Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Arthur W. Combs Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1949-1979
Collection Number: HPA Mss 6
Combs, Arthur W. 1912-.
.6 linear feet
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
Physical Location: Del Norte
Abstract: Bibliography and annotated proofs/drafts from psychologist and educator Arthur W. Combs.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
Arthur W. Combs Papers. HPA Mss 6. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Donated by Arthur W. Combs in 1989.
Arthur W. Combs (1912-1999) was a psychologist/educator who began his academic career as a teacher of biological sciences
and a school psychologist in the public schools of Alliance, OH (1935-1941). He earned a Master's degree in School Counseling
at Ohio State University (1941) and entered the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at that institution, where Carl Rogers
served as a teacher and mentor. He completed his Ph.D. in 1945.
His professional career was based at three institutions: Syracuse University (where he helped organize a psychoeducational
clinic open to the community, developed a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology and served as Director of Clinical Training
and head of Personal Counseling Services (1943-1954); the University of Florida, where he held a dual appointment in the Department
of Personnel Services and the Educational Foundations Department and also taught for a time in the Department of Psychology
(1954-1976); and at the University of Northern Colorado as a Distinguished Professor (during the 1980s).
In 1949, he was elected President of the New York State Psychological Association and that same year he co-authored (with
Donald L. Snygg)
Individual Behavior: A New Frame of Reference for Psychology. This book presented a comprehensive and systematic framework for making better sense of human experience, behavior, and the
relationship between the two. Known as "Perceptual Psychology" and later "Field Psychology," its primary assertion was that
people behave in accordance with personal meanings or perceptions, especially how they perceive themselves, the situations
they are in and the purposes they are trying to achieve. More recent formulations were published as
Perceptual Psychology: A Humanistic Approach to the Study of Persons (with Anne C. Richards & Fred Richards, 1976), and
Being and Becoming: A Field Approach to Psychology (1999).
Art spent most of his career establishing, refining, researching, and implementing this theoretical position and sharing insights
and implications derived from it in clinical, counseling, educational, and other settings. His publications explored implications
of Perceptual Field Theory for better understanding goals and purposes of education and teacher preparation (
Perceiving, Behaving, Becoming, 1962;
The Professional Education
of Teachers, 1965;
Myths of Education, 1979) and for better discriminating between good and poor professional "helpers" such as teachers, therapists, ministers,
public officials, etc. (
Florida Studies in the Helping Professions, 1969;
The Schools We Need: New
Assumptions for Educational Reform, 1991;
Helping Relationships: Basic Concepts for
the Helping Professions [with Donald Avila & Williams W. Purkey in 1971; with David Gonzalez in 1994];
On becoming a school leader: A person-centered challenge [with Ann B. Miser & Kathryn Whitaker, 1999]). One of Art's often-quoted articles, "Intelligence from a Perceptual Point
of View," was published in the
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology (1952).
By the end of the 1960s, Art's consulting and speaking engagements had taken him to every state of the United States and into
six other countries. He had published nearly 100 articles and several books and monographs on psychology, education, and therapeutic
practice which had gone into revisions and were translated into other languages.
Among other awards and honors he received were the following: and Outstanding Research Award from the American Personnel and
Guidance Association, now the American Counseling Association (1963); election as President of the Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development (ASCD - 1966); the John Dewey Society Award for distinguished service to contemporary education
for his "signal contributions to teaching, educational theory, and educational research" (1967). In 1998 he received the Charlotte
and Karl Buhler Award from Division 32 of the American Psychological Association for his "ground-breaking contributions to
psychological theory, educational reform and research in the helping professions."
--biography from the Field Psych Trust.
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection consists of a bibliography of Combs's writings, and annotated proofs and drafts of three of his books,
Individual Behavior (1949),
Helping Relationships, and
Myths of Education (both 1979).
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Combs, Arthur W. 1912-.