Sheldon (Shep) White

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Tue Mar 22 2005 - 16:21:06 PST

Dear Colleagues,

I have been notified of the sad news that Shep White, long time professor of
psychology at Harvard died. He had been ill for some time, but his passing is
a matter of deep sorrow to those who knew him and his work.

Speaking personally, I first knew Shep as a mentor to Barbara Rogoff
and one of the people who put their careers and time on the line to
help the Project Head
Start get off the ground. Later I came to kinow him as a supportive and caring
mentor who was kind enough to write a preface of a book I wrote.

In that book Shep and his colleaguel, Emily Cahan, are credited with tracing the
history of the "second psychology", one that included culture as a fundamental
constituitive of human nature, as a parallel and at-least-equal of the
first psychology of logical positivism. He counted Vygotsky as one of
the icons
of this second psychology.

In their article, Shep and Emily noted that when anyone moved from the
first to the second psychology, they were very likely to be perceived
and treated by their
colleagues as having moved from "basic" to "applied" psychology. Dewey, they
wrote, suffered a similar fate.

In a rare and gleeful irony,. when the prior edition of the Handbook
of Developmental Psychology was being put together, the editors moved
from basic to the applied volume of the Handbook. Shep and I had a great time
celebrating their forsight in pre-visioning our fate. (Ultimately, we were too
preoccupied with other matters to finish the task, which, with, in
great fashion, was completed by Patricia Greenfield and a colleauge).

And in a double helix of ironies, the next arfticle in the handbook, in the
volume on cognitive development (a "basic" approach???) wil be
authored by a member of lchc.

Shep's wife, Barbara, his life's companion and a fine psychologist, is
of course the person who has suffered the greatest loss.


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