Baldwin, James Mark

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Chair of logic and metaphysics, 1889-1892

“In 1889 James Mark Baldwin came to Toronto from Princeton to found the first psychological laboratory in the British Empire. The Baldwin appointment created considerable controversy in Toronto. Baldwin was a proponent of the "new" experimental psychology emanating from Germany, especially the laboratory of Wilhelm Wundt at Liepzig. Torontonians of the late 1880’s harbored strong nativist tendencies and did not want an outsider teaching in Toronto. In addition, many in the academic community held to an idealist philosophy and refused to accept Baldwin’s "materialistic," "elemental" view of mental life.
Baldwin won the appointment with the help of President Sir Daniel Wilson. He was made professor of Logic, Metaphysics and Ethics in the philosophy department. To the chagrin of his opponents, Baldwin soon became a popular professor on campus. Misfortune, however, delayed Baldwin’s grand plans to establish a psychological laboratory at U of T. A month after his inaugural lecture (given to the public, students, and faculty), a fire destroyed University College. In the two years that followed, Baldwin received funding to establish a new laboratory. The university provided four rooms on the second floor of the West wing of the restored University College building. In 1893, with the laboratory well established, Baldwin left U of T for a higher paying position at Princeton. Hoff, (1992); Myers, (1982).
In the 1890’s Baldwin emerged as a leading figure in experimental psychology. He was a founding member of the American Psychological Association in 1892 and the sixth President of the APA in 1897. In 1893, Baldwin organized the psychology exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago. His landmark work on mental development in children (Baldwin, 1895b) included, for the first time in psychology, experiments with children (namely, his own daughter Elizabeth). Baldwin was one of the first experimental psychologists to apply Darwin’s theory of evolution to his theories of development, (Murray, 1988). In 1902, he published the Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, which contained contributions from the leading figures in psychology and philosophy at the turn of the century. “