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19 February in the History of Psychology

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On February 19:

1473 — Nicolaus Copernicus was born. Copernicus argued for a heliocentric view of the universe instead of a geocentric one, demoting humans to a peripheral position in the universe and promoting objectivity in the study of human affairs. A scientific psychology rests on the assumptions generated by the Copernican revolution.

1909 — The National Committee for Mental Hygiene was founded at the Manhattan Hotel in New York. The organization was a forerunner of the National Mental Health Association (NMHA). In its early years, the NMHA was also known as the Beers Society, named after Clifford W. Beers, the organizer of this founding meeting. William James helped to launch the society with a $1,000 loan. Henry B. Favill was elected president.

1920 — The National Vocational Guidance Association was reorganized in Chicago as a federation of regional associations in addition to a national organization. Interest in the earlier organization by the same name had dwindled until there was no annual meeting or new officers in 1919. John M. Brewer was elected president of the reorganized association. In 1985, the association's name was changed to the National Career Development Association.

1946 — The petition to form the APA's Division 20, Adult Development and Aging, was submitted by Sidney Pressey, the division's first chair. The Council of Representatives had already admitted the division late in 1945. This was the first division added after the 19 created by the modern reorganization of the APA. The division was first named the Division of Old Age and Maturity.

1965 — The state of Wyoming approved its psychologist licensure law.

1977 — President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order No. 11973, establishing the President's Commission on Mental Health. The commission's first meeting on March 29, 1977 was followed by public hearings across the country, giving mental health professionals a vehicle for influencing national health policy.