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Reference PSY/MYE
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Previous Numbers MYERS/001/01
Level Collection
Extent 1 box
Title Myers, Charles Samuel (1873-1946)
Date 1902-1991
Box Number 1
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Name Myers, Dr Charles Samuel (1873-1946)
Description Small collection of reprints and pamphlets of articles, reports and talks by Myers, plus some manuscript notes, a volume of press cuttings and some papers relating to a memorial album on Myers compiled by his daughter.
Arrangement Divided into 4 files:

PSY/MYE/1 - Reprints and pamphlets, 1902-1946

PSY/MYE/2 - Press cuttings volume, 1937-1940

PSY/MYE/3 - Manuscript notes, c.1900-1940

PSY/MYE/4 - Papers relating to Myers memorial album, 1991

Historical Background

Dr C. S. Myers (1873-1946), one time Professor of Psychology at King's College London, later Lecturer in Experimental Psychology Cambridge, set up the Cambridge Laboratory of Experimental Psychology in 1912 and was Principal and Co-Founder of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology 1921. He was the first president of the British Psychological Society, 1920-1923.

Myers was educated at City of London School. He turned towards science and later at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge gained first-class honours in both parts of the natural sciences tripos (1893,1895) and was Arnold Gerstenberg student in 1896. He proceeded MB at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in 1898, but disinclined to medical practice, in that year he went with the Cambridge anthropological expedition to the Torres Strait. An expert musician, his task was to study auditory perception and music. He joined W. H. R. Rivers and William McDougall in experimental studies of the sensory reactions of the inhabitants of that area, and he became profoundly interested in ethnic music.

In 1902 Myers returned to Cambridge to help Rivers teach the physiology of the special senses. In 1904 Myers married Edith Babette (nd). Myers remained in Cambridge to become, in succession, demonstrator, lecturer, and, in 1921, reader in experimental psychology. From 1906 to 1909 he was also professor in experimental psychology at King's College, London. Having assisted in the creation of the British Journal of Psychology in 1904, Myers became its sole editor in 1914, the year in which it was acquired by the British Psychological Society.

Myers raised funds to establish the first English experimental laboratory especially designed for psychology at Cambridge in 1912. When the First World War broke out in 1914 he travelled to Paris on his own accord and persuaded the authorities to take him on as the Hospital Registrar at Le Touquet. In December it was reported that 4% of all ranks were being sent home with 'nervous and mental breakdown' which the soldiers had coined 'shell shock'. Myers was well placed to introduce the term into medical literature after publishing his 'Contributions to shell shock' in the Lancet in February 1915. In the same year he was given a commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps and in 1916 he was appointed Consultant Psychologist to the British Armies in France. Frustrated with opposition to his view that shell-shock was a treatable condition after the war he returned to Cambridge. Myers later refused to appear at the 1922 Commission of Enquiry into shell-shock.

In 1922 Myers left Cambridge for London, thereafter devoting himself to the development of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology which he had founded with Henry John Welch (nd) a director of a company of East India merchants in 1921. The National Institute of Industrial Psychology became the chief source of employment for U.K. psychologists during the inter-war years. He was also involved in what became the the Industrial Health Research Board and was the first President of the British Psychological Society (1920 to 1923).

In 1915 Myers was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, he was appointed CBE in 1919 and received honorary degrees from the universities of Manchester (D.Sc, 1927), Calcutta (LL.D) and Pennsylvania (D.Sc). He was a fellow (1919) and later an honorary fellow (1935) of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, a foreign associate of the French Societe de Psychologie, twice president of the psychology section of the British Association (1922, 1931), president of the International Congress of Psychology in 1923 and editor British Journal of Psychology 1911-1924. Myers was elected an Honorary Member of the British Psychological Society in 1934.

Myers published a large number of articles on various aspects of psychology (see PSY/MYE/1).

Sources: F. C. Barlett, Myers, Charles Samuel (1873-1946), rev. Hugh Series, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [accessed 15 Dec 2004: http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/35175

'A flair for organization: Charles Myers and the establishment of psychology in Britain', Geoff Bunn History & Philosophy of Psychology (2001), Vol.3 (1) 1-13

Custodial History Transferred to the History of Psychology Centre, 32 John Street, London WC1, 2002.

British Psychological Society accession number 0020.

Acquisition Details Deposited in the Wellcome Library by the British Psychological Society in September 2008.
Accession Number 1611
Access Status Open
Access Conditions The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material.
Reproduction Conditions Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.
Language English
Finding Aids Online Archives and Manuscripts catalogue.
Notes Compiled by the Cataloguing Project Archivist at the British Psychological Society History of Psychology Centre, with minor editing by Wellcome Library staff.
Subject Psychology
Subject Psychology, Industrial
MaterialType Archives - Non-digital
System No. a7b6e99e-b20d-4fe1-a904-8a7b6c209af5