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About Isabel Briggs Myers Papers
The Isabel Briggs Myers Papers digital collection encompasses a large variety of material pertaining to the family life and personal writings of the Briggs and the Myers families from the late nineteenth century until the 1960s. The collection includes mainly handwritten diaries and letters between Isabel Briggs Myers (1897-1980) and her parents Lyman J. Briggs (1874-1963) and Katharine C. Briggs (1875-1968); in addition, it contains correspondence with her husband Clarence G. Myers (1894-1984). Also accessible within this collection, are personal and published writings by Isabel and Katharine, photographs of family members, postcards from domestic and international travel, as well as some diaries by Peter B. Myers (1927-2018), the oldest son of Isabel B. Myers and donor of the collection to the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries and Archives.
Isabel Briggs Myers grew up in Washington D.C. in the early twentieth century, daughter to engineer and physicist Lyman J. Briggs, who led the Bureau of Standards under several U.S. Presidents, and author and housewife Katharine Cook Briggs. She was homeschooled with brief intermittent attendance in elementary and high school and attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania from 1915 - 1918. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and met her husband Clarence G. Myers with whom she had two children, Peter Briggs Myers (April 24, 1926) and Ann Myers (a.k.a. Ann Myers Hughes, born December 29, 1927). Isabel Briggs Myers is well known for the widely-used personality assessment, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator®, which she began developing with her mother in the 1930s. Katharine had studied the writings of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1961) and his conceptualization of eight personality types. Subsequently, Briggs and Myers developed sixteen categories and they embarked upon a life-long mission of observing and examining peoples’ attitudes, perceptions and judgments about themselves. The first questionnaire was registered in 1943 and from that time, Isabel focused her life’s work toward refining the indicator to allow individuals to learn more about themselves and others through personality type.
This collection is unique as it takes the patron through Isabel B. Myers’ life by way of handwritten documents. The user can conduct research from this era on such topics as womanhood and childhood, family life, Feminism, universities, and women’s education, as well as learning about life on the home front during World War I, during the Interwar years, and as World War II unfolded and the United States became involved in the conflict. For more information on the collection, digital archivist and project manager Paula de la Cruz-Fernandez, Ph.D. can be contacted.
Other expert resources:
With the aim of facilitating the search of items, a George A. Smathers Internship Program of two semesters was awarded to the project to create page-level metadata. University of Florida doctoral candidate Samantha Baugus, MA., transcribed approximately 2,700 pages of letters and diaries. The transcriptions were compiled and ingested as PDFs (see one example here from Isabel B. Myers’ 1910 diary The Book of Me), allowing the user to fully search handwritten material and download the transcriptions. In addition, a bibliography of Isabel B. Myers’ writings as well as other writers and researchers who worked with her, and secondary literature on twentieth-century women’s history, women in Science, United States and World History, and works about the MBTI is available using this link. Another expert resource that has been created to assure and enhance the accessibility of the Isabel B. Myers collection is a controlled vocabulary or taxonomy that lists and conceptualizes the different dimensions that can be found in the digital repository. This controlled vocabulary is a work-in-progress document that could be regularly updated as patrons use the collection and identify further subjects. It is also thought to aid the creation of metadata if more items are added to the repository in the future.