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Dicks, Henry

Dicks, Henry Victor (1900-1977)

About this work


The vast majority of this collection is composed of published and unpublished papers, reports, memoranda, drafts, lecture and seminar notes by Dicks. Very little correspondence is included, no clinical material, and only a handful of items date from Dicks's early, pre-War career. Reports and memoranda concerning all his activities during and immediately after the Second World War are, however, included, along with notes on interviews with German prisoners of war and a photocopy of Dicks's personal notebook from the period. His interest in Soviet Russia is reflected in a set of his published and unpublished papers on this subject spanning the period 1952 to 1971. Dicks's work in the field of marital therapy is likewise represented by published and unpublished papers as are his wide-ranging general interests in psychology, psychiatry, race relations, education, and international relations. There is, however, only one file relating to Dicks's work on the history of the Tavistock Clinic. The collection also includes notes on his interviews with German war criminals and drafts of Licensed Mass Murder. Dicks's eclectic interests, and his networks with colleagues in a number of disciplines, are represented by a set of collected reprints and papers by others.



Physical description

14 boxes


The main sections within the catalogue are based, with some minor modifications, on the arrangement pertaining when the material was transferred. These sections are as follows:

A. World War II

B. Germany: World War II and post-War work

C. Soviet Russia

D. Marital therapy

E. General psychiatry, psychology and mental health

F. Authoritarian psychology and collective psychopathology

G. Works by other authors

Acquisition note

These papers were donated to the Library by Dicks's son in March 2010.

Biographical note

Henry Victor Dicks was born in Estonia in 1900 to an English father and Baltic German mother. He was educated initially at Pernau, Riga and Petrograd. As a result of his upbringing, Dicks spoke German near-perfectly and Russian fluently. During the First World War Dicks served with the Artists' Rifles and as an interpreter with military intelligence for the British Expeditionary Force in Russia. After the War he went on to study at Cambridge and at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, qualifying in medicine in 1926. Dicks then held a number of junior hospital appointments at St. Bartholomew's and Bethlem Hospitals and as a School Medical Officer for the London County Council. In 1928 he joined the staff of the Tavistock Clinic where he was, from 1934 to 1946, Assistant Medical Director. In 1939 he published his first monograph on Clinical Studies in Psychopathology.

During and immediately after the Second World War, Dicks held a number of different posts as follows:

1939-1941 Specialist Psychiatrist, Emergency Medical Service Neurosis Centre, Stanborough, Herts

1941-1946 Command Psychiatrist, London District

May-June 1941 Special duty in medical care of Rudolf Hess

1942-1944 Military Intelligence, Adviser on German morale

1944-1945 Adviser on Morale, Psychological Warfare Division, Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force

1945-1946 Adviser on German personel and 'de-Nazification', Intelligence Branch, Control Commssion for Germany

These experiences were to provide much raw material for Dicks's later work on authoritarian psychology and collective psychopathology.

Following the War, Dicks was Nuffield Professor of Psychiatry, University of Leeds, 1946-1948. He then returned to the Tavistock Clinc where he remained until 1965 as Deputy Director and Consultant Psychiatrist in charge of the Marital Unit. It was here that Dicks carried out innovative work in the area of marital and family mental health and therapy. His 1967 monograph Marital Tensions: Clinical Studies Towards a Psychological Thoery of Interaction was based on this work. Dicks was also the author of a history of the Clinic, published in 1970. After leaving the Tavistock, Dicks was, 1966-1970, a Senior Research Officer at the Centre for Research in Collective Psychopathology, University of Sussex. Whislt based there he conducted the research for his monograph Licensed Mass Murder: A socio-psychological study of some SS killers (1972).

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