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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 578

Papers of Helene Deutsch, 1889-2008


Correspondence, writings, drafts of manuscripts, datebooks, and photographs of Helene Deutsch, activist in the Polish socialist movement before World War I, student of Sigmund Freud, medical doctor and psychoanalyst in Europe and the United States.


  • 1889-2008

Language of Materials

Materials in English, German, Polish.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted, except for items removed from #5.16 which are closed until January 2, 2048, and #10.8 which is closed until January 1, 2036.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Helene Deutsch is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


7.5 linear feet ((18 file boxes) plus 13 photograph folders, 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder)
These papers include personal and professional correspondence; writings; notes and drafts for publications and lectures by Helene Deutsch, foremost for her own biography but also on various scientific topics; personal documents; publications by other scholars on Helene Deutsch and on psychoanalytic topics in general; and photographs. The folder headings were supplied by the processor. Headings in quotations are those of the family. Additional material received between 2011 and 2015 (accession numbers 2011-M71, 2012-M163, 2015-M40, 2015-M44) were added to the collection in October 2016. They are represented by Series VI., Addenda, 1889-2008 (PD.2-PD.4, PD.1f, PD.1f+, PD.5-PD.13, 6.1-6.6, F+D.1, 6.7-18.7). All other files remain in the same order.

Series I, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL, 1964-1982, n.d. (#1.1-2.2), contains some personal documents, nursing reports on Helene Deutsch's physical condition during the last weeks of her life, telephone and address books, a few documents regarding her financial resources, bills for nursing and medical treatment, and a number of handwritten poems, probably by her husband Felix.

Series II, LETTERS, POSTCARDS AND TELEGRAMS, 1922-1989, n.d. (#2.3-2.11), contains professional and personal correspondence of Helene Deutsch, including one telegram from her husband and one letter from one of her grandsons, a letter from Karl Abraham and a photocopy of a letter from Anna Freud; also letters of condolence and other letters to her son Martin and her daughter-in-law Suzanne.

Series III, SCIENTIFIC WORK AND PUBLICATIONS, 1944-1976, n.d. (#2.12-5.12), includes mostly handwritten notes in German, English and sometimes in Polish or shorthand for her autobiography, very often in several versions; typed drafts for her autobiography, ordered by chapters and in several versions in German and English; typed versions of the autobiography with corrections and supplements in German and English; typed and handwritten lectures and notes for other publications or lectures; and reviews of Helene Deutsch's books.

Series IV, PUBLICATIONS AND SPEECHES ON HELENE DEUTSCH, HERMAN LIEBERMAN AND ON PSYCHOANALYTIC TOPICS, 1930-1990, n.d. (#5.13-5.18), contains articles on and tributes to Helene Deutsch; correspondence with her, Martin and Suzanne Deutsch regarding publications about her life and her scientific work; publications on various topics many with personal dedications; and reviews of Paul Roazen's Deutsch biography.

Series V, BOOKS, BROCHURES, MISCELLANEOUS, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1930-1992, n.d. (#5.19-5.20, PD.1), contains a book with caricatures of psychoanalysts, a brochure, family photographs and miscellaneous material, including a photocopy of a typed transcription of a letter from Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess.

Series VI, ADDENDA, 1889-2008 (PD.2-PD.4, PD.1f, PD.1f+, PD.5-PD.13, 6.1-6.6, F+D.1, 6.7-18.7) contains photographs, biographical and genealogical material, personal and professional correspondence, datebooks and notebooks, writings by Helene and Felix Deutsch and others. These addenda were given to the library in 2011 and 2012 and following the death of Suzanne Deutsch in 2015, and were added to the collection in October 2016. It includes substantial family correspondence that document the roles that Helene ("Hala") and Felix ("Uhu" or Gruhu") played in the lives of Martin and Suzanne and their children. Suzanne and Helene wrote regularly and there are descriptions of Suzanne and Martin's life in New Mexico while he worked on the Manhattan Project, her infertility treatments and miscarriages prior to the birth of Peter in 1946, the family's stays in France in 1954 and in Rome in 1960-1961, discussions of other travel, child rearing, etc. Professional correspondence includes colleagues such as Karl Abraham, Sigmund Freud, Kurt and Ruth Eissler, Sanford Gifford, and Lucie Jessner. The sequence of alphabetical correspondence represents Deutsch's original filing system.


Helene (Rosenbach) Deutsch, psychoanalyst, teacher, and writer, was born on October 9, 1884, in Przemysl, Galicia (Austria-Hungary), the youngest daughter of Regina and Wilhelm Rosenbach; her father was a prominent lawyer. At age sixteen, Helene Deutsch fell in love with Herman Lieberman, a lawyer and leader of the Polish Social Democratic Party, and became an ardent political activist, organizing strikes and campaigning for the rights of women to education and employment. In 1907 she followed Herman Lieberman to Vienna where he was elected to parliament, and enrolled in the Medical School of the University of Vienna. She was soon absorbed in the study of medicine. In 1912, shortly before her graduation, she married Dr. Felix Deutsch, an internist. Their son Martin was born in 1917. During World War I, Helene Deutsch gained clinical experience in psychiatry at the Wagner-Jauregg Clinic in Vienna. She was the first of Sigmund Freud's women students to undergo analysis with him, and she became a member of his circle of friends and colleagues. In 1923, afflicted by depression, she left her husband in Austria and went to Berlin to be analyzed by Karl Abraham. A respected teacher and diagnostician, she founded the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute in 1924, and was its director for nine years. With the rise of Hitler, the Deutschs left Austria in 1934 and came to Boston, where Helene Deutsch resumed private practice and was an active member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society. Helene Deutsch was the author of The Psychology of Women, a two-volume study (1944, 1945); Neuroses and Character Types: Clinical Psychoanalytic Studies (1965); Selected Problems of Adolescence (1967); and Confrontations With Myself (1973), an autobiography. She died in Cambridge on March 29, 1982. For a detailed account of her life, see Helene Deutsch, A Psychoanalyst's Life, by Paul Roazen (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1985).

Martin Deutsch completed his secondary schooling in Zurich. After the family moved to the United States, he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics in 1941. In 1939 he married Suzanne Zeitlin, a native of Boston who had just graduated from Simmons College with a master's degree in social work. They had two children: Peter and Nicholas. Beginning in 1943, he worked in Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project. In 1946 he returned to MIT, joining his Los Alamos colleagues Victor Weisskopf and Bruno Rossi. He was best known for measuring and confirming the existence of positronium. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2002. Suzanne Deutsch died in Cambridge in 2015.


The collection is arranged in six series:
  1. Series I. Biographical and personal, 1964-1982, n.d. (#1.1-2.2)
  2. Series II. Letters, postcards and telegrams, 1922-1989, n.d. (#2.3-2.11)
  3. Series III. Scientific work and publications, 1944-1976, n.d. (#2.12-5.12)
  4. Series IV. Publications and speeches on Helene Deutsch, Herman Lieberman and on psychoanalytic topics, 1930-1990, n.d. (#5.13-5.18)
  5. Series V. Books, brochures, miscellaneous, photographs, 1930-1992, n.d. (#5.19-5.20, PD.1)
  6. Series VI. Addenda, 1889-2008 (PD.2-PD.4, PD.1f, PD.1f+, PD.5-PD.13, 6.1-6.6, F+D.1, 6.7-18.7)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 91-M199, 2001-M186, 2002-M141, 2011-M71, 2012-M163, 2015-M40, 2015-M44. Accession numbers 2011-M71, 2012-M163, 2015-M40, 2015-M44 were added in October 2016.

These papers of Helene Deutsch were given to the Schlesinger Library by her son and daughter-in-law, Martin Deutsch and Suzanne Deutsch, and by her grandsons, Peter Deutsch and Nicholas Deutsch between 1991 and 2015.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Helene Deutsch Papers, 1900-1983 (82-M143--85-M247).

Processing Information

Processed: November 2008

By: Christof Strauß

Updated and additional materials added: October 2016

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Deutsch, Helene, 1884-1982. Papers of Helene Deutsch, 1889-2008: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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