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Harley, M. Weil, A. (1990). Phyllis Greenacre, M.D. (1894–1989). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:523-525.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:523-525

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D. (1894–1989)

Marjorie Harley and Annemarie Weil

Phyllis Greenacre died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 95 on 24 October at a nursing home in Ossining, New York. Her death marked the loss of a psychoanalyst who will long be remembered as one of the most gifted and prodigious contributors to our field.

Born in Chicago, Greenacre attended the University of Chicago and graduated from Rush Medical College in 1916. That same year she joined the Phipps Clinic of the Psychiatric Department of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School, first as a resident and later as a staff member, having early decided on a career in psychiatry. While at Phipps she was called upon to observe in detail a wide range of psychopathology. This augmented her talent for observation and contributed to her outstanding clinical acumen. Doubtless her biological bent, which pre-dated her medical studies, and which pervaded her clinical investigations and theoretical concepts, was also fostered at Hopkins by her close working relationship with the psychobiologist, Adolf Meyer.

Greenacre moved to New York in 1927 and became Psychiatric Consultant to the child care division of the Department of Public Welfare of Westchester County, a post she held until 1932. She then began a thirty-year affiliation with the teaching staff of the Department of Psychiatry of New York Hospital and Cornell Medical College where she became professor of clinical psychiatry. In later years she served there only as an occasional consultant.

It is interesting, though perhaps little known, that Greenacre's first analyst was a Jungian who recommended that a Freudian analysis would be better suited to her natural inclinations and temperament.

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