Willard F. Day Papers

Identifier: AC 0376
The records, comprising 10.5 cubic feet, primarily contain Day's professional interests and participation in research, teaching, and professional organizations. These include publications and presentations by Day, lecture notes and class tests, professional contracts, research and data, original manuscripts as well as a collection of articles written by others, and records of Day's participation in organizations, including the American Psychological Association. In addition, there are records of his ministry as an Episcopal Church lay leader and programs of musical recitals. The earliest records are personal correspondence between Day and members of his family, 1938-1947. Types of media records include audio cassettes, videocassettes, and photographs.


  • 1938-1989



Collection is open for research. Materials used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of the collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


10.5 Cubic Feet (12 boxes)


This collection documents Willard Day's professional interests and participation in research, teaching, and organizations including the American Psychological Association. This includes Day's presentations, papers and publications, lectures and class notes, research and data, original manuscripts, as well as his collection of publications by others in his field. Also included are records of his ministry, and early personal correspondence between Day and his family.

Biographical Note

Willard F. Day, Jr., (October 24, 1926-1989) received his Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees from the University of Virginia. He did three years postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University, where he used Skinnerian baseline methodology for investigation into psycho-physical responding at threshold. In 1956, he joined the faculty of the Psychology Department at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1972, he founded the interdisciplinary philosophy-psychology journal Behaviorism and was its editor until 1985. His areas of specialization included the radical behaviorist analysis of verbal behavior and the conceptual, philosophical and historical foundations of contemporary behaviorism. His interpretation of Skinner behaviorism led to a particular method on analyzing verbal behavior that is known in scientific circles as the Reno methodology. Day retired from the university in 1987.

Day was also an active lay leader in the Episcopal Church and an accomplished pianist. He studied with Herman Chaloff at the University's Music Department, performed in the Reno community, and served as President of the Reno Community Concert Association Board of Directors.


The materials are arranged into the following series, with sequentially numbered folders for non-media records:

Series 1: Professional correspondence arranged by date and by subject, Folders 1-47

Series 2: Publications and papers, Folders 48-98

Series 3: Teaching: class lectures, notes, tests, and teaching miscellaneous, Folders 99-145

Series 4: Behaviorism, Folders 146-151

Series 5: Publications from professional colleagues, Folders 152-184

Series 6: Symposiums, retreats, and addresses, Folders 185-202

Series 7: Research and data, Folders 203-231

Series 8: Professional affiliations, seminars, and talks, Folders 232-268

Series 9: Ministry, Folders 269-279

Series 10: Professional miscellaneous, Folders 280-286

Series 11: Personal, Folders 287-298

Series 12: Audio cassettes, Original order and folder titles were retained when possible, and a folder inventory is provided

Series 13: Videocassettes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Dr. Day's widow, Phyllis McDill Day, donated the bulk of the collection to University Archives in 1994. Research papers related to the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare grant project were added to the collection in 2003. Twenty-three videocassettes, Grossman Study Group notices, and a eulogy for Dr. Day were donated by a former student of Dr. Day in 2010.
A Guide to the Papers of Willard F. Day, Jr.
Betty Glass
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. University Archives Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno NV 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)