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Inventory of the Viktor E. Frankl Collection, 1924 - 1998
GTU 89-5-012  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biographical/Historical Description
  • Scope and Content
  • Separation Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Viktor E. Frankl Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1924 - 1998
    Accession number: GTU 89-5-012
    Shelf location: 2/I/3 - 2/J/1
    Creator: Frankl, Viktor E.
    Size: 24 boxes, 4 folios, 11 linear feet
    Type of material: Original file records, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, journal article photocopies/reprints, audio tapes (cassette, reel to reel), videotapes, posters, books
    Repository: The Graduate Theological Union.
    Berkeley, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Source and Date

    Robert C. Leslie, 1989


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Graduate Theological Union. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Graduate Theological Union as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Viktor E. Frankl Collection, GTU 89-5-012, The Graduate Theological Union Archives, Berkeley, CA.

    Access Points

    Existential Psychology
    Meaning (Psychology)
    Psychiatrists - Austria -- Vienna
    Holocaust survivors
    Holocaust - Jewish, 1939-1945 - Psychological aspects
    Leslie, Robert C. (Robert Campbell), 1917-
    Fabry, Joseph B.
    Lukas, Elisabeth S.
    Sasnett, J. Randolph, 1890-1978

    Biographical/Historical Description

    Viktor Emil Frankl (1905 - 1997) was born in Vienna March 26, second child of Elsa and Gabriel Frankl (brother, Walter; sister, Stella). Gabriel was the Director of Austria's Ministry of Social Service. Viktor developed a lifelong love of mountain climbing and an interest in psychology in junior high school and began a correspondence with Freud. (All these letters were confiscated by the Gestapo during WWII.) It was Freud who sent Frankl's first article in for publication in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 1924. Shortly after, Alfred Adler began to influence Frankl and in 1925 his second article was published in the International Journal of Individual Psychology.
    Frankl continued his reading, study and thought. While a medical student at the University of Vienna in the 1920's he helped organize the Academic Society for Medical Psychology. In a lecture before this group, he first spoke of logotherapy. By 1933, he had systematized his ideas. There are three possible ways to find meaning in life even up to the last breath: "1) a deed we do, a work we create; 2) an experience, a human encounter, a love; and 3) when confronted with an unchangeable fate, a change of attitude toward that fate." (pg. 64) We can "wrest meaning from life" by turning "suffering into a human triumph."
    Frankl began to set up youth counseling centers in Austrian cities around 1930. He lectured extensively for organizations of the socialist youth movement in Austria, and as far as Berlin, Prague, and Budapest. During this time, Otto Potzl at the Vienna University Psychiatric Clinic became a lifelong friend. After Frankl's graduation from the University, he took a position under Potzl at the Clinic. He also worked four years at the Am Steinhof mental hospital. In 1937, Frankl opened a private practice, but after the Anschluss in March 1938, he closed his office and took a position at the Jewish Rothschild Hospital. He was allowed to treat only Jewish patients. He worked to save mentally ill patients from euthanasia by transferring them to the Jewish Home for the Aged.
    When Frankl's number came up to get a visa for the United States, he refused it, choosing to stay with his family and his patients though he knew deportation to the concentration camps would be inevitable. He met and married Tilly Grosser, a nurse in the hospital in 1941. Nine months later, they were deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, later to Auschwitz. Tilly died in Bergen-Belsen after its liberation in 1945.
    With deportation looming, Frankl wrote a manuscript of Arztliche Seelsorge (The Doctor and the Soul). He sewed the manuscript into the lining of his coat, but lost it at Auschwitz when they had to dump all their belongings. He began to reconstruct the manuscript with the gift of a pencil stub and pilfered SS forms. The experience of the camps "enriched" his theories. He spent three years in four camps: Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Kaufering III, and Turkheim. All of his family died in the camps except his sister Stella who had emigrated to Australia. Frankl survived and returned to Vienna in 1946. He met and married Eleonore Schwindt, Elly, in 1947. They had one daughter, Gabriele. He was given the position of Head of the Neurology Department at the Vienna Policlinic Hospital, 1946, which he held for 25 years. He worked on the third draft of Doctor and the Soul: "so much poured out of my heart every day." The same year he dictated Ein Psycholog erlebt das Konzentrationsleger (English translation by Ilse Lasch, From Death Camp to Existentialism later titled Man's Search for Meaning). These were brought to the attention of the American community through Randolph Sasnett and Gordon Allport who wrote the Foreword to the original English publication.
    Frankl continued to live in Vienna. He taught and lectured all over the world, eventually receiving 28 honorary degrees. He published extensively on logotherapy through articles and 32 books many of which have been translated into several languages. Austria conferred on Frankl the highest honor of the Republic for scientific achievement. He continued mountain climbing well into his 80's. Viktor Frankl died in Vienna September 2, 1997.
    Taken from Viktor Frankl Recollections: An Autobiography (New York: Insight Books, Plenum Press, 1997). GTU Library: RC489 L6 F69613 1997

    Scope and Content

    The collection originated as the Frankl Library and Memorabilia founded by Robert C. Leslie in 1975. Leslie, Foster Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA, (1954-82) had met and studied with Frankl in 1961. He organized and was Curator of the collection until 1995. This was the first such archive on Frankl anywhere in the world.
    In 1975, Leslie arranged with then Director of the Graduate Theological Union Library, J. Stillson Judah that the Frankl Library and Memorabilia would be a special collection within the GTU Library. The original intention was that the Frankl Library would have all materials in its own space within a projected library building. With the change of Library administration, and in the final plans for what became the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library of the Graduate Theological Union, this space was not provided.
    Dr. Leslie, as Curator, acquired and organized material, and worked with the catalogers and GTU Library staff to maintain the collection. The articles reprints section of the collection was transferred to the GTU Archives in 1989 when the Archives program was initiated. Other materials were placed in the general library circulating collection, or in the Rare Book Room. Some material continued to be held in Dr. Leslie's office at the Pacific School of Religion. In 1995, on Dr. Leslie's retirement from the curatorship, the material from the PSR office was transferred to the GTU Archives. The audiotape and videotape materials that had been in the Rare Book Room were also transferred to the Archives. Materials in the general library circulating collection remain in the circulating collection.

    Separation Note

    Book to GTU Library circulation collection. The Rohatyn Jewish Community: A Town That Perished, ed. By Mordekhai Amitay (Tel Aviv: Rohatyn Association, 1962). DS135 R93 R63 1962