March 7, 1897-November 26, 1987
BY ANDREW L. COMREY
J.P. GUILFORD died at the age of ninety in Los Angeles on November 26, 1987, after a long series of debilitating illnesses. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his daughter, Joan S. McGuire; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was born on a farm near Marquette, Nebraska, on March 7, 1897, the son of Edwin and Arvilla Monroe Guilford. In 1914 he was graduated from Aurora High School as valedictorian of his class. After teaching elementary school for two years, he attended the University of Nebraska for a year, entered the Army as a private, and after being discharged returned to complete his B.A. and M.A. at Nebraska. During this period he served as interim director of the Psychology Clinic, where he administered intelligence tests to children. He was impressed with the unevenness of children's abilities in different areas, something he had already noticed while comparing his own and his brother's aptitudes. He became convinced that intelligence was not one monolithic, global attribute but a composite of different abilities. At this point in his training, therefore, he was already showing a strong interest in what was to be the dominant focus of his professional career—individual differences.
In 1924 Guilford entered the psychology Ph.D. program