Object of the Month: September

Letter to Paul Federn

 
On Wednesday, 3 May 1905, at 8.30 pm, a small circle gathered, as was the custom, at number 19 Berggasse over cigars and black coffee to discuss the new field of psychoanalysis. The members of the “Wednesday Psychological Society” who had assembled that evening composed a message of congratulation for their colleague – unnamed, but very probably Paul Federn – on his recent wedding: Federn, a doctor and Social Democrat, had married Wilma Bauer at the end of April.

The letter of congratulation is also interesting in that it reveals that David Josef Bach and Adolf Häutler, who were previously only counted as members of the Wednesday Society as of 1906 – when the Society began to take minutes and keep records of its members – were already taking part in the meetings in 1905.

 

[Alfred] Adler
[Adolf] Häutler
[Max] Kahane
Max Graf
Dr. Wilhelm Stekel
D[avid Josef] Bach
Dr Freud
send their
dear colleague
who has quickly
won the sympathies
of the circle
the kindest
felicitations on his
marriage to his former
apartment, as they do not know his
current whereabouts.

 

The Psychological Wednesday Society founded by Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Stekel, Alfred Adler, Rudolf Reitler and Max Kahane in 1902, was converted into the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society (WPV) in 1908; the society was officially established in 1910. The WPV continued to exist in this form until its dissolution in March 1938. It resumed its work in April 1946 and remains the largest psychoanalytic society in Austria today.

Paul Federn, who joined the Psychological Wednesday Society in 1903, was one of Freud’s first and most loyal followers. He was particularly interested in the application of psychoanalysis in social work and ego psychology. One of the first members of the Wednesday Society, he held the office of auditor of the later-to-be WPV, serving as vice-president in the Society’s last decade. In 1938, like many other scientists of Jewish descent, he was forced to emigrate. He died in New York in 1950.

 

Photo: Letter Freud to Paul Federn (c) Sigmund Freud Privatstiftung
 

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Currently closed.

Open every day (Monday – Sunday)
10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.

Arrival

Address:

Berggasse 19
1090 Vienna
Austria

Subway:

U2 Schottentor, U4 Roßauer Lände

Tram:

D Schlickgasse, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42 Schwarzspanierstraße

Bus:

40 A Berggasse