Dorothea Agnes McCarthy


Dorothea McCarthy was a child developmentalist who was part of the child development movement funded by the Rockefeller Foundation during the first half of the 20th century. Her contribution to childhood language disorders was her research in normal language development. Notable and well known among speech-language pathologists working in the 1960s was her thorough review of the literature on language development in children (McCarthy, 1947).

McCarthy was born Minneapolis Minnesota on March 4 1906. She married professor Robert T. Rock Jr on June 9, 1934 with whom she had a daughter, Catherine. She obtained both her BA (1925) and Ph.D. (1928) at the University of Minnesota in psychology.

As a student she was a Laura Spelman Rockefeller fellow, at the Institute Child Welfare located at the University of Minnesota, 1926-28. Following her graduation McCarthy became a National Research Council Fellow in child development (1928-1929) and a Clinical psychologist with the California Bureau of Juvenile Research, 1929-30. She served as an Associate professor and Director of a Nursery School at the University of Georgia from 1930 to 1932.

From Georgia Dr. McCarthy moved to Fordham Univ and was appointed as an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. There she also served as the Director of Child Guidance Clinic (1942-1947).

She became a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and served that organization as President of Division of Developmental Psychology in 1960-1961.

Writings of Dorthea McCarthy, in chronological order

McCarthy, D. (1929). A comparison of children's language in different situations and its relation to personality traits. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 36, 583-591.

McCarthy, D. (1929). The vocalizations of infants. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 36, 583-591.

McCarthy, D. (1930). The language development of the preschool child ( No. 4). Minneapolis: Institute of Child Welfare, Monograph Series.

McCarthy, D. (1935). A preliminary report on a new articulation test for young children. Psychological Bulletin, 32, 699.

McCarthy, D. (1946). Language development in children. In L. Carmichael (Ed.), Manual of child psychology (pp. 476-581). NY: John Wiley & Sons.

McCarthy, D. (1952). Organismic interpretations of infant vocalization. Child Devopment, 23, 273-280.

McCarthy, D. (1953). Some possible explanations of sex differences in language development and disorders. Journal of Psychology, 35, 155-160.