Board of Visitors who recommended Franz's demotion. Franz was informed on April 9 that he was relieved of his duties as Director of the Laboratories, and on April 15 he was informed that the change in duties "operates automatically to return you to your previous status of Psychologist, the maximum salary of which is $3,500 per annum, at which rate you will receive compensation from this date." Other evidence in the OPM file indicates that Franz's salary at the time was $4,250 (a hand notation on the otherwise typed form indicates it may have been $4,400) plus he received allowances for Quarters and Subsistence in full. On May 3, 1924, Franz submitted a tersely worded letter of resignation which was to take effect on June 1.

Several additional examples of conflict over administrative matters between White and Franz could be presented, most of which appear somewhat petty and to which Franz had detailed responses. For example, in the context of fiscal responsibility, White complained in a letter to Franz (May 10, 1917) because Franz's children were being fed from a separate kitchen, and there were some other complaints by White involving Franz's children's diets. Franz replied on May 11, 1917, in considerable detail, and reminded White that it was he who had issued the general order that children under age 10 were to be kept away from the general dining room because they were likely to be disturbing to the adults. Franz noted that his children were 1.5 and 6 years old. However, the ultimate cause of Franz and White's growing incompatibility may be found in Franz's (1932) autobiography, where, incidentally, White's name is barely mentioned.

During the last fifteen years of my St. Elizabeth's service there was a volcanic rise of psychoanalytic         belief. Tedious laboratory studies were looked upon as unfruitful, if not entirely useless. Even the organic neurological had assumed value only if correlated with Freudian mental mechanisms. There was a bewildering stream of psychoanalytic outpourings, but fixed symbolism was the lava binding everything together. Whatever the formulation, and however it might be verbally described at different times by reference to organic conditions -- the autonomic system, short aortas, and the like -- the trend remained much the same. Diverse activities--research on the cerebrum and on re-education, war work, multiple teaching duties, and administrative details--fortunately (or the reverse) kept me away from the main volcanic outpourings and I did not become submerged by them. Nor did I attempt to stem or direct the flow. I was an onlooker.  (Franz, 1932, pp. 109-110)

In any case, within a few months of his resignation from St. Elizabeth's, Franz became a member of the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he would soon be appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology. He also would be hired as Chief of the Psychological Clinic at the Children's Hospital in Hollywood.

Franz''s students during the St. Elizabeth's years.  In the 1907 annual report in which White extolled the virtues of the psychology laboratory, he also noted that it would provide valuable educational experiences for doctoral students in psychology at George Washington University. As noted earlier, Franz held professorial appointments in both experimental psychology and physiology at George Washington University. Regarding Franz's students, Ives (1970) wrote,

"Grace H. Kent was the first student to carry through the doctoral dissertation at Saint Elizabeth's. She received the Ph.D. degree at the George Washington University in 1911 . . . . Other notable students who studied with Dr. Franz were A. H. Sutherland, Edwin G. Boring, and Karl S. Lashley." (p. 160)

Apparently, Kent was the only one of the four for whom Franz was the dissertation supervisor, and it may be noted that she went on to have a highly distinguished career (Shakow, 1974). Boring's doctorate was conferred in 1914 at Cornell University, and his dissertation supervisor was Edward B. Titchener. Boring only spent the summer of 1912 at St. Elizabeth's (as may be seen in a letter from Boring to Harold Russell in the NARA materials). Lashley worked with Franz after earning his doctoral degree in zoology at Johns Hopkins University with H. S. Jennings. Sutherland earned his doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Chicago in 1909 (Murchison, 1929, p. 232), presumably, being supervised by someone other than Franz, as he had no appointment at the University of Chicago. Apparently,4 Sutherland was affiliated also with the Government Hospital for the Insane (St. Elizabeth's) in 1909 as an "Assistant Psychologist."

There is other evidence in the NARA and OPM files pertaining to persons who referred to themselves as former students (e.g., a letter from a job-seeker who asked Franz "...if you chance to recall one of your students in the George Washington School of Medicine;" this former student also said that he had graduated from the Tulane School of Medicine), and Franz had many students such as the physicians associated with the Veterans Bureau who took the six-months neuro-psychiatry course (see below). It has not been determined whether Franz had any doctoral students in psychology other than Grace Kent.

Franz and the Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology.  Franz's most active association with the SSPP also occurred during the St. Elizabeth's years. He was elected to membership at the third annual meeting (Buchner, 1908), and he was elected Vice President of the Society at the fourth annual meeting (Buchner, 1909). Apparently, Franz presented his first paper at a SSPP meeting during the fifth annual meeting (Ogden, 1910), a paper titled, The functions of the anterior and posterior areas of the cerebrum. Franz concluded that the frontal lobes had motor associational functions while the posterior areas had sensory-associational functions. Franz was re-elected Vice President at the fifth annual meeting. At the sixth annual meeting, Franz was elected President of the Society (Ogden, 1911). He served as President during the seventh annual meeting which was held in conjunction with the twentieth annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (Bingham & Ruedigger, 1912).

On December 28, 1911, Franz gave, perhaps, one of the most historically significant presidential addresses ever to made before the Society, one that he titled, "New Phrenology." The address was summarized in the proceedings of the seventh annual meeting (Bingham & Ruedigger, 1912) and was published in full as the lead article in the March 1, 1912, issue of Science. With his usual sardonic wit, Franz attacked the "histological phrenologists," about whom he said Korbinian Brodmann "has given the clearest pronouncement" (Franz, 1912b, p. 323). After quoting Brodmann, Franz wrote, "In these statements we have the entering wedge for a more complete phrenology than has been advocated since the time of Gall." (1912, pp. 323-324) Franz continued by arguing, in essence, that important logical issues had not been settled regarding the material bases for mental states and that the empirical evidence was both controversial and lacking. He concluded:

"We have no facts which will at present enable us to locate the mental processes in the brain any better than they were located fifty years ago. That the mental processes may be due to cerebral activities we may believe, but with what anatomical elements the individual mental processes may be connected, we do not know."  (Franz, 1912b, p. 328)

These powerful assertions against localization of such functions in the brain occurred well before Karl Lashley had begun his brain research. Lashley and Pierre Flourens are history's most recognized anti-localizationists, and the relative neglect of Franz by historians in this regard is inexplicable. Franz's arguments were strongly against the prevailing localization of function interpretation that had re-emerged beginning with the discovery of the speech center by Auburtin, Bouillaud, and Broca (Thomas, 2007). Franz's presidential year and address provided the last evidence this author has found of Franz's participation in SSPP meetings.

Franz and Lashley. Karl Spencer Lashley (1890-1958) has been described as "the pre-eminent scientist of brain and behavior during the first half of the 20th Century." (Bruce, 1991, p. 307) Lashley's formulation of the principles of mass function and equipotentiality (e.g., Lashley, 1929) weighed heavily among the contributions that gained him such praise. Yet, and too often overlooked, it was Franz's theoretical interpretations and practical instruction that provided the foundation for Lashley's achievements. Beginning with Franz's (1902) article, "On the functions of the cerebrum: I. The frontal lobes in relation to the production and retention of simple sensory-motor habits," and well represented by his "New Phrenology" SSPP presidential address (Franz, 1912b), Franz had revived the anti-localization interpretation with respect to "higher-order" brain functions, by which he meant learning and memory, at a time when the localization of function interpretation had again become prevalent. Although neither Franz nor Lashley would deny certain kinds of localized functions (e.g., see above regarding Franz's presentation at the fifth annual meeting of the SSPP) both argued that higher-order functions such as learning and memory were not localized.

Lashley had done no brain research involving brain ablations prior to working with Franz. Franz taught him how to do the brain surgery. Lashley's undergraduate degree (University of West Virginia) was in zoology, but he had little exposure to neurology. His master's degree was in bacteriology (University of Pittsburgh), and his doctoral dissertation in zoology (Johns Hopkins University, 1914) under H. S. Jennings was an investigation of the role of inheritance in tentacles formed among clones of hydra (Bruce, 1991). By 1914, Lashley had also begun to study and work with John B. Watson. Lashley became interested in the neural correlates of learning but failed in his early attempts to develop investigative approaches that involved salivary conditioning in humans or that involved rats, mazes, and drugs. As Bruce (1991) expressed it, "A more fruitful approach . . . brain ablation studies with animals, was provided by Shepherd I. Franz, who worked at the Government Hospital for the Insane in nearby Washington, DC." (p. 312)

Lashley approached Franz who agreed to work with him. Donald O. Hebb, who wrote the introduction to the re-publication of Lashley's classic 1929 monograph, Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence, provided the following anecdote regarding the beginning of Franz's and Lashley's relationship.

Lashley's story was that Franz first set him to photographing naked female patients. This was to find out whether he was a reliable worker. Satisfied on that point . . . he undertook with Lashley two studies of the effect of cortical extirpation on habit in the rat. Thus, began the line of work that was the chief basis of the present book. (Hebb, 1963, p. x)

Although, Lashley appeared to have held Franz in high esteem (see below), Lashley gave little, if any, recognition of Franz's strong antilocalization view in the 1929 monograph when he (Lashley) put forth his own strong antilocalization principles of mass function and equipotentiality. This is surprising because Lashley critically reviewed the various theories of brain function and cited some of Franz's laboratory research, including the two articles they published together (Franz & Lashley, 1917; Lashley & Franz, 1917). Curiously missing was any reference to Franz's (1912) article, "New Phrenology."

Bruce (1986) has examined the influence of Lashley's three principal mentors, Jennings, Watson, and Franz, as identified and described by Lashley himself. Bruce obtained the copies of Wispe's questionnaire, "Factors in Psychological Leadership," that Lashley had completed concerning each of the three.  [For more information about Wispe's research, see Wispe, 1963.]  According to Bruce, Lashley considered Jennings to be more altruistic and professional compared to Watson or Franz. Lashley considered all three to be professionally ambitious, and he rated Watson highest here followed by Franz and then Jennings. Lashley also rated Franz as being the more creative researcher and thinker. Considering the questionnaires and other information, Bruce (1986) concluded, "it may be suggested that in Lashley's eyes, Jennings was the respected academic mentor, Watson the research colleague and friend, and Franz the no-nonsense aggressive research supervisor." (p. 38)

Franz, the "Neuro-Psychiatry" course, and John B. Watson. In 1922 and on behalf of the Veterans Bureau, Franz was charged with developing a six-months course in neuro-psychiatry.5 Enrollment in the course was limited to qualified physicians within the Bureau and was available to the applicants on the condition that the successful graduate would serve two additional years with the Bureau. Undoubtedly, it was one of the earliest and most comprehensive courses of its kind, and no more prestigious faculty likely could ever be assembled. The course plan provided for lectures, laboratory, and practical experience. The plan called for 26 subjects to be taught and among those subjects, 55 topics were listed. Examples of the subjects were Neuro-anatomy, Psychology-abnormal, Statistics, Clinical psychiatry, cases, examination, and treatment, Serology and serological techniques, Roentgenology in neuro-psychiatry, and Medico-legal aspects of neuropsychiatric work. Examples of some of the topics were Hospital management and administration, Delirium, States of anxiety, Paranoia, The psychology of senescence, The paralyses, and Method and results of re-education.

Franz provided instruction on the latter topic, and his book, Nervous and mental re-education, was published while the course was in progress (Franz, 1923). "Re-education" referred to rehabilitation following brain damage and ways to facilitate it, a need that had emerged most strongly for the Veterans Bureau as a result of World War I. The foundation of Franz's theoretical views and their supporting data had been laid beginning with his earliest experimental brain research with animals. For example, in his 1902 monograph, following each of two successive brain ablations, the experimental subjects (cats) "lost the habit" on which they had been trained, but each time they were successfully re-educated. Franz had also studied recovery following brain damage in humans with some degrees of success, including work on aphasia.

The list of potential lecturers in the neuro-psychiatry course included pre-eminent persons in the neuro-behavioral disciplines. Walter B. Cannon lectured in physiology. C. Judson Herrick taught both the lectures and the laboratory, including histology, on neuroanatomy. Herrick's detailed letters described the supplies and assistance that he would need. E. L. Thorndike and John B. Watson lectured in their respective areas of expertise, and Ely Jelliffe, Adolph Meyer, and William A. White presented some of the topics in psychiatry. Thorndike protested, "I did not give a single outside lecture last year and did not intend to do so this year," but he agreed to stay for two days and offered to give two lectures per day. One who successfully resisted was Harvey Cushing, the pre-eminent neurosurgeon, who pleaded that he had too many other commitments including that "I am still engaged in trying to write Osler's biography;" see Cushing (1925)..

Franz's most extensive correspondence in conjunction with the neuro-psychiatry course was with John B. Watson (16 letters or telegrams between Franz and Watson are in the NARA file). They were long-time friends who addressed each other as "Dear Watson" and "Dear Shep." Illustrative of the lighter side of their friendship, McConnell (1985) quoted a letter written by E. G. Boring (1886-1968, the "dean of historians of psychology" according to Leahey, 2000, p. 229). Boring had worked with Franz at St. Elizabeth's during the summer of 1912 (see section on Franz's students above), a date Boring also mentioned in the letter that McConnell quoted. In his letter, Boring noted that Watson and Franz were friends and that they often had "parties . . . of a fairly wild nature." (McConnell, 1985, p. 686). Boring described one Franz-Watson party as follows.

Franz was doing his work on localization of tactual sensations on undraped artist's models at this time, and there was the story of an outdoor picnic at which undraped artist's models were present and they were scattered through the woods . . . sounds like something I once read in Quo Vadis. (E. G. Boring quoted in McConnell, 1985, pp. 686-687)

This story may be apocryphal, but it seems consistent with Hebb's anecdote about Franz and Lashley quoted earlier and with Watson's infamous history with women (e.g., Buckley, 1989).

A more serious indication of Franz's and Watson's friendship was reported by Cohen (1979). According to Cohen, Franz and E. B. Titchener were among Watson's few friends from academia who were willing to write letters of reference for him after his scandalous divorce and forced resignation from Johns Hopkins University in 1920. The general reaction regarding Watson in academia was negative, and in conjunction with a discussion to end Watson's editorship of the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Cohen (1979) wrote, "Shepherd Franz . . . appears to have been instrumental in persuading the board of the journal to stay with Watson." (p. 225)

In any case, among the several letters that Watson wrote to Franz in conjunction with the neuro-psychiatry course, he sent his regards to Franz'swife and the children. Watson also stayed with the Franz family when he came to lecture.  After returning to New York, Watson wrote,

"Tell Lucy6 I spent Friday night, Saturday and Sunday in Chicago [where Watson's ex-wife and children lived] and that I had three wonderful meetings with the kids, taking them to dinners, shows, movies, breakfasts, and the like. They seem to be fairly resigned. They are wonderfully fine kids and I am very proud of them indeed. Polly [Watson's daughter] is coming East this summer . . . via New York and see me and let me buy her a few more clothes." (Watson to Franz, March 13, 1923, NARA)

[The preceding may add to recent discussions about Watson's relationships with his children, for example, several exchanges in the e-mail list sponsored by Cheiron, The International Society for the History of the Behavioral and Social Sciences in June, 2000)].

There is much more to Franz's St. Elizabeth'syears that should be discussed. For example, Franz was a member (together with Cattell, Dodge, Hall, Seashore, Thorndike, Watson, Whipple, and Yerkes) of the principal advisory committee for "Psychological Examining in the United States Army;" see Yerkes (1921, p. 8). Franz also worked for many years to achieve better professional rapprochement between psychology and psychiatry (e.g., Franz, 1922) whose conflicts then were similar to conflicts that persist today. Unfortunately, those topics must be saved for another time.

Franz and the UCLA Years (1924-1933)

Following his resignation at St. Elizabeth's, Franz soon obtained a position as Lecturer (1924-1925) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Concurrently, he was appointed Chief of the Psychological and Educational Clinic at the Children's Hospital, Hollywood. From 1925 to1933, he was professor and head of the Psychology Department at UCLA. (Murchison, 1929).

Franz played a significant role in the development of graduate studies at UCLA. Hamilton and Jackson (1969) provided the following account.

One of the earliest pieces of official correspondence relating to the establishment of graduate work at UCLA was a letter from Dean Charles H. Rieber of the College of Letters and Science to Dr. Shepherd Ivory Franz, professor of psychology. It read: "Last year I asked you informally to suggest a program for graduate work in your department - naming the minimum budget for staff and equipment which would bring the maximum of scholarly returns in some limited field in the department. An official committee has now been appointed to consider this question. Could you, within the next two weeks, give me in writing your latest thoughts on the subject?

[Omitted here but included in Hamilton and Jackson (1969) was a paragraph that listed the members and departmental affiliations of the committee members.]

The first meeting of the entire committee took place on October 27, 1930, in Professor Franz' office. From it emerged a 14-page report that recommended graduate work be started at UCLA in September, 1931, on a limited basis. The committee pointed out that a "need and a justification" for such work existed; that the chief administrative officer should be a dean; that a beginning budget of $76,700 to $80,200 be provided; and that the departments of biology, economics, education, English, geography, geology, history, mathematics, philosophy, physics, political science and psychology were qualified to offer graduate instruction leading to the M.A. degree. (p. 82)

The Committee also identified 12 departments and 35 faculty members qualified to offer graduate courses. In the Psychology Department, the qualified faculty members were Franz and Kate Gordon. Apparently, Kate Gordon7 was the only woman so qualified at UCLA at that time. It would be two more years before UCLA gained approval to begin graduate instruction, and in September, 1933, the first graduate students were admitted. Franz was not able to benefit from the new graduate enrollment, because he died on October 14, 1933, "very quickly" following the onset of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Eran Zaidel, personal communication, January 2, 1994).

While at UCLA Franz published two more books, Persons One and Three and Psychology, the latter with Kate Gordon; both were published in 1933. In one of the frontispiece pages of Psychology, ten collaborators (nine with doctoral degrees, one with a masters degree) including Franz and Gordon are identified, and in the preface it was stated that "the pages which follow have been written by nine students of psychology, representing different interests and different specialized training." (p. vii) No specific credit is elsewhere provided. The book was accompanied by a Psychology Work Book that included "simple experiments" to be performed by the students.

Franz's other book, Persons One and Three was a study in multiple personality. True to his no nonsense approach, Franz wrote in the preface:

The tale to be spun here is, however, unaccompanied by hypothesis. To the writer it seems more valuable at this time to recount the facts, whether they be behavioristic or introspectional, than to attempt to conceal them with gauzy guesses about neurograms or synaptic retractions, or to clothe them with the fashionable garments of unconscious mechanisms and levels of consciousness. (Franz, 1933, p. vii)

The book received a favorable review (Meltzer, 1934) that was consistent with Franz expressed goals (above).

In 1940, Franz Hall was newly opened to house the Psychology Department at UCLA, (see Thomas, 1999). Other honors that came to Shepherd Ivory Franz in his career.  In addition to his previously mentioned presidency of the SSPP in 1911, were the presidencies of the American Psychological Association (1920) and the Western Psychological Association (1927-1928). Additionally, he was elected a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in the American Medical Association, and in the American Physiological Society. He was an Honorary Member of the American Psychiatric Association. Franz received an honorary M.D. degree from George Washington University (1915) and an honorary L.L.D. degree from Waynesburg College (1915). His editorial service included being editor of Psychological Bulletin (1912-1924), Psychological Monographs (1924-1927), and Journal of General Psychology (1927-1929); see Murchison (1929). In addition to obituaries by Dunlap (1934), Fernberger (1933), and Woodworth (1934) in psychological journals, his obituary appeared in the The New York Times on October 15, 1933, the day following his death.

Franz's Legacy

In his book The development of clinical psychology (Reisman, 1966), subsequently revised as A history of clinical psychology (1991), Reisman attributed to Franz the founding of the first psychological laboratory in a hospital (McLean Hospital, 1904) and the first implementation of routine psychological testing for patients in a mental hospital (Government Hospital for the Insane or St. Elizabeth's, 1907). Both of these contributions had been noted previously by the historian, Robert I. Watson, in his "brief history of clinical psychology" (Watson, 1953/1977).

Reisman (1966) also discussed the long-term effort that Franz had made, on the one hand, to seek rapprochement between psychology and psychiatry and, on the other hand, to combat the inferior regard which psychology often received compared to psychiatry. For example, in conjunction with his being awarded the honorary M.D. degree in 1915, Franz denounced the contention that psychiatrists were experts while psychologists were not.

If some states have decided to utilize psychologists as experts regarding the normality or abnormality of the mental states of individuals, it is conceivable that it was done because previous medical expert testimony was not satisfactory.  (Franz quoted in Reisman, 1966, p. 132, no other source cited)

Reisman also quoted from Franz's 1921 presidential address for the American Psychological Association.

Some neurologists have waked up to an appreciation of the necessity for finer examinations and for greater analyses along psychological lines, and it is to be hoped that psychologists will not hold themselves aloof from this field.  (p. 176)

Reisman (1991) began A history of clinical psychology with a summary listing of names and events associated with "The first generation" (p. 1) which for Reisman ended in 1909. The names that Reisman listed (in the alphabetical order provided here) were: Beers, Binet, Breuer, Cattell, Darwin, Dix, Franz, Freud, Galton, Hall, Healy, James, Jung, Kraepelin, McDougall, Meyer, Pinel, Spearman, Thorndike, Witmer, and Wundt.  Franz was listed for his "work in neuropsychology" (p. 2) Thus, Reisman came close to identifying Franz as being the first clinical neuropsychologist.

Taking Franz's "firsts" as noted above together with (a) his strong basic and applied interests in brain function that began circa 1902, when he was the first to combine animal testing with experimental brain ablations, (b) his books written to be used with clinical populations, Handbook of Mental Examination Methods (1912a) and Nervous and Mental Re-Education (1923), (c) the many articles that he published early and throughout his career pertaining to brain function, and (d) the variety of other contributions that he made, such as the course he organized in neuro-psychiatry and his work with war veterans, it is hard to imagine that a better case could be made to identify anyone other than Franz as being the first clinical neuropsychologist.

Franz has received some recognition alongside Lashley for his pioneering theoretical work in conjunction with the general question of whether or to what extent brain functions are localized (e.g., Krech, 1963). However, for example, textbooks in the history of psychology are more likely to omit Franz's name than Lashley's, and those that mention both men assign to Lashley far greater importance for his role in the resurgence of the anti-localization of brain function interpretation. Whether Franz will eventually receive the greater proportion of recognition in this area that he deserves remains to be seen.


Anonymous. (1926) Franz, Shepherd Ivory. In "Distinguished Biographers...." (Eds.). The national cyclopedia of American biography. New York: James T. White & Co.

Anonymous. (1933). Dr. Shepherd I. Franz, psychologist dies. New York Times, Sunday, October 15, 1933.

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1. This biographical sketch was written while Franz was alive, and it seems likely that he was the source of the information that it contained.

2. The Government Hospital for the Insane was founded (1852) to serve the "nation's mentally ill military personnel." It was constructed about three miles from the Capitol in Washington, DC, and it was located on a site selected by the first superintendent, Charles H. Nichols, together with the social reformer, Dorothea Dix. The site of 185 acres was selected from an old royal land grant known as St. Elizabeth's. Dix reportedly influenced the landowner to reduce his price of $40,000 to the $25,000 that Congress had appropriated. Prior to and including 1916, the annual report was titled "Government Hospital for the Insane" and that title appeared on institutional letterhead stationary. Beginning in 1917, the annual report and stationary bore the name "St. Elizabeth's Hospital." Information here on the history of the physical plant and grounds of St. Elizabeth's was based on information maintained by the Department of the Interior's, National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places; see document number 1024-0013, pp. 22-29.

3. Photocopies of numerous "raw" materials were used. These were obtained from the personnel file of Shepherd I. Franz as maintained by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). All materials used here from OPM and some from NARA were generously provided by Darryl Bruce, who had obtained them in conjunction with his extensive research and several publications about Karl S. Lashley.

4. This must be qualified by "apparently," because what appears in Murchison (1929, p. 232) is "Gout Hospital for the Insane." A reasonable assumption is that "Gout" was a typographical error for "Govt." Sutherland moved on to the University of Illinois in 1910.

5. The NARA materials (see Footnote 3) pertaining to St. Elizabeth's provided the primary material used to write this section, including many letters exchanged between Franz and various potential and actual instructors in the course.

6. "Anonymous" (1926; see Footnote 1) and Woodworth (1944) identified Franz's wife as Lucie Mary Niven of London, Ontario. Unless, as speculated in Footnote 1, Franz was involved with Anonymous (1926), I have not seen Franz's spelling of Lucie/Lucy. In his correspondence with C. J. Herrick, a friend and colleague from their graduate student days, both Herrick and Franz referred to her as "Mrs. Franz."

7. A "cameo portrait" of Kate Gordon Moore (1878-1963) was provided by Scarborough and Furumoto (1987, pp. 187-189). Moore earned her doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1903, and eventually accepted an appointment as Associate Professor at UCLA in 1921. As the senior-ranking member of the department when Franz died, she was appointed chair of the department "until the suitable man could be found in 1935." (p. 188). In conjunction with that and at age 56, Gordon was promoted to the rank of Professor. At age 65, Gordon married Ernest Carroll Moore said to be "the man who might be considered the founder of UCLA." ( p 188) Moore received his doctoral degree at the University of Chicago, five years prior to Gordon receiving hers; both had been students of John Dewey. Gordon had been long-time friends with Moore and Moore's first wife, who died about a year before Gordon and Moore were married.