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Emma McCloy Layman Papers

Identifier: COU:969

Scope and Content

The Emma McCloy Layman Papers are organized in nine folders that reflect her academic career and military service. The bulk of the papers are Dr. Layman’s Naval records, divided into orders, publications, correspondence, and certificates. Also included is a photo of then Lieutenant (JG) Emma Layman. The collection also include papers relating to her time at Iowa Wesleyan College, her CV, and correspondence with US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project that discussed her life and career.


  • 1943-2001

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Emma McCloy Layman (1910-2002) was born in Danville, VA, February 25, 1910. When she was still young, her family moved to Shanghai, China, as part of her parent’s work with the international YMCA, during a period of significant growth of that organization. She was educated at the Shanghai American School until at least 1921, when her family moved to Nanjing. She graduated from the Nanjing Foreign School (Hillcrest) in 1926, after which her family moved back to the United States as Emma, and her siblings, began to reach college age. She graduated with her A.B. from Oberlin College in 1930, an M.A. from New York University in 1931, and a PhD in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1937. Between 1937 and 1941 she worked as a psychologist at various institutions in Iowa and Michigan, while also working in private practice in 1941.

She entered into the US Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in 1943 and was commissioned as a Navy Ensign. Her first assignment was in the Curriculum Section of Bureau of Naval Personnel in Washington, DC, and was quickly promoted to Lieutenant (JG). She was then ordered to report to the US Navy Japanese Language School (USN JLS), Boulder, CO, during which time she was promoted to full Lieutenant. She graduated from the USN JLS in November 1944 and was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC, after first reporting to the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Smith College, Northhampton, MA, for additional instruction. While working for ONI, OP-16-FE, in Washington, Dr. Layman’s duties were, in her words, “mostly administrative” along with the translation of Japanese materials and the preparation of intelligence reports.

Upon returning to civilian life, Dr. Layman taught at the University of North Carolina and also worked as a practicing psychologist at Brooke Army Hospital (Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX) and as the chief psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Washington, D.C., along with other positions around the D.C. area. In 1960, she accepted a position as head of the psychology department at Iowa Wesleyan College, where she remained until her retirement in 1975. While there, she also was the chairman of the social sciences division, and director of both the East Asian Institute and of international studies.

In 1936 Dr. Layman married fellow University of Iowa psychology PhD student James Walter Layman, who served in the US Army during World War II and the Korean War before retiring in 1959. After the Army, he worked at the Mental Health Institute in Mount Pleasant, IA, and then taught at Iowa Wesleyan. He passed in 1978. Emmy Layman died February 24, 2002, in Oberlin, OH.


.25 linear feet


Emma McCloy Layman (1910-2002), psychology professor, served in the US Navy WAVES between 1943 and 1946, during which time she attended US Navy Japanese Language School. Her papers include military records, orders and certificates from her Navy service, and some post-war correspondence regarding her WWII service.


This collection is arranged in the order in which it was donated in a box level inventory.

Guide to the Emma McCloy Layman Papers COU:969
Surveyed by: Michael W. Harris, 2016 Preliminary Inventory by: Michael W. Harris, 2016 Processed By: Michael W. Harris, 2016
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States