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Menninger, K.A. (1956). Freud and American Psychiatry. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:614-625.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:614-625

Freud and American Psychiatry

Karl A. Menninger, M.D.

When I was invited to join with Dr. Waelder in flanking the address of our distinguished visitor, I sought the counsel of friends regarding the most appropriate material for the occasion. It was their advice that inasmuch as I had been selected to speak for my American colleagues, I attempt to trace some of the peculiarly American developments of the work of Sigmund Freud whose centenary we celebrate. So I shall offer some reminiscences and observations, making no apology for the personal flavor that is bound to color such a report. To an audience of psychoanalysts I dare not stress either my humility or my pride.

I shall skip lightly over those troubled days of our Association's adolescence and concentrate rather—in good psychoanalytic style—on our childhood, and on our marriage. I shall emulate the anonymous author of the Second Book of Maccabees, who wistfully recorded that "… having in view the … difficulty which awaiteth them that would enter into the narratives of the history, by reason of the abundance of the matter, we … have taken upon us the painful labour of the abridgement [finding] the task … not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching … Yet, for the sake of the gratitude of the many we [resolved to] gladly endure the painful labour, leaving to the historian the exact handling of every particular, [endeavouring] … to avoid a laboured fullness in the treatment … Here then let us begin … for it is a foolish thing to make a long prologue to a history and to abridge the history itself."

Some of my colleagues will recall that I was in that little group of worshipful disciples who sat at the feet of Ernest Southard.

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