Early Years and Education
Harold E. Yuker was born in Newark, New Jersey on April 15, 1924, with cerebral palsy. The son of a baker and a seamstress, Harold attended a grammar school in Newark for disabled children. As he once recalled, "My Grammar school was called - and they wouldn't dream of doing it today - the Branchbrook School for Crippled Children." He attended a high school in Newark in which he was the only disabled student. Although he never expected to go to college, he was determined to contribute to and compete in larger society. Harold's motto was, "The most important thing for a disabled person is to learn to get along in a non-disabled world."
Unable to find employment after graduating from high school, he was sent to college through the New Jersey State Rehabilitation Commission. He went on to graduate cum laude with a B.B.A. from the University of Newark in 1944. He began taking psychology courses at the New School "for the heck of it," and was offered a fellowship for graduate study. While doing graduate work at the New School for Social Research, he learned of a position as a psychology lecturer at Hofstra. He went on to receive a Master's degree in Psychology from the New School in 1950, and his Ph.D. in psychology in from NYU four years later.
Harold credited his parents with raising him to be independent and self-reliant, despite his physical disability; "In the first place, they accepted me and loved me as a person, not a handicapped person. I learned to think of myself as a person and not a cerebral palsy victim."
Some personal items included in the Harold Yuker collection in the Hofstra University Archives reveal that he was a restaurant "connoisseur" who enjoyed keeping records of the restaurants he dined in, reading mysteries and collecting bookmarks.