Classic Books Collection

book-collectionThe Arthur W. Melton library houses a collection of over 3,000 classic books in psychology. These landmark texts have affected the development and growth of psychology and are considered major contributions to the field.

When the current APA Central Office was built in the early ’90s, it was designed with a large library space. Joe Matarazzo, who had just recently concluded his APA presidency, offered to give his entire library of books and journals to help get the collection started. This donation included the full run of journals which form the heart of the APA journals collection and the classic (specially bound) books from the series that Matarazzo had served on as consulting editor. He then donated the other books in the classic books collection that are under his name. Shortly after this, Lois Barclay Murphy, who died over the age of 100, gave a small but good collection of books that belonged to her late husband, Gardner Murphy. Murphy, like Matarazzo, had been an APA president.

Other APA presidents who have donated to the collection include:

Over the years we have been fortunate to receive a great number of very fine and important books for the classics collection.

Here are just a few examples:

Baldwin, J. M. (1894). Handbook of psychology: Feeling and will. New York, NY: Henry Holt.

Binet, A., & Fere, C., (1888) Le Magnetisme animal. Paris: Ancienne Librairie Germer Bailliere.

Butler, J.S., (1887). The curability of insanity and the individualized treatment of the insane. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Dollard, J, Miller, N. E., & Doob, L. W. (1939). Frustration and aggression. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

James, William (1892). Psychology. New York, NY: Henry Holt.

Preyer, W., & Brown, H.W., (1890). The mind of the child: Part 1: the senses and the will. New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company.


Donations to the classic books collection are appraised by staff to determine if they will be included.  If you would like to donate to this collection, please contact the library staff, (202) 336-5640.