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Curt P. Richter was born in Denver, Colorado. He studied engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany, from 1912 until 1915, and later attended Harvard University, where he received a B.S. in 1917. While at Harvard he became interested in behaviorism and came to Johns Hopkins in 1919 to study under John B. Watson. In 1921, Richter received a Ph.D. in psychology from the Johns Hopkins University and was appointed associate professor in psychobiology in the school of medicine. In 1922, he was named director of the psychobiology laboratory in the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic and in 1957 was promoted to professor of psychobiology. Richter wrote more than 250 research papers spanning several areas of research, including studies on the sympathetic nerve system, ingestive behavior, the grasp reflex, and biological clocks in animals and humans. His best known work is the 1965 book Biological Clocks in Medicine and Psychiatry.

Scope and Content

The Curt P. Richter Collection spans his career at Johns Hopkins. It includes research data, photographs, reprints, correspondence, and equipment. The bulk of the material consists of research data based on experiments and observations of over 20,000 animals, conducted from 1920 through 1976. Data from experiments conducted on human subjects, including skin resistance and grasp reflex, comprise another major part of the collection. Formats of research data include logbooks, notebooks, charts, photographs, and slides. Other photographs in the collection depict Richter, members of his family, the laboratory staff, and equipment. There is a vast collection of reprints by Richter (arranged by subject) and by others (arranged by author). A small amount of administrative correspondence remains. The collection also contains several pieces of laboratory equipment, including animal activity cages (which Richter devised), recording and measuring devices, and photographic equipment.

Catalog Record

Additional Links

The First International Cyberconference on the Psychobiology of Curt P. Richter (1996)

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