Inferiority complex

The March 15 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured this ad for a free book:


Eradicate negative impulses forever!

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about the British Institute of Practical Psychology. A Google search yielded this page, which discussed the history of “practical psychology” in Britain. This page describes a series of handbooks written in the 1930s and 1940s on various topics, including the inferiority complex; this book might have been one of them.

Next up, I searched the Toronto city directories. I’ve mentioned them before, but they’re wonderful – they are organized both by street and by name. The name section lists people’s names, addresses, and occupations. It’s perfect for random snooping!

When I looked up “British Institute of Practical Psychology” in the city directories, I discovered that they set up shop at their Sherbourne Street location in 1951, with E. Jay Johnson in charge. Looking up 442 Sherbourne Street and E. Jay Johnson revealed that Mr. Johnson also was in charge of two other firms at the same address, both of which were correspondence schools: the Lincoln Institute, and the National Institute of Professional Salesmanship.

Business must not have been good, because by 1955, the National Institute of Professional Salesmanship and the Lincoln Institute were no longer in existence, and E. Jay Johnson was no longer listed in the city directory. (Either that, or Mr. Johnson was no longer in existence.) The British Institute of Practical Psychology was still around, though: T. E. Boyle, who had been secretary-treasurer of the Lincoln Institute, now ran it, and it was located at 2930 Bloor Street West in Etobicoke (later listed as 2932). By 1960, though, the institute was no more.

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