Pratt Lab at Lehigh University
Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]Lehigh University, Linderman Library, 30 Library Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18045
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lehigh University Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Professor George K. Shortess "inherited" the Bioelectric Lab, also known as the Pratt Lab for his research on the physiological basis of behavior. The Pratt Lab is named for John Lee Pratt (1879-1975), an American businessman, who with his wife, was a great philanthropist donating to universities and research centers. The John Lee Pratt Fund was administered by the Sloan-Kettering Foundation. Mr. Pratt and Alfred P. Sloan knew each other through General Motors where both were employed. Prior to Professor Shortess, the lab was occupied by Nathan B. Gross who was a physiological psychologist at Lehigh 1946-1963 who did his research in Pratt Lab. When Mr. Gross left, he passed the material to Lois, the Psychology Dept. secretary, who in turn gave them to faculty member Art Brody who gave them to Professor John Nyby, who gave them to Professor Shortess who joined the faculty in Fall 1969 as the physiological psychologist in the department until 1994. An early faculty member in the Psychology Department was William Leroy Jenkins who in 1935-39 was Instructor in Psychology, 1939-46 Assistant Professor and from 1946 to unknown time before Professor Gross was Associate Professor and the author of the publication reprints included in the collection. From 1931 through the 1950's, the head of the Department of Psychology was Adelbert Ford who had the responsibility for getting the Pratt Laboratory built at Lehigh, apparently applying for the grant from the Sloan-Kettering Fund.
The Lehigh Psychology Department from its beginning in the early 20th Century, was heavily oriented to experimental psychology rather than clinical. The Pratt Laboratory (or the Bioelectric Laboratory) provided the facility to carry on that tradition. The official name may have been the J. L. Pratt Bioelectric Laboratory and was located on the second floor of the small building connected to the south side of Williams Hall. Pratt Laboratory was created by an endowment from the John Lee Pratt Fund administered by Sloan-Kettering Foundation around 1950. At first the plan for the Pratt project was to be located in the south side part of the basement of Packer Hall (now University Center) sharing the space with the Civil Engineering Department. Later the Pratt facility was added to the south side of Williams Hall. At that time the Psychology, Biology and Geology Departments shared Williams Hall, reflecting the natural science orientation of Psychology.
The lab design was to allow the recording of very low voltages responses from subjects, such as brain waves, respiratory changes, heart rate, changes in skin conductance, etc. In order to do this effectively the experimenter had to eliminate electrical interference, or noise, generated by normal electrical lines and various equipment such as heating equipment. This was done in part by creating a metal shield around the subject and the recording equipment. The shield was connected to ground to draw off the noise. This was done in Pratt Lab by building the Subject Room with copper mesh on all sides of the room.
Collection of documents, publications and photographs documenting the Pratt Lab at Lehigh University. Pratt Lab was a psychology experiment laboratory was funded by Pratt Foundation. Contains black and white photographs, 38 file folders of equipment description, manuals of apparatus, Prof. Jenkins reprints of artcles, and Munsell Book of Color.
Material was transferred to Special Collections by retired Professor George K. Shortess who found the material in his office in Williams Hall Annex and gave to Special Collections June 21, 2019.
Series IV: Prof. Jenkins reprints cataloged and shelved in Lehigh Authors collection.
- Lehigh University Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- Eleanor Nothelfer and Logan Kramer
- Finding Aid Date
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Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.
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Collection is open for research.
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Building Construction Proposals - Pratt Lab (contains a letter 1950 May 5 from Adelbert Ford to A. W. Litzenberger as well as building plans which seem to be for Packer Hall basement next to the Civil Engineering Laboratory on the Southside of Packer Hall)
Stimulator (1953) Instruction Manual for the Grass Model S-4-B
Stimulator, Grass Model AM 5 Precision Solid State Audio Monitor, SONY Stereo Cassette-Corder Instruction Manual, Bell & Howell 16mm Sound Projector, Bell & Howell Owner's Instruction Manual, Grass Model SD5 Square Wave Stimulator Instruction Manual, Uniblitz 300C Timing and Drive Unit, FP Series Film Programmer, POC-112 Print-out Counter Operating Instructions
Sawyer's Inc., IBM Transcriber, Davong Systems, Inc. DSI-A 16 Reference Guide, The Compco "500" Stereo Projector Instruction Manual, Ortho-Rater, Leeds & Northrup 6800 and 6801 Macbeth Illuminometers Instructions, SONY TC-45 Cassette-Corder Owner's Instruction Manual
Binocular Interaction in the Frog Retina, George K. Shortess, Brown University, Summary (PhD thesis?)
Finished Figures - Swedish Late Spike (Optic nerve stim. - Latency of late spikes) [8 drawings]
[Letter] 1974 October 3 from George K. Shortess to Glenn L. Bowers, Pennsylvania Game Commission re: permit to process Red-tailed Hawk from Thomas Mutchler
Plate I: Preparation Room: 2 black & white glossy 20.5 x 25.5 cm Subject's Room: 2 black & white glossy 20.5 x 25.5 cm, 2 close ups black & white glossy 25.5 x 20.5 cm Recording Room: 1 black & white glossy 20.5 x 25.5 cm Timer & Recorder: close up black & white 25.5 x 20.5 cm Tape Recorder: 2 black & white glossy 25.5 x 20.5 cm, 1 close up same 1 print page 28 x 21.5 cm
Plate I: Stimulating and Recording Apparatus: [5 photos] Calibrating System: 1 black & white glossy 25 x 20.5 cm Respirator: 1 black & white glossy 25 x 20.5 cm Microfilm Reader: 3 black & white - 2 20.5 x 25 cm, 25 x 20.5 cm 1 print page 28 x 21.5 cm
Miscellaneous: [5 photos]
2 black & white 18 x 23 cm [photos of Prof. Stewart & student, William Geodes - grad student]
1 black & white 20.5 x 25.5 cm [photo of cat]
2 close up black & white 25.5 x 20.5 cm [equipment]
1937 January "Adaptation in Isolated Cold Spots" by William L. Jenkins,
A Thesis, American Journal of Psychology, Vol. XLIX, pp. 1-22.
1938 April "A Critical Examination of Nafe's Theory of Thermal Sensitivity"
American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 51, No. 2, p. 424-429.
1938 May "Studies in Thermal Sensitivity" by William Leroy Jenkins, Lehigh
University The Institute of Research Circular No. 139. [2 copies]
1938 May "Studies in Thermal Sensitivity: 5. The Reactions of Untrained Subjects to Simultaneous Warm + Cold Stimulation" by William Leroy Jenkins, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 22, No. 5. [ 2 copies]
1939 July "Nafe's Vascular Theory and the Preponderance of Evidence" by W. L.
Jenkins, American Journal of Psychology, Vol. LII, p. 462
1939 "Evidence Against the Alrutz Theory of Heat" by William Leroy Jenkins,
Lehigh University Studies Psychology Series No. 2 from Journal of
Experimental Psychology, Vol. 22, No.6, June 1938. 9 2 copies
1939 "Evidence for a "Concentration Theory" of Cutaneous Cold Sensitivity" by
William Leroy Jenkins, Lehigh University Studies Psychology Series No. 3 from Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 3, March 1939.
1940 May "Recent Research in Cutaneous Sensitivity: I. Pain and Temperature"
by Lawrence Joseph Stone and William Leroy Jenkins, Psychological
Bulletin, Vol. 37, No. 5.
1941 February "Recent Research in Cutaneous Sensitivity: 11. Touch and the
Neural Basis of the Skin Senses" by William Leroy Jenkins and Lawrence
Joseph Stone, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 38, No. 2.
1942 May "Studies in Thermal Sensitivity: 10. The Reliability of Seriatim Warm-
Mapping with Untrained Subjects" by William Leroy Jenkins, Lehigh
University Institute of Research Circular No. 174 Psychology Series No. 4
1957 December "Paradoxical Warmth: A Sufficient Condition for its Arousal" by
William Leroy Jenki8ns and A. Charles Karr, American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 640-641