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Guide to the Carl R. Rogers Collection, 1902-1990
HPA Mss 32  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Important Dates
  • Scope and Content
  • Additional Resources

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Carl R. Rogers Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1902-1990
    Collection number: HPA Mss 32
    Creator: Rogers, Carl R.

    Center for the Studies of the Person
    Extent: 52 manuscript boxes, two oversize boxes, approximately 350 audiovisual items; approximately 35 linear feet
    Repository: University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections
    Santa Barbara, CA 93106
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Carl R. Rogers Collection is comprised of Rogers's own papers, donated by him to the Humanistic Psychology Archives in 1986 and by his daughter Natalie after his death in 1987; and material related to Rogers and his associates donated by the Center for the Studies of the Person between 1993 and 1996.


    All materials in the Diaries Series are restricted from use.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright resides with donor.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Carl R. Rogers Collection, HPA Mss 32, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Access Points

    Rogers, Carl R. (Carl Ransom), 1902-
    Humanistic psychology
    Client-centered psychotherapy
    Center for Studies of the Person (La Jolla, Calif.).


    Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987) was a psychologist and psychotherapist who initiated what Abraham Maslow later called the "third force" of psychology, following the behaviorism of Pavlov (and later B. F. Skinner) and Freudian psychoanalysis. This "third force" of humanistic psychology has been so closely identified with Rogers that it is often called Rogerian, a term its namesake objected to. His innovation was to treat clients as if they were essentially healthy, and he felt that growth would occur when a non-judgmental, non-directive (later, "client-centered") therapist created a warm, accepting environment to nurture the client and allow self-knowledge and self-acceptance to occur. Rogers is considered by many to be the most influential psychologist after Freud.
    Rogers was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Oak Park and on a farm in the city's outskirts. His early life was a blend of staunch Christianity, a heavy emphasis on education, and a scientifically-oriented interest in farming. In college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he changed his major from agriculture to history with an intent to enter the ministry after an influential trip to China with the World Student Christian Federation, a trip which, ironically, also led Rogers to question mainstream Christianity. After graduation, he married Helen Elliott, following an engagement of nearly two years. The two moved to New York, where Rogers enrolled in the liberal, intellectually-focused Union Theological Seminary. After being introduced to work in clinical psychology here, however, he changed his career path once again and entered Columbia University's Teachers College.
    While completing his Ph.D. at Columbia and for several years thereafter, Rogers worked at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSPCC) as a child psychologist. It was during this time that he wrote his first monograph, The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child, a work that brought him enough notice to be offered a full professorship at Ohio State University. While at Ohio, Rogers published Counseling and Psychotherapy, the book that summarized his own clinical experience while providing the foundation for nondirective therapy, and established the first supervised counseling practicum within an academic psychology department. In addition, it was during this time that he became the first therapist to record sessions with clients and offer them for study. All of this early work led to an offer by the University of Chicago for Rogers to establish a counseling center there.
    Rogers spent twelve years at the University of Chicago, during which he developed the counseling center, served as president of the American Psychologists Association, and published Client-Centered Therapy, wherein he solidified his particular approach to therapy while shifting farther away from the traditional patient-therapist dichotomy. In Rogers's approach, the therapist frees the client from whatever impediments are keeping him or her from normal psychological growth, rather than curing the client of a previously-diagnosed neurosis or psychosis.
    From 1957 to 1963, Rogers held a joint appointment as professor in both psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, with an initial idea to integrate research and training within psychology , psychiatry, and social work. He later referred to this period as "the most painful and anguished episode in my whole professional life." Rogers found the effort frustrating, and ultimately resigned from the psychology department. This period did, however, see the publication of On Becoming a Person, Rogers's popular breakthrough. But after seven years in Wisconsin, Rogers had grown disillusioned with university life, and at sixty-two he and Helen moved to Southern California to join staff of the Western Behavioral Studies Institute in La Jolla, which had been founded by Richard Farson, a former student of Rogers's at Wisconsin. The WBSI was a loosely-structured research and training organization under which staff members formed their own programs and generated their own revenues. In its success, however, the looseness eventually became formalized and rigid, a direction with which Rogers felt uncomfortable.
    In 1968, along with several colleagues and literally overnight, Rogers left WBSI to form the Center for the Studies of the Person along the original lines of WBSI, but with a commitment to maintaining the democracy and informailty that they felt had been lost. Indeed, the CSP was dubbed a "nonorganization," run by a "non-director." Under the umbrella of the CSP, Rogers worked with "encounter groups" of individuals as well as larger organizations such as companies and schools. He published Carl Rogers on Encounter Groupsin 1970, and Carl Rogers on Personal Powerin 1977. Rogers spent the last several years of his life traveling extensively to promote his Person-Centered Approach in workshops as far-reaching as "The Central America Challenge," an international meeting of sixty-five leaders from seventeen countries.
    Rogers died on Wednesday, February 4, 1987, of cardiac arrest following hospitalization for a broken hip, after having been a widower for nearly eight years.
    DeCarvalho, Roy José. The Founders of Humanistic Psychology. New York: Praeger, 1991.
    Kirschenbaum, Howard. "Carl Rogers." In Positive Regard: Carl Rogers and Other Notables He Influenced, ed. Melvin M. Suhd, 1-102. Palo Alto, California: Science and Behavior Books, 1995.
    Kirschenbaum, Howard. On Becoming Carl Rogers. New York: Delacorte Press, 1979.
    Carl R. Rogers Collection, HPA Mss 32, Department of Special Collections, University Libraries, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Important Dates

    8 Jan 1902 Born in Chicago, Illinois
    1919 Enters agriculture program at University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Feb - Aug 1922 Trip to the Far East
    22 Oct 1922 Becomes engaged to Helen Elliott
    23 Jun 1924 Receives BA in History from University of Wisconsin-Madison
    28 Aug 1924 Marries Helen Elliott
    1924 Enrolls in liberal Union Theological Seminary, New York City
    Summer 1925 Serves as visiting pastor in Dorset, Vermont
    1926 Leaves Union for Columbia University Teachers College
    17 Mar 1926 David Elliott Rogers born
    1 Jun 1927 Recieves MA from Columbia University Teachers College
    1928 Joins Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSPCC) as child psychologist
    9 Oct 1928 Natalie Rogers born
    1929 Made director of the Child Study Department, RSPCC
    20 Mar 1931 Receives doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College
    1939 The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Childis published
    1940 Accepts position at Ohio State University as clinical psychologist and full professor
    11 Dec 1940 Client-centered therapy is "born" as Rogers addresses the University of Minnesota's psychological honors society
    1942 Counseling and Psychotherapyis published
    1945 Moves to the University of Chicago to start counseling center
    1946-1947 Serves as president of the American Psychological Association (APA)
    1951 Client-Centered Therapyis published
    1956 Receives the APA's first Distinguished Contribution Award
    1957 Accepts appointment at University of Wisconsin--Madison in psychiatry and psychology
    1961 On Becoming a Personis published
    Jan 1964 Moves to La Jolla, California, to join staff of the Western Behavioral Studies Institute (WBSI)
    1968 With several WBSI colleagues, leaves to form the Center for the Studies of the Person (CSP)
    1968-1977 Works with "encounter groups," larger organizations
    1970 Carl Rogers on Encounter Groupsis published
    1977 Carl Rogers on Personal Power
    1977-1985 Travels extensively to promote his Person-Centered Approach in workshops
    29 March 1979 Helen Rogers dies
    30 Jan 1987 Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Congressman Jim Bates
    4 Feb 1987 Dies in La Jolla, California

    Scope and Content

    The Carl R. Rogers Collection contains select papers of Carl R. Rogers; records from his association with the Center for the Studies of the Person, a group he co-founded; and reprint articles from the Carl Rogers Memorial Library. There is an extensive audio collection of Rogers's and other CSP members' lectures and seminars; this series is currently undergoing preservation and reformatting work in order to be made more accessible. The bulk of the collection is from the years 1955-1989. Although written materials by Rogers form only a small part of the Rogers Collection, they are significant in the insight about Rogers's early thoughts that they allow. The Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, holds 59.2 linear feet of Rogers's personal and professional papers.
    The collection has been arranged and described at the folder level. Folder dates within the container list were based on examination of the materials. Other folder-level information was taken from the original folder title, or, in the case of information enclosed in square brackets, supplied by the processor based on information found within the folder.

    Additional Resources

    Related Collections

    The Carl R. Rogers Collection forms part of The Humanistic Psychology Archives  at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Removed or Separated Material

    The Library of Congress holds additional papers of Carl R. Rogers.