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February 5, 1896

Lecturing on “Psychology and Relaxation,” Harvard psychologist and philosopher William James said Americans were too excitable, a “characteristic,” reported The Vassar Miscellany, “which is not a sign of great strength.” “Professor James,” the journal added, “is a speaker to whom one can listen without any of the nervous tension which he regards as a great defect in the American character.”

“He said that College girls wore themselves out by trying to wear ‘a bright and interested expression’ all the time, and should cultivate more than they do, ‘the stolid expression and codfish eye’ of their European sisters.”

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