Skip to main content

Personal papers of John C. Wright

Call Number: PP 482


John C. Wright was appointed Associate Professor of Human Development and Psychology at the University of Kansas in 1968. His research included groundbreaking investigations into the effects of television on children, founding of the Center for Research on the Influences of Television on Children (CRITC) with fellow K.U. professor and wife Aletha Huston. An active political activist during the pivotal 1968 presidential election, these papers include numerous documents regarding Wright's activism and political activities during 1968-1972.


  • Creation: 1968 - 1972


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of John C. Wright

John C. Wright was born July 27, 1933. He earned an A.B. in Social Relations (Magna) from Harvard University in 1954 and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 1960. After holding teaching positions at Stanford, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Wisconsin he was appointed Associate Professor of Human Development and Psychology at the University of Kansas in 1968. Wright also served as a visiting professor at universities in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and London.

Wright was elected to act as a delegate from Minnesota to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, 1968. He knew, met, and corresponded with many well-known political figures of the day and actively pursued an ending to the Vietnam War through peaceful demonstrations. One such demonstration at K.U. was the disruption of an ROTC Chancellor's Review, which ultimately led to a reprimand from the K.U. Senate.

Wright's political affiliations included the American Civil Liberties Union, Lawrence Peace Committee, and Lawrence Committee on Civil Rights. Wright held affiliations with numerous academic organizations, received countless grants for research, and won the accolades of students and colleagues for his dynamic approach to teaching. He was nominated by the senior class at K.U. for the H.O.P.E. Award (Honor for an Outstanding Progressive Educator) nine times and was a finalist in the 1972-1973 school year.

Throughout his career, Wright was actively involved in community development and also participated in Lawrence Community Theatre and Lawrence Civic Choir. Along with his wife and colleague Aletha C. Huston, Wright retired from the University of Kansas in 1996 to seek funding opportunities for their Center for Research on the Influences of Television on Children (CRITC) at the University of Texas-Austin, where Professor Huston still teaches. Their research led to a groundbreaking understanding of the potential for educational TV to have a positive effect on the learning process.

Author and co-author of dozens of articles into understanding adolescent cognitive development, Professor Wright's work has been cited and sourced by many in the psychological field as well as used in high profile and government lawsuits regarding the TV industry. Tragically, John C. Wright was killed in a car crash on July 9, 2001 while vacationing at his summer home in Minnesota. Just before his death he had expanded his research of technology's influence on children to include computer programs and the internet.


.75 Linear Feet (2 document cases + 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 482

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Aletha C. Huston.

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the John C. Wright Collection
Personal papers of John C. Wright
Finding aid prepared by pb 2009. Finding aid encoded by pb, 2009. Finding aid revised by mwh, 2019.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of John C. Wright, University Archives, PP 482, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States