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Freud in America


"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
Freud in America

Freud at Clark University. Front Row: Freud, G. Stanley Hall, C.J. Jung. Back Row: Abraham A. Brill, Ernest Jones, Sandor Ferenczi.

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The Invitation

In 1909, Freud received an invitation from the President of Clark University, G. Stanley Hall, to give a series of lectures in America on the history of psychoanalysis. Freud initially declined the first invitation, stating that he could not afford to abandon his work for three weeks in order to visit America. Hall, however, was persistent. His second invitation included an offer to pay Freud (a sum of $714.60) in exchange for five lectures on the theories of psychoanalysis (Wallace, 1975).

Coming to America

Freud accepted Hall's second invite and sailed to America accompanied by his colleague, Dr. Sandor Ferenczi. One of Freud's other associates, Carl Jung, had also been invited to lecture at the university and the three soon chose to travel together. The trip would mark Freud's first and only time visiting America. Freud, Jung and Ferenczi spent several days sightseeing in New York with fellow Freudian disciples A.A. Brill and Ernst Jones before traveling to Clark University.

The Lectures

After arriving at Clark University, Freud was pleased to discover that Hall had introduced psychoanalysis to the school's curriculum. In a series of five lectures, Freud detailed the rise and growth of psychoanalysis. The lectures were delivered in German and were mostly extemporaneous and highly conversational. "As I stepped onto the platform," Freud later 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).
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