The Archives of the History of American Psychology (AHAP) was established in 1965 at The University of Akron to promote research in the history of psychology by collecting, cataloguing, and preserving the historical record of psychology. The central feature of the AHAP is the manuscript collection, which includes the papers of over 740 psychologists. The growth of the repository exceeded projections, both in the rate at which materials were donated and in their diversity. This expansion led in 1976 to the establishment of the Child Development Film Archives, a unit that cares for both research footage and instructional films. This expansion was followed, in 1980, by a decision to supplement the numerous unsolicited gifts of books by devoting space to the published literature dealing with the substantive content of psychology as well as with its history and philosophy. Since its inception the archives has continuously acquired apparatus, equipment, testing materials, and all forms of media.
In the language of the archival world, the Archives of the History of American Psychology is a subject-matter archives (most repositories are based on geographic, military, or political themes). Therefore, the staff is trained in archival methods but also has a comprehensive knowledge of psychology as well as its organizational patterns and educational practices. The director is a psychologist, and a number of members of the board of advisers represent subfields of psychology as well as the academic discipline of history.