Carr, Harvey

Carr, Harvey (1873-1954), an American psychologist and university administrator, had a profound influence in the field of American psychology. He helped advance functionalism, a form of psychology that had been started by John Dewey and James Rowland Angell. A functionalist tries to understand an individual's mental processes and studies how people adapt to their surroundings. Until the late 1920's, functionalism was widely practiced by American psychologists, so much so, that it is considered the first system of American psychology. Carr also made contributions in the areas of comparative psychology, educational theory, and visual space perception.

Carr attended DePauw University from 1893 to 1895. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado in 1901. Four years later, he received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, the institution considered the home of functionalism. Carr trained under Angell, the first functionalist psychologist. After leaving Chicago, Carr accepted a position as instructor of psychology at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.


In 1908, he left Brooklyn to teach psychology at the University of Chicago. Eight years later, he was appointed professor. In 1926, he became chairman of the Department of Psychology, and during his tenure, the psychology department became known for its outstanding program. In the course of his career, he guided and trained 53 doctoral candidates. He was named professor emeritus in 1938.

Carr served as an editor at the Journal of General Psychology. He wrote a number of books, including Textbook of Psychology (1925), Psychology: A Study of Mental Activity (1925), and An Introduction to Space Perception (1935). He was president of the American Psychological Association in 1926.

In 1908, Carr married Antoinette Cox, with whom he had three children.