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Menninger, W.C. (1949). Editorial. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 5B(2):1-2.

(1949). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 5B(2):1-2


William C. Menninger

The retiring president of an organization is usually the subject of eulogy in the official organ of that organization. Somehow in this instance it did not appear quite fitting to fall back upon the usual clichés. It seemed to us that a more specific evaluation of the retiring president was called for.

Progressive phases in the development of a science require appropriate leaders. The times themselves demand leaders to cope with problems unique for that phase. So it has been with psychoanalysis. In its earliest years, when psychoanalysts were more or less involuntarily isolated from their medical colleagues, such isolation might even have been an advantage. It gave opportunity for undivided concentration on fundamental problems so necessary to lay a solid foundation for psychoanalysis. However, with the years, the world began to turn to analysis for its contribution. It became increasingly necessary to devise some means to effect such contribution. Public education, teaching, the extension of research, the need for wider spread psychoanalytic therapy — all required that some liaison be evolved and that order be created out of the chaos which was threatening to engulf the psychoanalytic movement. It is difficult to think of a man more suited than Bill Menninger to carry out this task. By temperament, personality, initiative, farsightedness and by his holistic approach to problems, he was admirably suited for a job which was created by the times. One might differ with one or the other specific idea or plan he has presented but none could question that whatever he initiated has been with one motive in mind — what would be the best way that we, as analysts, could achieve our rightful place among the scientists of America and most effectively make available our contributions to the world. For devoting his boundless energy to these objectives, for promoting a way of thinking which cannot help but benefit analysis as well as the world, we owe him thanks. We hope that his retirement as president does not mean withdrawal from the activities of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

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