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Blos, P. (1974). Berta Bornstein—1899-1971. Psychoanal. St. Child, 29:35-37.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 29:35-37

Berta Bornstein—1899-1971

Peter Blos, Ph.D.

BERTA BORNSTEIN DIED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 1971. SHE WAS VACATIONING in her beloved summer home on the Island of Vinalhaven in Maine. Death approached her while she was walking with a friend along the beachfront of her house on a Sunday morning. A cerebral accident made her suddenly feel exhausted and weak. A doctor from nearby was summoned. He rushed to her and found Bertl lying on the beach paralyzed, yet still talking. She was taken on a stretcher to the doctor's house where she lost consciousness. Twelve hours later she died in the hospital of Rockland. It was the kind of death Bertl had wished for: reaching the end of her life while still actively engaged in her profession, and reaching it before the physical infirmities of recent years would overtake her. Was she expecting the end or did she wish it to come? Be this as it may, we are touched by her inexplicable foresight and devotion to her calling when we contemplate the fact that she had referred her patients to other analysts before she left for her summer vacation. She had, indeed, worked until the end. She died one week before her 72nd birthday.

We all remember her well; even if we did not know her personally, we knew her from her reputation: she had become a legend during her lifetime. The beginnings and the developments of child analysis are so closely linked with her name that they are, indeed, one and the same.

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