Klein, Melanie

  • Klein, Melanie, 1882-1960
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Material includes correspondence, diaries, drafts of letters and publications, case material, photographs, files on the controversies within the British Psychoanalytical Society, 1939-1944; family correspondence and literary fragments (in German).

The collection is not considered to be complete; Melanie Klein retained very little of what must surely have been a great deal of correspondence generated during the course of her life. Extensive case material kept by her survives, but there are obvious gaps. Similarly although manuscripts and draft versions of much of her work survive, these are not exhaustive.

'Richard''s drawings reproduced in Narrative of a Child Analysis were received from the Melanie Klein Trust in May 2005 and have been incorporated into PP/KLE/B.47.

Some of the material (PP/KLE/A.1-7) is not only in German but written in 'Deutschschrift', which is difficult to decipher, and some of the early correspondence of Moritz and Libussa (Deutsch) Reizes includes extensive passages in Yiddish. The detailed listing of this material was undertaken by Jens Lazarus from the Karl Sudhoff Institut, Leipzig. It now forms Section F.

Titles in this list in inverted commas are those which were on the actual covers of the files as they were found: file titles not in inverted commas have been assigned by the archivist. Square brackets indicate that the matter within them can be reasonably deduced, and are used for cross-references.



Physical description

29 boxes 1 folder; 1 o/s box 9 microfilms


By section as follows:

A. Personal and biographical, 1879-1982;

B. Case material;

C. Manuscripts;

D. Notes;

E. Controversy within the British Psycho-Analytical Society, 1939-1944;

F. Family Papers (Accession 361)

Acquisition note

The papers of Melanie Klein were given to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre (known as Archives and Manuscripts following its merger with Western Manuscripts in July 2000) in January 1984 by the Melanie Klein Trust. They had previously been stored at the home of Dr Hanna Segal, Chairman of the Trust.

Further accruals were received from Klein's biographer, Phyllis Grosskurth, as well as Miss Joseph of the Klein Trust, who presented translations of letters, currently in the possession of Klein's descendants, which were made for biographical purposes.

Further additions to the collection include photographs of the unveiling of a plaque in Pitlochry to commemorate where the analysis described in Klein's Narrative of a Child Analysis took place. These were presented by Dr Paul O'Farrell of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in 1987(Acc 273).

Additional material relating mainly to Klein's earlier life and family was received from her grandchildren via James MacGibbon acting for the Melanie Klein Trust in November 1990. This material consists mainly of personal and family correspondence; some of these letters (written in German) duplicate the translated letters already donated by the Klein Trustees.

Cards showing her toys received via Betty Joseph, April 2005

Originals of drawings by 'Richard' reproduced in Narrative of a Child Analysis, and photocopies of her letters to Georg Brandes about the posthumous publication of her brother Emanuel Reizes's writings, from originals in the Royal Danish Library Copenhagen received via Elizabeth Spillius of the Melanie Klein Trust, May 2005.

Biographical note

Melanie Klein was an influential figure in the 'British school' of psychoanalysis, devising therapeutic techniques for children that had great impact on present methods of child care and rearing and making an important contribution to both the theory and technique of psychoanalysis.

She was born in Vienna on 30th March 1882, the youngest of the four children of Dr Moriz Reizes and his wife, Libusa Deutsch.

In 1901 she became engaged to Arthur Klein, an engineer, and spent the two years of her engagement studying humanities at Vienna University.

She subsequently married Klein in March 1903 and they had three children: a daughter and two sons.

In 1910 the Kleins moved to Budapest, where Melanie first encountered Freud's work, which stimulated her interest in psychoanalysis.

She read her first paper, "The Development of a Child," to the Hungarian [Psychoanalytic] Society in 1919, and on the strength of that paper became a member of the Budapest Society. She stayed in Budapest until 1919, before separating from her husband, eventually divorcing him in 1922.

In 1921 Klein moved to Berlin, where she established a psychoanalytical practice with adults as well as children.

Klein's views on psychoanalysis of children conflicted with those of her contemporary, Anna Freud, Freud's views were adopted by the Berlin Psychoanalytical Society, who considered Klein's work to be "unorthodox."

In 1925 Klein gave her first paper on the technique of child analysis at a conference in Salzburg and was subsequently invited to give some lectures on child analysis in England in the same year; these six lectures formed the basis of the initial part of The Psycho-Analysis of Children, her first book, published in 1932.

In 1927 Melanie Klein established herself in England, becoming a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society: she remained in England up until her death on September 22nd 1960.

Klein's works include Contributions to Psycho-Analysis,1921-1945, published in 1948, New Directions in Psycho-Analysis, published in 1955, the same year that the Melanie Klein Trust was founded, Envy and Gratitude, published in 1957 and Narrative of a Child Analysis, which was posthumously published in 1961. In 1952 to mark Klein's 70th birthday the International Journal of Psychoanalysis published a special issue entitled Developments in Psychoanalysis.

Relevant studies include Melanie Klein: her world and work, Phyllis Grosskurth, 1986; Melanie Klein, Hanna Segal, 1980.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

Papers of Edward John Mostyn Bowlby PP/BOW, Clare Winnicott GC/148.

Copies of Klein's letters to Adrian Stokes, 1946-1958, may be found at GC/126.

Copyright note

Contact the Melanie Klein Trust Administrator for permission to cite in publications. See www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk for up to date contact details.

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.

Appraisal note

The papers had been kept in reasonably good order and the 1961 catalogue of the papers held by the Klein Trustees (PP/KLE/A.165) was used as a guideline. However on sorting, certain anomalies of arrangement were discovered; furthermore there was one large parcel of unsorted material, much of which was eventually incorporated with the rest of the records. Duplicate material and a small amount of ephemera was discarded.


The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS). Contact the Melanie Klein Trust Administrator for permission to cite in publications. See www.melanie-klein-trust.org.uk for up to date contact details.


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Accession number

  • 172
  • 209
  • 210
  • 273
  • 361
  • 1337
  • 1339