Guide to the Papers of Paula Elkisch

AR 25231

Processed by Philipp Thater

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2011 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Dianne Ritchey in September 2011. Description is in English.
July 19, 2013  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Elkisch, Paula
Title: Paula Elkisch Collection
Dates:bulk 1948-1979
Abstract: The Paula Elkisch Collection contains her writings on psychoanalysis and her poetry and prose. It also contains her research notes as background information on those writings.
Languages: The collection is in English and German.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet.
Identification: AR 25231
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note

Paula Elkisch, Ph.D. was a psychoanalyst specializing in child psychiatry and psychoanalytical analysis of literary works. She published extensively in these fields, contributing articles to magazines, and devised a psychological test for children called "The Scribbling-Projection-Test." She was especially interested in the psychoanalytic importance of children's drawings. She also wrote poetry and prose and translated "Die Natur," a fragment by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe into English. During the 1940s she corresponded with Thomas Mann.

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Scope and Content Note

The Paula Elkisch Collection is arranged in three series and includes photocopies of psychological writings, correspondence, photographs, poems, prose, printed matter, clippings, lectures, notes and translations by Paula Elkisch and others.

The collection documents the professional life of Paula Elkisch through her psychological and literary writings. Materials relate to psychoanalysis of children and their drawings, feminist publications in the German magazine Die Frau, psychological analyses of literary works and her literary work in prose and poetry.

The collection has been divided into 3 series. The first series contains 6 folders with Paula Elkisch's writings. These include her psychological articles, publications, magazine contributions, lectures, essays, autobiographical notes, translations, poetry and prose.

Series II consists of one folder containing her research notes. These are photocopies of off-prints by Kurt R. Eissler on psychoanalysis with Elkisch's notes, annotations and comments, newspaper clippings and an essay on Rainer Maria Rilke along with one of his poems.

Series III contains the correspondence with the Thomas Mann Archives in Zürich, Switzerland regarding letters from Thomas Mann, and copies of these letters. There is also a copy of a letter by Erika Mann and photographs of Thomas Mann taken by Thea Goldmann and blank postcards showing Thomas Mann's home and study.

The bulk of the collection consists of several publications on children's drawings and a test she devised on the same topic: "The Scribbling Projection Test." Furthermore, there are analytic interpretations of case studies, concerning the psychological treatment of children. Lectures and essays also cover women's problems and Rainer Maria Rilke's work.

Documents on children's drawings include a psychological monograph, the "Scribbling Projection Test" and several reprints of different articles from various publications.

Documents on children's psychology in general consist of several reprints from publications, different essays and autobiographical notes.

Materials dealing with women's problems cover lectures and essays published in the magazine Die Frau.

Literary work consists of copies of her poems, a story and a translation of a fragment by Goethe.

A large amount of the research notes consists of Elkisch's comments in reprints of articles by Kurt R. Eissler.

Materials on literary works cover essays on Rainer Maria Rilke by Paula Elkisch and others.

Correspondence includes copies of letters by Thomas Mann, letters regarding these and photographs pertaining to Thomas Mann.

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The collection is arranged in three series:

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:
Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

See also the Papers of Paula Elkisch at the Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

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Separated Material

Several publications by K.R. Eissler were removed from the archival collection to the LBI Library during processing.

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Custodial History

[information about the chain of ownership of the materials being described, before reaching the archive]

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Paula Elkisch Collection; AR 25231; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

This collection was processed in preparation for online publication of the EAD finding aid. Similar materials were grouped together by format or subject to form series and unmarked publications were removed to the library with copyright information retained in the collection. Description was added to the finding aid.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Writings, 1924-1979

This series is in English and German.
0.4 linear feet


Scope and Content:

The series consists of Paula Elkisch's writings on children’s psychology, psychoanalysis, women's problems and her poetry and prose. There are folders containing autobiographical notes, lectures, poetry, prose, psychological writings, publications, reprints and translations.

Psychological writings are mostly on children's psychology. They mostly deal with the psychoanalytical importance of children’s drawings, a subject on which Paula Elkisch also devised a test (The Scribbling Projection Test).

Autobiographical notes concentrate on Paula Elkisch's childhood and her relationship to her younger brother.

Poetry focuses on aging, uncertainty and death. Prose was written while crossing the Atlantic in 1940 and deals with Paula Elkisch's reception of the war. She also translated a fragment by Goethe (Die Natur/Nature) into English.

Paula Elkisch's contributions to the magazine Die Frau review the publication of Wilhelm Reich's Der sexuelle Kampf der Jugend and discuss its influence on youths, an analysis of sexual and feminist tendencies in Friedrich Schlegel's Lucinde and pedagogical thoughts concerning gender-issues.

A lecture given to the "Women's Problems Group" discusses the importance of time-management for mothers and links it to the aspect of religion and mysticism, which she also explores in her essays on the role of women in the works of Rainer Maria Rilke and on novels dealing with the influence of religion on the role of women.

11Lectures, Essays and Autobiographical Notesundated, 1924-1948
12Poetry1977 January-August
13Psychological Writingsundated, 1945, 1969-1977
14Publications of Die Frau1927-1933
15Reprints of Psychological Writings1948-1979
18Translation and Proseundated, 1929, 1940
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Series II: Research Notes, 1967-1975

This series is in German and English.
0.07 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

This series contains photocopies of off-prints by Kurt Eissler, who published extensively on Sigmund Freud, with Paula Elkisch's markings, comments and notes as well as newspaper clippings. The off-prints are from different journals and magazines that were published between 1967 and 1975. Title pages and pages containing annotations were copied and notes found loose were attached to a copy of the page on which they were found.

This series contains the essay "The Contributions of Margaret S. Mahler to the Understanding of Pathological and Normal Psychological Development" by John B. McDevitt.

This series also contains a copy of the essay "Sexual Elements in Rilke’s Poetry" by Herbert W. Belmore and a copy of the poem "Das Marien-Leben" by Rainer Maria Rilke.

16Research Notes1967-1975
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Series III: Thomas Mann, 1955-1956, 1989

This series is in German and English.
0.03 linear ft.


Scope and Content:

This series contains a correspondence with the Thomas Mann Archives in Zuerich, Switzerland, pertaining to Paula Elkisch's letters to and from Thomas Mann and photocopies of these letters, as well as a copy of a letter by Erika Mann. It also contains photographs and postcards that show Thomas Mann's home and library in Kilchberg, Switzerland and photographs of Thomas Mann by Thea Goldmann.

17Thomas Mann1955-1956, 1989
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