Whereas most psychology books discuss current or future trends, this one focuses on the past. It consists of a collection of important and historically significant writings by a select group of men and women who, over the past 50 years, were honored by their colleagues for their distinguished contributions to the field of personality assessment. Published from 1939 through 1989, most of the papers were SPA Presidential addresses or presentations by the recipients of the Society's Distinguished Contributions Award. Taken as a whole, they provide a unique perspective on the evolution of personality assessment in America from the perspective of those who have made important contributions to that history. The writings are not merely of historical interest, but intrinsically important scientific contributions, some of which were in danger of being lost or forgotten. The editors feel it is important to preserve and pass on this valuable legacy for the education and edification of later generations.
It is not only its historical perspective that makes this book unique. This book provides first-hand discussions of crucial issues in personality assessment written by the gifted men and women who were actually grappling with these problems at the time, without knowing what the outcomes would be. Readers will find that these papers provide insights not only into the conflicts and controversies, but also into the ideas, attitudes, and emotions of the men and women who took part in them.