Guide to the David L. Rosenhan Papers

Daniel Hartwig & Elspeth Olson
Stanford University. Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Stanford, California
August 2012
Copyright © 2015 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.


Call Number: SC1116
Creator: Rosenhan, David L., 1929-2012.
Title: David L. Rosenhan papers
Dates: circa 1970-1990
Physical Description: 12 Linear feet
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Repository: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022

Administrative Information

Information about Access

The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

Ownership & Copyright

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner, heir(s) or assigns. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

Cite As

[identification of item], David L. Rosenhan Papers (SC1116). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biographical/Historical note

David L. Rosenhan (1929 – February 6, 2012) was a psychologist and pioneer in the application of psychological methods to the practice of trial law process, including jury selection and jury consultation. Rosenhan was the author of more than 80 books and research papers, including one of the most widely read studies in the field of psychology, “On Being Sane in Insane Places” (1973). He is best known for the Rosenhan experiment, a study challenging the validity of psychiatry diagnoses.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, David L. Rosenhan was a yeshiva student in his youth and received a BA in mathematics (1951) from Yeshiva College, and an MA in economics (1953) and PhD in psychology (1958) from Columbia University
Before joining the Stanford faculty, David Rosenhan was a member of the faculties of Swarthmore College, Princeton University, Haverford College, and University of Pennsylvania. He also served as a research psychologist at Educational Testing Service. He was a psychologist for the Counseling Center at Stevens Institute of Technology from 1954 to 1956; a lecturer at Hunter College and director of research in the Department of Psychiatry at City Hospital at Elmhurst from 1958 to 1960; assistant professor for the Departments of Psychology and Sociology at Haverford College from 1960 to 1962; lecturer for the Department of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania from 1961 to 1964; lecturer for the Department of Psychology at Princeton University from 1964 to 1968; and professor in the Department of Psychology and Education at Swarthmore College from 1968 to 1970.
In 1973 Rosenhan published "On Being Sane in Insane Places", one of the most widely read articles in the field of psychology. The article details the Rosenhan experiment. The experiment arranged for eight individuals with no history of psychopathology to attempt admission into twelve psychiatric hospitals during a three-year period. They described hallucinations and “empty” feelings and were diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenics. As soon as they were admitted they began acting normally and waited for the hospital staff to notice. The hospital staff never did notice, although many of the real patients caught on to the fakes. Psychiatrists attempted to treat the individuals using psychiatric medication. All eight were discharged within 7 to 52 days, but only when they had stated that they accepted their diagnosis. In a later part of the study, a research and teaching hospital challenged Rosenhan to run a similar experiment involving its own diagnosis and admission procedures. Psychiatric staff were warned that at least one pseudo-patient might be sent to their institution. 83 out of 193 new patients were believed by at least one staff member to be actors. In fact, Rosenhan sent no actors. The study concluded that existing forms of diagnosis were grossly inaccurate in distinguishing individuals without mental disorders from those with mental disorders. Rosenhan wrote, “It is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals. … The consequences to patients hospitalized in such an environment—the powerlessness, depersonalization, segregation, mortification, and self-labeling—seem undoubtedly counter-therapeutic.”. The paper created an explosion of controversy. Critics have questioned the validity and credibility of the study, but concede that the consistency of psychiatric diagnoses needs improvement.
At a time when legal scholars were just beginning to look to economics for insights into legal analysis, Professor Rosenhan was among the first to draw from the social sciences, especially experimental psychology, to examine assumptions made by legal scholars in the trial process. Building on research on juror behavior undertaken by the University of Chicago Law School Jury Project in the 1950s, Professor Rosenhan began to focus on other aspects of juror behavior. Among his interests was the jurors’ ability to abide by the judge’s instructions to disregard evidence the judge had ruled inadmissible.
Along with Martin Seligman, Rosenhan believed that there are seven main features of abnormality: suffering; maladaptiveness; vividness and unconventionality; unpredictability and loss of control; irrationality and incomprehensibility; observer discomfort; and violation of moral and ideal standards.
He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a former president of the American Psychological Association; a former director of the American Psychology-Law Society; a former president of the American Board of Forensic Psychology; a former vice-president of the Institute for Psychosocial Interaction; a former director at the Mental Research Institute; member of the Clinical Projects Research Review Committee at the National Institute of Mental Health; visiting fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Wolfson College and Department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University from 1977 to 1978; visiting professor at University of Western Australia, Tel Aviv University, and Oxford University from 1984-1985; and a visiting professor in the Department of Psychology at Georgetown University in 1988.
He died on February 6, 2012, at the age of 82. He was survived by his son Jack Rosenhan and his granddaughters Cecily and Yael, as well as his brother Hershel.

Access Terms

Stanford University. Department of Psychology. Faculty.
Stanford University. Department of Psychology.
Stanford University. School of Law.
Community mental health services.
Law--Study and teaching--United States
Psychology--Study and teaching (Graduate) --California --Stanford.



Box 3, Folder 1

Loose Items

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LANG MH10993-08

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Effectiveness of Individual Psychotherapy

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Expectancy and desensitization in the treatment of fear

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Cognitive Control of Anger and Aggression

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Neurophysiologic Correlates of Autistic Behavior

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Janis, Irving

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Factors Influencing Tolerance of Deprivation

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Psychologic, Immunologic and Pharmacological Aspects of Asthma

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Psychologic, Pharmacologic and Immunologic Interactions in Asthma

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Behavioral Treatment Approaches to Schizophrenia

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Function of the Human Potential Movement

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Progress Report appendix (Kanfer, Frederick)

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Human Self-Regulation

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The Nature of Schizophrenic Thought Disorders

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Aversion and Interpersonal Factors in Smoking Control

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Social Interaction of Deviant Preschool Children

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Comparison of Pre-sleep and "Extrasensory" Stimuli in Dreams

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Bootstrapping the Schizoid Taxon with MMPI Patterns

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Sleep Disturbance in Depressive Disorders

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Voluntary Control Over Psycho-physiologic Activities

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Information Processing and Schizophrenia

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Treatment of Asthma by Behavioral Desensitization (RG)

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Clinical Decision Behaviors in Psychiatric Diagnosis

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Assessing and Modifying Social Behavior in a Hospital

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Depression: A Clinical Research Approach

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Psychophysiological Family Research

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Hypertensive Pressures During Psychological Study

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Hyperactive Behavior in Girls

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Correspondence to Grant Applications Borrowed By Beverly Rose

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Cognitive Response to Psychological Stress

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Sensory Regulation Aspects of Aggressive Behavior

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Modifications of Defenses in Psychoanalysis

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Defective Epinephrine Mobilization in Bronchial Asthma

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Infantile Autism: Methodological Studies of Diagnosis

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Perceptual and Proprioceptive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia

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Feminine Identity in Adolescent Girls

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Factors Influencing Tolerance for Deprivation

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Behaviorial Treatment of Childhood Gender Problems

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Grants 1972-1973

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MH 24477-01

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Therapeutic efficacy in anxiety syndromes

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Behavior modification in childhood asthma

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Further studies on sleep utterance

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Dependency and deprivation of obesity

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Associative disorder and schizophrenic predisposition

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Therapy methods for the lower class neurotic patient

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Developmental Factors in Schizophrenia

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Genetic Analysis of Schizophrenic Families

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Data Bank to Assess Psychiatric Theory Outcomes

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A Genetic-Epidemiologic Study of Presenile Dementia

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Studies of Early Infantile Autism and Controls

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Treatment of Asthma through Conditioning

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Assessment of Interpersonal Behavior

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Videotape Feedback in Psychotherapy

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Cognitive Response to Psychological Stress

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Evaluation of Behavior training as a Therapy Approach

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Arousal, Retrieval, and Autism

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Affective Disorders in Children

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Misc 1972-1973

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Grants 1973-1974

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Learned helplessness and depression

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Learned Helplessness and Depression

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Seligman MH19604-04

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Adolescent Behavioral Classification Project (ABCP)

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Communication of Symptomatic Complaints

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Social Competence and Behavioral Style in Mental Patients

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Social Competence and Behavior in mental patients

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Mother-Child antecedents to schizophrenic development

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An Outcome and Process Study of Intensive Therapy

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Pre-Sleep and "Extrasensory" Stimuli in Dreams 1973-1974

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An Optimum A-B Scale of Psychotherapist Effectiveness

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An Optimum A-B Scale fo Psychotherapist Effectiveness

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Adjustment of Children of Schizophrenic Parents

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Body Movement Aspects of Personality and Social Role

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Dimensions and Validity of Depression Scales

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Self-Change and Coping in Response to Crisis

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Outcome Variables in Group Psychotherapy

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Psychobehavioral Effects of Sleep Pattern Variation



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Loren Chapman, Related to: MH 24797-01

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Small, Joyce G. MH 14638-04

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Rubins, Jack L. MH 19606-01

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Loose items

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Supervised Visitation

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Encoding+Recall; Lawrence, Kavanagh

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Moore, Underwood, Rosenhan

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Seligman-Rosenhan Abnormal Text

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Abnormal Text Correspondence: Norton Publishers

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HRW Publications Schedule - Contract List

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SANE Correspondence A-L

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SANE Correspondence M-Z

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H.H. Notes

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Norristown Hospital Notes

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Characteristics of Hospitals (folder 1)

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Characteristics of Hospitals (folder 2)

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Stanton Wheeler letters

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Obedience Write-Up

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Obedience Sample Typed Protocols

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Obedience Raw Data

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Obediance Experiment Data & Frequency Data

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Obediance Data Graphs and Analysis

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Obediance, Reliability of Ratings of Interviews - credibility

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Obediance, Reliability of Ratings of Interviews

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Obediance SS and Code

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Obediance Interview Ratings - Hipp

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Obediance Data and Analysis

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Obediance Daily Data Sheet

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Obediance Analysis of Interviews Glen White

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Obediance Personality Data

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Obediance and Rebellion

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Contextual Nature of Psychiatric Diagnosis

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Photo of Samcattor

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Madness: In the Eye of the Beholder

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Some Perceptual Correlates of Anxiety

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Correspondence 1989-1990 1989-1990

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A 1989-1990

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B 1989-1990

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C 1989-1990

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D 1989-1990

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E-F 1989-1990

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G 1989-1990

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H 1989-1990

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I-J 1989-1990

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K 1989-1990

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L 1989-1990

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M 1989-1990

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N 1989-1990

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O 1989-1990

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P-Q 1989-1990

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O'Karma, Henry

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Olesen, Virginia

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Ongirski-Lehnhoff, Hannelore

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Opton, Edward

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Orne, Martin

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Osborne, J.E.

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Osherson, Daniel

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Ostrom, Thomas

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Owen, Alan

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Obeso, Kenneth

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Clare, Diane (Proseminar, Inc.)

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Phelps and Clark

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Paloutzian, Eunice

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Pascal, Christopher

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Patterson, Henry

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Payton, Carolyn

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Peterson, Lizette

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Peterson, Mary

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Placone, Richard

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Plenum Pub. Co.

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Polak, Paul

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Protsik, Ralph

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Psych. Comm. Proj.

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Public Advocates

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Talpers, Jeanne

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (1 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (2 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (3 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (4 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (5 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (6 of 7)

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Correspondence Prior to 1974 (7 of 7)

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Box 1, Folder 17