Health Magazine

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

By Chp

-Contributed by Lizette Royer Barton and Emily Gainer.

Each year, the Society of Ohio Archivists (SOA) creates a poster to celebrate Archives Month, which is recognized in October.  The poster features historical images from archives around the state.  The theme for this year’s poster (pictured below) was “The Peoples of Ohio.”

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

Take a look at the photo in the bottom left-hand corner–you might recognize those faces! The CHP submitted a Polaroid photograph of Dr. Robert V. Guthrie and Dr. Alberta Banner Turner from the Robert V. Guthrie papers with hope that it would be featured on the poster, and indeed, there it is! The photograph was taken at a Southern Regional Education Board Conference in 1978 in Atlanta, GA.This image was perfect for the SOA poster theme, because Dr. Turner made significant contributions to psychology right here in Ohio. Here’s a closer look at the photo:

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

Wonderful, right? In 1935,  Alberta Banner Turner (1909-2008) became the first African American woman to earn a PhD in psychology from the Ohio State University.

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

Following graduation Dr. Turner spent several years in North and South Carolina teaching psychology and home economics until she returned to Ohio in 1942. In 1944 she was offered her first full-time position with the Ohio Board of Juvenile Research and rose through the ranks to eventually serve as chief psychologist. She began working for the Ohio Youth Commission in 1963 and later served as the Director of Research, a position she held until her retirement.

During her time at the Ohio Board of Juvenile Research and the Ohio Youth Commission Dr. Turner also taught classes at OSU and worked as a psychologist for the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Upon her retirement in 1971 she was awarded a citation from the State of Ohio for a lifetime of work in the field of juvenile rehabilitation and treatment.

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

Incidentally, Turner also has ties to the CHP! As a graduate student, CHP Director David Baker had read Robert Guthrie’s Even the Rat Was White: A Historical View of Psychology.  It was then that Dr. Baker learned about Alberta Banner Turner. When he arrived in Akron in 1999, he was excited to learn that Dr. Turner was still living in Columbus, Ohio. He contacted her and she agreed to meet with him at her home. Dr. Baker spent the afternoon with Dr. Turner and she shared many stories including those about her time as a graduate student in psychology during the 1930s. According to Dr. Baker she was, “vital and terrific.”

Alberta Banner Turner Featured for Archives Month

Dr. Alberta Banner Turner died in 2008. We’re glad to honor her life and career as part of the 2012 celebration of Archives Month and if you’re interested, you can head over to the Feminist Voices website to read more about her. We hope you’ll stay tuned to our social media sites for more upcoming Archives Month activities around the CHP!

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