Olga Umansky, MLIS, is a librarian and archivist of the Hanns Sachs Library at BPSI. Her remarks below originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2021 issue of the library newsletter, which can be read here.

Daniela Finzi, Research Director at the Freud Museum in Vienna, contacted our archives to request several of Grete Bibring’s guest lists and photographs from the Edward Bibring photograph collection to showcase these materials at the special exhibit Organized Escape – Survival in Exile. Viennese Psychoanalysis 1938 and Beyond, opening in Vienna on November 11, 2021. The upcoming exhibit will focus on the escape of Jewish members of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society at the time of Anschluss. According to the flyer, curators intend to show the expulsion of Jews from Vienna, which Austrian writer Peter Wiebel notably called the “Expulsion of Reason,” in the context of the history of psychoanalysis and in connection to modern day refugee movements and xenophobia. Check the exhibit web site for more information.

Grete Bibring, early BPSI member, revered teacher, and first female professor at Harvard Medical School, kept notes on her dinner parties for fifty years (1927-1977) – from those of her youth in Vienna, through those given during her short stay in London after fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria, and finally adding those she hosted in Boston where the family settled in 1940. Many of her menus and guest lists were first published in Grete Bibring: A Culinary Biography (BPSI, 2015). Her notes on who she invited and what she served indicate her continued sense of order in a life disrupted by war, emigration, change of language, and power struggles.

Grete’s husband, Edward Bibring, another BPSI member from Freud’s close circle in Vienna, was the editor of the Internationale Zeitschrift für
Psychoanalyse and a passionate photographer. Using his inverted camera, he managed to take very personal photographs of his fellow psychoanalysts often at early psychoanalytic congresses in Europe. These photographs were first discovered in our BPSI Archives by librarian and photographer, Vivien Goldman. The images with accompanying biographical sketches by Sanford Gifford were published in Edward Bibring Photographs the Psychoanalysts of his Time, 1932-1938 (Psychosozial-Verlag, 2005).

Both books will be featured at the Freud Museum in Vienna Organized Escape – Survival in Exile exhibit. These publications have sparked the interest of many historians. Some photos by Edward are the only known images of certain analysts. They ended up republished in various reference sources. The online dictionary of women psychoanalysts, for example, uses nine photographs from the Bibring collection. Archival researchers keep identifying previously unknown colleagues in the Bibring group photos, adding clarifications and new facts to the early psychoanalysts’ biographies.

Olga Umansky can be contacted by email here.


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