The Sigmund Freud Collection at the Library of Congress has been digitized and is now online at loc.gov/collections/sigmund-freud-papers/about-this-collection/.
The online collection, with more than 20,000 items, contains the personal papers of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis whose ideas of the unconscious and theories on sex, repression, transference and religion profoundly influenced 20th-century Western thought. His theories still generate controversy.
The digitization of Freud’s papers has been made possible by a generous grant from The Polonsky Foundation, a UK-registered charity, which primarily supports cultural heritage, scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, and innovation in higher education and the arts. Its principal activities include the digitization of significant collections at leading libraries (British Library; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; New York Public Library; and Vatican Apostolic Library).
The papers of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) span the years from about the 6th century B.C.E. (a small Greek statue) to 1998, with the bulk of material dating from 1871 to 1939. The digitized collection documents Freud’s founding of psychoanalysis, the maturation of psychoanalytic theory, the refinement of its clinical technique, and the proliferation of its adherents and critics. Many facets of Freud’s life and work are reflected, including his early medical and clinical training; his relationship with family, friends, colleagues, students, and patients; his association with early psychoanalytic societies; his perspectives on analytical training; and his numerous writings.
The physical collection, consisting in its entirety of 48,600 items, is located in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division and is organized in ten series as described in the collection’s finding aid (PDF and HTML), updated with links to the digital content. The collection material is mostly in German, with some English and French. The digital edition comprises the contents of more than two thousand folders. Digitized in their entirety are those series described below containing papers that Freud or members of his family would have either created or owned. Also available digitally are interviews conducted by K. R. Eissler, a founder of the Sigmund Freud Archives (SFA), with Freud’s associates, patients, and family members from the 1950s to the 1970s. Early interest in a digital edition of the Freud Papers and ongoing counsel from the SFA helped bring this digital project to fruition.
Omitted from the digital edition is the largely posthumous, supplemental material about Freud’s life found in the Supplemental File series and parts of the Addition and Oversize series. Original items in the Closed series have also not been digitized. However, photocopies of most of these closed items, with patients’ names redacted, are included among the items digitized in four of the open series, Family Papers, General Correspondence, Subject File, and Writings.
For additional background on the collection’s provenance, see the Brief History of the Collection under the Articles and Essays tab.