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Fay Berger Karpf

Fay Berger Karpf made major contributions to social science with her analysis of the history of social psychology and her discussions of Otto Rank’s theories of psychology. Raised in Chicago, Karpf earned her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1925 and moved to New York, where she lectured on social theory at the Graduate School for Jewish Social Work. In 1928 she became director of their department of social research. Her 1932 book, American Social Psychology, traced the history of sociology and psychology from nineteenth-century philosophers to more modern practitioners like John Dewey. Five years later, in Dynamic Relationship Theory, she linked her own case studies with the theories of Otto Rank, a student of Freud who broke away due to his belief that present events and traumas could affect people just as deeply as their childhood dynamics. Karpf continued to teach and lecture on Rank throughout her career, writing numerous articles and a 1953 book, The Psychology and Psychotherapy of Otto Rank. She also joined her husband Maurice in supporting the Jewish welfare movement across the US from the 1920s through the 1950s.

More on Fay Berger Karpf
Date of Birth
April 17, 1891
Place of Birth
Date of Death
April 7, 1964

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fay Berger Karpf." (Viewed on December 18, 2018) <>.


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