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Norman C. Meier Papers

Identifier: RG99.0163

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Scope and Contents

This collection is comprised of correspondence, publications, lectures, articles about and examples of artist's work, a scrapbook of family related material, hand-drawn diagrams, and visual material in the form of photographs, slides, and fragile glass plate negatives.

Subject files are arranged alphabetically in boxes 1 through 9, and include papers, lectures, clippings, and other materials. These folders are listed as provided by Dr. Meier.

The bulk of this collection relates to the nearly forty-year career of Norman C. Meier with the University of Iowa Department of Psychology, where he developed tests to measure artistic aptitude, and a device to measure audience response.

Meier's University of Iowa Ph.D. dissertation, "The Use of Aesthetic Judgment in the Measurement of Art Talent," was written in 1926, during a time of development of other aptitude testing at the University of Iowa. The Iowa Testing Programs: the first fifty years, by Julia J. Peterson, describes the birth of a testing program within the University of Iowa College of Education in 1928. A related testing program that developed from the Iowa Testing Programs is the widely used American College Testing Program (ACT).

The "Meier Art Tests: I. Art Judgment " (1940) and "Meier Art Tests: II. Aestheitic Perception" (1963) and associated manuals and scoring sheets are located in Box 14a.


  • Creation: 1906-1964


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Norman Charles Meier was born February 22, 1893 in Carrollton, Missouri. He graduated from Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1914. Meier worked as an apprentice draftsman in Pittsburgh in 1906, advanced to draftsman by 1914, and worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in that capacity in 1917. He served during World War I at American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) headquarters in Chaumont, France. He returned from service to work as a draftsman for a Chicago company, while also attending classes until 1921.

Meier earned his Ph.B. and M.A. at the University of Chicago in 1921 and 1922. He took his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1926. Dr. Meier joined the University of Iowa Department of Psychology in 1922 as an assistant. He was promoted to instructor, then associate, became assistant professor in 1927, then associate professor, and was made full professor in 1954. He retired in 1964.

Meier is well known for the tests he designed for assessing artistic aptitude. These were devised, in part, through his study of 100 artists from eight countries. His areas of research were psychology of art, and social and political behavior. Meier's research in the latter field resulted in methods of measuring audience response to theatre and broadcast programs. He also studied mob behavior and crowd control. Courses he taught included Social Psychology, Psychology of International Relations, Psychology of Social Control, Public Opinion and Propaganda, and Psychology of Propaganda. George Gallup was a student of Dr. Meier, who later developed a successful public polling organization. During the 1950s, Meier lectured in Canada, England, France, and Belgium, as well as many U.S. cities. Under a Fulbright grant, Meier was a consultant at the University of Paris from 1956 to 1957, during the establishment of the Laboratory of Esthetics at the Sorbonne. His work was widely published.

Meier married Clea Mae Grimes, and they had two sons, Mark F. in 1925, and George Edwin in 1930. Norman C. Meier died November 2, 1967.


12.00 Linear Feet


Professor of psychology, University of Iowa, from 1923 until 1964. Designed tests to measure artistic aptitude, and audience response. Correspondence, photographs, lectures.

Physical Access Requirements

The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, usecoll Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials

Method of Acquisition

These materials were transferred to the University Archives from the Department of Psychology. Collection processed by Earl M. Rogers. Guide created and posted to the Internet by Denise Anderson, May 2007.

Related Materials

Photographs, Norman Meier conducting tests, in oversize drawer B7

Folder, "Meier, Norman C.," in Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Department of Psychology Records (RG06.0030.001)

Gallup Organization Papers (MsC 0811)

Edward Charles Mabie Papers (RG99.0188)

Denise Anderson, May 2007
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242