Marilyn Brookwood

The Iowa Child Research Station: History Lost and Found

State Historical Society of Iowa

by Marilyn Brookwood

October 11, 2021

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Working in a destitute orphanage during the Great Depression, little-known psychologists at the Iowa Child Welfare Research Station accidentally discovered that the environment changes children’s intelligence – something never thought possible. Brutally attacked for their ideas by psychology’s leaders, most of whom were eugenicists, 30 years passed before their work gained recognition. Although nobody knows their names today, the Iowa psychologists recognized early development requirements and anticipated today’s neuroscience findings. 
Marilyn Brookwood is a counselor and psychologist who worked with adolescents and was an adjunct instructor at the College of New Rochelle in New York. While a student in Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Education program studying the neuroscience of early brain development she stumbled upon the story of the Davenport children and knew that its history had to be told.”
- from the description of Iowa Stories: Iowa Child Welfare Research Station” posted on the Iowa Culture YouTube channel

A note from the author: Moving back to the state where everything started, a huge thank you to the State Historical Society of Iowa for hosting me this September. Mary Bennet and her team of the Historical Society handled everything technical with such ease and so perfectly. It was a delight to be there to speak with everyone and spread this important story that has gone unrecognized for so long. 

Duration 1:06:36