Following the post I wrote about B.F. Skinner and his experiences in using the air-crib for his daughter, Deborah, I was pleased to get an email from Deborah Skinner Buzan herself. She kindly permitted me to reprint her email as follows:
I occasionally look myself up to see if there are any interesting or (more usually) annoying comments about my father or the aircrib. I was very impressed to read 'Heir Conditioner', as there's more information in there than I knew, though admittedly I haven't ever done much research about the early years of 'the box'. My father never intended to make me or any other air crib babies more independent but otherwise as far as I can tell, 'Heir Conditioner' is accurate. I thought you - or whoever wrote the piece - might like to know about one episode that was behind a lot of the rumours about me. Edwin Boring, head of department at Harvard when my father was there, did have a daughter who was institutionalized because she was psychotic or something. A psychologist at another university (who specialized in child development), on hearing that the daughter of 'a prominent Harvard psychologist' had mental problems, assumed the psychologist in question was that horrible man Skinner who put his daughter in a box. After my father tracked down who was behind at least some of the rumours, the psychologist sent a letter of apology. But of course word continued to spread. I'm glad the article mentions my anger that Slater never tried to contact me. That's probably what really infuriates me most about her book. She visited my sister who had passed on contact details to many journalists before and would have been more than happy to put Slater in touch with me. But of course her chapter would then have left the reader questioning my sanity/suicide.
Deborah Skinner Buzan
I'm happy to have the opportunity to have Ms. Buzan tell her side of the story.