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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Norman C. Meier Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1906-1964
Creator: Meier, Norman C. (1893-1967)
Extent: 12.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: RG99.0163
Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Summary: Professor of psychology, University of Iowa, from 1923 until 1964. Designed tests to measure artistic aptitude, and audience response. Correspondence, photographs, lectures.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Boxes 6, 13, 15, 18

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: These materials were transferred to the University Archives from the Department of Psychology. Collection processed by Earl M. Rogers. Guide created and posted to the Internet by Denise Anderson, May 2007.

Preferred Citation: Norman C. Meier Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: David McCartney

Norman Charles Meier was born February 22, 1893 in Carrollton, Missouri. He graduated from Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1914. Mr. Meier worked as an apprentice draftsman in Pittsburgh in 1906, advanced to draftsman by 1914, and worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in that capacity in 1917. Mr. Meier served during World War I at American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) headquarters in Chaumont, France. He returned from service to work as a draftsman for a Chicago company, while also attending classes, until 1921.
Meier earned his Ph.B. and M.A. at the University of Chicago in 1921 and 1922. He took his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1926. Dr. Meier joined the University of Iowa Department of Psychology in 1922 as an assistant. He was promoted to instructor, then associate, became assistant professor in 1927, then associate professor, and was made full professor in 1954. He retired in 1964.
Dr. Meier is well known for the tests he designed for assessing artistic aptitude. These were devised, in part, through his study of 100 artists from eight countries. His areas of research were psychology of art, and social and political behavior. Meier's research in the latter field resulted in methods of measuring audience response to theatre and broadcast programs. He also studied mob behavior and crowd control. Courses he taught included Social Psychology, Psychology of International Relations, Psychology of Social Control, Public Opinion and Propaganda, and Psychology of Propaganda. George Gallup was a student of Dr. Meier, who later developed a successful public polling organization. During the 1950s, Meier lectured in Canada, England, France, and Belgium, as well as many U.S. cities. Under a Fulbright grant, Dr. Meier was a consultant at the University of Paris in 1956 to 1957, during the establishment of the Laboratory of Esthetics at the Sorbonne. His work was widely published.
Meier married Clea Mae Grimes, and they had two sons, Mark F. in 1925, and George Edwin in 1930. Norman C. Meier died November 2, 1967.

This collection is comprised of correspondence, publications, lectures, travel postcards, articles about and examples of artist's work, a scrapbook of family related material, hand-drawn diagrams, and visual material in the form of photographs, slides, and fragile glass plate negatives.

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically in boxes 1 through 9, and all correspondence folder titles are listed in the box list, as provided by Dr. Meier. Correspondence folders also contain course outlines, final exams, articles, lectures, and photographs. Additional correspondence may be found in boxes 13, 14, and 18.

The bulk of this material relates to the nearly forty-year career of Norman C. Meier with the University of Iowa Department of Psychology, where he developed tests to measure artistic aptitude, and a device to measure audience response.

Meier's University of Iowa Ph.D. dissertation, "The Use of Aesthetic Judgment in the Measurement of Art Talent," was written in 1926, during a time of development of other aptitude testing at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Testing Programs: the first fifty years, by Julia J. Peterson, describes the birth of a testing program within the University of Iowa College of Education in 1928. A related testing program that developed from the Iowa Testing Programs is the widely used American College Testing Program (ACT).

The "Meier Art Tests: I. Art Judgment " (1940) and "Meier Art Tests: II. Aestheitic Perception" (1963) and associated manuals and scoring sheets are located in Box 14a.
Photographs, Norman Meier conducting tests, in oversize drawer B7

Folder, "Meier, Norman C.," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG 01.15.03)

Records of the Department of Psychology (RG06.30)

Papers of Edward Charles Mabie (RG 99.0188) (Theatre Arts)

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The detailed description has not been entered into the repository.
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