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Richards, A.D. Goodman, S.M. (2004). Jacob A. Arlow (1912-2004). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(6):1513-1518.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(6):1513-1518

Jacob A. Arlow (1912-2004)

Arnold D. Richards and Sheldon M. Goodman

Jacob Arlow, one of the most respected and admired contributors to psychoanalysis, was born in Brooklyn on 3 September 1912. One of three children and a first-generation American, he took pride in his combined modern secular and traditional Jewish education. He often spoke with great fondness of his large and loving extended family. He spoke, with that uniquely Jack Arlow grin of his, of his mother as ‘illiterate’ in three languages. She was one of the founders of The Pride of Judea Children's Home. His father, who ran a millinery business, always encouraged his son's intellectual interests. Jacob was an avid reader; as a child the days he had to stay home sick were a pleasure for the scholar-to-be, since they gave him the opportunity to read without interruption.

As he talked with both of us, in a lively banter, about his early life, he was always ready to acknowledge his weaknesses. When he applied at the age of 16 for admission to Columbia College, he included on his application a long list of the books he had devoured, including works by Sigmund Freud and William James. In fact, he had as yet not got to James, but, as his luck would have it, James was the author his interviewer quizzed him on. His application was deferred; he was told to apply again the following year. But Jack decided he could not wait a year to start college, so he enrolled at New York University (NYU). He was proud of the fact that, although he attended what was then considered an ‘inferior’ school, he still was able to reach the top of his profession and do as well as colleagues who graduated from more prestigious schools.

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