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Collection Edward F. Edinger Papers

About this Collection

The papers (3,100 items; 10,077 images) of leading Jungian analyst Edward F. Edinger (1922-1998) span the years 1550 (photostatic copy of an alchemical treatise) to 2016, with the bulk of the material dating from 1951 to 1998. Reproduced from the originals donated to the Manuscript Division in 2016-2021, the collection illustrates Edinger’s ability to explain C. G. Jung's ideas and concepts in a simple and precise manner, making Jung's work more accessible. The papers also provide insight into Edinger's own theoretical work, including his belief that modern man's psychological disorientation was a result of the loss of a core religious mythology, and his interest in the therapeutic role of alchemy, literature, philosophy, and religion.  Included are writings, lectures, correspondence, notes, photographs, military records, printed matter, research material, transcriptions, and other material relating to Edinger’s career. Additional collection items include Edinger’s occasional journal entries and notes, drawings of the psyche, and a diagram of the historical precursors of psychotherapy.

Conflicted between science and religion and feeling meaningless, Edinger discovered that his life purpose was to become a Jungian analyst and a mediator between Jung and the wider audience. Papers in the collection reveal that Edinger believed Jung was an epochal man and had laid the psychological foundation for the realization of a unified world. Edinger began analysis with M. Esther Harding in 1951, and until his death in 1998, he was considered an influential Jungian analyst in the United States. Dianne D. Cordic, Jungian analyst and partner to Edinger, also played a vital role in Edinger’s career and life. In a letter written two months before his death, Edinger expressed that his debt to her would have to be settled in heaven.

The majority of the papers comprise Edinger's lectures and writings, and Edinger's handwritten edits are found throughout the writings. Most of his books are based on edited transcripts of lectures. Topics include alchemy, archetypes, C. G. Jung's work, collective unconscious, Gnosticism, Greek mythology and philosophy, individuation, the psyche, psychotherapy, symbols, and the transformation of the God-image. The collection does not include Edinger's entire body of work.

The papers also document Edinger's efforts, as president of the New York Association for Analytical Psychology, to plan a memorial meeting to honor Jung in 1961. Additions to the collection include Edinger’s collected copies and reprints of lectures and writings by Harding and Jung along with writings about Ralph Waldo Emerson. Edinger saw parallels between Emerson and Jung and credits Emerson with the development of the introverted intuition. The additional materials particularly highlight Jung's emphasis on alchemy as not just mystical philosophy or chemistry, but as the symbolic representation of the process of individuation, the path towards psychological wholeness.

The Edinger Papers were given to the Library of Congress by Dianne D. Cordic in 2016 and Susan McGuire in 2020 and 2021. The collection is arranged alphabetically by topic or type of material and followed by additions, closed material, and oversize material.