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Grinstein, A. (1967). James Beaumont Strachey: 1887–1967. Am. Imago, 24(4):371-373.

(1967). American Imago, 24(4):371-373

James Beaumont Strachey: 1887–1967

Alexander Grinstein, M.D.

On April 25th, 1967, James Strachey died suddenly, following a brief illness.

James Strachey was born in London, England on September 26th, 1887 into a most illustrious and distinguished family which traces its ancestry to the 16th century.

James's father was Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Strachey (1817-1908) who spent many years in India and whose exploration of the Himalayas made him famous as a geographer and a geologist. In 1897, at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria he was made Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India. James Strachey's mother, Jane Maria Lady Strachey (1840-1928), was the daughter of Sir John Peter Grant, a distinguished Indian administrator who at one time was Secretary of the Government of Bengal. The Stracheys had thirteen children, among whom was Giles Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), the famous author of many outstanding biographies.

James Beaumont, nicknamed “Jembeau,” the youngest child in the Strachey family, attended Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1909 to 1915, he served as secretary to his cousin, St. Loe Strachey, who was the editor of The Spectator. James contributed regular weekly articles to this publication on a wide variety of subjects, including among others, literary criticism, philosophy, and politics.

In 1915, James met Alix Florence, who was five years his junior and also a graduate of Cambridge, and in 1920 they were married. The marriage was a very happy one throughout.

During World War I, James Strachey did important work for the Society of Friends. After the war, he became interested in psychology and psychic phenomena. One day, he heard a lecture in which the unconscious and the work of Freud were discussed. Strachey was extremely impressed by what he heard and wanted to learn more. He contacted Ernest Jones who advised him to go to medical school and become a doctor. Strachey complied, but his interest in medicine lasted only ten days.

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