The Living Archives Project

The Living Archives Project started a few years ago when a group of devoted colleagues decided to create a network of Living Archives, initially with a London centre – where the specific venues can communicate with each other. Such a link already exists between the Ferenczi Archives at the Freud Museum and the Balint collection at the Archives of the British Psychoanalytical Society. Thanks to personal and financial support both archives are in the advanced stage of a process of being catalogued and digitized.

Honoring also the wish of the donors (Judith Dupont and Andre Haynal) members of the Living Archives Project aim to make these documents and images available for different generations of professionals and also for the interested wider public.

Documents like people have their own stories. They speak to us of the past: they are fragments of cultural history, records of their age. They report not only facts and knowledge but offer us profound insight into relationships and emotional reactions that bring new life to events, even if they are already known. They are gold mines!

Just to mention two recently discovered letters:

One is a touching and illuminating account by Zsofia Ferenczi, one of the 4 sisters (Ferenczi also had 7 brothers) recalling memorable moments of family and cultural life in their home after the death of their father. This rare document of Sandor’s childhood and relationships has already been published in Hungarian and will soon come out in English.

Another discovery is a letter from Lacan to Balint (!) saying: “you know that in all my teaching am following the line of Ferenczi” (14th June 14,1953) also to be published soon.

Without knowing our history our identity is built upon shaky grounds. Underlying issues are linked to the very sense of our integrity; regarding our relationship to our past, continuity and diversity. This applies to the development of our professional identity, as well.

The mission of these archives is not only for saving the memory of people, ideas, diverse aspects of past experiences and events but they also serve clinical practice, education, research and communication.

Holding -and looking after -these invaluable documents in the most “user friendly” and efficient way is our responsibility not only towards our colleagues, students and scholars but also the whole international psychoanalytic community.

We intend to develop an active network for safeguarding our professional-cultural heritage in Europe and beyond. Growing interest proves that such a project is most welcome.

I would like to use this opportunity to invite all of you interested in this project to get in touch so that we can work together in the future to expand this field of investigation and construction: to search, save, research and share!

Judit Szekacs-Weisz