History Notes
The Vertical File: Freudiana
Psychiatric News
Volume 39 Number 19 page 36-36

The APA Library, which became a library of psychiatric history since APA moved its headquarters to Arlington, Va., has maintained since its inception close to 50 years ago an extensive collection of materials on psychiatric subjects and individuals. The material is drawn from newspaper clippings, magazine articles, brochures, and publications of significant psychiatric events. One of the largest files is labeled "Freud." Among the contents of the Freud file are extensive photographs and descriptions of the Freud Museum in London.

Freud's home and office at Bergasse 19 in Vienna, where he lived from 1891 to 1938, is marked only with a plaque. In March 1938 Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany, and attacks on Jews began immediately. Within days Freud's flat was searched, and Anna Freud was held for an entire day by the Gestapo for questioning. With the support of powerful friends, Freud managed to escape. The Nazis allowed Freud to take with him the major furnishings of his office and library. Of special interest is his office, where he saw patients.

Just before Freud was spirited to London, August Aishorn, a Viennese psychoanalyst, arranged for a photographer, Edmond Engelmann, to take pictures of the office. The pictures show the famous couch with an armchair at the head, a large desk, and an extensive collection of more than 2,000 antiquities, mainly of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman origins. Several authors have hypothesized that the antiquities represented suppressed memories to Freud: "the retrieved memory was like the unearthed ancient object." A photograph of Freud's waiting room shows an armless sofa and a small table with chairs around it. Framed pictures and manuscripts hang on the walls.

Engelmann's photos were located with difficulty and eventually came to Anna Freud. Freud's office at 20 Maresfield Gardens in London was set up as a replica of his office in Vienna. Anna Freud lived in the house until she died in 1982. The house is now a museum and has been open to the public since 1986.

An exhibit of some of Freud's antiquities was held at the Jewish Museum in New York in 1975 and toured the United States for three years (1989-92). A Freud centenary exhibit was presented by the American Psychoanalytic Association at APA's annual meeting in Chicago in 1956 and at the Academy of Medicine also that year. An accompanying brochure shows photos of Freud at age 8 with his father, at age 16 with his mother, with his wife in 1886, and numerous photos of his later years. The brochure also lists Freud's publications.

In 1939 the New York Psychiatric Institute acquired 800 volumes from Freud's library. These were books Freud had sent to a local bookseller when he left Vienna and were advertised for sale for $500. By chance, Dr. Jacob Schatsky, the institute's librarian, saw the ad and was able to buy the books, most of which are old and bound in leather.

In 1976 Engelmann's photos of Freud's home and office were published by Basic Books with an introduction by Peter Gay. The book was reviewed for the New York Times "Book World" by Anthony Storr, who found it of interest that Freud's office contained photographs of two of his pupils, Marie Bonaparte and Lou Andreas Salome, as well as Yvette Guilbert and Toulouse Lautrec.

More information on the Freud Museum is posted online at<www.freud.org.uk/>.

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