The Sigmund Freud Collection was presented to the Cleveland Medical Library Association by Robert M. Stecher, M.D. on the eve of the Centennial celebration of Freud’s birth. It was his intention that the library should have original editions of Freud in German and English, including “semi-fugitive material which escapes collection and is lost forever.” He continued to add to the collection until his death in 1972. Ten years later Dr. David Crocker and the Cleveland Psychoanalytic Institute added their own collections of historic works in psychoanalysis and psychiatry, bringing the total number of volumes to well over five hundred. Some of the highlights are discussed below.
This is the only work Freud wrote that was not connected with scientific research. It is a translation into German of volume 12 of John Stuart Mill’s Works. His translation contains essays on the emancipation of women, on Plato, and on labor and socialism. It was done under the editorship of Theodor Gomperz. Later Freud relates, “I heard from him (Gomperz) the first remarks about the role played by dreams in the psychic life of primitive men – something that has preoccupied me so intensively ever since.”
This is Freud’s first book. In it he criticizes the findings of Carl Wernicke and Ludwig Lichtheim on aphasia. Eight hundred and fifty copies were printed; two hundred and fifty-seven were sold. After nine years the remainder was pulped. For this reason it has become one of the rarest books in Freudian literature.
This famous work was actually published November 4, 1899, but the publisher chose to put 1900 on the titlepage. For his work on the interpretation of dreams, Freud was paid $209. Six hundred copies were printed and it took eight years to sell them all. This rare first edition is considered one of the great treasures of the collection. Sigmund Freud wrote a letter to the chairmen of psychoanalytic societies in Europe and America, 1932. In 1932 the publishing firm, Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, was on the brink of bankruptcy. In an effort to save the house Freud composed this letter asking for funds. Although Freud was pessimistic about the response to his appeal, several societies and individuals responded with generosity. A.A. Brill sent $2,500 and Edith Jackson contributed $2000. Both the New York and British societies sent substantial gifts. Futher, he discusses the relationship of German psychoanalysts with those in other countries and urges international cooperation. “Let us not be blinded by the apparent lessening of hostility towards our analysis,” he wrote, “It is more an improvement in tone than in reality. More ‘modo’ than ‘re’. Yet for some time it will be necessary for the analysts to stick together, more closely together, than the closely related groups of neurologists, psychiatrists and psycho-therapists.”