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A. A. Brill. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B03153).

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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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Burrow, Trigant (07 September 1875–24 May 1950), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and phylobiologist, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of John W. Burrow, a wholesale pharmacist, and Anastasia Devereux. His Protestant father was widely read in science and a freethinker. His devoutly Roman Catholic mother was intelligent, cultured, and moody. A painful rift between the parents exposed the son to human conflict and may have been an important background factor to his lifelong sensitive study of human interrelationships. The youngest of four children, Burrow was painfully affected by the death of his sister when he was twelve years old....

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Deutsch, Helene Rosenbach (09 October 1884–29 March 1982), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born in Przemyśl, Poland, the daughter of Wilhelm Rosenbach, a lawyer, and Regina Fass. Her parents were Jewish, but she grew up a Polish nationalist. As early as 1898 she became romantically involved with a much older man, Herman Lieberman, who was a Social Democratic leader. Lieberman was married, however, and a divorce in those days was politically out of the question; nonetheless, their affair lasted for years. Although formal schooling was impossible in Poland for a woman, tutoring enabled her to enroll at the University of Vienna in 1907. From the outset she was interested in a psychiatric career....

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Dunbar, Helen Flanders (14 May 1902–21 August 1959), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and pioneer in psychosomatic medicine, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Francis William Dunbar, a mathematician and patent attorney, and Edith Vaughan Flanders, a genealogist. She attended a series of private, largely experimental schools, graduating from Bryn Mawr College in 1923....

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Fromm-Reichmann, Frieda (23 October 1889–28 April 1957), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, the daughter of Adolf Reichmann, a merchant and banker, and Klara Simon, a teacher. Believing that young women should be educated and able to support themselves, Klara Reichmann directed the education of her daughters in the arts and sciences and encouraged their professional training. Frieda Reichmann entered the medical school at Albertus University in Könisberg, Germany, in 1908, receiving her medical degree in 1913....

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Greenacre, Phyllis (03 May 1894–24 October 1989), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and author, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Isaiah Thomas Greenacre and Emma Leantha Russell. Although she planned to work in the field of psychiatry from an early age, she received her first special training in general pathology. She earned her S.B. from the University of Chicago in 1913 and her M.D. from Rush Medical College in 1916....

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Kardiner, Abram (17 August 1891–20 July 1981), psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was born Abraham Elionais Kardiner in New York City, the son of Isaac Kardiner, a tailor, and Mildred Wolff. Growing up in severe poverty in New York’s Lower East Side, the three-year-old Kardiner lost his mother to tuberculosis. His father soon remarried, and Kardiner was raised largely by a stern yet kindly stepmother. He attended City College in New York City, graduating with a B.A. in 1912....

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Oberndorf, Clarence Paul (16 February 1882–30 May 1954), psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, was born in New York City, the son of Joseph Oberndorf, a prosperous merchant, and Augusta Hammerstein. Oberndorf’s father, a scholarly man, had been a schoolteacher in Bavaria, but after immigrating to America at the age of thirteen he had established himself as a merchant in Selma, Alabama. Oberndorf first attended the Dallas Academy in Selma, then continued his education at Public School 69 in New York, having moved with his family to the city at age eleven following the death of his father from cancer. After living for a year in Munich, Germany, the family returned to New York, where the fifteen-year-old Oberndorf entered Mount Morris State High School in the Bronx. In high school Oberndorf began what he called his career as a “frustrated journalist” with regular contributions to the local newspaper about school activities....

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Williams, Frankwood E. (18 May 1883–24 September 1936), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and contributor to mental health care policy, was born Frankwood Earl Williams in Cardington, Ohio, the son of James Leander Williams, a physician, and Amanda Elizabeth Wood Williams. Williams spent most of his childhood in Indianapolis, where he graduated from high school in 1903. He received his A.B. from the University of Wisconsin in 1907 and his M.D. from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1912. Here, he was resident physician at the recently established State Psychopathic Hospital under Albert M. Barrett the year following his graduation. In 1913–1915 he was executive officer and first assistant physician at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital; he was then appointed the executive secretary of the Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene, for which he developed extensive programs of public health education on matters related to mental illness. In 1917 he became associate medical director of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, an organization that aimed to further psychiatric research and teaching as well as stimulate the development of preventive measures. From 1922 to1931 he was the medical director of that organization. In 1917 he became the founding editor of the journal ...