Zerka T. Moreno papers
The Zerka T. Moreno papers, 1930-2010 (inclusive), 1957-2000 (bulk) are the product of Moreno's teaching, therapy, administrative, professional, and writing activities throughout her career as a psychotherapist specializing in the fields of group psychotherapy and psychodrama. The materials result from her experience leading workshops, seminars, and trainings throughout the second half of the twentieth century in numerous countries throughout the world, including the United States, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Russia, and Japan, among others, as well as her experience teaching and advising students at the Moreno Institute in Beacon, New York, as well as those studying psychodrama at institutions worldwide.
- 1930-2010 (inclusive)
- Majority of material found within 1957-2000
- Moreno, Zerka T. (Zerka Toeman) (Person)
Language of Materials
Papers are in English,German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Israeli,Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Czech.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research. Some restrictions apply (see below).
Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.
Access to personnel and patient information is restricted for 80 years from the date of creation. These restrictions appear in Series I and V. Researchers may apply for access to restricted records. Consult Public Services for further information.
Access to electronic records in this collection (as found in Series I and VI) is also subject to the above restrictions. Additionally, access is premised on the availability of a computer station, requisite software, and/or the ability of Public Services staff to review and/or print out records of interest in advance of an on-site visit.
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.
Extent25.4 cubic feet (23 records center cartons, 1 half letter size document box, 1 half legal size document box, 2 oversized boxes)
9.78 Gigabytes (electronic records on network storage)
0.2 cubic feet (unprocessed papers in 1 half letter size document box)
The Zerka T. Moreno papers, 1930-2010 (inclusive), 1957-2000 (bulk) are the product of Moreno's teaching, therapy, administrative, professional, and writing activities throughout her career. The materials result from her experience leading workshops, seminars, and trainings throughout the second half of the twentieth century in numerous countries throughout the world, including the United States, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Russia, and Japan, among others, as well as her experience teaching and advising students at the Moreno Institute in Beacon, New York and as an adjunct professor at New York University in the 1950s. The papers are arranged in six series: I. Workshops and trainings records, 1957-2000; II. Collected writings and publications, 1929-2000; III. Professional activities records, 1954-2000; IV. Correspondence, 1945-2000; V. Moreno Institute records, 1962-1997; and VI. Personal papers, 1930-2010.
Workshops and trainings records (Series I) constitute the bulk of the collection. These consist of records relating to Zerka T. Moreno's professional activities leading group psychotherapy sessions and providing trainings to those in the psychology field with interest in learning to lead psychodrama sessions, involving role reversal and dramatic improvisation. The majority of the papers relate to arranging travel and scheduling workshops and trainings, mostly for educational purposes. Some files include brochures and programs, travel itineraries and tickets, as well as related correspondence. Includes recordings of psychodrama workshops led by Zerka T. Moreno and interviews and speeches given at workshops and trainings, on VHS, U-Matic, and Open-Reel videocassettes, as well as audiocassettes, as well as one DVD. Further itineraries, travel plans and documents, and workshop-related notes have been imaged onto network storage from nine 3.5” floppy disks.
Collected writings and publications (Series II) consists of drafts and published works on the topics of psychodrama, group psychotherapy, sociometry, role reversal in therapy, and related topics, some by J.L. (Jacob Levy) Moreno and Zerka T. Moreno. Additional papers are by colleagues and associates, as well as students of the Moreno Institute and those being advised (at times unofficially) by Zerka T. Moreno while studying psychodrama-related subjects at international universities. These topics include psychodrama theory and practice; the relationship between dramatic improvisation and therapy, trauma and psychotherapy, and therapists and cosmology; the myth of the fallen hero; the psychodramatic mirror; psychodrama with adolescents; the evolution of psychotherapy; and action modality psychotherapy, among many other psychodrama and sociometry-related topics. The papers are often accompanied by related correspondence, and at times include notes and annotations. Professional activities records (Series III) include materials relating to Zerka T. Moreno's work with various professional organization, including leading workshops and teaching seminars at conferences as well as administering the organizations. These organizations include the International Congress of Psychology, International Congress of Group Psychotherapy, the International Association for Group Psychotherapy, the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, the British Psychodrama Association, and the Federacao Brasiliera de Psicodrama (Brazilian Federation of Psychodrama), among others.
Correspondence (Series IV) includes mainly professional correspondence, relating to her workshop and travel schedule as well as the study of the theory and practice of psychodrama. Some materials include correspondence relating to publications, as well as some personal information, newspaper clippings, and brochures. Moreno Institute records (Series IV) relate primarily to the administration of the Moreno Institute in Beacon, New York, including materials relating to its state and national governance and establishment, employment, as well as the sale of the property in the early 1980s. Personal papers (Series VI) include fashion designs and sketches created by Moreno during her time in London in the 1930s and later in life; awards, diplomas, and a customized belt buckle celebrating both Zerka and J.L. Morenos' psychodrama work; personal and professional photographs; and audio recordings of both Zerka and J. L. Moreno. Some personal papers relate directly to J. L. Moreno and his work and legacy. Additionally includes audio recordings of both Zerka T. and J.L. Moreno.
Throughout the collection, the International Association for Group Psychotherapy is listed as "IAGP", American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama is listed as "ASGPP", and the Federacao Brasiliera de Psicodrama is listed as "FEBRAP". Because of the international nature of Zerka T. Moreno's professional career as a teacher and advisor, many of the records are in languages other than English. Some records are in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Japanese, Swiss German, Israeli, Swedish, Romanian, Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Czech.
Zerka T. (Zerka Toeman) Moreno (1917-2016) was a psychotherapist specializing in psychodrama and an adjunct professor at New York University, New York City, New York in the 1950s. Working with her husband, J. L. (Jacob Levy) Moreno (1889-1974), Zerka T. Moreno is known for her involvement in developing theories and methods for psychodramatic therapy. As co-founder of the Sociometric Institute and the Pyschodramatic Institute, both in New York City, and later as a leader of the Moreno Institute, Beacon, New York, with J.L. Moreno, Zerka T. Moreno provided psychodrama therapy to patients, taught workshops in the treatment across the United States and internationally, and was the author of dozens of articles and books on the topic of psychodrama.
Zerka Toeman Moreno was born on 1917 June 13 in Amsterdam. She attended secondary school in the Netherlands before moving to London, England, in 1932 where she attended technical school. She planned to become an artist or fashion designer, with a specific interest in designing scenery and costumes for stage productions. Moreno relocated to the United States in 1939, shortly after the beginning of World War II. Her sister suffered from mental illness, and in 1941, Moreno arranged for her to move to Beacon, New York, for treatment with J.L. Moreno at the Beacon Hill Sanatorium. That same year, Zerka T. Moreno became J.L. Moreno's student following her sister's treatment, working as his private secretary in Beacon to earn the scholarship he offered her. When he opened the Sociometric Institute in New York City, she became his research assistant and relocated to New York City; this later became the Moreno Institute (and was eventually relocated to Beacon). In 1947, the two founded the journal Sociatry, which later became known as Group Psychotherapy, which published research regarding the social sciences of sociatry, psychodrama, and sociometry. During the 1950s, both Zerka and J.L. Moreno served as adjunct professors at New York University, teaching courses about psychodrama. She was the co-founder of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and the American Society for Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, and spent much of her career traveling for psychotherapy and psychodrama workshops.
After J.L. Moreno's death in 1974, Zerka T. Moreno continued to work as a psychotherapist, studying psychodrama and exploring new questions regarding surplus reality. With Merlyn S. Pitzele (1911-1995), she continued to attend to patients and offer teaching sessions in Beacon and New York City as well as numerous American and international locations, including Spain, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, and Finland, among others. In 1996, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, and in 2013, after breaking a hip, moved into a nursing home in 2013 in Rockville, Maryland. She continued to see patients from her bed at the nursing home until shortly before her death in 2016.
Zerka T. Moreno was a proponent and teacher of the area of psychological treatment known as psychodrama. Psychodrama therapy is a form of therapy in which individuals participate in role playing, reenacting real-life experiences either as themselves or as others who have been affected by their behavior. The Morenos believed psychodrama allowed for new expressions of oneself and the integration of the inner and outer realities of a person, which could lead to psychological healing. Zerka T. Moreno was also interested in surplus reality, which is the concept of putting oneself into another person's reality. Role reversal is a surplus reality technique, which translates into psychodrama and its methods for considering multiple realities. She carried out innumerable private teaching workshops and seminars on how to lead group psychotherapy sessions, and also worked with patients extensively.
Zerka T. and J.L. Moreno were married in 1949. They had one son together, Jonathon Moreno (1952-), who later became a bioethicist, philosopher, and historian, working as the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor and Professor of Medical Ethics and the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Zerka T. Moreno was also the stepmother to J.L. Moreno's daughter from a previous marriage, Regina Moreno (1939-). She died on 2016 September 19, in Rockland, Maryland.
Series and Subseries in the Collection
- I. Workshops and trainings records, 1957-2000
- II. Collected writings and publications, 1929-2000
- III. Professional activities records, 1954-2000
- IV. Correspondence, 1945-2000
- V. Moreno Institute records, 1962-1997
- VI. Personal papers, 1930-2010
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was gifted to the Center for the History of Medicine by Zerka Moreno in 2000; and Edward Schreiber and Jonathan Moreno in 2017.
- Accession number 2001-009. Zerka T. Moreno. 2000 July 28.
- Accession number 2018-009. Edward Schreiber and Jonathan Moreno. 2017 July 12.
- Accession number 2018-076 Edward Schreiber and Jonathan Moreno. 2017 September
- Books were separated from the collection. Some were retained in the rare books collection at the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
Processed by Betts Coup, 2017 September.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access. Items were, where necessary, photocopied to acid-free paper. Folder titles were transcribed from the originals. All electronic media (as found in Series I and VI) were imaged using Access Data's FTK and a Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device. Electronic records were then transferred to secure network storage. Electronic files that could be opened were sampled for content, however, researchers should be aware that not every file in the collection could be opened and assessed. Files for which specific software was needed, but not available to staff at the time of processing, were not reviewed. Electronic media that could not be imaged were retained (and are noted in a local inventory), and any media determined to be blank were discarded. Audio visual materials (as found in Series I and VI) were flagged for inclusion in the Center's AV survey. The collection was numbered MC 115 under a previous system, and was updated to H MS c163 during processing in 2017.
In 2017 November, an additional accrual (Acc. 2018-076) was processed and added to the collection. The accrual consists of audio visual materials, and have been flagged for inclusion in the Center's AV survey. The materials from the accrual are listed at the end of Series I and VI.
- Moreno, Zerka T. Papers, 1930-2010 (inclusive), 1957-2000 (bulk) : Finding Aid. H MS c163
- Betts Coup
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- The processing of the Zerka T. Moreno Papers was funded by The Zerka T. Moreno Foundation, the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, and The American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy.
- EAD ID
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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