Christina D. Morgan

Christiana Drummond (née Councilman) Morgan was associated with the Harvard Psychological Clinic during the time that the Thematic Apperception Test was being developed. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 6, 1897, and died in Denis Bay, Saint John, Virgin Islands, on March 14, 1967.

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(Guest-authored by Wesley G. Morgan, Ph.D.)

Chris Morgan attended Miss Winsor’s school for girls in Boston from 1908 to 1914 and later a boarding school in Farmington, Massachusetts. In 1918 she received a certificate as a nurse’s aide after completion of a training program at the YWCA in New York City. She later studied art at the Art Students League in New York from 1921 to 1924 where she studied with Frank DuMond, Guy Pène du Bois, and Leo Lentelli (Douglas, 1993).

She was strongly influenced in her professional and personal life by her analysis with Carl G. Jung and her long association with Henry A. Murray. Her relationship with Jung is described in Douglas (1989, 1993) and Murray (1976). Her complex relationship with Murray has been recently examined by Robinson (1992) and Douglas (1993) in their respective biographies of Murray and Morgan.

Morgan’s role in the development of the TAT was described by Murray in an early edition of The TAT Newsletter. There Murray is quoted as stating,

At the beginning [Chris Morgan’s] part was to help in the selection of the pictures (looking through magazines, etc.): to redraw a few of the selected pictures; and to administer the test to half our subjects (or half the test to all our subjects, I don’t remember which). We wrote the article together rather quickly—"in about two weeks, as I remember. (Holt, 1949, p. 492).

An earlier version of Morgan and Murray’s classic paper titled "A Method for the Investigation of Unconscious Phantasies" was submitted to the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis where it was rejected by its editor, Ernest Jones in November 1934 (E. Jones, personal communication to H. A. Murray, November 9, 1934; Harvard University Archives, Henry A. Murray Papers; Robinson, 1992). The paper was revised taking into account some of Jones’s comments, such as his objection to "unconscious phantasies." Its title was slightly changed to "A Method of Investigating Fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test," and it was published the following year in the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry (Morgan & Murray, 1935). Murray (1985) attributed the original suggestion for what became the TAT to a Radcliffe undergraduate, Cecilia Roberts, who had been a student in his abnormal psychology courses in 1929 and 1930–"31.

Early publications continued to recognize Morgan as senior author of the test (Morgan, 1938, Morgan & Murray, 1938). And as late as 1941 the test was known as the "Morgan-Murray Thematic Apperception Test" (White, Sanford, Murray, & Bellak, 1941). However, when the current version of the test was published by the Harvard University Press in 1943, authorship was attributed to "Henry A. Murray, M.D., and the Staff of the Harvard Psychological Clinic." Because Morgan had been senior author of the earlier publications, a question is raised about why her name came to be removed from

the 1943 version. W. Morgan (1995) points out that Chris Morgan’s role in the continued development of the test had become diluted over time. She was also suffering from a long-standing problem with high blood pressure and underwent a radical sympathectomy in an attempt to correct the problem. The surgery occurred around the time the latest version of the TAT was published. In addition, according to Murray (1985), Christiana Morgan asked to have her name removed as senior author of the 1943/1971 TAT because she disliked the obligation of making the academic responses required of a senior author. Such a view seems plausible especially in light of her health problems.


Douglas, C. (1989). Christiana Morgan’s visions reconsidered: A look behind The Visions Seminars. The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal, 8(4), 5–27.

Douglas, C. (1993). Translate this darkness: The life of Christiana Morgan. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Holt, R. R. (Ed.). (1949). The early history of TAT. The TATNewsletter, 3(3), 492. (mimeograph)

Morgan, C. D. (1938). Thematic Apperception Test. In H. A. Murray (Ed.), Explorations in personality: A clinical and experimental study of fifty men of college age (pp. 673–680). New York: Oxford University Press.

Morgan, C. D., & Murray, H. A. (1935). A method of investigating fantasies: The Thematic Apperception Test. Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 34, 289–306.

Morgan, C. D., & Murray, H. A. (1938). Thematic Apperception Test. In H. A. Murray (Ed.), Explorations in personality: A clinical and experimental study of fifty men of college age (pp. 530–545). New York: Oxford University Press.

Morgan, W. G. (1995). Origin and history of the Thematic Apperception Test images. Journal of Personality Assessment, 65, 237–252.

Murray, H. A. (1976). Postscript. Morsels of information regarding the extraordinary woman in whose psyche the foregoing visions were begot (pp. 517–521). In C. G. Jung, The Visions Seminars, Vol. 2. Zurich: Spring Publications.

Murray, H. A. (1985). Dr. Henry A. Murray replies (Letter to the editor). Second Century Radcliffe News, 6(1), 2.

Robinson, F. G. (1992). Love’s story told: A life of Henry A. Murray. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

White, R. W., Sanford, R. N, Murray, H. A., & Bellak, L. (1941, September). Morgan-Murray Thematic Apperception Test: Manual of directions [mimeograph]. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Psychological Clinic. (Harvard University Archives, HUGFP 97.43.2, Box 5 of 7)

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