The New Psychology in the Modern University: James McKeen Cattell and William Pepper at the University of Pennsylvania, 1880–1891


As provost, William Pepper sought to transform the University of Pennsylvania into a “modern university” in the 1880s. He appointed James McKeen Cattell, who had studied experimental psychology at the University of Leipzig, as one of America’s frst professors of this emerging laboratory-based science. This article analyzes the course of events that led to this appointment, Cattell’s own experimental achievements while in Philadelphia, and, fnally, the reasons for his 1891 move to Columbia University. In doing so, it illustrates how and suggests why Pepper’s reform efforts remained only partially realized.