Erich Seligmann Fromm, 1900 - 1980

portrait of Erich Fromm
Photo by Liss Goldring (1970)

Born: 23 March 1900, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse-Nassau, Prussia, Germany
Died: 18 March 1980, Muralto, Locarno, Ticino, Switzerland

Born to Orthodox Jewish parents, he began his academic career as a student of jurisprudence at the University of Frankfurt am Main in 1918, then transferred to the University of Heidelberg to study sociology in 1919. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Heidelberg in 1922, and trained as a psychoanalyst at Frieda Reichmann's psychoanalytic sanatorium during the mid 1920s, beginning his clinical practice in 1927. In 1930, he joined the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research and finished his psychoanalytical training.

During the 1930s, he saw the threat that the rise of the Nazi party posed and fled Germany, moving first to Geneva, Switzerland and then to Columbia University in New York in 1934. There, he met one of the most important influences on his life and work, psychoanalyst Karen Horney. The two were both professionally compatible, with Horney being able to explain certain aspects of psychoanalysis and Fromm providing a firm basis in sociology, and attracted on a personal level. Their relationship did not last, however, ending in the late 1930s. Fromm left Columbia, and became part of the faculty at Bennington College in 1941. In 1943, he helped to form the New York branch of the Washington School of Psychology, and co-founded the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology in 1946.

In 1949, he left New York and moved to Mexico City, becoming a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and establishing the psychoanalytic section of their medical school. While teaching there, he was also a professor of psychology at Michigan State University from 1957 until 1961, and an adjunct professor of psychology at New York University after 1962. He retired from UNAM in 1965, and at the Mexican Society of Psychoanalysis (SMP) until 1974. Throughout, he continued to have his own clinical practice and published a series of books. In 1974, he left Mexico City for Muralto, Switzerland, where he lived until his death.

Biography from Wikipedia

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