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Payne, S.M. (1957). Forward to Selected Contributions to Psycho-Analysis. The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 52(1):9-17.

(1957). The International Psycho-Analytical Library, 52(1):9-17

Forward to Selected Contributions to Psycho-Analysis Book Information Previous Up Next

Sylvia M. Payne, C.B.E., M.B.

The sudden death of John Rickman on July 1st, 1951, at sixty years of age was a serious blow, not only to his personal friends but also to the British Psycho-Analytical Society and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Dr. Rickman had been intimately associated since 1920 with the development of the science of psycho-analysis in England and with the foundation of the organizations concerned with its teaching and practice.

Dr. Rickman was a Quaker and came of Quaker stock. He was educated at a Quaker public school and afterwards at King's College, Cambridge, where he took a Natural Science Tripos and the first part of his Medical Degree. He completed his medical training at St. Thomas's Hospital, London, graduating in 1916. On qualification he volunteered for the Friends' War Victims Relief Unit in Russia, and later wrote a number of articles on his experiences when practising medicine amongst the Russian peasants. Certain of these articles, most of them published anonymously at the time of writing, have recently been revised and published in a book written with Geoffrey Gorer entitled The Peoples of Great Russia.

While working in Russia he met his future wife, Lydia Cooper Lewis of Philadelphia, who was working as a social worker with the American Friends' Service Committee. They were married in 1918 in Buzuluk, Samara Province, by Russian civil ceremony, the first marriage ceremony that had happened since marriage had become legal apart from the Greek Orthodox ritual. A daughter was born to them in 1921.

John Rickman did pioneer work in Russia of a kind which he was to repeat on more than one occasion during his lifetime. In the hospital in which he was working he organized the training of Russian peasant girls as nurses. His object was to teach the people something which might be carried on when the unit left the country.

On his return from Russia, John Rickman specialized in psychiatry. He held a resident post at Fulbourn Asylum, Cambridge, and there also he pioneered by holding lectures and seminars for nurses. His interest had been aroused in psycho-analysis by Dr. W. H. R.

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