A View with Room
There is properly no history, only biography.
R. W. Emerson, Essays: First Series
Chapter 5 brought the history of stuttering to the middle 1930s, when the brief period of Travis' scientifically based program of research was coming to a close. Chapter 6 identified the major influences of that period external to stuttering that would profoundly affect its study from that point onward. This chapter will trace the development and expansion of a view of stuttering that would become widely accepted, well entrenched, and long-lived even though it was established, extended, and maintained on very questionable grounds.
As Chapters 5 and 6 show, influences from anthropology and psychology gave impetus and support to a nascent view of stuttering as a functional disorder. Moreover, appealing and persuasive -- though faulty -- "findings" from within these two disciplines provided room for this view to grow. Particularly influential were the appealing story generated by Margaret Mead and the attractive beliefs expounded by J. B. Watson. Furthermore, there emerged within this ambience a preoccupation with a belief in the power of words, propounded in the tenets of general semantics. This special focus was absorbed into a highly personalized formulation of stuttering that presented the disorder as a special kind of psychological problem.
By the late 1930s a movement based in this formulation was expanding in scope. It soon developed a large following, and became clearly overwhelming by the early 1940s. Although the background circumstances, reviewed earlier, might have carried the movement along, the vigor of its progression was due largely to the efforts of its originator, Wendell Johnson.