Dr. Lee Edward Travis
"Seldom in the history of human knowledge has one man assumed as heavy a share of responsibility for the cultivation of a particular area of investigation and scholarship as Professor Lee Edward Travis has assumed for the scientific and clinical refinement of speech pathology."
- Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, March 1948
Lee Edward Travis was born in 1896 in Imperial Nebraska to parents who were teachers at a local academy. He was one of twelve siblings raised in a sod house who all attended college. He graduated from Graceland Academy in Lamoni, Iowa in 1915; Graceland Junior College in 1917; and after serving for a period in World War I, attended the University of Iowa. In three consecutive years, he completed his BA (1922), MA (1923), and PhD in psychology (1924).
While a doctoral student at the University of Iowa, Travis was mentored by the Dean of the Graduate College and Professor of Psychology, Carl E. Seashore. Seashore, whose focus was in the area of experimental psychology had a particular interest in the psychology of speech disorders, particularly stuttering. He selected Travis to undergo a specially designed program that looked at providing a scientific foundation to the study of speech disorders.
After completing his Ph.D., Travis continued his research at Iowa through a three-year National Research Council fellowship. This research produced numerous experimental studies on speech and other physiological processes. This work led to an appointment as Associate Professor at Iowa in 1927 and promotion to Professor a year later in 1928. In that same year, Travis became the Director of the Speech Clinic at Iowa. Under his leadership, the speech pathology program at Iowa expanded and flourished, attracting numerous students who later would become prominent themselves in the emerging profession of speech pathology.