The History of The Personality Profile

Angela Chen at Lapham’s Quarterly:

The two women who inflicted the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator on the world were less concerned with fighting evil than with optimizing daily life, according to Emre. There is Katharine, the Briggs in the equation. Unlike the men who worked in academic laboratories on both coasts, Katharine worked in “a cosmic laboratory of baby training”: her own home. She took meticulous notes on the training of her only child, Isabel (later the Myers of the MBTI), a girl who would read Pilgrim’s Progress by five despite rarely attending school. When one neighbor criticized her methods, Katharine, who wrote about child-rearing for magazines, included the neighbor’s daughter Mary in an article called “Ordinary Theodore and Stupid Mary.”

Isabel eventually left for Swarthmore to study political science, and Katharine fell into a deep depression. It was then that she came across Jung’s Psychological Types, and she would develop a lifelong obsession with the Swiss analyst, writing to and about him.

more here.