Science: Psychology and Psychiatry
Known to her contemporaries as the “Lady Angel of the Tenement District,” Clarice Baright was a social worker and a trailblazing attorney who combined these skills as an advocate for the rights of New York City’s children and its poor. In a career spanning the first half of the twentieth century, Baright fought for reforms in the style and spirit of the Progressive Era, while earning the distinctions of serving as the second female magistrate in New York City history and of being among the first few women admitted to the American Bar Association.
Like many mothers of celebrities, Sadi Muriel Baron might be considered famous because of her child, rather than because of her own personal accomplishments. Baron was the mother of Dr. Richard Raskind, who became one of the most famous American male-to-female transgender personalities when he was transformed into Dr. Renée Richards in 1976. However, Baron was herself a success story. Baron was a pioneering neurologist and psychiatrist who maintained her own private practice well into the 1950s.
Baruch’s foremost concern, expressed through a wide range of professional activities as an educator, author, psychologist, and community leader, was the healthy emotional development of the young child with the full understanding that physical, intellectual, and emotional development are all interrelated.
Therese Benedek was among the pioneers of psychoanalysis, first in Germany and then in the United States. She developed expertise in psychosomatic medicine, sexual dysfunction, and family dynamics, but she is best known for her work on the psychosexual development of women.
Elsie Oschrin Bregman was a psychologist most noted for her pioneering research on the measurement of mental ability and intelligence.
During a public career spanning more than forty years, Dr. Joyce Brothers made the unlikely journey from housewife to celebrity quiz show contestant to the nation’s best-known media psychologist.
Hilde Bruch is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on emotional problems relating to eating, thanks to her research on obesity in children and her innovative approach to the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
Psychoanalyst Ruth Mack Brunswick participated in the development of Freudian theory in the 1920s and 1930s as a sounding board for Sigmund Freud’s ideas. As colleague, disciple, patient, interpreter, and liaison to the American psychoanalytic group, her tact in proposing contributions to Freud’s thinking won her ideas a rare acknowledgment.
Ranging from poetry to investigations of women’s eating disorders, from fictional autobiography to the story of a voice, Kim Chernin’s works radiate the “spiritual politics” she considers the essence of her Jewishness.
Phyllis Chesler, a self-described “radical feminist” and “liberation psychologist,” is a prolific writer, seasoned activist and organizer, and committed Jew and Zionist. Also a psychotherapist and Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, Chesler is the author of twelve books.
The existence of two autobiographies and two biographies attest to the importance of Florence Denmark’s contributions to American psychology. However, none of these published materials mention the fact that she is Jewish, probably because she has never felt that her Jewish heritage is particularly salient to her. Nevertheless, like the work of other Jewish women of her generation, Denmark’s contributions to psychology have been socially activist in nature. She is a founder of the field of the psychology of women, and has contributed much to its legitimization in terms of both scholarship and organizational leadership.
In 1923, Helene Deutsch became the first psychoanalyst to write a book about female psychology, called Psychoanalysis of the Sexual Functions of Women in English. Her interest in the subject, along with that of Karen Horney, helped to push her mentor Sigmund Freud, who did not like being left behind, into writing articles about female psychology. When Deutsch was completing her manuscript, she wrote to her husband, Felix, “It brings something new to this terra incognita in analysis—I believe, the first ray of light on the unappreciated female libido.” For her to draw attention to the female libido in that era was implicitly to amend Freud’s own outlook. At the same time, Deutsch was pioneering the importance of motherhood. Other psychoanalysts of the period, such as Otto Rank, Sandor Ferenczi, and Georg Groddeck, were also intrigued by the neglected role of mothering, but Deutsch was the one to insist on its special significance for female psychology. Although she always remained loyal to Freud’s conceptual framework, her writings were an outgrowth of her own personal experiences and insight.
If a Jewish author could be selected as representative of the process of amalgamation of cultures in the Lit. (Greek) "dispersion." The Jewish community, and its areas of residence, outside Erez Israel.Diaspora, Sara Riwka Erlich would be the appropriate Brazilian-Jewish woman writer. Born in Brazil of European parents who immigrated to that country, Erlich grew up in the city of Recife, immersed in a combination of Jewish heritage and some areas of non-Jewish life.
Claire Fagin, a distinguished nursing educator, scholar, dean, and leader, became the first woman interim president of the University of Pennsylvania (June 1993–July 1994) and the first female to achieve this position in any Ivy League university. Her achievement, as a woman and especially as a nurse, was immortalized for Fagin by a friend who slightly altered an old New Yorker magazine cartoon showing a boy and girl playing “hospital.” In the version given to Fagin, the girl turned to the boy and said: “You can play doctor and I’ll play the president of the University of Pennsylvania.”
The impressive and full life of Ruth Lewis Farkas spanned many occupations: educator, sociologist, businesswoman, philanthropist, inventor, wife, and mother. She was born on December 20, 1906, and raised in Manhattan, the fourth of Samuel Lewis and Jennie Bach’s five children. Farkas’s parents were in the real estate business, but Jennie Lewis also worked with the poor of Manhattan and occasionally allowed her young daughter to accompany her into tenements. She gave Ruth this advice: “No matter what your station in life, always try to contribute to those less fortunate.”
Selma Fraiberg was a psychoanalyst, author, and pioneer in the field of infant psychiatry.
With these words, Käte Frankenthal, physician and former Berlin Social Democratic municipal councillor, began her prize-winning memoir, written in New York in 1940.
Else Frenkel-Brunswik was a social psychologist who is best known as coauthor of The Authoritarian Personality.
Anna Freud's life was also a constant search for useful social applications of psychoanalysis, above all in treating, and learning from, children.
A brilliant and gifted therapist, she emphasized communicating understanding in her innovative treatment of schizophrenics during her twenty-two years at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland.
A successful psychologist who also devoted her life to religious education and leadership, Evelyn Garfiel offered generations of women a model for balancing academic pursuits and religious commitment.
It is noteworthy that many early women psychoanalysts from Jewish backgrounds were strongly encouraged by their fathers to pursue their professional aspirations. Elisabeth Rozetta Geleerd, who became a supervisor of several generations of child and adolescent analysts, is a case in point.
Carol Gilligan has broken new ground in psychology, challenging mainstream psychologists with her theory that accepted benchmarks of moral and personal developments were drawn to a male bias and do not apply to women. Gilligan proposed that women have different moral criteria and follow a different path in maturation. A psychologist who taught at Harvard and Cambridge, Gilligan brought a feminist perspective to challenge Freud and new life to the statement “The personal is political.”