Penguins on the Mind

The latest exhibition in the Library is Penguins on the Mind, the physical counterpart of a digital exhibition hosted by the University of Glasgow. The exhibition was organised and curated by Dr Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow), Dr Beth Hannah (University of Dundee), and Helen Beardsley (University of Stirling), with assistance from Dr Jamie Redgate (University of Glasgow).

With the aim of using book history to open a constructive dialogue with psychological, medical and clinical professionals on the wider risks and opportunities of media work, the exhibition collects some significant Penguin titles on the ‘psy’ disciplines (psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and others) published in the period c.1940–1980, many of them under Penguin’s non-fiction imprint, Pelican.

These titles are aimed at the general reader, and cover a wide variety of topics, including IQ tests, attachment, propaganda, sexual diversity, bereavement, feminism, psychotherapy, antipsychiatry, anorexia nervosa, and the Troubles. The rich narratives behind many of these volumes illuminate the complexities of writing for the mass-market.

Some of the books come from Stirling University Library’s Mitchell Collection of Penguin books – , donated to the University by Dr Angus Mitchell, former Chair of the University Court.

Please let us know what you think of the exhibition. You can scan the QR code at the exhibition to access the online survey.

The online exhibition can be viewed at

Helen Beardsley