Mary Ainsworth Plaque Project

New York Attachment Consortium 

                                  Go-Fund-Me Project for a Mary Ainsworth Memorial Plaque

For almost 50 years, Mary Ainsworth’s attachment research from the early 1960’s to the mid 1970’s at Johns Hopkins has remained a cornerstone of developmental psychology. To celebrate Mary and her contributions, we have commissioned a substantial bronze plaque with her likeness and a summary of her work. The sculptor, Bruce Papitto (, specializes in monumental sculptures and smaller works that focus on bonds and protection. What could be more appropriate?

The accompanying photo shows the wax mold from which the 12” x 24” plaque is being cast.

The text reads:

 In collaboration with British psychiatrist John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth established a new paradigm in our understanding of infant socio-emotional development. Replacing psycho-analytic and behaviorist theories with a broadly integrative perspective based on ethology and cognitive psychology, Ainsworth and Bowlby emphasized the infant’s adaptive use of its primary caregiver as a Secure Base from which to explore and a Haven of Safety when distressed. Following upon her groundbreaking observational research in Uganda, Ainsworth’s landmark Baltimore Longitudinal Study (1963-1964) developed concepts and measures that defined attachment research for generations. The best known of these, the Strange Situation Procedure, was developed in these Ames Hall laboratories. It has been used to study the organization of infant attachment and exploratory behavior and the roles that maternal sensitivity, cooperation with ongoing behavior, availability, and acceptance play in the development of attachment security. Mary Ainsworth’s research at Johns Hopkins is summarized in her classic volume Patterns of Attachment (1978/2015). In 2002 and again in 2016, members of the Society for Research in Child Development voted Patterns of Attachment the most revolutionary work in modern developmental psychology.  


Some additional photos of Bruce Papitto at work, the sculpted clay original, close-ups of the wax mold, and some of the steps in casting are available on Gary Cox-Steiner’s Center for Mental Health Promotion website (  

Although the department at Hopkins is today primarily devoted to the interface between psychology and brain science, they were delighted at the idea of a gift recognizing Mary Ainsworth’s contributions and have offered to install it near Mary’s office and the rooms where the Strange Situation was developed. 


The total cost of the sculpture and casting will be about $7500. Rather than make this a gift from just one or a few individuals, it seemed more meaningful (and fun) to set up a Go Fund Me page on the internet and invite Mary Ainsworth’s core friends and “attachment descendants” to make this a group project. 

To get things going, Mary & Erik, Brian, Bob Marvin, Dante, Inge, and I have contributed some “seed money” which you’ll see reflected on this site already.  We’re suggesting a $50.00 maximum for students and recent graduates.

We hope you will help us reach our fund-raising goal. We will provide a progress report at the reception. Any funds beyond the $7500 will go to the Bowlby-Ainsworth Awards program to help with the cost of having the award pieces made.

We appreciate your joining in. Please feel free to invite others who have followed in Mary Ainsworth’s footsteps to participate as well. Go Fund Me makes it easy to alert friends to the project on Facebook. The site will stay open for contributions until March 31. 

Gary Cox-Steiner is the organizer for this gofundme along with Everett Waters who will be responsible for the costs and withdrawal of the funds.

We are hoping to have the finished plaque to share at the Attachment Reception. 

See you in Baltimore!

Everett Waters

Brian Vaughn

Bob Marvin

Gary Cox-Steiner

Donations (36)

See top
  • Mary Main & Erik Hesse
    • $1,000 
    • 4 yrs
  • Colleen Dash
    • $10 
    • 5 yrs
  • Keng-Ling Lay
    • $60 
    • 5 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 5 yrs
  • Arietta Slade
    • $200 
    • 5 yrs
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Gary Cox-Steiner
Bayport, NY
Everett Waters

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