In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section G. Stanley Hall

  • Introduction
  • Bibliography
  • Biography
  • Autobiography
  • Archival Materials
  • Assessments of Hall’s Work by Contemporaries
  • Assessments of Hall’s Role in Childhood Studies
  • Critical Reinterpretations of Hall’s Work on Childhood and Adolescence

Childhood Studies G. Stanley Hall
Don Romesburg
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 May 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0089


Granville Stanley Hall (b. 1844–d. 1924) was arguably the father of developmental psychology in the United States. His scholarship, leadership, and vision enabled a new appreciation for the science and institutionalization of modern childhood and adolescence. In the decade after he received the first US PhD in psychology (Harvard, 1878), Hall led the academic and popular Child Study Movement to evaluate how children learned and grew, and how to harness this for social progress. He ran an important Johns Hopkins University psychological laboratory (1882–1888), founded the American Journal of Psychology (1887), became the first president of the American Psychological Society (1892), and served as Clark University’s president (1889–1920). At Clark, Hall brought Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung for a famous visit in 1909. He oversaw dozens of doctoral students who would go on to groundbreaking work with children and youth, including psychologists Phyllis Blanchard, John Dewey, Arnold Gesell, and Lewis Terman as well as juvenile justice reformer Miriam van Waters. Hall’s tensions with van Waters, and with many women, related to his opposition to coeducation and advocacy for the cultivation of masculine men and feminine women with distinct biological, social, and spiritual roles. He saw the achievement of such roles as a hallmark of both individual maturity and advanced civilization. Hall, like many contemporary experts, framed children’s care, management, and education through social evolutionary theory, especially in his most influential work, Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education (Hall 1904, under Adolescence). In it, Hall suggested that each individual’s life course recapitulated humanity’s evolution from “savagery” to “civilization.” Adolescence was, he argued, a time of “storm and stress” rich with potential. Hall asserted that in “advanced” societies, a prolonged adolescence allowed youth to carry forward strengths of the primitive past, sublimated into progress through clear gender differentiation and a gradual sexual path to marital procreation. So-called primitive peoples, Hall believed, rushed into reproduction and short-circuited proper socialization. In its first printing, Adolescence sold over twenty-five thousand copies worldwide and attracted an international following of reformers, youth organization leaders, and educators. In later years, Hall’s scholarly reputation waned as his recapitulation theories, outmoded opinions on coeducation, and eclectic investigation methods fell out of favor. Nonetheless, Hall left lasting legacies in developmental psychology, secular and religious youth advocacy, education, and social work. Over a century later, popular and scientific discourses echo many of his beliefs about childhood and adolescence.


Wilson 1928, prepared by the head librarian at Clark University during much of Hall’s time there, remains the most complete listing of all of Hall’s published scholarly and popular books, articles, and speeches.

  • Wilson, Louis N. “Bibliography of the Published Writings of G. Stanley Hall.” In Biographical Memoir of Granville Stanley Hall, 1846–1924. Edited by Edward L. Thorndike, 155–180. National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs 7. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences, 1928.

    Wilson’s bibliography is chronological, with no organizational distinctions between scholarly or popular publications. It gives a full sense of the diversity of audiences Hall sought to reach.

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