The largest remaining part of Freud's personal library is now on display at 20 Maresfield Gardens, London.
In 1938, during his last weeks in Vienna before emigrating, Freud spent some of his time selecting the volumes he wished to bring with him to London. A selection of his library (over 800 titles) he disposed of through book dealers. It is still not clear upon what basis this selection was made. Most of this part of the library was bought by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and taken to America, and is now housed in a special collection in the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University, New York.
A smaller number was eventually donated to the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. The remainder, over 1600 titles, plus various offprints and journals, he was able to bring to London and they surrounded him in his study, as they had done in Vienna.
There are some smaller collections of volumes from Freud's library, elsewhere. Some were found on the second-hand market in Austria and are now in the Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna. A number remain in private hands.
Freud lent, gave and exchanged books throughout his life and few of the volumes he is known to have owned early in life have survived. Those surviving represent mainly, but not exclusively, the interests of his mature years. However, he still retained medical and scientific texts, editions of Darwin, Charcot, Krafft-Ebing, etc. from his early years.
There is an extensive collection of volumes on archaeology, and all aspects of the world of antiquity.
Freud's interest in religion and particularly the history of Moses and the Jews is well represented, as are figures in the history of art, e.g. Leonardo da Vinci.
Literature figured largely in Freud's interests, and a complete edition of the works of Goethe has pride of place. There are also, amongst others, editions of Shakespeare, Gogol, Balzac and Anatole France.
Once psychoanalysis became established and attracted supporters and practitioners Freud received a flow of works, often with dedications, from the followers and admirers.
A small number of volumes contain a bookplate which was given to Freud by a pupil.
Ever since the Museum opened in 1986, it planned to publish a catalogue of the personal library of Sigmund Freud, which is of great interest to academic researchers in many fields of study.
The Museum published the catalogue in collaboration with the German publisher edition diskord. It brings together information on all known holdings, including those held in the USA and Vienna as well as those in private hands. This has been made possible by the collaboration of J. Keith Davies, former Librarian of the Freud Museum and Professor Dr Gerhard Fichtner, Director Emeritus of the Institute for the History of Medicine, University of Tübingen. The catalogue is in the form of a book with an introductory text in both German and English and an illustrated CD (in English). It is available from the Shop.Appeal for Information
It is clear from Freud's writings and correspondence that there are many volumes he once possessed or had access to which are now "lost", that is not present in any of the known remaining collections. Some are possibly in unknown private or institutional collections.
We would like to trace as many of these as possible, in order to publish the bibliographical data, ownership signature, dedications and any marginalia.
If you know of any such volumes, please write to email@example.com. Photocopies of title page, and pages with signatures, dedications, etc. and any relevant provenance and authentication information would be gratefully received
That part of Freud's Library housed in Maresfield Gardens is open to serious researchers, (usually at post-graduate level and above).
Access to volumes is restricted only by considerations of conservation of the volumes themselves. (Many volumes are very fragile and in general researchers are encouraged to seek out volumes elsewhere for general consultation).
We have appended a bibliography of works dealing with Freud's library.
To arrange an appointment, please apply in writing or by e-mail to the Curator: firstname.lastname@example.orgResearch Library
The Museum also maintains a Research Library on Freud and the history of psychoanalysis.
We welcome donations of relevant volumes by authors and publishers so that the library may be as comprehensive as possible. All donated books are acknowledged on our listing of New Books.
Use of the reference library is free, but it is not a lending library: books may only be consulted on-site and by prior appointment.