Ainsworth was awarded his BA in 1933 from Eastern Michigan University, MA in 1937 from the University of Iowa, and PhD in 1949 from Northwestern University. He was Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Speech Correction at the University of Georgia, earlier associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies. He established the university's Speech Pathology program in 1952 as one of the first programs in the Division for Exceptional Children. At the time of his death, Ainsworth was a resident of Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Ainsworth's legacy to the field of communication disorders is, above all, his contributions in the area of stuttering. Eugene B. Cooper, who knew Ainsworth in the 1960s, remembers his "holistic and compassionate approach to treating those who stutter. He always kept an open mind, which facilitated exploration of various methods. Early on, I came to admire and respect his kind, caring, but always professional and disciplined approach to treatment. Dr. Ainsworth was undoubtedly one of the giants of our discipline in its first 50 years and one of its most gentle men."
Jane Fraser of the Stuttering Foundation of America (SFA) and daughter of Malcolm Fraser, SFA's founder, recalls the 1956 Delray Beach Conference on research and treatment for stuttering that was organized by her father and Charles Van Riper and which was attended by the eminent authorities of the time. "One of the most important things that came out of the first conference," she says, "was the fact that Dr. Stanley Ainsworth was chosen to chair the next conference. He understood what was needed to keep this group of authorities focused on the task at hand, producing a book to help those who stutter."
The result of that meeting was On Stuttering: Its Treatment, which was published in 1960 and coauthored by the luminaries of the field (all pictured in the photograph): Van Riper, Wendell Johnson, Joseph Sheehan, Dean Williams, Robert West, Ainsworth, Harold Luper, and Henry Freund. The introduction to the book states the authors' surprise that they have so much in common. "We tend to forget nowadays how much disagreement there was in the 50s and 60s," says Jane Fraser. "Reaching any agreement at all was a monumental task."
This sentiment is echoed by C. W. ("Woody") Starkweather who remembers "Stan the Man" at SFA conferences. "He had the ability to take any heated discussion down to a more moderate level without losing the important thread. Stan was the steady hand at the tiller during many boisterous seas of controversy."
Jane Edenfield Armstrong, of Augusta, GA, a student of Ainsworth's during the 1950s at the University of Georgia, offers another example of this same talent. "I recall a meeting in 1961 of Georgia speech and hearing professionals during which there was much controversy about the final wording of a document. Stan listened quietly, and after 20 minutes of heated discussion, he walked to the board, wrote a single sentence, and said, "Isn't that what we really mean?' That silenced the group. It was exactly what they were trying to say."
From the ASHA Magazine announcing Honors of the Association for 1962
RESOLVED That the Honors of the Association be awarded to Stanley H. Ainsworth in recognition of his outstanding service to the Association and the profession it represents. For nearly 30 years he has worked directly with children and adults with disorders of communication. His clinical talents have been demonstrated in schools, treatment centers, college and university clinics and hospitals throughout the country. He has pioneered the introduction of clinical services in speech pathology and audiology to sections of the country where our profession was not previously known. Recognizing the essential unity of the field of communication disorders and believing strongly in sound training for practitioners in our field, he has earned the Advanced Certificate in both speech and hearing. Early in his professional career he assumed an active role in training competent clinical personnel for our field. Today his influence can be seen in the training programs he established or strengthened and in a multitude of dedicated professional workers he has trained. His quiet, sincere, genial advice has been sought by government and private agencies interested in developing programs in speech pathology and audiology. His experience and wisdom, his modesty and respect for his fellows have served this Association well. He has given long and distinguished service as a Council Member, as Executive Vice-President and as President. In awarding the Honors of the Association to Stanley H. Ainsworth, we publicly recognize his contribution to our Association and to our profession.
The American Speech and Hearing Association meeting of the Executive Council, New York, New York, November 20, 1962.
Ainsworth, Stanley H., Speech Pathologist. B. Sault St. Marie, Michigan, August 7, 1913.
Eastern Michigan University (Michigan State Normal College), 1930-1933, B.A., State University of Iowa, 1936-1937, M.A.; Northwestern University, 1940-1946, Ph.D.
Supervisor of Speech Correction, Independent School District No. 2, and Instructor of Speech and Psychology, Itasca Junior College, Coleraine, Minnesota, 1939-1943; Supervisor of Speech Correction, Special Education Clinics, Indiana State Teachers College, 1943-1946; Instructor, Summer, 1944; Ohio State University, Instructor and Assistant Professor of Speech, 1947-1949; Florida State University, Associate Professor and Professor of Speech and Chairman, Speech Correction and Audiology, 1949-1953; University of Georgia, Professor of Speech Correction, and Chairman, Speech Correction Area, and Chairman, Program for Exceptional Children, since 1953.
American Speech and Hearing Association: AS; AH; Fellow; Vice-President, 1952; Councilor, 1953-1954; Executive Vice-President, 1955-1958; President, 1960. American Boards of Examiners in Speech Pathology and Audiology: Secretary; Member, Education and Training Board. American Hearing Society: Director, Committees on Admissions and Standards, Hearing Aid Industry and Agencies, and Legislative. Director, Speech Foundation of America. Professional Standards Steering Committee of the Council for Exceptional Children. Advisory Panel on Speech and Hearing, 1957-1960 of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. Consultant to National, State, Community, and Private Agencies. Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Tau Kappa Alpha.
Associate Editor, Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 1949-1954; Assistant Editor, dsh Abstracts, 1960-1961; Chairman, Editorial Committee Speech and Hearing Problems in the Secondary School, 1950; Author, Speech Correction Methods and Galloping Sounds; research and publications in stuttering articulation, hearing, and mental retardation.
Additional memories of Stanley Ainsworth