Reflections on Mary McCaulley - Myers-Briggs Pioneer and
co-founder of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT)
"Our beloved Mary McCaulley died on August 26,2003 at the age of 83" read the note from Betsy Styron, current President of the Center for Applications of Psychological Type.
Mary was cofounder of CAPT - with Isabel Myers - and was CAPTs first President. She also was instrumental in building professional and academic credibility for Myers' instrument - the MBTI®. The beginning of this historic relationship between the two women is chronicled in CAPTs website, www.capt.org "In 1968, Mary McCaulley, a psychologist then on the faculty of the University of Florida Department of Clinical Psychology, discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument in the Buros Mental Measurements Yearbook. She became fascinated with the Indicator and Jung's concepts of type and began testing it with her students and clients. . .The collaborative relationship between Mary McCaulley and Isabel Myers continued to grow over the next five years. It was during this time that they created the first computer scoring program for the MBTI® instrument, conducted research studies of more than 3000 students, and developed the first training programs for professionals, teaching them how to use the Indicator."
I first met Mary in 1989 or 90 at a Columbus, Ohio annual conference of the Great Lakes Region of the Association for Psychological Type. I was a relative "newbie" to the MBTI and the Association who was lucky enough to draw a luncheon seat across from Mary. Her sparkly eyes and warm demeanor invited immediate light conversation. As we were talking my eyes searched her name tag - as names go right in one ear and exit the other unless I can reinforce it with "seeing" the name in print. Shortly after that I was taken up short by the realization that I was "chatting with" a living legacy to the MBTI. Recovering I continued our conversation as if she was another conference participant and Mary continued likewise being quite friendly and conversational but never revealing any hint of her august status. [Over the intervening years I've had the pleasure of more conversations with Mary as well as listening to her talk about type and type development. It was as it always was - being with a pleasant person who loved to talk with people . . . about her favorite subject.]
My recollection is that Mary attended every subsequent Great Lakes Conference. She was like my boyhood hero, Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs showing up at Wrigley Field - always smiling, clearly happy to be where he was and reliably uttering his famous line "Lets play two today." Mary always seemed energized by being there - at a Great Lakes or International Conference - and naturally served to energize others in the process of her participation. Sometimes she was prevailed upon to treat us to her wisdom on type and at other times she was an active conference participant who willing entered into dialogue. Even in matters involving some controversy, she maintained her gentle, courteous instructive manner that reflects the best of an INFP type. And sometimes she just sat quitely and listened intently. Seeing her regularly among people and being with her in more private situations, I can't imagine a more perfect model for the archetype of the INFP Crusader role (see S. Myers for a capsule description of this role).
My sense is she was not a person who sought the limelight, yet because of her contributions the light came to her. Rather than duck out of the way, she rose to the occasion because she knew it presented her an opportunity to champion what - since 1968 - had become her life's passion.
Mary not only taught Type and applications, she walked the talk.
Millions of people have had their lives enriched because of the path Mary took in 1968 and her steadfast championing and spreading the word of Type ever since. A gracious lady, who gave tirelessly.
Thanks Mary for shedding some of your light in this direction. I can see a little clearer because of it. I know you're in good hands now.
Here's a fascinating interview Peter Geyer conducted with Mary in 1996. It offers an insightful glimpse into Mary's background, a vital phase of the development of the MBTI, and Isabel Myers. (caution to dial-up users: this pdf file will take a little while to download)
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