This collection contains materials related to the life and work of Joseph L. Henderson, a pre-eminent Jungian analyst, scholar,
and co-founder of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. Materials include correspondence, photographs, videos, DVDs, art
books, museum publications, drawings, handwritten lectures, notes and article drafts, book reviews, article re-prints, interview
transcripts, and institute paperwork created and published between 1901 and 2003. The bulk of the materials date from the
1960s to the late 1990s.
Joseph Lewis Henderson was born on August 31, 1903 in Elko, Nevada. He spent his childhood in Elko, but traveled east to attend
Lawrenceville School in New Jersey in 1919, and later Princeton, where he earned his bachelor’s in French literature in 1927.
Joseph relocated to San Francisco after graduation and found work as a drama critic and book reviewer for two small magazines.
During this time he became acquainted with Jung’s work, and at the urging of his friend Peter Baynes, as well as Drs. James
and Elizabeth Whitney, travelled to Zurich to spend one year in analysis with Jung. He arrived in Zurich in the fall of 1929.
During this pivotal year, he engaged in dream analysis and began to pursue more in-depth research in the areas of culture
and initiation. By 1930, he decided to attend medical school and enrolled at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. He married
Helena Cornford, daughter of Francis Cornford, the English classics scholar, in 1934 and their only daughter, Elizabeth, was
born in 1936. He received his medical degree in 1938 and relocated to New York where he opened a private practice. Dr. Henderson
published his first paper, “Initiation Rites” in 1939 and left New York for San Francisco one year later.
In San Francisco he joined the Analytical Psychology Club where he was reunited with Dr. Elizabeth Whitney and his fellow
student and friend from Saint Bart’s, Joseph ‘Jo’ Wheelwright. During the War years, Dr. Henderson worked at the Veterans
Rehabilitation Clinic at Mt. Zion Hospital evaluating returning military personnel from the South Pacific. Jo Wheelwright
was also on the staff and their friendship deepened. In 1943, Henderson and Wheelwright led the effort to establish a Medical
Society of Analytical Psychology. Its founding members included Elizabeth Whitney, Lucile Elliot, and Horace Gray. At the
end of the War, Joseph moved his practice to the Wheelwright’s building at 2206 Steiner Street in San Francisco where he would
remain for the next thirty years.
During the decade of the 1950s, the Hendersons traveled to Europe every two years and visited with Jung regularly. Jung encouraged
Dr. Henderson to continue his research on initiation, archetypes, and culture. In 1962 Joseph was elected vice-president of
the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). He gave up this position voluntarily in 1965 so that he could
continue his clinical practice and writing. During this period, Dr. Henderson also co-authored a book, Man and his Symbols,
with Jung and three other Jungian scholars; he was the only non-Zurich native asked to contribute to the text.
In 1967, Dr. Henderson published Thresholds of Initiation, which represented the culmination of many years of research on
archetypes, culture, and initiatory rites and symbolism. Cultural Attitudes in Psychological Perspective, Henderson’s exploration
of Jung’s theories and practice and his own theory of cultural attitudes, was published in 1984.
In his later years, Dr. Henderson deepened his involvement with ARAS, the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. He
had been involved with ARAS from its beginning in the early 1950s, but contributed greatly to its development into a national
organization in this later period. Dr. Henderson was also active in the Society of Jungian Analysts of Northern California
and the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco which he helped establish. He was President of the Society and the Institute
in 1967-1968 and again in 1972-1973. He served on the Institute’s Certifying Board from 1967-1971.
At age 100, Dr. Henderson worked jointly with Dyanne Sherwood to publish Transformation of the Psyche: The Symbolic Alchemy
of the Splendor Solis (2003). He continued to see patients until his retirement in 2005. Dr. Henderson died peacefully on
November 17, 2007 in Greenbrae, California at the age of 104.