Skip to Search

A Guide to the Isabel Briggs Myers Papers

Finding aid created by Dept. Staff

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
September 2011

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Myers, Isabel Briggs
Creator: Briggs, Katharine Cook
Title: Isabel Briggs Myers Papers
Dates: 1885-1992
Bulk dates: 1940-1980
Abstract: Correspondence, research materials, notebooks, project data, diaries, publications and other papers pertaining primarily to the Briggs Myers Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychological testing instrument created by Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Cook Briggs.
Extent: 79.5 Linear feet. 123 boxes.
Identification: MS Group 64
Language(s): English
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.

Biographical/Historical Note

Developer of psychological testing method, author, researcher. Isabel Briggs Myers was born October 18, 1897 to Lyman J. Briggs and Katharine Cook Briggs. She began developing a type indicator during World War II with her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs. Over the next 40 years, she developed and conducted research using the Briggs Myers Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychological testing instrument. She produced several articles and publications as a result of these research projects.

The original concept for the Type Indicator evolved from Katharine Cook Briggs's extensive studies of contemporary children's educational and social developmental theories. She combined these with the theories of the prominent psychologist Carl Jung to develop a testing method to help determine the best vocation for a child, what she saw as a key to their future happiness and well being. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI] began life as the Briggs-Myers Type Indicator Test, which Katharine and Isabel constantly worked on further refining with the assistance of Edward Laney (a manager at The Pennsylvania Company who was the first to utilize and apply the MBTI concept to personnel management) under the auspices of Briggs-Myers Type Research, Inc. The name changed was to 'Myers-Briggs Type Indicator' in the late 1940s when Isabel took over the majority of the work, Katharine semi-retiring along with her husband. From there it grew in association with Educational Testing Service during the late 1950's and into the early 1960's, and later publication through the Consulting Psychologist Press.

In 1970, along with Dr. Mary H. McCaulley, she established the Typology Laboratory at the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 1975, the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) was formed at the University of Florida as a field office of the American Medical Students Association. Isabel Briggs Myers died in 1980.

1897 Born October 18 to Lyman J. Briggs and Katharine Cook Briggs and spent her childhood and was home-schooled by her mother in Washington, D.C., where Lyman Briggs worked as a physicist.
1918 Married Clarence "Chief" Myers and settled in Swarthmore, a suburb of Philadelphia.
1919 Graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. degree in political science.
1926 Birth of son, Peter Briggs Myers.
1927 Birth of daughter, Ann Myers.
Circa 1939 Began developing a type indicator during World War II with her mother, Katherine Cook Briggs.
1943 Publication of Test Form A and Form B.
1944 Publication of Briggs Myers Type Indicator Handbook.
Conducted study project at Radio Corp. of America.
Publication of Test Form C.
1947 George Washington Medical School project. Publication of Test Form C3.
1948 Occupational groups in corporations project commences.
1953 Report: "Assessment of Medical Students as to Judgment and Perception by the BMTI".
1955 Medical Schools testing project
Report: "Effect of Type in Medical Schools and Proposed Use of BMTI for Admissions".
1956 Pennsylvania High Schools project commences
Publication of Test Form D.
1957 High Schools project using Test Form D
Publication of Test Forms D1, D2, D(EEx3).
1958 Publication of Some Findings with Regard to Type
Rhodes Scholar project commences.
College Student project commences
1962 Publication of Manual for the Myers Briggs Type Indicator
Publication of Test Form F by the Educational Testing Service.
1963 Report: "Relation of the Jungian Types to Higher Education: A Six-year Follow-up of a High School Population."
1964 Nursing project commences.
1968 Nippon Recruit Center project.
Death of Katherine Cook Briggs
1970 IBM and Dr. Mary H. McCaulley establish the Typology Laboratory at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
Publication of Introduction to Type.
1974 Ann Myers Hughes dies unexpectedly after minor surgery.
1974 UF Freshman project.
1975 First national conference series on the MBTI held at UF.
Consulting Psychologists Press assumes publication of the MBTI.
Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT) established as a field office of the American Medical Students Association.
Publication of Test Forms G, GJ.
1976 Publication of Test Form GK.
1977 Publication of Test Form H.
1979 Association of Psychological Type established.
1980 Publication of Gifts Differing.
Death of Isabel Briggs Myers.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, research materials, notebooks, project data, memorabilia, diaries, publications. The collection is very extensive, with materials ranging from letters and correspondence by both women concerning the Type Indicator and its development, note books and data from projects (nursing schools, military personnel, high school and college students, stress and personality type, etc.), correspondence with a wide range of their professional associates (including several from Dr. Jung), and materials from the Type Indicator itself (answer sheets, type cards, test forms, etc.). Additionally, the collection contains a wide range of materials from their personal lives: family letters, memorabilia, diaries, and the early writing of both women (both professional and fictional works).

Access or Use Restrictions


Due to the private nature of the materials, access to the Isabel Briggs Myers Papers is restricted. The collection is restricted because a majority of the files contain private information about test participants: answer sheets, breakdown cards, psychological profiles, and biographical data. This restriction of access is indicated at the beginning of each series description in the guide to the collection. Access to restricted collections requires permission from archivists in Special Collections, and will be determined on a case by case basis.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Isabel Briggs Myers Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection is a gift of Isabel Briggs Myers's granddaughter Katharine Hughes and the Myers family.

Contents List

Series 1: Publications

Manuscript and published materials by IBM and others, including "Introduction to Type," journal articles, book chapters, Gifts Differing, and Scattered Seeds.

Series 2: Projects

Notes, correspondence, answer sheets, scoring keys, test scores, data analyses, rosters, type tables, etc.

Series 3: Audio Recordings

Interviews pertaining to IBM and the MBTI, miscellaneous recordings of IBM.

Series 4: Typology Laboratory

Dr. Mary H. McCaulley and the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), correspondence, data analysis, miscellaneous/notes, projects, publications, scoring, data reports, etc.

Series 5: Correspondence, Professional Papers and Legal Documents

Related to the MBTI and Briggs-Myers Research, Inc., including contracts, the Educational Testing Service, publishers, etc.

Series 6: Educational Testing Service (ETS) Archive Materials

Research notes, annual reports, and materials from the archives of ETS.

Series 7: Manuals

Handbooks, pamphlets, booklets, technical manuals, "Manual for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator", The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, etc.

Series 8: Test Forms

Versions of test forms, scoring keys, unidentified forms, and superseded test forms.

Series 9: Notebooks

Various projects, data analyses, scoring, publications, high school ledgers, medical/nursing students, the Typology Lab, etc.

Series 10: Miscellaneous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Materials

Development of the Type Indicator, type descriptions, typescripts, newsletters, conference materials, and writings on the Type Indicator.

Series 11: Biographical Material

Isabel Briggs Myers and members of her family, including Lyman Briggs and Clarence Gates Myers, as well as research conducted by Frances W. Saunders.

Series 12: Diaries, Notebooks and Miscellaneous Writings by Isabel Briggs Myers

Diaries, school notebooks, compositions, poems, fiction, senior thesis, and other writings by IBM as a child and young woman.

Series 13: Katherine Cook Briggs Papers

Articles, notebooks, correspondence, manuscripts, diaries, fiction, pamphlets, household budgets, notes, research material, religious writings, etc., by KCB.

Series 14: Family Correspondence

By and between members of the Briggs and Myers families: IBM, KCB, Clarence G. Myers, Lyman J. Briggs, John Gates, Ella G. Myers, and Albert J. Mary Baldwin Cook, etc.

Series 15: Family Memorabilia, Photos, Records, and Legal Material

Created or collected by the Briggs and Myers families including postcards, speeches, various writings, diaries, clippings, publications, birth records, marriage licenses, wills, school transcripts, family records, etc.

Series 16: Answer Sheets

Divinity and seminary schools, higher education, high schools, married couples, miscellaneous projects, and nursing.

Series 17: Breakdown Cards

Used to interpret the test results and assign types to participants from various projects: Bell Telephone, Grade Schools, High Schools, Higher Education, Medical Students, Pennsylvania Company, Washington Gas Light Company, Corporate/Business, etc.

Series 18: Printing Masters, Type Plates, Glass Slides

Negative/positive printing masters, type plates, glass slides corresponding to versions of test forms, scoring cards, answer sheets, and breakdown cards.

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

American Medical Student Association -- Center for Applications of Psychological Type
Briggs, Katherine Cook -- Correspondence
McCaulley, Mary H. -- Correspondence
Myers Briggs Type Indicator
Myers, Isabel Briggs -- Correspondence
Typology (Psychology)

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

University of Florida Home Page