The Georg Groddeck Archive of Oscar Kollerstrom

Scope and Content

The collection comprises Groddeck's publications, approximately totaling 50 books and journal articles. Among the papers may be found letters from Georg Groddeck to the following correspondents: his pupil Oscar Kollerstrom; his translator Mary Collins; his sister Leni. The collection also comprises an almost complete run of Die Arche (1925-1927), as well as translations (in typescript) of several of Groddeck's publications: Conference psychoanalytiques a l'usage des maladies and the seminal novel, Der Seelensucher: ein pyschoanalytisher Roman. Also included are a number of photographs and sketches of Georg Groddeck.

Administrative / Biographical History

This collection was put together by Oscar Kollerstrom, a pupil of Georg Groddeck (1866-1934). Groddeck is often regarded as the 'father of psychosomatic medicine' and even as the source of inspiration for Freud's concept of the 'Id'. Certainly the two men corresponded and directly influenced each other. Groddeck's life and career can be summarized in brief as follows: he was born in Bad Ksen on the Saale, Germany. His parents, Karl Groddeck, who was a physician, and Karoline Koberstein, had four children in all: Hans, Wolf, Lina, and the youngest, Georg. His father passed away in 1885, his mother in 1892.

In 1889, Groddeck qualified as a doctor having studied medicine under Dr Ernst Schweninger, Otto von Bismark's personal physician. In 1896, Groddeck married Else von der Goltz. They had a daughter Barbara, and separated in 1901.

Groddeck and his sister Lina opened a fifteen-bed sanatorium in Baden-Baden in 1900. He published several books: Hin zu Gottnatur [Toward God Nature] in 1909, The Vicar of Langewiesche (1909), a novel, and Nasamecu - a book of popular medicine - that appeared in 1913. Dreams and psychoanalysis were becoming increasingly important elements in Groddeck's approach to medicine. He began to relate his dreams to listeners and edited a house journal, Satanarium, in order to communicate his ideas.

Groddeck first wrote to Freud in May 1917. That same year he published 'Psychic Conditioning and Psychoanalytic Treatment of Organic Disorders'. Over the following two years Groddeck saw through the publication of his first psychoanalytic novel, Thomas Weltlein, later published as The Seeker of Souls. Groddeck's editor forwarded the book to Freud who commended Groddeck to the Berlin Psychoanalytic Association. The two men then met for the first time in 1920, at the 6th International Psychoanalytic Congress at The Hague.

In 1923, Groddeck married his assistant, Emmy von Voigt, a former patient of his. He published The Book It, and later that same year accused Freud plagiarizing some terminology. 1920s were filled with more publications, lectures, public appearances travels to United Kingdom. 1934, suffered two heart attacks, second which, June, proved fatal.


  • Box 1: 
    • Journal articles, 1899-1931
    • Articles relating to the work of Georg Groddeck, including papers and lectures (typescripts) by Oscar Kollerstrom
    • Correspondence: thirty letters from Georg Groddeck to Mary Collins, Oscar Kollerstrom, his sister Leni, and Mollie - bearing the following dates:
      • 14.1.27
      • 14.3.27
      • 29.4.28 (photocopy)
      • 10.7.28
      • 11.7.29
      • 2.3.31
      • 28.5.31
      • 18.6.31
      • 9.7.31
      • 30.7.31
      • 23.9.31
      • 30.9.31
      • 27.1.32
      • 28.2.32
      • 30.4.32
      • 27.5.32
      • 1.7.32
      • 27.11.32
      • 22.1.33
      • 26.3.33
      • 27.4.33
      • 27.6.33
      • 2.4(?).34
      • 16.4.34
      • 16.4.34
      • 30.4(?).34
    • Three undated letters
    • Note written by Georg Groddeck
    • Correspondence to Oscar Kollerstrom, Mary Collins and others
    • Miscellaneous items (photographs [7] and sketches [20] of Georg Groddeck; miscellaneous publications).
  • Box 2: Issues of Die Arche:
    • 1-23 (First Series) - May 1925 to 1926
    • 1-25 (Second Series) - April 1926-April 1927
    • 2-4 and 6-14 (Third Series) - April 1927-December 1927
  • Box 3: English translation (typescript) of Conference psychoanalytiques&xE1; l'usage des maladies [Psychoanalytic sessions for the sick, given by Dr Groddick in his sanatorium at Baden Baden]. Translated by Roger Lewinter
  • Box 4: English translation (typescript) of The Soul-Searcher. Translated by Christian Darnton

Access Information

By written application to either the Librarian or Deputy Librarian. A letter of introduction may be required and prospective users will be obliged to sign an undertaking outlining the terms and conditions of access to the research materials.

Acquisition Information

Dr. G.J.K. Greenlaw


This record was compiled by David Borg-Muscat, UK Data Archive, using entries from:

Albert Sloman Library (2000) A Note on Special Collections, (University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library), p. 5.

Record entered by Nadeem Ahmad of Qualidata, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.

Other Finding Aids

A record for all materials in the Special Collection is available via the Albert Sloman Library, Special Collections web page.

Conditions Governing Use

No part of the Special Collections material may be reproduced, published, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Albert Sloman Library. This may be obtained by application to the Librarian or Deputy Librarian.

Appraisal Information

In consultation with academic colleagues, the library special collections acquisitions staff evaluate collections by assessing their relevance to the teaching and research interests of the University.

Custodial History

The archive was donated to the University by Dr G.J.K. Greenlaw of Carmarthen, Wales in 2002. Dr Greenlaw had received the material in 1980 under the terms of the will of Oscar Kollerstrom's widow Bridget.


No further material will be added.

Additional Information

University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library.