Charles Hubbard Judd (1873-1946), a psychologist and education reformer, was an exponent of the science of education. Under his leadership the University of Chicago became a recognized center for the scientific study of education and of American schools.
Charles Hubbard Judd was born on February 20, 1873, in Bareilly, India. His parents, Charles Wesley Judd and Sarah (Hubbard) Judd, were Methodist missionaries, and in 1879, when Judd was six years old, the family returned to the United States. Upon graduation from high school Judd attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, receiving the A.B. degree in 1894. He next entered graduate work at the University of Leipzig in Germany, where he studied psychology under the renowned Wilhelm Wundt. Judd completed his Ph.D. degree in 1896, after only two years of study and when he was 23 years old. Wundt's scientific study of psychology made a lasting impression on Judd, who became a tireless advocate of the scientific approach in American psychology and education. Judd later translated Wundt's Outlines of Psychology into English (1907), a work that helped further scientific psychology in the United States.
Judd's career may be divided into two main phases. The first phase, from 1896 to 1909, was in psychological research and teaching. The second phase, from 1909 on, was in university administration and professional education. Throughout his career, Judd was a prolific writer and editor. Upon his return from Germany in 1896 he was appointed to the position of instructor in psychology at Wesleyan University, which he held until 1898. Over the next several years he rapidly rose through the ranks, first as professor of psychology at New York University and then as professor of psychology and pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati.
In 1902, Judd went to Yale University as an instructor because he wanted to become involved in the psychological research going on at that institution. Although Judd was, in effect, starting out at the bottom again, he was promoted to assistant professor by 1904 and to full professor and director of the Yale Psychological Laboratory by 1907. The Yale years were productive ones for Judd. Not only did he translate Wundt's Outlines during that time, but he also published Genetic Psychology for Teachers (1903), General Introduction to Psychology (1907), and Psychological Laboratory Equipment and Methods (1907). In addition, he edited several monograph supplements of the Psychological Review and several important studies from the Yale Psychological Laboratory.
Judd's productivity did not go unnoticed, and in 1909 he was invited to the University of Chicago as professor and chairman of the Department of Education, a post he held until his retirement in 1938. This second phase of his career—in professional education—did not mean that he left psychology completely. He continued to publish in the field, and from 1920 to 1925 he also served as the chairman of the Department of Psychology. Yet, education became his central focus, and his research and publications became more specifically involved in the psychology and science of education.
Part of Judd's interest in the University of Chicago was precipitated by the educational reform movement then sweeping the country. Progressive education had long been connected with the university, particularly with John Dewey's work. The progressive focus had to some extent followed Dewey, who left Chicago in 1904 for New York's Columbia University and Teachers College, but when Judd arrived he continued the university's pattern of a socially involved professoriate.
Judd spoke out against the individualistic or "child centered" progressives who wanted to make the learner the center of the curriculum. While the learner's psychological state, capacities, and sense experience are important, Judd argued, many, if not most, educational objectives relate to developing the learner's social consciousness. For example, language is an extremely important part of social consciousness, but it is not so much the expression of an individual's instinct as it is the product of centuries of cooperative social experience. The importance of language for the individual is obvious, but language is also of supreme social importance. It helps individuals relate to each other, binds groups together in a community, and enables cooperative human endeavor to occur. If the potential to use language is a part of the original equipment of individuals, language itself is learned in the give and take of social life. Thus, a supremely important objective of education is to provide learners with a command of language that enlarges their individual and collective social experience.
The emphasis on the social nature of education was connected with what was perhaps Judd's single most important reform effort. This was the development of the science of education, a topic to which he devoted a number of publications, including Measuring the Work of the Public Schools (1916) and Introduction to the Scientific Study of Education (1918). Just as he thought psychology should move from introspection to the scientific method, so too should education. Education is conducted through social life and its institutional configurations, he reasoned, and the key to teasing out the proper paths in education is to study scientifically how institutions influence mankind. In what was perhaps his most important book, The Psychology of Social Institutions (1926, 1974), he stated, "It is the duty of science to go beyond introspection and to set up a system of explanations which will make clear the true nature of institutional control over men's minds and lives."
Under Judd, the University of Chicago became the leading center for the scientific study of education in the United States. In his leadership position as the chairman of the Department of Education, Judd surrounded himself with a faculty, many of whom had been his former students, devoted to the science of education. The department attracted students who spread the scientific approach to the public schools, educational policy-making bodies, and other universities. In addition, Judd continued to produce numerous papers, articles, and books, and he served as editor of the Elementary School Journal and the School Review, through which his ideas were further disseminated. He put many of his ideas into practice by conducting school surveys in St. Louis, Missouri; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Denver, Colorado. He was also a team member on the New York Rural School Survey in 1921.
His reform penchant also launched him into heavy involvement in professional societies and philanthropic endeavors. For a number of years he served on the Board of Trustees of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a philanthropic foundation devoted to the social and educational advancement of African Americans. He was a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Social Science Research Council and held membership in the National Education Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and the University Club of Chicago. He was a member and officer of the American Psychological Association (president, 1909); the National Society of College Teachers of Education (president, 1911, 1915); the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (president, 1923); and the American Council on Education (chairman, 1929-1930).
With respect to his teaching, Judd was confident, forceful, and persuasive. Tall, with a neatly trimmed beard and piercing blue eyes, he presented a striking physical appearance. He had a voice of unusual carrying quality, which he used for dramatic effect in his lectures, bringing forth moods of irony, ridicule, or humor. He exhibited an extraordinary command of language and placed great emphasis on the importance of language in education and mental development. Precision of thought and expression were hallmarks of his teaching, and his clear exposition of ideas made him popular with students. While he was at Yale, the undergraduates voted him "best lecturer in the College."
Judd's many contributions were recognized by honorary degrees from Yale (1907), Miami University (1909), Wesleyan University (1913), the State University of Iowa (1923), Colorado College (1923), and the University of Louisville (1937). He was also honored by the University of Chicago when it changed the name of the Graduate Education Building to the Charles Hubbard Judd Building in 1946.
Judd was married twice, first to Ella (Compte) Judd in 1898. They had one daughter, Dorothy. Ella died in 1935, and Judd remarried in 1937 to Mary (Diehl) Judd, who survived him at his death on July 18, 1946.
Biographical sketches on Charles Hubbard Judd may be found in The National Encyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 42 (1967) and in The Biographical Dictionary of American Educators, Vol. II (1978). His obituary in the New York Times (July 19, 1946), is also informative. An excellent article by a former student is "Reflections on the Personality and Professional Leadership of Charles Hubbard Judd," by Frank N. Freeman, in The Elementary School Journal (January 1947). Recommended additional readings of Judd's own works include Education and Social Progress (1934), Educational Psychology (1939), and his last major publication, Teaching and the Evolution of Civilization (1946).