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date: 11 August 2020

Brill, A. A.locked

(12 October 1874–02 March 1948)
  • Paula S. Fass


Brill, A. A. (12 October 1874–02 March 1948), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born Abraham Arden Brill in Kanczuga, Galicia, in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the son of Philip Brill, a noncommissioned commissary officer, and Esther Seitelbach. His parents were pious and provincial Jews with traditional expectations for their son. Brill found these stifling and at fifteen he fled to the United States, arriving destitute and alone in 1889. With fierce ambition and through hard work Brill rose out of the Lower East Side ghetto in New York City where he worked at diverse, petty jobs to fulfill his father’s wish that he become both an educated man and a doctor. Although Brill could not afford to complete his course work at the City College of New York, where he had started his studies at night, he managed to educate himself in several languages, in the classics, and in philosophy, accomplishments in which he took pride throughout his life. He finally received a Ph.B. from New York University in 1901 and a medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903. In many ways, however, his real education in his destined métier had not yet begun....

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