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Zaleznik, A. (1992). The Selected Correspondence of Karl A. Menninger, 1919-1945. Edited and with an Introduction by Howard J. Faulkner and Virginia D. Pruitt. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1988, xiii + 432 pp., $40.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:907-911.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:907-911

The Selected Correspondence of Karl A. Menninger, 1919-1945. Edited and with an Introduction by Howard J. Faulkner and Virginia D. Pruitt. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1988, xiii + 432 pp., $40.00.

Review by:
Abraham Zaleznik

Who was Karl A. Menninger? Of course he was a leader in American psychiatry until his death on July 18, 1990. The Menninger Foundation of Topeka, Kansas, stands as a monument to the pioneering work of the Menningers, father Dr. C. M., brother Dr. Will, and Dr. Karl as he was known throughout the reach of the Foundation, which included not only patients, professionals, staff, and trustees (past and present), but also the broad humanistic movement in the treatment of mental illness.

Introduced to psychoanalysis through his teachers, Drs. E. E. Southard and Smith Ely Jeliffe of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, Dr. Karl trained in psychoanalysis under Dr. Franz Alexander in Chicago beginning in 1930, 10 years after the founding of the Menninger Clinic. He spent a year and a half in New York in 1939-1940 in analysis with Dr. Ruth Mack Brunswick, and in 1942 founded the Topeka Institute for Psychoanalysis.

In his distinguished career, Dr. Karl founded and led many organizations to promote psychiatric study and teaching (he was President of the American Psychoanalytic Association in 1941-1942), and the range of his interests included criminal behavior, suicide, psychiatric practice in the military, and the treatment of mentally disturbed children.

He wrote numerous books, including Theory of Psychoanalytic Technique, which he coauthored with Philip Holzman. He wrote monthly columns for The Ladies Home Journal, traveled extensively on behalf of the Foundation, and by his own estimate wrote on average 80 letters a week to his many friends, colleagues, disciples, adversaries, and, when away from home for any extended period, to his father, brother, and close associates in Topeka.

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