Announcing the Rapaport-Holt Letters

Dropped on:February 23, 2013
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Robert Holt and David Rapaport, Topeka, Kansas, 1948.

Click Here for:  Chapter 1: Letters of 1948–1951

Click Here for:  Chapter 2:  Letters of 1952

Click Here for:  Chapter 3:  Letters of 1952 -1953

Click Here for:  Chapter 4:  Letters of 1954

Click Here for: Chapter 5:  Letters of 1955

I am pleased to make available an extraordinary collection of correspondence between David Rapaport and Robert Holt.

When in response to a call from me, Bob Holt told me that he had a trove of correspondence between him and his mentor, David Rapaport, I was bowled over by the discovery of this treasure. In these letters, which date from 1948 through 1960, the two colleagues both support and challenge one another during a period of remarkable intellectual activity for both of them.

I was a resident at the Menninger School of Psychiatry from 1960 to 1962, years after David had left to go to Austen Riggs, but many members of the staff who were my mentors had trained with him, and all of the residents learned about his brilliance and contributions to the basic science of psychoanalysis. His Organization and Pathology of Thought was a foundational text for us, to be read and reread. Topeka was a place which many had left by the time I arrived: Bob Knight, Roy Schafer, Margaret Brenman, Merton Gill, Lew Robbins, Ben Rubinstein, Hartvig Dahl, Sylvia Brody, and of course both David and Bob. Among those who were there during my time were Herb Schlesinger, Howard Shevrin, the Murphys, Riley Gardner, Marty Mayman, Paul Pruyser, Irv Rosen, and Karl and Will. They made the place, in my view, still one of the best residency programs in the country and a most exiting place in which to train.

After I left Topeka I became a candidate at the NY Psychoanalytic Institute. One of my fellow candidates was David Wolitzky, who was at the NYU Research Center for Mental Health with its directors Bob Holt and George Klein, and others (Leo Goldberger, et al.) who were influenced by David’s work and whose research attempted to validate or disprove his theoretical propositions. I think we can all agree that David was the one of the most important psychoanalytic theoretician of our mid-century and that his work deserves continued study. Because David and Bob shared an unusually close and candid rapport, the correspondence presented here provides the reader with a window into the minds and way of thinking of the two correspondents, and is an important contribution to the history of psychoanalysis. I am honored that can serve as the platform for this work, which will now be available to readers all over the world.

Arnold Richards


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