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Rycroft, Dr Charles (1914-1998)

  • Rycroft, Charles Frederick
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Charles Rycroft was an extremely influential and respected psychoanalyst. On his first applying for training Ernest Jones considered him a dilettante and suggested that he began by studying medicine, which he did, while undergoing his training analysis.

After significant involvement with the British Society of Psycho-Analysis and serving in several official positions at the Institute of Psycho-Analysis, Rycroft became disillusioned with the Institute and the strife between the different factions. However, while withdrawing from active involvement with the institutions of psychoanalysis he continued to practice, to supervise trainee analysts, among whom was R D Laing, and to publish extensively on the subject, both in books and professional journals and in reviewing for The Observer, New Society, New Statesman, Times Literary Supplement and the New York Review of Books.

This collection contains a significant amount of correspondence with colleagues and professional associates and a good deal of material relating to his writings for a wide range of audiences.



Physical description

32 boxes


A. Personal
A.1 Family
A.2 "Old Furniture"
A.3 Scrapbooks
A.4 Professional documents
A.5 Financial and business matters
A.6 Invitations
A.7 Appointment diaries
A.8 Notebooks
A.9 Address and telephone book
A.10 Photos
A.11 Interviews
A.12 Obituaries and memorial tributes

B. Correspondence with colleagues and others

C. Institutions, organisations, associations, etc

D. Analysands

E. Writings
E.1 Card index of Rycroft's books
E.2 Correspondence with literary agents, publishers, editors, etc
E.3 Psychoanalysis Observed
E.4 Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis
E.5 Imagination and Reality
E.6 Anxiety and Neurosis
E.7 Reich
E.8 The Innocence of Dreams
E.9 Psychoanalysis and Beyond
E.10 Viewpoints
E.11 Articles, lectures, unpublished papers, etc
E.12 Reviews
E.13 Abstracts of articles in Psychoanalytic Quarterly for International Journal of Psycho-Analysis E.14 Reports for publishers

F. Papers by others
F.1 Reviews of Rycroft's works
F.2 Papers by specific colleagues
F.3 Papers sent to Rycroft and kept by him
F.4 Family therapy
F.5 Miscellaneous individual articles, reviews, etc

Acquisition note

These papers were received as a gift from Rycroft's widow, Jenny Pearson, between 2006 and 2009.

Biographical note

Biographical summary

9 Sep 1914 born. second child of second marriage of Sir Richard Rycroft, to Emily Mary (nee Corry)
1933 spent 6 months in Germany before going to Trinity College Cambridge to read Economics
While at Cambridge becomes involved with the Communist Party
1936 BA
1936-1937 Earl of Derby Student and Peter Legh Exhibitioner (in Modern History), Trinity College
1937 goes into training analysis with Ella Sharpe
1938-1945 Medical student University College Hospital Medical School
1941 Following Sharpe's death, resumes analysis with Sylvia Payne
1945-1946 House Physician, Bethnal Green Hospital
1946 House Physician, Maudsley Hospital
1947 Temporary Medical Officer, City of London Mental Hospital
1947 Goes into private practice in psychotherapy
Marries Chloe Majolier (3 children b. 1947, 1949, 1950)
1947-1950 On Library Committee, Institute of Psycho-Analysis
1948 Associate Member, British Psycho-Analytical Society
Private practice as psychoanalyst
1950 Hon Joint Librarian, Institute of Psycho-Analysis
1951 Full Member, British Psycho-Analytical Society
1953-1954 Member of Training Committee and Acting Training Secretary, Institute of Psycho-Analysis
1954 Training analyst
1955 Assistant Editor, International Journal of Psycho-Analysis
1956-1968 Consultant in Psychotherapy, Tavistock Clinic
Scientific Secretary, Institute of Psycho-Analysis
1959 onwards reviewing extensively in the serious lay press
1963 divorce
1966 (as editor) Psycho-Analysis Observed
1968 Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis
Imagination and Reality
Anxiety and Neurosis
1971 Reich
1973 Foundation Fellow, Royal College of Psychiatrists
1978 Left the British Psychoanalytical Society
Married Jenny Pearson
1979 The Innocence of Dreams
1984 Honorary Life Member, Medical Defence Union
1985 Psychoanalysis and Beyond
1991 Viewpoints
1995 Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis second edition
1998 24 May died in Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, having been seeing patients up to the previous week

There are obituaries in PP/RYC/A.12/1 and posthumous tributes from friends and colleagues in PP/RYC/A.12/2, as well as a number of interviews in PP/RYC/A.11/1-6. A copy of Analyst of the Imagination: The Life and Work of Charles Rycroft, edited by Jenny Pearson (2004), is available in the Library.

Terms of use

This collection has been catalogued and is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records.

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