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Elaine Hatfield Collection

Dr. Elaine Hatfield

The Hatfield Collection contains materials related to Elaine Hatfield, a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii. The collection consists of two boxes divided into 4 series: 1) Biographical Materials, 2) Proxmire Materials, 3) Video Materials, and 4) Miscellaneous Material. This first series includes biographical materials relevant to Dr. Elaine Hatfield, including personal correspondence and documents detailing her professional and personal accomplishments.

The video materials include television appearances and home movies on both DVD and VHS. Some of the material is personal (e.g. home movies), but the majority contains television appearances and videotaped interviews from the 1990’s and the early part of the 21 st century. The programmed topics range from love, appearance, and/or sexuality. A small portion of the video material focuses on the work and extra-curricular activities of her husband, Richard L. Rapson.

The Proxmire series include materials relevant to the attack on her work by Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisc.) in 1975. Included is a detailed collection of 165 items including articles, newspaper clippings, correspondence, essays, and court documents detailing the Proxmire attack and subsequent fallout. Hatfield, then working at the University of Wisconsin, had received an $84,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study passionate love. Proxmire felt this was a waste of taxpayer money and launched an aggressive (and successful) campaign to revoke Hatfield’s funding. Hatfield became the first recipient of Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award, an infamous award bestowed upon “the most outrageous examples of federal waste”. Proxmire continued to designate an award winner up to his retirement in 1988.


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