Frank, Lawrence K. (Lawrence Kelso), 1890-1968

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Leader of New York Society for Ethical Culture; educator, social psychologist.

From the description of Papers, 1948-1986. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155488882

Social scientist and lecturer.

From the description of Papers, 1922-1968. (Wayne State University). WorldCat record id: 28417729

Lawrence K. Frank was born in Cincinnati, OH, December 6, 1890 and received his bachelor's degree in economics from Columbia University in 1912. He died September 23, 1968, in Boston, MA. He first worked as a systems analyst for the New York Telephone Company, but in 1923 shifted to foundation work, first at the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial. He later worked for the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation and the Caroline Zachary Institute of Human Development. He retired in 1955 to Boston, MA, where he lived until his death.

Frank is often considered the originator of child development movement in the United States, but Margaret Mead said his impact was far greater, and that Frank "more or less invented the behavorial sciences." As associate director of the Spelman Fund, one of the leading financiers of child development research during the 1930s and 1940s, Frank championed the new holistic interdisciplinary paradigm of human development that recognized individual differences among particular children, and which incorporated knowledge not only from evolutionary natural science, but from the social sciences as well. Applying this holistic paradigm to developmental theory, Frank argued that the central problem of child development research was to understand the development of the whole child. He advocated that researchers be child-centered by understanding that children are emerging, becoming, and dynamically learning.

A prolific writer, he wrote a popular column for the New York Times and Sunday magazine called "Parent and Child." To social scientists he was a scholar, technical writer and innovative foundation executive whose influence extended beyond the financial to the intellectual, a man who devoted himself to bringing together people from across disciplines. In 1947, he shared the Lasker Award with Catherine Mackenzie for "contributions to popular adult education in mental health, especially concerning parent-child relationships."

[Portions excerpted from "What is 'Normal' Adolescent Growth?" A Paper Presented at the History of Childhood in America Conference, August 5-6, 2000, Washington, DC by Heather Munro Prescott, Central Connecticut State University]

From the guide to the Lawrence K. Frank Papers, 1914-1974, (History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Frank, Lawrence K. (Lawrence Kelso), 1890-1968. Papers, 1922-1968. Wayne State University
referencedIn Kresge Historical Library of Child Development and Family Life. Records, 1911-1980. Wayne State University
referencedIn Margaret Mead Papers and the South Pacific Ethnographic Archives, 1838-1996, (bulk 1911-1978) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978. Margaret Mead papers and South Pacific Ethnographic Archives, 1838-1996 (bulk 1911-1978). Library of Congress
referencedIn Doll, Edgar A. (Edgar Arnold), b. 1889. Edgar and Geraldine Doll papers, 1915-1972. University of Akron, Bierce Library
referencedIn Bassett, Marion Preston. Papers, 1954, n.d. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Frank, Lawrence K. (Lawrence Kelso), 1890-1968. Letter, 1967, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Frank, Lawrence K. (Lawrence Kelso), 1890-1968. Papers, 1948-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Lawrence K. Frank Papers, 1914-1974 History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn Doniger, Simon. Correspondence with Margaret Naumburg, 1956. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Frank, Lawrence K. (Lawrence Kelso), 1890-1968. Material on the child development movement collection, 1926-1971. National Library of Medicine
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Association for the Advancement of Science. corporateBody
associatedWith Bassett, Marion Preston. person
correspondedWith Commoner, Barry, 1917- person
associatedWith Doll, Edgar A. (Edgar Arnold), b. 1889. person
associatedWith Friends World College. corporateBody
correspondedWith Kresge Historical Library of Child Development and Family Life. corporateBody
associatedWith Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978. person
associatedWith New York Society for Ethical Culture. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
New York (State)
Huntington (N.Y.)
Child development
Science--Societies, etc
Universities and colleges
Social sciences
Ethical culture movement
Society of Friends
Scientists--United States
Educational consultants--United States
Social psychologists
Social scientists--United States
Consultants--United States


Birth 1890-12-06

Death 1968-09-23



Ark ID: w6dn4w7h

SNAC ID: 14437423