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Edward John Kempf papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 728

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, writings, research materials, and personal papers of Edward J. Kempf, American psychiatrist, psychologist, author, and pioneer in the field of psychosomatic medicine. The papers consist primarily of various drafts of Kempf's articles and books and correspndence with other psychiatrists and psychologists relating to his work. Correspondents include William C. Menninger, Adolph Meyer, and Gardner Murphy.

Dates

  • 1911-1972

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Edward John Kempf has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact mssa.assist@yale.edu.

Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Edward J. Kempf, 1974.

Arrangement

Arranged in three series: I. Correspondence. II. Writings and Research Materials. III. Personal.

Extent

7 Linear Feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

https://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.0728

Overview

Correspondence, writings, research materials, and personal papers of Edward J. Kempf, American psychiatrist, psychologist, author, and pioneer in the field of psychosomatic medicine. The papers consist primarily of various drafts of Kempf's articles and books and correspondence with other psychiatrists and psychologists relating to his work. Correspondents include William C. Menninger, Adolph Meyer, and Gardner Murphy.

Biographical / Historical

Edward John Kempf (1885-1972), American psychiatrist, psychologist, psychopathologist and author, is known primarily for his pioneer work in the development of psychosomatic medicine and for his theory that the human personality is a product of biological evolution. He received an A. B. from Indiana University in 1907 and an M. D. from Western Reserve in 1910. From 1911-1912 he worked at Indianapolis State Hospital applying the Freudian passive free association method to the treatment of schizophrenic young women. According to Dr. Kempf's autobiographical notes:

"They were the first cases of schizophrenia (divided mind) treated by psychoanalytic methods in American psychiatric hospitals, who recovered from the disease and reintegrated normal egoistic self-control of social behavior with insight into causes of their emotional conditions. These cases directly controverted Freud's dogma that all cases of dementia praecox are incurable and progressively deteriorating."

Thus, Dr. Kempf was both early to use and to criticize Freudian teachings.

From 1912 to 1914 Dr. Kempf served as a staff physician at Phipps Psychiatric Clinic, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1913 he married Helen Dorothy Clarke, a graduate of Johns Hopkins Medical School. Between 1914 and 1920 he served as a clinical psychiatrist at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D. C. and, during this period, published Autonomic Functions and the Personality (1918). From 1920 to 1931 he engaged in private practice in New York and Santa Barbara.

In 1923 Dr. Kempf met with Sigmund Freud in the Austrian Tyrolean Alps. The two psychiatrists discussed their respective theories of the personality and methods of dealing with schizophrenia. In the Life and Confessions of a Psychologist (1923), G. Stanley Hall said of Freud and the young Kempf:

"Freud and his orthodox disciples concerned themselves solely with the psychic, ignoring the somatic structures and functions, which later Kempf, the only American who has done signal creative work in the field, has sought to supply."

Dr. Kempf consistently advocated a "more active method" (than the Freudian) of treating selected cases of emotional neuroses and psychoses and continued his systematic development of psychobiology. His research covered more than 2000 cases and dealt with the psychology of schizophrenia. Kempf used the sciences of biology, genetics, embryology, physiology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, physics and chemistry to explain his theory of the human personality as a product of biological evolution.

From 1931 until his death in 1972 Dr. Kempf was actively engaged in research and writing. His last book, Abraham Lincoln's Philosophy of Common Sense: An Analytical Biography of a Great Mind, was published in 1965.

Dr. Kempf was a member of a number of societies, including: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychoanalytic Society, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychopathological Association, the American Society for Psychical Research, the Cosmos Club, the New York Academy of Medicine, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Pavlovian Society of North America, and the Washington Psychoanalytic Society.

The collection is divided into three series. The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters to and from Edward Kempf and spans the years 1912-1972. Unfortunately, a large part of Dr. Kempf's correspondence — including his correspondence with Sigmund Freud — apparently no longer exists. A significant amount of correspondence with psychologists and psychiatrists such as William C. Menninger, Adolph Meyer and Gardner Murphy remains. The WRITINGS AND RESEARCH MATERIALS series consists of published and unpublished articles by Dr. Kempf and drafts of manuscripts. The manuscripts are, successively, Evolution of the Personality (in four drafts); Bisexual Differentiation (in two drafts, a work which appears to be related to but separate from Evolution of the Personality); and, Maturation of Man (in three drafts; Maturation of Man is a revision of Evolution of the Personality).

The Edward J. Kempf Papers were the gift of Mrs. Edward J. Kempf in 1974.
Title
Guide to the Edward John Kempf Papers
Status
Under Revision
Author
compiled by Barbara M. Riley
Date
August 1974
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
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