Archives of the History of American Psychology

The University of Akron


Daniel Starch, Papers (1883-1979)

PAPERS: 1909–1979 

VOLUME: 6 linear feet, (boxes M3292-M3303)



ACCESS: Unrestricted 

PROCESSED BY: Cameron Pishnery   

DATE: December 2004 

REVISED: March 2005 by Rhonda Rinehart 

Biographical Note

Daniel Starch was born on March 8, 1883 and died at White Plains Hospital, New York, on February 10, 1979.

Starch’s academic career began with his graduation from preparatory school in 1899. In 1903, Starch graduated from Morningside College, Iowa, with a BA in psychology and mathematics. In 1904, Starch became the youngest student to graduate with an MA at the University of Iowa, a record that he held for 20 years. In 1906, Starch received his Ph.D. in Psychology; he stayed at the University of Iowa for one year as a faculty member. Starch then taught Experimental Psychology for a year at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Starch taught at the University of Wisconsin until 1919. While at Wisconsin, Starch met his wife, Amy Hopson; they married in 1913. In 1919, Starch accepted a faculty positions at Harvard University, eventually becoming an associate professor in the School of Business Administration.

During his stay at Harvard, Starch developed a readership scoring method that was first published in 1923 in Principles of Advertising. In that same year, he created Daniel Starch and Staff in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a business research company that is still survived today under Roper-Starch. In 1924 Starch became the director of the Department of Research for the American Association of Advertising Agencies. He worked with the association two days a week while still lecturing and working with his firm.

In the mid 1920s, Starch created an innovative survey method for the National Broadcasting Company to gauge the size of the nation’s radio audience. He later created the Starch Continuing Readership Program, which dealt with magazine advertising. The program used the recognition method for measuring readership of advertising. A variation of the readership program was also created for industrial magazines in 1940. Starch’s readership research expanded in 1952 with the Readership Impression Study.  With the accumulation of psychological, business, and literary knowledge, Starch published How to Develop your Executive Ability in 1943.

Scope and Content


The papers of Daniel Starch are largely personal in nature, often reflecting his philosophies concerning successful living. The collection contains extensive biographical information including personal and family mementos as well as personal journals dating from 1928 through 1977. The correspondence included in Starch’s papers is personal in nature as well, and there is relatively little discussion of his professional or academic endeavors and successes. Most of the publications and manuscripts written by Starch that are included in this collection tend to embrace issues and philosophies concerned with better living. A small number of files from Starch’s New York-based marketing and research corporation are housed in this collection, and include product and market research as well as consumer surveys and reports. Of note is a report written by Starch in 1923 for the Lever Brothers Company, which surveyed consumers in order to determine the best color for soap. Starch’s papers also include one folder consisting of handwriting analysis reports and research, personality and performance rating scales, and a notebook involving the psychology of language.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Biographical File, 1909-1979

This series consists of general dated biographical information related to Starch. This material includes his wife’s birth certificate, a copy of his last will and testament, information about his family lineage, and short biographies constructed by other individuals about Starch. There is some additional undated material at the end of this series.  This series also contains daily journals, or planners that Starch had used. Few exist here from his early academic career; most of them are from the 1960s and 1970s. 

Series 2: Correspondence  

This is the collected correspondence to and from Starch, ranging from June 6, 1917 to January 11, 1979. Much of the correspondence includes information regarding his book, A Look Ahead to Life, written in 1971. Starch sent many copies of the manuscript to his friends and potential publishers. Other letters are in regard to his work on the 100 Greatest Books, a copyrighted collection of papers outlining what Starch deemed as the 100 greatest books of all time. Very little of the correspondence includes documentation of his academic and professional life.  

Series 3: Academic Materials 

Included here is research and data material, and questionnaires and information gathered on educational psychology and language. 

Series 4: Business Files 

This series includes information concerning Starch’s market and consumer research firm, Daniel Starch and Staff. Handwritten notes regarding major U.S. corporations and copies of research studies that the company completed are found here.  

Series 5: Published Material

This series contains reprints of articles authored by Starch, as well as manuscripts of some of Starch’s published works. This includes his work entitled “Perimetery of the Localization of Sound” published in 1906. There is also a small bound book containing journal articles written by Starch. Also present in this series are several manuscripts from Starch, including A Look Ahead to Life, published in 1971; handwritten and typed drafts of his work entitled The 100 Greatest Books; and How to Develop Your Executive Ability. 

Series 6: Manuscripts, unpublished 

This series includes manuscripts for Starch’s unpublished works, including The 200 Greatest Books, Little Essays on Big Subjects, and Think Life Through, all of which reflect his philosophical outlook on life, and his desire to share those philosophies with others.  

Series 7: Miscellaneous Writings and Notes 

Included here are miscellaneous writings and notes about a variety of topics including Starch’s personal thoughts on different authors, teachers, and humanities subjects.


Series 1. Biographical 

Box 1, [M3292]  



Family and genealogy notes

Church bulletins

Readings and quotations

Awards and certificates


Box 1.1, [M3293] 

Personal Journals, 1928-1977 

Series 2. Correspondence, 1919-1979 

Box 1, [M3292] 

Personal letters to and from Daniel Starch

Letters to Starch requesting reprints

Letters from Starch acknowledging and granting reprints 

Series 3. Academic Materials 

Box 1, [M3292] 

Personal questionnaires prepared by Daniel Starch

Research and data notebooks

Handwriting analysis between genders

Psychology of language typed and bound notes

G.L. Freeman reprints

“Compensatory Reinforcements of Muscular Tension Subsequent to Sleep Loss,” [1932]

“Diurnal Variations in Performance and Energy Expenditure,” [1935]

“Diurnal Variations in Performance and Related Physiological Processes,” [1934]

“The Effect of Experimentally Induced Muscular Tension upon Palmar Skin Resistance,” [1938]

“The Effect of Inhibited Micturition upon Interrupted and Completed Acts of Unrelated Origin,”


“Insensible Perspiration and the Galvanic Skin Reflex,” [1935]

“Mental Activity and the Muscular Process,” [1931]

“Minor Studies from the Psychological Laboratory of Northwestern University,” [1935]

“The Optimal Locus of ‘Anticipatory Tensions’ in Muscular Work,” [1937]

“The Optimal Muscular Tensions for Various Performances,” [1938]

“Our Muscles and Our Minds,” [1938]

“Postural Accompaniments of the Voluntary Inhibition of Micturition,” [1938]

“The Postural Substrate,” [1938]

“Studies in the Psycho-Physiology of Transfer. I. The Problem of Identical Elements,” [1937]

“Studies in the Psycho-Physiology of Transfer. II. The Relation of Bilateral ‘Fatigue’ Effects

to Period of Work,” [1938]

“Two Neuro-Muscular Indices of Mental Fatigue,” [1931] 


Series 4. Business Files 

Box 2, [M3294] 

Report on determining the best color for soap, 1923 [research conducted for Lever Brothers Company]

Materials from Daniel Starch and Staff, Inc.

Impression study

Market research studies

Products reports

Management report

Magazine reports

Consumer reports

Financial Statements 

One oversized item:  

“1968 Consumer Market and Magazine Report,” by Daniel Starch and Staff, Inc.  

Series 5. Publications, by Daniel Starch, [arranged alphabetically by title] 

Box 3, [M3295] 

Bound copy of various published research papers by Starch, 1905-1909

“Educational Research and Statistics,” September 1919

“Is Advertising an Economic Waste?” – January 1920

“Look Ahead to Life,” [book manuscript], 1973

“Research Methods in Advertising,” 1923

“Perimetry of the Localization of Sound,” 1905, 1906

University of Iowa: Studies in Psychology,” 1928

“Which are Smarter: Men or Women?” – September 1920 

Box 4, [M3296] 

“The 100 Greatest Books,” [manuscript] 


Box 5, [M3297] 


“How to Develop Your Executive Ability,” [book manuscript], 1943 

Series 6: Manuscripts, Unpublished 

Box 6, [M3298] 

“The 200 Great Books” 

Box 7, [M3299] 

“The 200 Great Books” (cont’d)

“Little Essays on Big Subjects” 

Box 8, [M3300]

“Little Essays on Big Subjects” (continued) 

Box 9, [M3301] 

“Think Life Through” 

Series 7: Miscellaneous Writings and Notes 

Box 10, [M3302]


Notes concerning teachers and motivation

Notes about Norman Vincent Peale

Writings about various authors

Writings about various topics

Various humanities topics and quotations

Reflections on various quotations 


Box 11, [M3303]


            Oversize box containing “Consumer Market Guide” written by Schneider