Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

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"Kate Macy Ladd established the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in 1930 to honor the memory of her father. Ladd intended the Foundation to devote itself to the promotion of health and the ministry of healing." [1]


They organized the Macy Conferences.

"It is common to correlate cybernetics' origins with a series of 10 conferences sponsored by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation from 1946 through 1953. This cursory approach overlooks the fact that those conferences might never have occurred had the key participants not met in a small May 1942 meeting where they first exchanged ideas and generated the enthusiasm which would motivate those later conferences. The title of this meeting, set up by Frank Fremont-Smith, was 'Cerebral Inhibition'. Attendance was by invitation only, and the two topics on the agenda were hypnotism and conditioned reflex. Milton Erickson and Howard Liddell were the featured speakers on these topics, respectively. The planned agenda went well, but it turned out to be merely peripheral to the event's most significant outcome.

"The attendees included Lawrence Frank, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, psychiatrist Warren McCulloch, Mexican physiologist Arturo Rosenblueth, and psychiatrist Lawrence Kubie. These 6 people would later become members of the persistent 'core group' for the more famous 'Macy Conferences' (1946 - 1953).

"It was Arturo Rosenblueth's presentation of ideas he'd been developing with Norbert Wiener and Julian Bigelow that drew everyone's attention. " [2]

Related Resources

  • Steven Joshua Heims, Constructing a Social Science for Postwar America: The Cybernetics Group (MIT Press, 1991).
  • Jean-Pierre Dupuy, The Mechanization of the Mind (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Past presidents of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation [3]


Accessed November 2011: [4]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. History, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, accessed November 7, 2011.
  2. American Society for Cybernetics Our History of Cybernetics, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2012.
  3. History, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, accessed November 7, 2011.
  4. Board, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, accessed November 7, 2011.