Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pre-RAND Writings (1936-1939)


Roberta Wohlstetter

One of several things I plan on doing with this website is to provide the fullest bibliographies of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter’s published — and unpublished — writings, as well as links to, or electronic copies of, what writings I can make available.

A major motivation for this bibliography project is to rectify the following problem: when people recall Albert or Roberta’s writings, they tend only to think of one (or two) of their works — in Albert’s case, “The Delicate Balance of Terror” (1959), an article which I’ve seen people cite far too often without having first carefully read it; and in Roberta’s case, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision (1962), her Bancroft Prize-winning study of why US intelligence analysts and policymakers had been so completely surprised by Imperial Japan’s surprise attack on December 7, 1941.

The respective oeuvres of the Wohlstetters are impressive, but an issue has been that folks haven’t had access even to decent bibliographies of their work. This website hope to change that.

I’m releasing, as a sort of preview of what’s to come, a partial list of works that Roberta Wohlstetter wrote before her time at the RAND Corporation. These works date back to the 1930s, before she had married Albert Wohlstetter, when she went by her maiden name Roberta Mary Morgan, and was a graduate student at Columbia University (from which she earned an M.A. in psychology in 1936) and Radcliffe College (from which she earned an M.A. in English literature in 1937, and was “all but dissertation” [A.B.D.]).

Whether analyzing the behavior of incarcerated women, the anxiety of T. S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock, or Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s reading of Hamlet, Roberta Morgan was very much interested in questions of why and how people make the choices that they make. This interest in decision-making would continue in Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision and other works at RAND.

Roberta Wohlstetter’s Pre-RAND Writings (1936-1939)

  • Roberta Morgan, One Approach to the Problem of Institutional Behavior of Delinquent Women, MA thesis, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, January 1936.
  • Roberta Morgan and Albert Wohlstetter, “Observations on ‘Prufrock’,” Harvard Advocate, Vol. 85, No. 3 (December 1938), pp. 27-40.
  • Roberta Morgan, “The Philosophic Basis of Coleridge’s Hamlet Criticism,” English Literary History, Vol. 6, No. 4 (December 1939), pp. 256-270.
  • Roberta Morgan, “Some Stoic Lines in Hamlet and the Problem of
    Interpretation,” Philological Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 4 (October
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