Katharine May Banham (1897-1995) served as a professor in the Department of Psychology at Duke University from 1946 to 1967, specializing in child psychology and development. Papers include correspondence, writings, speeches, case files and research notes, teaching materials, diaries, memorabilia, photographs, and oral history interviews of Katharine M. Banham, relating to her work in the field of psychology and her contributions to Duke University, Durham, and North Carolina. Prominent subjects include psychological experimentation, child psychology, geriatrics and gerontology, human social and emotional development, children with cerebral palsy, the Woman's College, Duke Preschool, Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement, the North Carolina Psychological Association, the Durham Child Guidance Clinic, and the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. English.
The Katharine May Banham Papers span the years between 1910 and 1995, with the bulk occurring between 1945 and 1984. These papers include her master's theses and dissertation work, professional and academic writings, case files, and data documenting psychological experiments that culminated in the development of tests, as well as research articles and one monograph; transcripts of talks and addresses; translations of French psychological texts, teaching materials; administrative records of and records documenting her role in various civic and academic clubs and organizations; professional and personal correspondence; and personal materials including art, photographs, memorabilia, poetry and other personal writings, diaries, biographical information, legal documents, and tapes and transcripts of an oral history interview done in 1980. The main subject areas include Banham's contribution to the profession, her participation in the Duke community, and the Durham community as well as regional, national, and international communities and agencies.
The collection chiefly reflects Banham's career as a woman psychologist during a period when there was little support for women in professional or academic careers. The papers document Banham's research and teaching in three countries; her contributions in the areas of child psychology and geriatrics, particularly human social and emotional development; functioning and development of children with cerebral palsy and disabilities; the history and especially the development of psychological testing of children and adults; and parapsychological phenomena. Research and teaching materials are located within the Academic and Professional Psychology series and Duke Activities series. Materials relevant to Banham's professional development are scattered throughout all five series.
The collection is also important for the perspective it offers on the Duke University Psychology Department and the Woman's College during the 1940s to the 1960s. Information related to both as well as her role in the Admissions and scholarships Committees among other faculty committees (see the folder list located in the description of Duke Activities series), the Duke Preschool, the Duke Film Society, and the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement can be found primarily in the Duke Activities series. Material regarding the development and teaching of an infant and child psychology curriculum and a series of correspondence with graduate students are also of special interest and can be found in the Duke Activities series. Other materials relating to her contributions to the Duke Community are located in the Academic and Professional Psychology series, the Correspondence series, and the Personal Files series.
Banham's contribution to the city of Durham is reflected in the Agency and Club Participation series with the most in depth materials relating to her role in establishing the French Club, the Photographic Arts Society, the Altrusa Club, and the Committee for Successful Aging (which became the Golden Age Society and finally, the Coordinating Council for Senior Citizens), and, to a lesser degree, in the Academic and Professional Psychology series specifically in her role as one of the founding psychologists of the Durham Child Guidance Clinic. Banham co-founded the North Carolina Psychological Association in addition to being an active member and officer of other regional, national, and international organizations such as the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, and the International Council of Women Psychologists.
Banham's life was defined by her professional and academic commitments and so her closest relationships were with her colleagues and the many individuals to whom she gave her time and the benefit of her professional skills. The Correspondence and personal series best reflect her tireless efforts on behalf of the people with whom she come into contact. Her papers are particularly useful as they document the period of the 1920s through the 1960s in England, Canada, and especially the United States from the perspective of a highly educated, professional woman.