Rue L. Cromwell grew up among the hills shoved up by glaciers during the last ice age. From small-town Linton, he entered nearby Indiana University at a thriving time. The list of people that influenced Rue's path reads like a Who's Who. W. N. Kellogg, the researcher of ape-and-child development, taught Rue's first psychology course; shortly thereafter he hired Rue as an assistant surgeon and caretaker of dogs in his learning and conditioning laboratory. W. K. Estes was Rue's first lab instructor in research methodology. B. F. Skinner performed the rituals to induct Rue's cohort into Psi Chi, the honorary for psychology. Then, in Rue's senior year J. R. Kantor confronted the students with dualism, reductionism, and other notions that have mired and corrupted contemporary psychology. The knowledge base that Rue and his classmates had assembled seemed blown asunder.
Next door Alfred Kinsey was finishing SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE HUMAN MALE. He was unaware of the acclaim and attack to come. Next door the other way Herman Müller was claiming the Nobel Prize for identifying genetic mutations from irradiating fruit flies. Across campus Ross Lockridge Jr. had finished the novel RAINTREE COUNTY. In it a returning Civil War soldier has a distant view of a girl with a mole on her breast, swimming in the nude. Like the clamor over Kinsey, the flap over this novel foreshadowed the sexual revolution.
The university president Herman B Wells, busy quelling these fires in defense of academic freedom, took time to build a music department (now considered the nation's leader) mainly from retired Metropolitan Opera performers. He organized the first-ever collaboration between a university and industry in a double blind study: the stannous fluoride effect upon tooth decay. It resulted in Crest toothpaste. Wells accepted Truman's appointment to design the postwar higher education program in Germany. With it he founded the Free University of Berlin. He delighted the Bloomington students by getting lost and arrested in the Russian sector after festive dining.
In the summer of 1950 Rue left this Hoosier kaleidoscope for an Air Force that was switching from khaki to blue uniforms. Within days the onset of the Korean War froze discharges. Meanwhile, VA neuropsychiatric hospitals were being flooded with World War II veterans, and a call was issued for candidates to enter training in clinical psychology. Rue's orders directed him away from a military career into The Ohio State University. Rue's master's thesis was with George A. Kelly, who was developing personal construct theory. His Ph.D. was with Julian B. Rotter, who was creating social learning theory.
After his doctorate Rue joined Nicholas Hobbs at George Peabody College to supervise doctoral fellows in mental retardation research. Since no senior person with clinical research skills was available, Rue's early doctoral students were of his age or older.
A sabbatical leave at the National Institute of Mental Health with David Shakow involved schizophrenia research. This period greatly molded Rue's future. He became Director of Research in Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University. He participated in the Nashville civil rights movement and had a private practice in psychotherapy. Research included stress, nursing factors, and recovery from acute myocardial infarction; data-based diagnosis in emotionally disturbed children; and information processes in schizophrenia.
At Lafayette Clinic, Detroit, his schizophrenia research took on an interdisciplinary perspective. Also, a shift in focus took place from the long-treated patient to normal untreated offspring and other relatives who were genetically at risk for schizophrenia. "Town work" continued on racial justice in Detroit.
The high-risk research yielded a professorship in psychiatry at the University of Rochester (NY). Here Rue's research centered upon markers, i.e., the subtle signals among both relatives and patients before the eventual madness of the schizophrenic disorder. Finally, accepting the M. Erik Wright Distinguished Professorship at the University of Kansas, Rue and his students (Rue's Crew) diversified to study depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and the effects of early abuse.
This book addresses the theoretical structure of human functioning. Most authors of this topic have had careers following the philosophy and history of science. A pervasive question is whether a person with a lifetime career of laboratory investigation can contribute something different or beyond that of the traditional background. This book intends to be the answer to that question.
Rue continues to live in Lawrence as a spouse, parent, grandparent, and, many times, a mentor. His house faces the Kansas sunsets.