and The Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic
George E. Daniels, M.D.
This scholarly document is not only a fascinating and detailed account of the birth of the Association and the Center -- the first University-based psychoanalytic institute in the U.S. -- it also tells the story how the founders changed the face of American psychoanalytic oragnizational structure for good.
The history of the origins of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine is so interwoven with that of the Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research that both will be dealt with in this account. For several years prior to the first and organizing meeting of the Association in June, 1942, a great deal of dissention had been going on with a considerable number of members of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, first because of the rigidity being shown in demanding that candidates for membership in the Society conform to orthodox standards, and the generally stifling atmosphere of the meetings. This had already led to the breaking away and formation of the nucleus of a new society. The Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, under the leadership of Karen Horney. Their stand was eloquently put forth in an open letter to all members of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Clara Thompson was originally associated with this group but shortly afterward formed her own organization which became associated with the William Alanson White group of Washington.
Dr. Sandor Rado who was Educational Director of the New York Psychoanalytic Society was constantly working for higher academic standards in the training and introducing new ideas in his reformulation of Freudian psychoanalysis. Dr. Rado also had repeatedly pointed out the limitations of having and educational committee under the political influence of a Society. His stand led to considerable resentment from official quarters.
The circumstance, however, that had as much as anything to do with separating off the group that later formed the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine grew out of the investigation by a special committee of the New York Society of charges brought against one of its members for unprofessional behavior. The committee recommended censure of this member and the report came before a meeting of the full membership. Due to political maneuvering, the recommendation was defeated and the whole issue whitewashed. The disgust about this type of maneuvering was a symptom of the general dissatisfaction with and strongly political and pseudo-scientific attitude that prevailed at this time in the New York Psychoanalytic Society. This circumstance was responsible for the elaborate machinery set up by the Constitution and By-Laws to deal with such contingencies.
Excerpts from a letter drafted by Carl Binger and sent from our membership in October 1942 to the then President of the New York Psychoanalytic Association, Dr. Leonard Blumgard, a year after this fateful meeting illustrates the feeling at the time:
No longer attending the regular meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society or taking an active part in their programs, plans were made for an organization that would have regular meetings and carry on scientific interests. An organizing meeting was held at the home of Dr. David M. Levy on June 12th, 1942, to found the Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine with the following membership: Dr. Carl Binger, Dr. George E. Daniels, Dr. David M. Levy, Dr. Max Meyers, Dr. John A. P. Millet, Dr. Bela Mittleman, Dr. M. L. Oberholzer, Dr. Maria Oberholzer, and Dr. Sandor Rado. Dr. Carl Binger was elected President and Dr. George Daniels, Secretary. Viola Bernard and Nathan Ackerman were accepted for Associate Membership.
Naturally a great deal of preliminary discussion had taken place before the organizing meeting. The name of the Association and particularly the earlier inclusion of the term "psychosomatic" emphasized the membership's conviction that psychoanalysis is primarily a medical discipline. It further reflected the pioneer current investigation of medical conditions by the analytic method and underlined the end of early isolation of psychoanalysis from official medicine. It also, of course, reflected so, me of the special interests of members of the new organization.
Because of the provisions in the Constitution and By-Laws of the American Psychoanalytic Association that no more than one society or one institute could be recognized in a locality, the organization of the new association was not advertised. Various factors had led to the separation of members of this group from the New York Psychoanalytic Society and personal loyalties at the time helped to strengthen the unity of purpose. Later, one of the founding members and others who joined the Association in the early years returned actively to the New York Psychoanalytic Society, ostensibly on the basis of theoretical orientation.
In the early minutes of the Association, various activities of its members in connection with the war effort are recorded. At the second meeting held on June 23rd, 1942, at Dr. Levy's apartment, he had arranged for the association to hear a regular broadcast issued for allied propaganda purposes and he gave a short paper on war propaganda.
The American Psychoanalytic Association meeting in the spring of 1942 had been held in Boston, and the opportunity was taken to discuss informally with Karl Menninger, the incoming President, our plans for a graduate psychoanalytic training school. At various points in the correspondence between Dr. Daniels and Dr. Menninger, the unofficial nature of this exchange is emphasized. Throughout the next three years, such occasional unofficial exchanges had a great deal to do with our success in final recognition by the American of both the training school and the Association. Initially, the proposition that was put forward officially was the right to have a second training institute in a single center. The idea of a separate society would not have been countenanced by the American and was not even generally discussed.
In a letter from Dr. Daniels to Karl Menninger dated October 15th, 1942, he expressed satisfaction that Dr. Menninger felt the plans for the proposed school curriculum wise seemed sound and described for Dr. Menninger the current political situation. To quote from the letter on this latter point:
The third meeting of the APM held on October 13th, 1942, was the beginning of the regular monthly meetings. It was decided to hold them on the first Tuesday of the month. The Chairman suggested that members might bring guests, not necessarily analysts but interested psychiatrists as well. Suitable candidates, he stated, would be considered and voted into the association, the membership acting as a committee on admissions. The Chairman further suggested that each member donate a dollar to the secretary to cover expenses such a sending notices.
Meanwhile, formal application to the American for the establishment of the new school was being made. A letter to Dr. Rado from Dr. Leo Bartemeier, then Secretary of the American, dated October 20th, 1942, states that Dr. Menninger had written him (Dr. Bartemeier) that he was of the opinion that the Council on Professional Training was supposed to have appointed a committee to study and report on the application for the new institute. Dr. Bartemeier further wrote that in order to facilitate the work, Dr. Menninger had himself nominated a committee of members of the Council on Professional Training to function as this committee.
Dr. Menninger had requested that each member of the Council let the Secretary know of his approval or disapproval of the mode of action proposed and the nominations he had made. The "Mode of Action" had been set forth in the "Bulletin" of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Volume I, June 1937 - June 1938, which Dr. Bartemeier quoted:
Of the committee, Drs. Sterba, Bonnett, Biddle and the Chairman Otto Fenichel, were strongly opposed to the idea of a new institute. Helene Deutsch, coming from Boston, had negative pressure from this society. Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann was the only definitely friendly member. The next six months was a period of maneuver and counter-maneuver. A long letter dated November 19, 1942 to Dr. Rado from Karl Menninger gives the flavor of the controversy. The letter begins:
Dr. Menninger went on to explain the legal complications which referred to the majority vote of societies of the American necessary to repeal the section of the By-laws prohibiting more than one institute in a geographic area and approval of the proposed amendment for registration of new institutes.
Dr. Menninger, stated the Secretary, had obtained the Council of Professional Training's approval of the committee appointed by him but Dr. fenichel was in doubt as to whether he should accept the chairmanship. While he was making up his mind, a communication came from Louis Weiss, counsel for the New York and the American Psychoanalytic, indicating that only five of eight societies had voted for repeal of the by-law.
As it turned out, at the time of the vote the eighth society, San Francisco, was not in existence. However, the California members of the Topeka Society had not been given the opportunity to vote, and if they had it would have negated the favorable Topeka vote. Dr. Menninger winds up a lengthy discussion of these intricacies by stating "any way one figures it, the amendment has failed to receive the endorsement of two-thirds of the constituent member societies of our Association." He goes on to emphasize his attempts to go ahead with the change in the Constitution and the admitting of a second institute in New York, but voices the opinion held particularly by the New York Society and certain members from San Francisco that this should not leave open the sanction of more than one society in an area, to which he was personally opposed. He felt that any change in the Constitution of the American should spell out such a limitation, and the only way to get the new committee in operation was to get one of the societies that had been opposed to the revision to change its vote, with reassurance that this would not entail a new Society.
Considerable correspondence ensued between members of the different constituent societies. Chicago was one of our most faithful allies. There is a copy of a letter in the files from Ives Hendricks in reply to an appeal from George Mohr giving limited acceptance to the idea of multiple institutes but questioning the leadership of foreign analysts who want to set up their own schools.
In March, 1943 The New York Psychoanalytic Society circulated a seven page memorandum to all members of the American Psychoanalytic Association maintaining that they had been unfairly maligned and referring to a letter circulated by the Chicago Society; they refer back to a resolution introduced by New York and passed by the Executive Council and at the executive sessions of the Association to the effect that these charges should be investigated by a Committee of the Association. Moreover, as the constitution and by-laws were then constituted, the question of multiple institutes would be a local matter and the communication chides the Chicago group for advocating local autonomy while urging a change in the constitution that would put the machinery in the hands of the national body.
A meeting was finally held in Detroit before the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic association of the committee appointed by Dr. Menninger to consider the matter of the proposed new institute. Dr. Fenichel was still a reluctant chairman. Drs. Daniels and Rado represented the dissident group. A good deal of hostile by-play was in evidence and little or nothing was decided.
At the meeting of the Executive Council of the American on May 9, 1943, Dr. Menninger announced that the amendment to permit multiple institutes in one locality and setting and setting up a new system of regulation of training was dead, having been rejected by the majority of societies and that this defunct amendment should only be discussed informally thereafter.
However, at a joint meeting of the Executive Council and the Council on Professional Training held in the afternoon of the same day, a new start was made. The Chairman, Dr. Menninger, stated: "We are in a transition period regarding the teaching of psychoanalysis. Our medical teaching is no longer connected with medical societies but psychoanalytic teaching has necessarily until now had been tied up with psychoanalytic societies." Opening the meeting for general discussion, Dr. Menninger called first on Dr. Franz Alexander whose statement is worth quoting:
Dr. Rado then read a section of the By-Laws pointing out that it was the decisive factor because the American had committed itself to the principle of territorial monopoly in teaching, a position at variance with accepted standards of science and education.
In summing up, Dr. Menninger stated: "We have arrived nowhere in our discussion of the matter. Perhaps Dr. Rado's group should go ahead and start an institute of their own." Dr. French agreed, stating the problem would have to come up then. He did not feel the group should go back to the New York Society. The meeting ended on a dissident note from Phillip Lehrman who thought the group should come back to work with the New York Society.
Drs. Menninger and French did not realize how soon their suggestion was to materialize. During the winter of 1943 a small committee had been meting periodically at Dr. David Levy's apartment to work out details of the new training school. Two interested men were included in the capacity of friends and consultants in the new venture -- Dr. Alvin S. Johnson and Dr. Nolan D. C. Lewis. On June 24, 1943, the Board of Directors of the Research Institute of Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine, Inc. met. They were listed as George E. Daniels, Alvin S. Johnson, David M. Levy, Nolan D . C. Lewis and Sandor Rado. Although incorporated in the State of New York (the old seal is in the library of the Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research at Columbia) the group at the time had no place to operate except to accept an invitation of Alvin Johnson to use the facilities of the New School for Social Research of which he was then President. Fortunately, discussion with Nolan Lewis had come to a point when by June 30th Dr. Rado was able to submit a plan for the inclusion of the new school as part of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Clinic had prospects of a more permanent and congenial address.
Beginning with the May 4th, 1943 meeting, the Association met for some period at the Coffee House Club at 54 West 45th Street through the courtesy of Dr. John Millet. That the war was still absorbing the attention of the membership was illustrated by the paper of the evening by Dr. Rado, "Retreat from Combat." The June 1st meeting of that year inaugurated the custom continued for many years of having an annual dinner with both the scientific presentation and an annual business meeting. Six of the regular members who attended the dinner were joined afterward by three other members and Dr. Gardner Murphy, then Professor of Psychology at City College. Dr. Murphy gave as the paper of the evening, "Analysis and the Measurement of Autistic Processes.
At the business meeting that evening, Drs. Daniels and Rado were appointed to formulate a skeleton constitution and by-laws for the next year. It was also suggested that the draft of the constitution and by-laws of a National Association might be part of the deliberations. This gives some indication of strong forces within the Association to split from the American and found its own national organization. At this meeting Nathan Ackerman and Viola Bernard were advanced to active membership, having become full members of the American at its previous annual meeting.
Dr. Rado submitted a memorandum, dated September 1, 1943, outlining the new school at Columbia which was to be called The Graduate School of Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine of Columbia University, organized under the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, affiliated with both the New York Psychiatric Institute and the Vanderbilt Clinic. The objectives were training and research in psychoanalysis and psychosomatic medicine. The memorandum goes on to sketch an outline of the organization which later in the fall of 1944 was to become the Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Clinic for Training and Research of Columbia University.
There was little communication officially with the American during the winter of 1943 and spring of 1944 but at the May 1944 meeting of the American an issue arose somewhat paralleling our own deliberations which further prepared the ground for our own institute. The deliberations of the Council on Professional Training and Executive Council received a bombshell which again led to a joint meeting of the two Councils. Dr. William Silverberg told the President, Dr. Leo Bartemeier and Secretary, Dr. Robert Knight, of the plan to establish a psychoanalytic training center in the Department of Psychiatry of the New York Medical College with five other psychoanalysts. Although this was imparted informally as a matter of information, the President and Secretary felt it should be brought initially before the meeting of the Council on Professional Training. Much the same positions were taken as with our own proposal. The one point made much of by one of the factions was that only Dr. Silverberg was a member of the American. He had not asked for official sanction and there was little the Council could o. It was suggested, in addition to some rather meaningless resolutions making it clear that the American was not endorsing the new training center, that the deans of the various medical schools be appraised of the minimal standards for training of the American.
The American was undertaking a revision of its constitution and by-laws, references to which were also made at the meetings. This was of considerable later significance for both the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine and the Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic.
The Association continued to have its monthly meetings at the Coffee House Club and held its second cocktail and dinner meeting there on June 6, 1944, with Dr. Carl Binger presiding. After a scientific paper following the dinner, a short business meeting was held including the election of officers. Dr. Daniels was elected president and Dr. Ackerman secretary. Dr. Daniels reported that he and Dr. Rado had held one meeting on the constitution for the Association and would be holding further meetings to write a draft. Dr. Nolan Lewis was unanimously approved for membership. Dr. Daniels appointed Dr. Millet chairman of the new committee on the constitution. On September 21, 1944 a special meeting was held at Dr. Millet's office for the revision and approval of the tentative draft of the new Constitution presented by the Committee on Constitution consisting of Dr. Millet, Chairman, Drs. Ackerman, Levy, and Rado, with Dr. Daniels ex-officio. The proposed constitution was read and discussed along with a series of proposed amendments and the draft received final approval. One of the provisions was for a Council of five members, to be filled in the near future. At the regular meeting on October 3rd, 1944, Dr. Millet was elected Vice President of the association and James Wall a member of the Council.
At the regular meeting on November 14th, further amendments to the constitution were discussed and those accepted passed. During the remainder of November and through December, the officers with the assistance of the legal firm representing the County Medical Society were drawing up the Articles of Incorporation of the Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine. The five members of the Council were made directors of the newly incorporated society and the final steps were completed on February 13, 1945 with the Association's incorporation in the State of New York.
In the meantime, controversy regarding the attitude of the American continued to boil within our Association. Dated July 2nd, 1944, Dr. Daniels received a memorandum from Dr. Rado stating that on the question of the American he felt we could proceed in one of two ways -- either sit tight and wait for them to move, or utilize our newly gained strength and make ourselves vocal in a dignified manner. Dr. Rado was inclined more and more to the latter. To start the ball rolling, he enclosed a draft of a memorandum to be worked up for a business meeting. It read in part:
This memorandum was never sent but it gives an idea of how close the Association was at one point to clear a break with the American.
On October 26, 1944, Dr. Daniels received a note from Dr. Rado informing him that Dr. Franz Alexander had told him that the American Psychoanalytic Association, prompted into action by the Flower Hospital development, actually went ahead and circularized the medical schools. He went on to add in the letter:
In 1945 when there was no regular meeting for the American Psychoanalytic Association because of the war. Dr. Leo Bartemeier continued to act as President of the American Psychoanalytic Association as he had in the previous year. In a letter to Dr. Bartemeier by Dr. Rado on February 1, 1945, he mentions the coming Council meeting in May which Dr. Bartemeier asked him to attend. Dr. rado pointed out again that neither he nor Dr. Daniels were authorized to represent Columbia University in any society and that, therefore, we were not in a position to discuss the educational policies of the new Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic. However, Dr. rado went on "As members of the American Psychoanalytic Association, we would be delighted to discuss with Dr. Bartemeier and our colleagues the educational policies of the American Psychoanalytic Association." Dr. rado suggested, as an expedient, the president might appoint a special committee on educational policy on which we could it on equal terms with our colleagues.
A letter to Dr. Bartemeier on March 14, 1945, from Dr. Daniels as president of the Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine, informed him of the completion of the incorporation of our Association and of the liberty taken of writing to him and the presidents of the various constituent societies about the Association. In the letter it is mentioned that at the time of writing the Association had twenty active and three affiliate members, the latter category comprising nonvoting, scientific members making active contributions to the field of applied psychoanalysis and psychosomatic medicine. It also mentions that all active members of the American Psychoanalytic Association or the International Psychoanalytic Association.
The letter goes on to describe the purpose of the Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine as set forth in the certificate of incorporation:
The letter adds that the communication is solely for information motivated by desire to cooperate with the American Psychoanalytic Association in matters of mutual interest and calls for no official action.
Dr. Bartemeier did appoint a special Committee on Educational Policy consisting of the then Council on Professional Training of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Drs. Daniels and Rado. A meeting was arranged in Chicago for May 19, 1945, at the time of the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association. In a letter dated May 5, 1945, Dr. Robert Knight, then the Secretary of the American Psychoanalytic Association, added the following explanation:
Dr. Bartemeier was called to do a tour of Army inspection in Europe and the President-Elect, Bertram D. Lewin, was in the Chair. The following joint resolution was passed by the executive Council and the Council on Professional Training of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Chicago, May 20, 1945:
Fortunately, as indicated for the unity of the American, the proposed communication drafted by Dr. Rado in July was not sent out in this form and by early December, two weeks before the midwinter meetings, Dr. E. Haley, Chairman of the Reorganization Committee of the American, was kind enough to send us a copy of Draft 2 of the proposed constitution and by-laws. Copies of our letters were sent to Leo Bartemeier as Ex-President, the Secretary, Dr. Hadley, and to the presidents and executive councilors of the constituent societies. To quote from this letter in part:
The letter goes on to state the hope of the preceding Spring by representatives of our Society who attended the joint session at Chicago that a reorganization would give us status in the American.
This was a period of feverish activity. A memorandum setting forth the position of our group was circulated to the membership of the American, a greatly modified version of the July 22nd declaration. Telegrams urging the adoption of the proposed resolution were sent to various key members of other societies, along with numerous telephone appeals.
The answer to our communication to Dr. Lewin was given in a letter written to Nathan Ackerman, Secretary of the Association for Psychoanalytic and Psychosomatic Medicine and signed by the Secretary of the American, Robert P. Knight, dated December 26. 1945, as follows:
Dr. Lewin who was President of the American for 1945 (May 1945 to May 1946) did appoint this special committee to look into the status of our Association and Clinic. Dr. Lewin acted as Chairman and Viola Bernard, George Daniels and Robert Bak represented the Association and Columbia Clinic. The other members of the committee -- Sarah Bonnett, Susan Hague and Heinz Hartmann -- were fundamentally antagonistic to our group. The committee met a number of times at Dr. Lewin's office and the questions asked by the New York Society were in the nature of a third degree. However, after the ordeal was passed through, we awaited final action by the American Psychoanalytic Association at their regular meeting in May.
During the spring of 1946 and after the investigation of the special committee to investigate the new training center at Columbia was completed, final arrangements were concluded with Dr. Lewin and Dr. Knight for the acceptance of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic with the assurance that this would be accepted by the American. Both the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine and the Psychoanalytic Clinic owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Lewin's sympathetic steering of negotiation and bringing them to a successful termination.
At the 1946 winter meeting of the American in New York City, the Board of Professional Training passed the following resolution:
The results for both the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine and the Columbia Clinic were incorporated in a report given by the secretary, Nathan Ackerman, in the Annual Report of the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine 1946-47. This also gives a picture of the activities of the Association at that time.
In the year 1946-47, there were 9 regular meetings from October through June, as usual devoted mainly to the scientific interests of the Association. In contrast to the preceding year, during which there were several guest speakers, all of the papers were presented this year by members of the Association. These papers were as follows: Dr. Robert Bak: Sexual Disturbances Related to the Instinct of Clinging; Dr. Richard Frank: A Factor Retarding Successful Completion of Therapy; Dr. sandor Rado: Principles of Psychoanalytic Therapy: A Historical and Clinical Analysis ; Dr. Phyllis Greenacre: Vision, Headache and the Halo; Dr. Nathan Ackerman: Toward a Dynamic Interpretation of the Antisemitic Reaction; Dr. Bela Mittelman: Complementary Reactions during Analysis of Married Couples; Dr. Paul Hoch: Pseudo-Psychoneurotic Forms of Schizophrenia; Dr. sandor Rado: Principles of Psychoanalytic Therapy, Part II, The Two Contrasting Type of Technique.
In the current year, a distinct increase in the number of guests attending our meetings was noticed. Following the settlement of the status of our Association with the American Psychoanalytic Association, it was the consensus of the membership that guests should be more freely invited to individual meetings and also there was general sentiment in favor of arranging two open meetings a year. In this connection it was agreed that hereafter, members might invite guests without the formality of obtaining approval from an officer of the association.
The present status of the membership is as follows: 23 Regular Members, 3 Corresponding Members, 3 Affiliate Members and one Honorary Member, making a total of 30. One new member was admitted: Dr. George S. Goldman. The membership status of Drs. Balin, Masserman, and Saul was changed to that of Corresponding Members, since they are unable, for geographical and other reasons, to attend our meetings regularly.
During the year, there was much activity on the part of the Officers of the Association toward a final resolution of the problem of our formal relationship to the American Psychoanalytic Association. Early in the year these negotiations were finally completed when the national body officially recognized our Association as an Affiliate Society. The status of several individual members of our Association with the American is now being clarified. In December 1946, the American Psychoanalytic Association officially recognized the Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research at Columbia University as a Training Center.
Following settlement of these questions, the problem of membership in multiple affiliate societies was re-discussed and pro tem the matter was left to individual preference.
The Nominating Committee, appointed by the President, consisting of Dr. Rado, Chairman, and Drs. Bak and Milch, nominated Dr. Richard Frank to serve for two years as Executive Councillor to the American Psychoanalytic Association. Dr. Frank was approved by unanimous vote by the membership.
Several minor changes were made in the Constitution during the year. Because of the occasional absence of a quorum, it was proposed that Article 3. section 11 of the Constitution be amended to the effect that one-third the number of voting members in good standing shall constitute a quorum. This amendment must be affirmed by a vote of the members. Several amendments to the By-Laws were enacted correlating standards for membership in our Association with equivalent standards in the American.
The membership expressed favor and support for the plans now being made for the International Congress on Mental Hygiene which is to take place in London in August 1948. Information regarding these plans was forwarded to the Secretary of the association by Dr. Frank Fremont-Smith.
During the May meeting of the American Psychiatric and the American Psychoanalytic Associations, a reception and cocktail party was given the visiting analysts jointly by the Psychoanalytic Clinic and the Association for Psychoanalytic Medicine.