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Furst, S.S. (1990). Richard F. Sterba—1898-1989. Psychoanal Q., 59:451-454.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:451-454

Richard F. Sterba—1898-1989

Sidney S. Furst

Psychoanalysis lost one of its few remaining pioneers when Richard Sterba died on October 24, 1989, in his ninety-second year.

In 1927, Richard Sterba, along with Grete Bibring, constituted the first graduating class of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. The path that brought him to psychoanalysis reflected both his intellectual courage and his humanism. He was born in Vienna into a liberal middle-class family. His father, a professor of mathematics and physics, endowed him with a love of learning and culture. His early education was the classical Gymnasium one of the time and included Greek, Latin, geography, history, oratory, and religion. The interests which were to further enrich his life and work developed in adolescence. The humanistic tradition led to extensive reading of classical and modern literature and philosophy. He became a serious student of music and an accomplished violinist. Typical of his enthusiasm and of the standards he set for himself, well into his seventies he made at least one trip a year to London for violin lessons with a favorite teacher. To music was added his deep interest in, and love of, graphic art.

After military service in World War I, Sterba began medical studies at the University of Vienna. There, influenced primarily by Paul Schilder and Julius Wagner-Jauregg, he considered a career in psychiatry. During his medical residency, he began to read Freud's works. They impressed him so deeply that, despite discouragement and even derision by fellow students, he determined to become a psychoanalyst. In 1924, he applied to Dr.

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