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Piers, G. (1966). John D. Benjamin—1901–1965. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:436-438.

(1966). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:436-438

John D. Benjamin—1901–1965

Gerhart Piers, M.D.

John Benjamin, whose sudden death on May 14, 1965, shocked the psychoanalytic community, was born in the City of New York on December 6, 1901. He did his undergraduate work at Andover. His medical studies at Harvard had to be interrupted when a pulmonary tuberculosis was discovered. John left for Switzerland in accord with the then prevailing therapeutic indications. Always struggling against the enforced passivity, he resumed his medical training and received his degree from the University of Zürich in 1933. By then he had become interested in psychiatry and had started psychoanalytic training which he completed in Chicago. In 1935, he joined the faculty of the Medical Center in Denver, soon to become Chief of the Psychiatric Outpatient Department there. In 1938, recurrent illness enforced the hated inactivity again. In 1947, he became Psychiatrist-in-Charge of the long-term study of child development at the Denver Child Research Council, an activity which he was to pursue with unflagging devotion and with which he remained identified to the last day of his life. His work and his findings soon became widely known through his lectures and discussions, and governmental and private agencies concerned with promoting psychiatric research drew on his wisdom and experience. Since 1951, he was Consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health, and from 1953 to 1955, Chairman of its Study Section. He was also one of the Directors of the Foundations' Fund for Research in Psychiatry.

In John Benjamin, psychoanalysis lost one of its most prominent researchers. From quite early on in his career as an analyst, he came out in word and print for a statement of psychoanalytic theory in sets of propositions that can be validated or disproved. His earliest scientific publication (1938) already shows his goal and style quite clearly.

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