"Human nature is not nearly as bad as it has been thought to be."

Abraham Maslow, Ph.D. (1908-1970), was born in Brooklyn, New York, and educated at the City College of New York and the University of Wisconsin. Before assuming his post as Chairman of the Department of Psychology at Brandeis University in 1951, he taught for 14 years at Brooklyn College. Dr. Maslow also served as President of the American Psychological Association from 1967-68. An energetic and articulate scholar, Professor Maslow was the author of more than 20 books, including Eupsychian Management; Psychology of Science; Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences; Motivation and Personality; Principles of Abnormal Psychology (with B. Mittelmann); and Toward a Psychology of Being. He also edited New Knowledge in Human Values and wrote nearly 100 articles.

Maslow attended City College in New York. While there, he married his cousin Bertha, and found as his chief mentor Professor Harry Harlow. At Wisconsin he pursued an original line of research, investigating primate dominance behavior and sexuality. He went on to further research at Columbia University, continuing similar studies. He found another mentor in Alfred Adler, one of Freud's early followers.

From 1937 to 1951, Maslow was on the faculty of Brooklyn College. In New York he found two more mentors, anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer, whom he admired both professionally and personally. These two were so accomplished and such "wonderful human beings" as well, that Maslow began taking notes about them and their behavior. This would be the basis of his lifelong research and thinking about mental health and human potential. He wrote extensively on the subject, borrowing ideas from other psychologists but adding significantly to them, especially the concepts of a heirarchy of needs, meta-needs, self-actualizing persons, and peak experiences. Maslow became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, which he referred to as the "third force" -- beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism.

(Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs)

Maslow's thinking was surprisingly original -- most psychology before him had been concerned with the abnormal and the ill. He wanted to know what constituted positive mental health. Humanistic psychology gave rise to several different therapies, all guided by the idea that people possess the inner resources for growth and healing and that the point of therapy is to help remove obstacles to individuals' achieving this. The most famous of these was client-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers.

Maslow was a professor at Brandeis University from 1951 to 1969, and then became a resident fellow of the Laughlin Institute in California. He died of a heart attack in 1970.

"If we wish to help humans to become more fully human, we must realize not only that they try to realize themselves, but that they are also reluctant or afraid or unable to do so. Only by fully appreciating this dialectic between sickness and health can we help to tip the balance in favor of health."

This biography was compiled from several sources, including Compton's Encyclopedia,
The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, and various sites on the Internet.
All copyrights held by their respective owners.