Harriet Barber – Psychologist

HHarriet is the second child of Fred Vernon Barber. My grandfather, Chauncey, Claude, is her older brother and close sibling since they are a year apart in age. Both Harriet and my grandma, Leoria, are born in 1903.

At the Helen Street school in 1912, she along with her brother C. Claude, and Leoria Wilbur, all make the honor roll. This confirms Grandma and Grandpa knew each other in grade school and lived in the same area. They are an unlikely couple, the daughter of one of the most outstanding professional citizens and the son of the shoe factory mechanic.

Harriet attends the Thomas Jefferson school, which appears to be a middle school, passes her Regents exams, and attains honors in her subjects. In May of 1916, she visits Mrs. L. E. Fredenburg, Binghamton, with her Aunt Flora. Flora is Fred Vernon’s sister, and sometimes confused with a “Florence”. The article notes her as being “Mrs. Fred Ireland of Cortland”.  Baby Frances Barber arrives later in the year making the sisters 13 years apart in age.
1921 high school pic central
Harriet Barber

The Binghamton Central High School yearbook of 1921 describes Our graduating senior as “so short and sweet and dignified”.  That is the Aunt Harriet I remember.

Harriet loves to go to school,
And so when autumn rolls around,
Teaching is a district school
Is where she says she may be found.

For the next two years, Harriet indeed teaches, first in Sanford about 30 miles from home, and then in Kirkwood just 10 miles away. Following two years in the field, she is off to Ohio Wesleyan University to major in Psychology. February 1926, student  Harriet presents results from Comparative Psychology studies along with two other female classmates to the Psychology Club. For a few years, she continues living at the family home on 23 Division Street in Binghamton. The question I have is whether she taught or had a student job as a psychologist at the Binghamton State Hospital during college because in the 1930 census Harriet appears on the list in Northville, Wayne, Michigan. She is the psychologist at the Wayne County Traning School. This must have been challenging for a young small woman in a school for “feeble minded” boys, but perhaps she had some previous experience.


In 1933 or 34 Harriet marries Glenn F Raper, 16 years her senior, a divorced or widowed man. I believe he divorced from Louella Moore whom he married in 1910. The new Raper couple resides at 301 San Bernardino Ave in Pomona, California with their son, William. Interesting note: their voter registration shows he is a Democrat and she a Republican.

By 1937 they have moved to 676 E Kingsley Ave Pomona, California. Harriet is the Supervisor of the Public Schools and Glenn appears unemployed. Of interest again, in his World War I draft card, Glenn lists himself as a teacher with no job. However, he claims exemption because he has dependents, which other than his teacher wife,  are a mystery. Both Glenn and Harriet have advanced degrees. She is a psychologist at the Fred C Nelles School for Boys in Whittier, now considered a haunted property. Glenn, who graduated from USC, attended Northwestern, and worked as a principal, drives a truck for the Pacific Colony, Spadra.

In 1942 and Harriet is a widow at 39 when Glenn dies unexpectedly of a heart attack.

Grandaddy Barber and Gramma Dickie CROP
Fred Vernon “Grand Daddy” Barber and Grandma Dickie

Our family sees Harriet infrequently during my childhood. One time is her father’s funeral held at the Boulevard Methodist Church for which she returns in 1963. We probably did not attend as young children, however, saw her during her time on the east coast. How odd that her father was a patient at the Binghamton State Hospital at the time of his death, an institution she knows well.

In 1965, Harriet teaches at the Paso Robles School for Boys. Her home is 245 Olive in Paso Robles, a career she continues for awhile.

Both Harriet and her son pass away in 1984.

I studied Educational Psychology, ending with a degree in Counseling, and my niece is in a masters program for School Counseling. It started with the daughter of a mechanic who braved the male dominated field and continued a career past retirement age.

Well done, Aunt Harriet!