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Eichler, S. (1995). Freud In America. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:835-851.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:835-851

Freud In America

Seth Eichler

Blum began by commenting that Freud's visit to America had never been explored at the American Psychoanalytic Association. Now, he remarked, various recent books, articles, and documents have made it possible to reconstruct the historical events, the background of both the invitation and the visit, the psychodynamics of the various relationships involved, and the visit's impact. Despite Freud's expectations, his anti-American attitudes, and the dilution and distortion of his formulations in their popularized form, psychoanalysis would have a major influence on American psychiatry and psychology, and on the intellectual and cultural life of this country. Freud would have been astounded had he known that the Freud Archives would come to be established at the Library of Congress.

On August 29, 1909, Freud, Jung, and Ferenczi arrived in New York on the steamer George Washington for a fateful stay of approximately forty days. Freud and Jung had been invited by G. Stanley Hall to receive honorary degrees on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Clark University. Freud wrote of the visit, after describing Hall as a kingmaker:

We also met James Jackson Putnam there, the Harvard neurologist, who, in spite of his age, was an enthusiastic supporter of psychoanalysis. … Another event at this time, which made a lasting impression on me, was a meeting with William James.

At that time I was only fifty-three. I felt young and healthy, and my short visit to the new world encouraged my self-respect in every way. In Europe I felt as though I were despised. But over there, I found myself received by the foremost men as an equal.

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