Murphy, Lois Barclay 1902-2003

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MURPHY, Lois Barclay 1902-2003


See index for CA sketch: Born March 23, 1902, in Lisbon, IA; died of congestive heart failure December 24, 2003, in Washington, DC. Psychologist, educator, and author. Murphy was a specialist in child psychology whose work focused on early childhood emotional development. She did her undergraduate work at Vassar College, where she earned an A.B. in 1923; this was followed by a master's degree in theology from Union Theological Seminary in 1928 before she went on to complete a doctorate in psychology at Columbia University in 1937. In her early career, Murphy taught at Sarah Lawrence College, where she was a member of the psychology department from 1928 to 1952 and a college nursery school advisor from 1937 to 1952. In 1952 she joined the prestigious Menninger Foundation, where she conducted research throughout the 1950s and 1960s and became director of developmental studies. As well, she was a consultant to the B. M. Institute in India during the 1950s and for an infancy study at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., from 1967 to 1970. Murphy's main focus for her research was on children in their first few years of life; she studied such areas as how infants and toddlers experienced feelings of sympathy and vulnerability, how their personalities developed, and how very young children manage to cope with stressful situations. Her influential writings on early childhood development have been credited as an important influence on the creation of early education programs such as Head Start, although Murphy had no direct involvement in such programs. Among her sixteen published works are Social Behavior and Child Personality: An Exploratory Study of Some Roots of Sympathy (1937), Emotional Factors in Learning (1944), and Vulnerability, Coping, and Growth: From Infancy to Adolescence (1976). She also compiled the papers of her psychologist husband in There Is More Beyond: Selected Papers of Gardner Murphy (1989) and wrote the biography Gardner Murphy: Integrating, Expanding and Humanizing Psychology (1990).



Washington Post, January 1, 2004, p. B7.

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Murphy, Lois Barclay 1902-2003

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