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Oscar J. Kaplan Collection, 1941-1992 | Special Collections & University Archives

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Collection Overview

Title: Oscar J. Kaplan Collection, 1941-1992Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Kaplan, Oscar J.

Extent: 4.67 Linear Feet

Subjects: Aging, Gerontology, Kaplan, Oscar J.--Archives, Older people--Medical care, San Diego State University--Faculty--Biography--Sources, Social surveys--California--San Diego County

Forms of Material: Personal Papers

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Oscar Kaplan Collection documents Kaplan's career as a pollster, psychologist, gerontologist, and member of SDSU's faculty. Also included is Kaplan's work with various organizations including the Gerontological Society, American Society of Aging, the American Psychological Association, and SDSU's Center for Survey Research. Documentation of Kaplan's works as a pollster includes health surveys about tuberculosis and venereal diseases, health education research surveys, student health surveys and prescription drug surveys. Highlights include correspondence for the radio series Your Life After Forty, the White House Conference on Aging, studies and statistics about tuberculosis, evaluations of polling information, and health education research.  The collection dates from 1941-1996, with the majority of the materials dating from the late 1940s to the early 1960's. It consists of articles, correspondence, surveys, survey data, research reports, statistics, newsletters, Psychology Department bulletins, minutes, memos, and syllabi and other course files.

Biographical Note

Born in 1915, Oscar Kaplan was known as "the father of geriatric psychology." Growing up in Los Angeles, he received his bachelor's degree in psychology from UCLA and went on to get his master's degree in the same field, from the same institution. In 1940, he got his PhD in psychology from the University of California Berkeley.

Kaplan started his career as a major figure in the study of public polling. While working for the San Diego Union Tribune, he and his wife, Rose, developed various polls pertaining to life in San Diego. These topics included political, social and economic surveys. His focus, however, was centered on mental and physical health issues.

In 1946, Kaplan became the first professor in San Diego State College's (SDSC) psychology department to have a PhD. His interest in mass psychology lead him to develop courses related to public opinion measurement. In 1948, he founded the SDSC Center for Survey Research, remaining as director until shortly before his death. While at SDSC, he created several public heath surveys, asking students about their knowledge of dietary information, mental and sexual heath, X-rays, pregnancy, and prescription drug usage.

Kaplan authored Mental Disorders in Late Life, the first book about geriatric psychology. In 1946, the Surgeon General appointed him as a special consultant in gerontology to the U.S. Public Health Service. In 1949, Kaplan developed a radio program geared toward elderly listeners. Titled Your Life After Forty, the program gave advice about mental and physical hygiene for senior citizens. This program included polls about X-rays and venereal diseases, new topics unrecognized by the elderly community.

Kaplan's exposure to the public caught the attention of the Truman administration. He urged the President to develop the White House Conference on Aging, finally holding the conference in 1950. That same year, he became an appointed member of the Gerontological Society, an organization devoted to the promotion of scientific study on aging.

In 1955, Kaplan founded what is now known as The American Society of Aging. Five years later, he became the founding editor of The Gerontologist, a professional journal in the field.

The political climate in the 1960's inspired Kaplan to develop polls about the country's opinion on political issues. These included public opinions about Vietnam, civic affairs, public health surveys, and social security. In 1967, Kaplan organized a survey asking his psychology students about the educational system in California. The subjects were questioned about the value they saw in a college education, teacher compensation, and student rights.

In 1969, Kaplan received several grants from the U.S. Public Health Service. With the adequate funding, he was further able to develop public polls about health and social issues. That same year, Kaplan created a student opinions survey, asking SDSC students about American political and economic systems. Some questions inquired about the ethical implications of capitalism, and how students felt about political processes in the United States.

Kaplan continued polling throughout the 1970's, developing several surveys about media issues. In 1974, Kaplan taught an upper division class in public opinion measurement at San Diego State University (Psych-Journalism 122). The class focused on the methods by which polling information is obtained, and how it is presented in the media (especially on television).

In the latter part of his career, Kaplan was recognized for several outstanding achievements. In 1976, Kaplan was given the annual award by the Western Gerontological Society. In 1982, he was nominated for the Alumni faculty award at San Diego State University, receiving a grant for his achievements. The following year, Kaplan was nominated to be an outstanding professor in the Cal State University System.

Though Kaplan retired from SDSU in 1983, he continued polling well into the 1980's. He was the first pollster to inquire about President Reagan's popularity in the decade, and further developed polls about political affairs.

After a struggle with cancer, Oscar Kaplan passed away on December 19th, 1994.

Subject/Index Terms

Kaplan, Oscar J.--Archives
Older people--Medical care
San Diego State University--Faculty--Biography--Sources
Social surveys--California--San Diego County

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Oscar J. Kaplan Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4 - Ovrsz],

Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Health Sample Surveys, 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Health Survey #1 - Questionnaire forms, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Health Survey #1 - Results, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Questions for Health Survey #2, 1948 - 50Add to your cart.
Folder 5: San Diego City Health Survey, 1949 - 51Add to your cart.
Folder 6: San Diego State College Health Survey (Kellogg Study), 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Evaluation of San Diego's Health, ca. 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Health Systems Agency Survey, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Payroll on Health Survey, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Health Statistics, 1948 - 49Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Health Study - Regular Physical Examinations, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Physical Exam Week Campaign Materials, 1950Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Regular Physical Exam Week, 1949 - 50Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Periodic Exam Education, 1949 - 50Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Imperial Valley Pap Smear Survey, January 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Papanicolaou Smear Survey, San Diego County, 1961, 1962, 1966Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Voluntary Organizations, 1951Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Voluntary Health Study, 1951 - 52Add to your cart.
Folder 19: "Attitudes Toward Voluntary Health Organizations," by Oscar Kaplan, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 20: "Public Opinion of San Diego Residents Regarding Health & Welfare Organizations," by Herbert Fredman, August 1951Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Community Welfare Council, 1951, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Red Cross Survey, 1951 - 52Add to your cart.
Folder 23: County Medical Society, 1948 - 50Add to your cart.
Folder 24: San Diego County Drug Survey Results, 1985Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Birth & Death Rates in Community Areas in San Diego in 1st Quarter, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Deaths & Death Rates for 64 Selected Causes, 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Classifications of Physicians & Surgeons by Community Area, ca. 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Parent Discussion Group Survey, 1954Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Family Service Association, 1949Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Civilian Defense, 1951 - 52Add to your cart.
Folder 31: San Diego Civic Problems Survey #1, 1951Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Follow-Up: San Diego Civic Problems #1, 1951 - 52Add to your cart.
Folder 33: San Diego Civic Affairs Survey #3, 1951 - 52Add to your cart.
Folder 34: San Diego Civic Affairs Survey #5, November 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Civic Affairs Survey #10, 1964 - 65Add to your cart.
Folder 36: San Diego Civic Affairs Survey, 1959, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 37: San Diego Civic Problems Survey, November - December 1957Add to your cart.
Folder 38: San Diego Civic Problems Surveys, November 1957Add to your cart.
Folder 39: A Survey of Citizen Attitudes in San Diego, ca. 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 40: County Attitude Survey, July 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 41: Balboa Park Parking Study, February 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 42: San Diego Higher Education Survey, June 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 43: Public Opinion on Vietnam War, 1965 - 66Add to your cart.
Folder 44: Intergroup Relations in San Diego: a report to the City Council & the Board of Education of the City of San Diego, 1946Add to your cart.
Folder 45: San Diego County Real Estate Investment Groups, by Hippaka, W.H., and Kaplan, O.J., 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 46: "San Ysidro Economic Potential", December 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 47: "Public Opinion & Fluoridation," by Oscar J. Kaplan, ca. 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 48: Save Your Water Project, ca. 1952Add to your cart.
Folder 49: Chula Vista Shopping Center Surveys, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 50: Coronado Shopping & Civic Affairs Survey, January 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 51: Senior Opinion Survey, Spring 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 52: Restaurant Surveys, January 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 53: Belmont Park Survey, May 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 54: Highway Safety Survey, ca. 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 55: San Diego Political Opinions - correspondence, 1963Add to your cart.
Folder 56: Campus Studies Institute, SDSC - Student Opinion Survey, 1969Add to your cart.
Folder 57: San Diego's Population Statistics, 1920 - 50Add to your cart.
Folder 58: San Diego Transportation Survey, December 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 59: Community Crime Survey, May 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 60: Metropolitan San Diego Housing Report, 1952 - 53, 1957Add to your cart.

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[Box 2],
[Box 3],
[Box 4 - Ovrsz],

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