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Character Research Project records

Identifier: SCA-0396

Content Description

Research files, publications, minutes, and administrative files created as part of the studies on moral education by the Character Research Project founded by Union College psychology professor Ernest M. Ligon.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1985

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions may apply, contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives for details.

Administrative History

The Character Research Project was founded in 1935 by Ernest M. Lignon. The purpose of the project was to "provide the best possible curriculum for helping children and youth grow in Christian character." The second stated aim was to "adapt scientific techniques to search for effective methods for religious and character education." The project was considered a cooperative effort "drawing truth from all fields of knowledge and experience to discover and apply the Will of God."

CRP had ties to Union College until they severed them in the 1985. Lignon believed that the effectiveness of curricula and teaching methods could be determined by rigorous testing into the dimensions of character and personality. The project was largely a pseudo-scientific affair meant to discover ways to teach children and youth to make Christian religion a constructive force in daily life.


153 Cubic Feet

124 Boxes

Language of Materials



Series I, Records. Series II, Publications.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by KAPL, Inc., 1993. A small number of pamphlets donated by Jonathan Lathey (Class of 1966), January 2009.

Statement on Harmful Content

The records of the Character Research Project represent a psuedo-scientific exploration of developing Christian character among youth. Original descriptive language has been retained to promote searchability and discoverability of the collection. The records themselves demonstrate a lack of consideration for the well-being of its subjects, a lack of informed consent, and in general, fuzzy outcomes for the research itself often mired by an overt Christian conservative agenda. Researchers may find the contents of the records disturbing.

Guide to the Character Research Project records
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady NY 12308 United States