1. Sigmund Freud Was the Oldest of Eight Children
Freud was born as Sigismund Schlomo Freud on May 6, 1856. His father Jakob was a 41-year-old wool merchant who already had two children from a previous marriage. Freud's mother, Amalia, was twenty years younger than her husband. The failure of his father's business forced the Freud family to move from their home in Freiberg, Moravia to Vienna.
Freud has seven siblings, yet he often described himself as his mother's special favorite - her "golden Siggie." I have found that people who know that they are preferred or favored by their mothers give evidence in their lives of a peculiar self-reliance and an unshakable optimism which often bring actual success to their possessors," Freud once suggested (Grubin, 2002).
2. Sigmund Freud Was the Founder of Psychoanalysis
The Interpretation of Dreams
3. Freud Was Initially an Advocate and User of Cocaine
4. Sigmund Freud Developed the Use of "Talk Therapy"
Freud's Therapy Couch / Image courtesy Konstantin Binder
5. Freud's Daughter, Anna, Was Also a Famous and Influential Psychologist
Anna Freud with her father / Image courtesy Library of Congress
6. Freud Became a Doctor In Order to Marry the Woman He Loved
Dr. Freud in 1907
When Freud was 26, he fell madly in love with a 21-year-old woman names Martha Bernays and they became engaged two months later. As a poor student still living with his parents, Freud's science lab job did not pay enough to support a family. "My sweet girl, it only pains me to think I should be so powerless to prove my love for you," Freud wrote to Martha.
Six months after they met, Freud gave up his scientific career and become a doctor. He spent three years training at the Vienna General Hospital and was rarely able to see his fiance who had moved to Germany. After four years of waiting, Freud and Bernays were married on September 14, 1886. The two went on to have six children.
7. Freud Probably Never Really Said "Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar"
Freud Holding a Cigar
8. Sigmund Freud Visited the United States Only Once in His Life
Freud in America
In 1909, American psychologist G. Stanley Hall invited Sigmund Freud to talk about psychoanalysis at Clark University. While he initially declined the offer, Freud was eventually persuaded by Hall's persistence. Freud traveled to America with his colleagues Carl Jung and Sandor Ferenczi.
After meeting up with A.A. Brill and Ernst Jones, the group spent several days sightseeing in New York before traveling to Clark University where Freud delivered a series of five lectures on the history and rise of psychoanalysis. "As I stepped onto the platform," Freud described, "it seemed like the realization of some incredible daydream: Psychoanalysis was no longer a product of delusion--it had become a valuable part of reality" (Wallace, 1975).
9. Sigmund Freud Was Forced to Leave Vienna by the Nazis
10. Sigmund Freud Had More Than 30 Surgeries to Treat Mouth Cancer
Freud Later in Life
Freud had been a heavy cigar smoker all his life. In 1939, after his cancer had been deemed inoperable, Freud asked his doctor to help him commit suicide. The doctor administered three separate doses of morphine and Freud died September 23, 1939.
Grubin, D. (2002). Young Dr. Freud: A film by David Grubin. Devillier Donegan Enterprises.
Wallace, I. (1975). "Dr. Freud Visits America. The People's Almanac.