Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Dr. Helen L. Prouty Papers
Bulk Dates: 1950-1989
Prouty, Helen Lucia, 1908-2005
Physical Description: 20.84 linear ft
Language of Materials:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Helen Lucia Prouty was born November 21, 1908 in Shelton, Nebraska to George and Martha (Bassett) Prouty. She was the third
of six children. After receiving her high school diploma in 1926, Helen’s mother encouraged her to continue her education.
She then enrolled at the Nebraska State Teacher’s College at Kearney where she received her junior college diploma and a teaching
credential in 1928. While teaching at schools in western and central Nebraska, Helen simultaneously took classes at the University
of Nebraska. She graduated in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education.
For the next six years, Helen taught in the Nebraska area. In 1945, she moved to Biloxi, Mississippi where she served as a
Civil Service instructor in electrical maintenance at the Army Air Force Technical School at Kessler Field. In 1947, Helen
left Kessler to attend the Lewis School of Hotel Management in Washington, D.C. After that, she joined her mother and her
sister Barbara in Oakland, California. Helen resumed her studies and enrolled at the University of California at Berkley where
she received her Master of Arts Degree in 1950 and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1951.
Upon graduation, Helen received an Assistant Professor teaching position at San Diego State College. Prouty was the first
woman to join the faculty of the School of Education and the first female faculty member at San Diego State to hold a Ph.D.
She spent the rest of her teaching career at San Diego State, and retired in 1976.
During her tenure at San Diego State, Helen attained the rank of Professor of Secondary Education. She taught various courses
relating to education, educational psychology, and counseling. In addition, she helped the school develop the first Master’s
Degree program and she helped create the first program for student nurses. Helen was actively involved in faculty affairs
and numerous professional organizations. She served as a guest Professor and taught summer sessions at the University of Oregon
in Eugene, University of Manitoba, University of Victoria, and the University of California, Berkley. One of the highlights
of her career occurred in 1969, when she received a personal invitation from Princess Maryam to spend two months in India
assisting with the development of curriculum that would be used in the adult education courses in child development and psychology
for the women of the Bohra community, an Islamic sect in Bombay.
In addition to her many academic accomplishments, Helen was involved in a variety of organizations outside the academic arena.
She was a licensed Psychologist and a member of the California State Psychological Association and the Academy of San Diego
Psychologists. She participated in the formation of the San Diego Psych-Law Society in 1973, and served as secretary and historian
for several years. She was a member of Pi Lambda Theta (National Honor and Professional Association in Education), Phi Delta
Kappa (Professional Fraternity in Education), the San Diego Women’s Club, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. She
also served as a silent partner in her sister’s business, a chain of women’s fashions shops located around the San Diego area.
Upon her sister Barbara’s death in 1997, Helen continued to live on her own. She was hospitalized in late 2004 after a few
health setbacks. Following her stay at a local San Diego hospital, Helen was moved to a rehabilitation center in La Jolla
where she passed away in her sleep on January 2, 2005. She was 96 years old.
This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
San Diego State University. School of Education -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Genre/Form of Material:
Prouty, Helen, 1908-2005 -- Archives
Education -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- California -- San Diego -- History -- 20th century -- So
Educational psychology -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- California -- San Diego -- History -- 20th
San Diego State University -- Faculty -- Biography
Conditions Governing Use:
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with
the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections
is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be
submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available
for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including
but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Conditions Governing Access:
This collection is open for research.
Identification of item, folder title, box number, Dr. Helen L. Prouty Papers, Special Collections and University Archives,
Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.
College of Education Records
Evelyn Lockman Collection
Marybelle S. Bigelow Collection
Bonnie Zimmerman Papers
Arrangement of Materials:
I. Personal, 1926-2004
1.) Correspondence, 1927-1996
2.) Financial Records, 1948-2004
3.) Education, 1926-1986
4.) Miscellaneous, 1908-1977
II. Professional, 1949-2002
1.) Courses Taught, 1949-1976
2.) Faculty Activities, 1952-2000
3.) Research, 1939-1965
4.) Other Employment, 1941-1969
5.) Organizations, 1970-2002
Scope and Contents
Helen Prouty Papers document Prouty’s professional career as a professor of educational psychology at San Diego State University with focus on
both her professional career and private practice. The documents date from approximately 1927 to 2004 with the bulk of the
material from 1950 to 1989. The collection consists of correspondence, lecture materials, private research materials, and
documents about the organizations she was affiliated with during her lifetime. The papers are organized into three series:
Professional Records, and
Personal Records series consists of four sub series that pertain to Helen’s personal life and are filed chronologically. The first sub series
is composed of her correspondence with family, friends, and students, and include such items as postcards, holiday cards,
and telegrams. The second sub series contains Helen’s financial records dating from 1948-2004. The third sub series contains
material about Prouty’s education from high school to graduate school, and includes such items as her college notes, transcripts,
and her Ph.D. dissertation. The fourth sub series contains such miscellaneous items as a copy of her birth, marriage, and
divorce certificates, her date books spanning from 1954-1977, along with travel and World War II memorabilia.
Professional Records series contains material from different aspects of Professor Prouty’s career and contains the bulk of the collection. It
is filed alphabetically and divided into 5 sub series. The first sub series entitled
Courses Taught contains such documents as syllabi, lecture materials and exams. Prouty used these materials while teaching various educational
and psychology courses throughout her career. The second sub series is titled
Faculty Activities and includes correspondence, documents from her sabbatical trip to India, the work she did as an accrediting commissioner
to local schools, her retirement documents, and other documents pertaining to the faculty (i.e. faculty retreat documents
and faculty bulletins).
Research, the third sub series is composed of materials that document her research. The bulk of this sub series consists of standardized
testing material that she used to measure everything from IQ scores to personality traits. This sub series also contains the
work she did relating to over and under achievers and the role different personalities play in one’s success. The fourth sub
series is titled
Other Employment and contains correspondence, applications, and course materials Prouty used at other universities/jobs besides serving as
Professor at San Diego State. The fifth sub series,
Organizations, contains materials from the various organizations that Professor Prouty was a member of and includes correspondence, yearbooks,
awards, membership information, and newsletters.
Photos series is the smallest series and is filed alphabetically. It contains photos of Prouty’s family and friends, as well as,
various schools she taught at. The dates on these photos range from approximately 1930-1960.