Burrhus Frederic Skinner, psychologist and behaviorist, was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania in 1904 to William Skinner and Grace Burrhus. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a naturally bright woman. Skinner had only one sibling a brother who died at the age of sixteen. Skinner lived most of his life in Susquehanna. He did not leave the house he was born in until he left to go to college. He was raised very close to his grandparents, who had a major impact on his early life. He was also close to his parents. .
He and his mother and father all graduated from the same high school. This was the same school that he had attended for all twelve years of his education. Skinner attended Hamilton College at the recommendation of a family friend. He took many different types of courses before deciding to major in English and minor in Romance Languages. Skinner felt that he did not fit in at college. He disliked the fraternity that he had joined and he did not understand why the college required the courses that it did. The summer before his senior year he attended the Middlebury School of English at Breadloaf, Vermont. .
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During this summer he had lunch with Robert Frost. Frost asked to see his work and gave Skinner a lot of encouragement. This led him to the decision to become a writer. Skinner’s father was not happy with this decision. He has hoped that his son would become a lawyer, like himself. His father eventually agreed to his decision, and Skinner moved back home to start his new career. He built himself an office in his parents’ house where he could write. He was to try to be a writer for two years, and if this did not work out he would get a real job. It did not work out. Skinner played around instead of writing. He eventually wrote a mediocre book for the oil companies just to save his self-respect. After writing the book, Skinner spent six months in New York. .
In the Fall, Skinner went off to Harvard to begin his study of Psychology.