University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries
University of Georgia Libraries

Finding Aid for The Austin S. Edwards Papers (1911-1976) UGA 00-028/ 04-033/ 04-038/ 06-010

Record Group : 2-10-21 (Psychology)
11 linear ft : 9 Banker's Boxes and 4 Ms. Boxes


In 1916 when Austin Southwick Edwards began his tenure with the University of Georgia the Psychology Department was still a part of the School of Education. After serving in the United States Army from 1917-1919 he returned to the Psychology Department and was appointed head of the department.

Dr. Edwards was instrumental in the establishment of the Psychology Department as an independent academic unit within the College of Arts and Sciences in 1921-22 and in having the department placed into the Biological Sciences Division during the college reorganization of 1933-35. In addition he founded the influential University Psychology Clinic in 1930 and continued to serve as the head of the Psychology Department until his retirement in 1951 upon which time he was named Professor Emeritus.

In 1948 Dr. Edwards was one of the key players, along with Dr. Florene Young, in establishing the requirement in the state of Georgia that clinical psychologists must be professionally licensed and served as a member of the original Board of Examiners. He was published in many scholarly journals, helped establish a chapter of Sigma Xi on campus, and was responsible for his department becoming a charter member of Psi Chi.

These materials were collected by former department head Dr. Roger Thomas for his studies into the history of the Psychology Department. While predominately reflecting the years 1916 through Edwards' death in 1976, the four accessions that make up this collection also include some material dating prior to Edwards arrival at the University of Georgia.

Scope and Content

Accession UGA 00-028 helps to illuminate the activities of the UGA Psychology Department from the 1936 through the end of the 20th century. Of special interest are materials that highlight the equipment and space needs of the growing department along with a listing of requirements for the new Psychology Building that would be finished in 1969. In addition the collection contains information relating to Psi Chi (the National Honorary Society in Psychology) and "The A. S. Edwards Award".

Accession UGA 04-033 documents many of Edwards' teaching activities in the UGA Psychology Department and includes a good deal of correspondence related to his activites within both the Psychology Department and Clinic. Also found in this collection is paperwork showcasing Edwards' involvement with the local Boy Scouts during 1933-1934.

Accession UGA 04-038 provides a good deal of insight into psychological theories of the 1920s through the 1940s. In addition, artifacts and paperwork related to Edwards' service in the army during World War I and the department's Civil Defense bombshelter research from 1965 through 1968 are included within this collection. Also found in this accession is an entertaining group of newpaper clippings from around the nation covering Edwards' 1938 study into the effects of 100 hours of sleep deprivation on six UGA students.

For preservation purposes the collection has been refoldered. Metal paperclips have been removed, newspaper articles have been photocopied onto archival quality paper, and photographs have been placed in protective sleeves. Several larger pieces have been separated from the collection and are housed in oversized boxes for reasons of preservation.

Processed by Carol Bishop, July 2005 and updated October 2006.