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COLLECTION Identifier: H MS C159

Grete L. Bibring papers


The Grete L. Bibring papers describe the early history of the influence of the Vienna School of psychoanalysis, (as well as Bibring herself), on psychoanalysis in Boston specifically, and in the United States, generally. The collection chronicles both her personal and professional life and work, and includes correspondence, research studies, raw data, statistics, writings, lecture notes and outlines.


  • 1882-1977


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Access requires advance notice. Access to personal and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I, III, IV, and V. Folders containing patient information in their titles have been redacted in this finding aid to protect patient confidentiality. These folders are marked with [name redacted]. The end of the restriction period is noted with each restricted folder. Consult Public Services for further information. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records.

The Grete L. Bibring Papers are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in the collection. Researchers are responsible for identifying and contacting any third-party copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish. For more information on the Center's use, publication, and reproduction policies, view our Reproductions and Use Policy.


45.6 cubic feet ((35 record cartons, 22 document boxes, and 7 half document boxes, 1 oversized box, 1 card file box, and 2 audio-visual boxes).)

The Grete L. Bibring papers describe the early history of the influence of the Vienna School of psychoanalysis, (as well as Bibring herself), on psychoanalysis in Boston, Mass. specifically, and in the United States, generally. Bibring's research and writings relating to psychoanalysis, and records documenting her work as a psychoanalyst, lecturer, and administrator comprise the bulk of the collection, but there are also limited records about her personal and family life. The collection includes correspondence, research studies, raw data, statistics, writings, lecture notes and outlines. Bibring corresponded and lectured widely, and kept copious notes on both the lectures she gave as well as the ones she attended. She also kept copious notes on research activity, most notably "The Pregnancy Project," a longitudinal research project on the psychological processes in pregnancy and of the earliest mother-child relationship.

Oversized items are stored separately in boxes 59 and 69. Series I, III, IV, and V contain personnel and patient information that is restricted for 80 years. The end of the restriction period is noted with each folder. Audiotapes of a class Bibring taught at Radcliffe, as well as audiotapes of her pregnancy research are stored in box 53. Photographs are filed in their original folders, a note has been made in folder titles.

Biographical Note

Grete L. Bibring, (1899-1977), noted psychoanalyst, was one of the members of the "second generation" of Freudian Scholars, and played a leading role in the integration of psychiatry with general patient care. Bibring served as head of the psychiatry department at the Beth Israel Hospital, from 1946-1965 as the first woman head of a clinical department, and in 1961 was appointed Harvard Medical School's first woman full professor.

Born to a non-practicing Jewish family in Vienna, Austria, Bibring received her MD from the University of Vienna in 1924. There, she became captivated by Freud's theories and joined Freud's Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. In 1922, she married Edward Bibring, a fellow psychoanalytic student. The marriage produced two children, Thomas and George.

From 1933-1938, she worked as a training analyst and instructor at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. In 1938, she and her family left Vienna for London with Sigmund and Anna Freud in advance of the Nazi occupation of Austria. The Bibrings soon emigrated to Boston, Mass. in 1941.

In Boston, Bibring's career soon flourished. She worked as a special lecturer on psychoanalytic psychology at the Simmons College School of Social Work from 1942-1955. In 1946, she was appointed head of the department of psychiatry at the Beth Israel Hospital, the first woman head of a clinical department at Harvard Medical School. Bibring continued in that role until 1955, when she was appointed psychiatrist- in-chief. She remained there until her retirement in 1965.

Bibring also held leadership roles in several other organizations and professional associations in which she was involved. She continued in her role as a training analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and in 1955, she was elected President. In 1962, she was elected president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In 1968 Bibring was selected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was affiliated with numerous other organizations, including the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Brandeis University, and the International Psycho-Analytic Association, until her death in 1977.

Series and Subseries in the Collection

  1. I. Personal and Family Records, 1929-1977.
  2. II. Correspondence, 1933-1977.
  3. ___ A. Earliest Correspondence, 1933-1945
  4. ___ B. Unfiled Personal Correspondence, 1948-1971.
  5. ___ C. Condolence Cards (Edward Bibring), 1959.
  6. ___D. Alphabetical Files 1-4, 1938-1976.
  7. ______ 1. Alphabetical File 1, 1938-1976.
  8. ______ 2. Alphabetical File 2, 1949-1976.
  9. ______ 3. Alphabetical File 3, 1949-1976.
  10. ______ 4. Alphabetical File 4, 1949-1976.
  11. ___ E. Partly Professional Correspondence, 1951-1973.
  12. ___ F. Partly Professional Correspondence, 1951-1955.
  13. ___ G. Professional Correspondence, 1958-1964.
  14. ___ H. Professional References, 1956-1977.
  15. III. Psychoanalytic Work, Affiliations, Committees, Consultations and Lectures, 1939-1977.
  16. ___ A. Consultations and Lectures, 1939-1946.
  17. ___ B: Consultations and Lectures, 1948-1954.
  18. ___ C: Consultations, Lectures, and Committees, 1952-1964.
  19. ___ D. Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Hospital Records, 1951-1965.
  20. ___E. Affiliation, Committees and Lectures, 1949-1977.
  21. ______ 1. File #1, 1949-1975.
  22. ______ 2. File #2, 1949-1977.
  23. ___ F. Radcliffe College/Institute, 1965-9174.
  24. ___G. Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, 1947-1975.
  25. ______ 1. Old Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Records, 1947-1954.
  26. ______ 2. Records, 1955-1959.
  27. ______ 3. Records, 1959-1969.
  28. ___H. American Psychoanalytic Association, 1948-1972.
  29. ______ 1. Early Records, 1948-1954.
  30. ______ 2. Records, 1954-1957.
  31. ______ 3. Records, 1957-1968.
  32. ______ 4. Meeting Minutes, 1958-1963.
  33. ______ 5. President's Records, 1961-1963
  34. ______ 6. Records, 1961-1963.
  35. ______ 7. Former President's records, 1963-1972.
  36. ___I. International Psychoanalytic Association, 1948-1968.
  37. ______ 1. International Psycho-analytic Society records, 1948-1951
  38. ______ 2. 17th Congress of the International Psycho-analytical Association, Amsterdam, 1951
  39. ______ 3. International Psychoanalytic Society Records, 1961-1968.
  40. IV. Lectures and Conferences, 1926-1972.
  41. ___ A. Early Lectures and Notes, 1926-1945.
  42. ___ B. Lectures and Conferences, 1941-1972 (1940s-1950s bulk).
  43. ___ C. Lectures Given to Medical Professionals and Students, 1942-1971 (1950s-1960s bulk).
  44. ___ D. Lectures and Conferences, 1959-1970.
  45. ___ E. Psychoanalytic Teaching at Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 1951-1971.
  46. ___ F: Discussions on Psychoanalytic Literature and Topics, 1942-1964.
  47. V. Research Records, 1942-1972.
  48. ___A: Records of Short Research Projects, 1942-1974.
  49. ______ 1. Multi-Disciplinary Research on Aging and Arteriosclerosis Psychiatric Service, 1951-1962.
  50. ______ 2. Radcliffe Research Records, 1965-1974.
  51. ______ 3. Concentration Camp Research Records, 1949.
  52. ______ 4. Beth Israel Hospital Research Records, 1951-1961.
  53. ______ 5: Research on Children Records, 1942-1957.
  54. ______ 6. Patient Research Conference, Beth Israel Hospital, transcripts,1948-1950.
  55. ______ 7. Family Research Records, 1941-1952.
  56. ______ 8. Food and Nutrition Records, 1942.
  57. ______ 9. Citation and Quotation Card Files.
  58. ___B. Pregnancy Project Records, 1959-1970.
  59. ______ 1. Administrative Records, Grant Records, and Notes, 1955-1961.
  60. ______ 2. Pregancy Research Conference Records and Research Data, 1957-1965.
  61. ______ 3. Administrative Records and Correspondence, 1954-1967.
  62. ______ 4. Case Histories and Patient Interview Records, 1958-1967.
  63. ______5. Publication Drafts and Notes.
  64. _________ a. Scribble Copy.
  65. _________ b. Duplicate Copy.
  66. ______ 6. Pre-natal research conferences, 1960.
  67. ______ 7. Early Drafts.
  68. ______ 8. Feeding Observations, 1958-1963.
  69. ______ 9. Administrative Records, Correspondence and Outreach, 1955-1973.
  70. ______ 10. Prenatal Appointment Records, 1951-1960.
  71. ______ 11. Methodology, Analysis and Writing Records, 1955-1962.
  72. VI. Reprints and Pamphlets, 1882-1976

Related Collections in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

  1. Papers of Edward Bibring [H MS c283].
  2. Papers of Marian C. Putnam, 1908-1970 (bulk).

Related Records at other institutions

There are four collections that contain Bibring material at the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.:

  1. Papers of Anna Freud, 1880-1995 (bulk 1946-1982)
  2. Papers of Berta Bornstein, 1933-1971 (bulk 1945-1970)
  3. Papers of Princess Marie Bonaparte, 1889-1961 (bulk 1924-1960)
  4. Papers of Edward and Grete L. Bibring, 1936-1953

There is raw data and analysis from "The Psychological Aspects of Pregnancy" at the Henry A. Murray Research Archive, Harvard University.

There are three manuscript collections at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Boston, Mass.:

Resources on the History of Grete L. Bibring.

  • Compiled by Sanford Gifford and Ann Menashi, In Memoriam, Grete L. and Edward Bibring: Memorial Addresses and Catalogue of the Edward and Grete L. Bibring Collection, Privately printed by the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

Processing Information

Processed by Giordana Mecagni

Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered the collection, retaining the original order of the material as closely as possible, and in places, reconstructing Bibring's original filing system. Bibring filed most of her papers using multiple alphabetical desk files. For some of the series, it is unclear what the distinction is between material put in multiple filing systems. Whenever possible, additional descriptive information was added for folder and series titles. The collection was then divided into series and re-housed. Processing staff discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine.

Bibring, Grete L. (Grete Lehner), 1899-1977. Papers, 1882-1977: A Finding Aid.
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Language of description
The Grete L. Bibring Papers have been processed and made available with generous support from Joseph B. Martin, Dean of Harvard Medical School, to the Archives for Women in Medicine project.

Repository Details

Part of the Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine) Repository

The Center for the History of Medicine in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine is one of the world's leading resources for the study of the history of health and medicine. Our mission is to enable the history of medicine and public health to inform healthcare, the health sciences, and the societies in which they are embedded.

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