RG10 Faculty & Staff Papers

Subgroup 12: Selma Sapir papers (1962-1997)

Creator: Sapir, Selma G.
Title: Selma Sapir papers
Call #: RG10 SG12
Dates: 1962  [1972-1985] 1997
Quantity: 18 boxes (11 cubic feet)

Abstract: The Selma Sapir papers were created over the course of Sapir’s career, through the mid to late twentieth century. The materials feature her published works and documentation from Bank Street College’s Learning Lab. Her work was collected in observational notes, audiovisual materials, reports, speeches, correspondence, publications, and several other formats.

Language of Material: English
Location: Bank Street College Archives, New York, NY
Preferred Citation: Selma Sapir papers, Box #, Bank Street College Archives, New York, NY

Biographical Note

Selma Sapir received a B.S. in education from New York University (1935), an M.A. in psychology from Sarah Lawrence College (1956), and a doctorate in applied clinical psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University (1962).  Sapir’s background in psychology and early childhood education facilitated her work with learning disabled children and their families, which led to the founding of the Learning Disability Laboratory, or Learning Lab, at Bank Street College.

The Learning Lab was a “child service demonstration center and interdisciplinary training project” that provided Bank Street College graduate students with hands on, practical experience working with learning disabled children from New York City’s public schools. In addition to graduate students, the center conducted workshops for pediatricians, teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists, disability therapists, and other individuals involved in early childhood development.  Once a week, students from area schools would come to Bank Street for one to two hours for individual attention and education, subsequently both the graduate student and the child were evaluated through workshops and group meetings by watching videotapes of individual sessions.

Dr. Sapir’s achievements include multiple publications and the development of four tests: Sapir Dimension of Learning, Sapir Learning Lab Language Scale, Sapir Self-Concept Scale, and the Sapir Developmental Scale. Sapir worked as a delegate for the International Council of Psychiatrists to the United Nations, prompting her research into the relationship between the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations.

Scope and Content Note

To search and read detailed descriptions of the series and lists of folder titles within each series, click the following link to access the guide for the entire subgroup.

Complete Guide to Subgroup 12 – Selma Sapir papers (pdf)

The subgroup consists of the following series.

SERIES A – Publications

SERIES B – Career

SERIES C – Correspondence

SERIES D – Learning Lab (contains restricted material)

SERIES E – Audiovisual Material


Administrative History

The collection was donated to the Bank Street College Archives by Selma Sapir in 2007. It was processed by Nicole Frisone and Lindsey Wyckoff in 2012. This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.

Controlled Access Headings

  • Corporate Name(s)
    • Bank Street College of Education
    • United Nations
  • Genre(s)
    • Administrative records
    • Audio visual materials
    • Correspondence
    • Instructional and educational works
    • Manuscripts
    • Notes
    • Publications
    • Reports
    • School Records
  • Geographic Name(s)
    • New York (N.Y.)
    • United States
  • Personal Name(s)
    • Sapir, Selma G.
  • Subject(s)
    • Child development — New York (State) — New York
    • Child development — United States — History — 20th century
    • Education — Study and teaching
    • Educators
    • Learning disabilities — Education
    • Research — Study and teaching
    • Teachers colleges — New York (State)
    • Women educators