A short introduction into Sigmund Freud's life with objects and views from the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna
Doorplate “Prof. Dr. Freud 3-4”, giving the consulting hours. "There were two doors on the landing. The one to the right was the Professor’s professional door; the one to the left, the Freud family door. Apparently, the two apartments had been arranged so that there should be as little confusion as possible between family and patients or students." [“H D”]
Memorial page from the Ludwig Philippson Family Bible in which Freud’s father records the death of his father Salomon (Schlomo) and the birth and circumcision of Sigmund Freud in Hebrew and German. "My son Solomon Sigmund was born on Tuesday, the first day of the month of Iar 616 at 6:30 in the afternoon = 6th. May 1856. He entered the Jewish community on Tuesday, the 8th. day of the month of Iar = 13th. May 1856."
Record of the matriculation exams held at the Leopoldstädter Communal-Realgymnasium in Vienna in the month of July, 1873. Lit.3: Freud Sigmund from Freiberg in Moravia.
Freud’s assessments are:
Moral Conduct: exemplary
Religious Education (Mosaic): very good
Latin: very good
Greek: very good
History and Geography: very good
Physics: very good
General Natural History: laudable
Mathematics: very good
Preparatory course: very good
University entrance: excellent
Prof. Dr. Carl Claus (1835 – 1899), Director of the Institute of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at the University of Vienna, lithograph by Rudolf Fenzl. "In the first years of my university life I attended lectures mainly in physics and natural history; I also worked for a year in the laboratory of Prof. C. Claus, and was twice sent on vacation courses to the zoological station at Trieste." (Curriculum vitae, 1885).
Sigmund Freud, the medical student, applies for a travel grant to go to Trieste. "Gentlemen, The undersigned, after attending lectures in zoology for several semesters, worked during the winter semester 1875/76 in the Zoological and Zootomical Institute of Zoology and would consider it a great opportunity for advancement if he could continue his studies in Trieste during the Easter vacation. As he is unable to raise enough for his expenses out of his own resources, he is applying to the distinguished Ministry for a travel grant. Vienna, 22nd February 1876. Sigmund Freud."
Prof. Ernst Wilhelm Ritter von Brücke (1819 – 1892), Director of the Physiological Institute at the University of Vienna from 1849 to 1890. Freud named his youngest son (the architect Ernst Freud) after Brücke. "At length, in Ernst Brücke’s physiological laboratory, I found rest and full satisfaction - and men, too, whom I could respect and take as my models: the great Brücke himself, and his assistants, Sigmund Exner and Ernst Fleischl von Marxow. With the last of these, a brilliant man, I was privileged to be upon terms of friendship." (An Autobiographical Study, 1925)
Sigmund Freud: Über Coca (Coca), 1884 (offprint). As many other physicians, Freud conducted research on the then new drug cocaine for its medical use. "Coca wasn’t finished till last night; the first half has already been corrected today; it will be 11/2 sheets long; the few gulden I have earned by it I had to subtract from my pupil, whom I sent away yesterday and today. [...].(To Martha Bernays, 19th. June 1884)"
Carl Koller (1857 – 1944) in about 1883, an eye surgeon and a colleague of Freud’s at the General Hospital who, together with Freud, conducted experiments upon animals, discovering in 1884 the application of cocaine as a local anaesthetic for the eye, a discovery which brought him world-wide fame. "I had myself indicated this application of the alkaloid in my published paper, but I had not been thorough enough to pursue the matter further." (The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900)
Charcot at the Salpetriere
In the consulting room, between the window and the entrance door, hung “Une leçon du Dr. Charcot à la Salpêtrière” by P.-A. Brouillet, 1887. In 1885/1886 Freud spent a semester on a scholarship at Charcot's clinic in Paris, then one of the most inventive and respected psychiatrists. " At ten o’clock M. Charcot arrived, a tall man of fifty-eight, wearing a top hat, with dark, strangely soft eyes (or rather, one is; the other is expressionless and has an inward cast), long wisps of hair stuck behind his ears, clean shaven, very expressive features with full protruding lips - in short, like a worldly priest from whom one expects a ready wit and an appreciation of good living. He sat down and began examining the patients" (To Martha Bernays, 21st October 1885)
Martha Bernays, aged 21, at the time of her engagement to Freud in June 1882. The Bernays family came from Wandsbek near Hamburg and moved to Vienna in 1869. After the death of the father, Michael Bernays, the family moved back to Wandsbek in 1882. During the period of their separation from 1882 to 1886, the engaged couple wrote the so-called Brautbriefe [literally, “Bride Letters”] to each other. "Martha is mine, the sweet girl of whom everyone speaks with admiration, who despite all my resistance captivated my heart at our first meeting, the girl I feared to court and who came toward me with high-minded confidence, who strengthened the faith in my own value and gave me new hope and energy to work when I needed it most." (To Martha Bernays, 19th. June 1882)
Anna Freud became a Psychoanalyst herself. She managed, tended and disseminated Freud’s legacy and played a key role in the founding of the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna. She created a discrete form of therapy by systematising and refining child psychoanalysis and she was able to prove that psychoanalytic findings may also be applied to child analysis. Anna Freud’s book The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence was published in 1936 and quickly became a classic of psychoanalytic literature. The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence became a standard work above all in the field of ‘ego psychology’, that was very widespread in the USA after 1945.
After the dream in 1895, it took Freud four more years to write his book "The Interpretation of Dreams", dated at 1900, which is considered up to now his most important and influential writing. "In the pages that follow I shall bring forward proof that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that, if that procedure is employed, every dream reveals itself as a psychical structure which has a meaning and which can be inserted at an assignable point in the mental activities of waking life." (The Interpretation of Dreams )
Sigmund Freud exchanged letters with many leading intellectuals of his time. This is a letter to the playwright Arthur Schnitzler, a trained physician like Freud.
June 8, 1922
Dear Dr. Schnitzler
In your kind letter you suggested the possibility of a meeting or visit so that we might have the opportunity to chat while, as you hint, there is still time to do so. I look forward to this, without making any specific plans for these hours.
May I propose that you simply share supper with us one evening next week? We being: my wife and my daughter, whom you have already met, along with myself. No one else will be there. As I am at work during the day until 8 p.m. and have several regular evening appointments, I must make so bold as to make certain suggestions. I can offer you the choice of the 12th (Monday), 13th (Tuesday) and 16th (Friday), if said week and meeting place are indeed convenient for you. Having happened to hear that you have stayed in Vienna, and given that I myself am leaving town on the 29th of the month, I am writing earlier than your letter would have entitled me to do.
Carl Gustav Jung (1875 – 1961). Jung was involved with psychoanalysis from 1906 on. He and Freud visited one another several times. Jung founded the Swiss local group of the International Psycho-analytical Association and in 1910 was elected President of the IPA, a post from which he resigned in 1914 and left the Association that same year and established his own school. From then on, the Jungian direction described itself as “Analytic Psychology”.
"In favour of Jung were his exceptional talents, the contributions he had already made to psycho-analysis, his independent position and the impression of assured energy which his personality conveyed. In addition to this, he seemed ready to enter into a friendly relationship with me and for my sake to give up certain racial prejudices which he had previously permitted himself." (On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, 1914)
Sándor Ferenczi (1873 – 1933). Budapest, 1913. To his honoured teacher Professor Freud, his grateful S. Ferenczi. (Dedication) Ferenczi was the leading representative of psychoanalysis in Hungary. With Freud, who particularly valued Ferenczi’s works, he enjoyed a close friendship as is evidenced by their extensive correspondence. Ferenczi was a member of the “Committee”.
In 1909, Freud travelled to the USA together with Ferenczi and Jung to give lectures in German in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the opening of Clark University.
Group photograph in front of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
left to right, seated: Sigmund Freud, G. Stanley Hall (president of Clark University), C.G. Jung; standing: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sándor Ferenczi.
Freud with the secretaries of the Royal Society on 23rd. June 1938. The delegation brought the Honorary Register of the Society so that he could enter his name, as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin had done earlier. Freud was absolutely delighted at being honoured in this way. "What pleased me most was the visit of the two secretaries from the Royal Society who brought the sacred book of the Society for me to sign, since a fresh indisposition (bladder trouble) prevents me from going out. They left a facsimile of the book with me and if you were here I could show you the signatures, from I. Newton to Charles Darwin. Good company!" (To Arnold Zweig, 28th. June 1938)
Sigmund and Martha Freud in the garden of the house in Maresfield Gardens, London, September 1939. "But I am more than eighty-three years old, thus actually overdue, and there is really nothing left for me but to follow your poem’s advice: Wait, wait." (To Albrecht Schaeffer, 19th. September 1939) - Sigmund Freud died on September 23, 1939, a few days after this picture was taken