William James (1842-1910)


(Harvard Professor of Philosophy and Psychology)

Bernard transferred to Harvard University from Boston University in the fall of 1884, toward the middle of William James’s more than three-decade career at Harvard.  Bother of the novelist Henry, James, William James was one of the first to teach the discipline of psychology at the graduate level, and he was a pioneer of Pragmatism.  Bernard enrolled in James's course on psychology and logic, while Mary's principal connection to James was not via the classroom--though she tried to convince him to teach at the Harvard Annex--but rather through their close family friendship. James's ideas shaped both Mary's and Bernard's thinking well beyond their student years, most clearly their theory of tactile values.

Click here to see the online exhibit of James’s life and career hosted by Harvard University’s Houghton Library.