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G. Stanley HallBiography

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G. Stanley HallBiography

Psychologist and educator G. Stanley Hall (bottom row, center).

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G. Stanley Hall Is Best Known For:

  • Became the first President of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1892.
  • Founded the first American psychology laboratory at John Hopkins University.
  • First American to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology.


G. Stanley Hall was born February 1, 1844.


Died April 24, 1924.

G. Stanley Hall's Early Life:

G. Stanley Hall grew up on a farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts. He initially enrolled at Williston Academy in 1862, but later transferred to Williams College. After his graduation in 1867, he attended Union Theological Seminary. While his initial studies and work centered on theology, he was inspired to turn to psychology by Wilhelm Wundt's Principles of Physiological Psychology.

Hall went on to earn a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University under psychologist William James and Henry P. Bowditch. G. Stanley Hall holds the distinction of being the first American to be granted a Ph.D. in Psychology.

G. Stanley Hall's Career:

While G. Stanley Hall initially began his career teaching English and philosophy, he eventually took a position as a Professor of Psychology and Pedagogics at John Hopkins University. Among his many accomplishments was the creation of the American Journal of Psychology in 1887. In 1888, Hall left John Hopkins University and in 1889 he became President of Clark University, where he would remain for the next 20 years.

In 1892, Hall was elected as the first president of the American Psychological Association. In 1909, he famously invited a group of psychologists including Sigmund Freud to speak at Clark University. The trip was Freud's first and only visit to the United States.

Contributions to Psychology:

G. Stanley Hall's primary interests were in evolutionary psychology and child development. He was heavily influenced by Ernst Haeckel's recapitulation theory, which suggested that embryonic stages of an organism resemble the stages of development of the organism's evolutionary ancestors; a theory that is today rejected by most evolutionary scientists.

Perhaps his greatest contribution was to the development and growth of early psychology. By the year 1898, Hall had supervised 30 out of the 54 Ph.D. degrees that had been awarded in the United States. Some of those who studied under his influence include Lewis Terman, John Dewey and James McKeen Cattell.

Selected Publications by G. Stanley Hall:

  • Hall, G. Stanley. (1904). Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion, and Education. 2 vols. New York, Appleton.
  • Hall, G. Stanley. (1906). Youth: Its Education, Regiment, and Hygiene. New York, Appleton.
  • Hall, G. Stanley. (1911). Educational Problems. 2 vols. New York, Appleton.


Goodchild, L. F. (1996). G. Stanley Hall and the Study of Higher Education. The Review of Higher Education, 20, 69-99.

Blair-Broeker, C.T., Ernst, R., Ernst, R.M. & Myers, D.G. (2003). Thinking about psychology: The science of mind and behavior. Worth Publishers.

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