Arnold Gessel Biography

Arnold Gesell was born in Alma, Wisconsin on June 21, 1880.   His father was a photographer and his mother a teacher.   He was the eldest of five children.   He had two brothers and two sisters.   Arnold Gesell often shared in the responsibility of caring for his four siblings.   These intimate associations apparently influenced his own future due to the panorama of human development that unfolded before him. (National Academy of Sciences [NAS], 1964)   Growing up in the town of Alma, Gesell observed a variety of traumatic experiences; ravaging illnesses, menacing quarantines, continual alcoholism, and accidental drowning, witnessing a mass amount of death at young age (Dalton, 2005, p. 182).   Gesell noted, “These strange and sobering experiences possessed psychological significance, as they cumulatively left a deposit of impressions, which sensitized a background for my clinical studies in later life” (Dalton, 2005, p. 183).
Arnold graduated school in 1896.   During the commencement Gesell demonstrated a flash-bang climax by filling a test tube with hydrogen and igniting it. For the encore he designed a large electromagnet that gently lifted his feet off the stage. (NAS, 1964)   At sixteen, Arnold Gesell was granted the opportunity to attend a teacher’s institute in Alma.   He became familiar with Mr. C. H. Sylvester and developed a strong personal relationship.   Sylvester became Gesell’s mentor while attending Stevens Point high school. (NAS, 1964)   Arnold Gesell graduated from Stevens Point in 1899.   After graduation, Gesell became a teacher in U.S. history, ancient history, German, accounting, and commercial geography at Stevens Point. (NAS, 1964)   Gesell took pleasure in teaching, but his own intellectual ambitions were not being full filled.
Arnold Gesell attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1902.   At the University, Gesell studied under Frederick Jackson Turner.   Turner motivated Gesell to write his senior thesis unrestricted, “A Comparative...