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100 Years Ago Today: Freud Arrives in America

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideAugust 29, 2009

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"The thought of America does not seem to matter to me, but I am looking forward very much to our journey together." – Sigmund Freud, 1909

Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the day that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung arrived in the United States. Freud was invited to speak at the 20th anniversary of Clark University by American psychologist G. Stanley Hall. Initially, Freud declined the invitation on the grounds that he simply could not afford to abandon his works for the three weeks it would take to attend the event. Hall made a second request, this time offering to pay Freud (a total of $714.60) to give a series of five lectures on different theories of psychoanalysis. This time, Freud accepted.

Freud in America
Sigmund Freud (bottom left) at Clark University during his first and only trip to America. Front Row: Freud, G. Stanley Hall, C.J. Jung. Back Row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi.

During his time in America, Freud forged a friendship with a Harvard professor of neurology named James Jackson Putnam. Putnam would later go on to become the first president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. While the trip served as Freud's first and only visit to the United States, his influence on individuals such as Putnam helped establish psychoanalytic theories in the American consciousness.

After the trip, Freud wrote, "In Europe I felt as though I were despised; but over there I found myself received by the foremost men as an equal.”

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