Guide to the Dorothea Simon Papers 1930-c1975

Senator John Heinz History Center

Summary Information

Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Dorothea Simon Papers
Simon, Dorothea
Collection Number
MSS 725
Date [inclusive]
1 linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Dorothea Simon was a researcher who worked in the Learning Development and Research Center (LDRC) at the University of Pittsburgh from 1969 to 1974. The Dorothea Simon Papers are housed in one box and consist of her research conducted during her time with the LDRC and includes publications and various papers concerning how children learn to spell.
Sponsor Note
This collection has been made accessible as part of an NHPRC-funded Basic Processing grant.

Preferred Citation

Dorothea Simon Papers, 1930-c1975, MSS 0725 , Detre Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

Return to Table of Contents »


Dorothea Isabel Pye Simon (1913-2002) (D.S.) was a researcher for Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Born in California, D.S. received her bachelors degree from the University of California, Berkley in 1934. In 1937, while continuing her education at the University of Chicago, Dorothea married Herbert Simon (1916 – 2001), a fellow graduate student at the university. In 1941, she received her master’s degree in political science.

Between 1942 and 1946 the Simons had three children, Katherine, Peter, and Barbara. In 1949, the couple moved to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh where Herbert became a professor and the chairman of the Department of Industrial Management at Carnegie Tech (currently Carnegie Mellon University). While raising their children, D.S. was also active in the League of Women Voters, the Weavers Guild, and was a troop leader for the Girl Scouts in the 1950s. She was also active in the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, Women’s Alliance, and the Craig House for Children, serving on the board of directors for all three. In 1969, D.S. received a teaching certificate from Chatham University in Pittsburgh and was a volunteer teacher in Weil Elementary School in the Hill District of Pittsburgh working with students who had learning disabilities and behavior problems. This led to her work for the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) at the University of Pittsburgh.

From 1969 to 1971, she was a senior research assistant on a project that studied the effects of children’s perceptual skills on learning. From 1971 to 1974, she worked on a computerized spelling program in order to understand how children learned to spell. During her years with the LRDC, D.S. published many studies through the university sometimes in collaboration with other researchers, including her husband Herbert Simon. In 1974, D.S. joined her husband in the Carnegie Mellon University psychology department, working as project director in research on problem-solving and computers.

In 1984, D.S. retired from her research position and turned to volunteering at the Craig House and the First Unitarian Church. She also received a board membership in the Role Models program at Carnegie Mellon University.

D.S.’s husband, Herbert Simon, was a widely published and cited political scientist, psychologist, and professor who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1978.

Return to Table of Contents »

Scope and Content Notes

The Dorothea Simon papers primarily focus on D.S.’s research with the Learning Development and Research Center (LDRC) at the University of Pittsburgh during the early 1970s. The papers are housed in one box and generally organized by subject by Dorothea Simon. Included in the collection are drafts and copies of D.S.’s publications, which she wrote either individually and collaboratively and published either through the LDRC or Carnegie Mellon University (c1970s.) These include Auditory Analysis Test: An Initial Report with Jerome Rosner,  Uses of Phonemic Information in Spelling with Herbert Simon, and ,  Spelling: A Task Analysis. Along with these publications are D.S.’s research notes, subject test samples, and other publications and correspondence with other researchers concerning her studies on how children learn to spell. The folders within the collection are generally labeled with the names of her experiments or type of material. Three personal folders contain D.S.’s certificate from the Clara Barton Sisterhood of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation (1993), undated photographs of D.S. and her husband Herbert, and an honor from the Craig House (1986.) Also within the collection are news clippings on D.S.’s research with her husband, copies of her CV, her passport, teachers guides, and University of Pittsburgh student ID. One oversized photograph is from the second annual banquet of The Institute of Management Sciences at the North Park Sheraton (1955) depicting Herbert Simon (Vice-President) at the head table.

Return to Table of Contents »

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Senator John Heinz History Center Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania , February 2012

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Detre Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Acquisition Information

Gift from Katherine Simon Frank in 2003.

Archives accession # 2003.0138

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sarah Ecklund on 2/13/2012.

Return to Table of Contents »

Related Materials

Related Materials

Herbert A. Simon Collection -- (1909, 1924) 1929-1998, Carnegie Mellon University Archives

Separated Materials

Herbert and Dorothea Simon, acc#2003.58, Museum Division, Senator John Heinz History Center

Consists of various awards (metals, certificates, engraved glass)

Return to Table of Contents »

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • University of Pittsburgh. Learning Development and Research Center.
  • University of Pittsburgh.
  • Carnegie Mellon University

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Simon, Herbert (1916 –2001)
  • Simon, Dorothea (1913-2002)


  • Cognitive learning--Computer-assisted instruction.

Return to Table of Contents »