The Balint Papers

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the official correspondence of Enid and Michael Balint as well as documentation related to their major publication project - the Freud-Ferenczi letters, 1908 to 1933. This project led to the setting up of a committee to overlook publication. Enid Balint later claimed that her husband Michael regarded the publication of the Freud-Ferenczi letters as one of the most important aspects of his life's work, even exceeding in importance the publication of his own books and papers. The publication project commenced in 1952 and was only brought to a close in 1990.

Papers relating to Enid and Michael's work are mainly held in separate boxes.

Other material in the collection includes drafts and typescripts of books, conferences attended by Enid and Michael Balint.

Also included is a folder that the Balints referred to as 'the bible'. This contains the Balints' royalty agreements with their publishers. Other material focuses on the First International Balint Conference, held in London, and subsequent International Balint Conferences, Balint meetings, and Balint Society conferences and seminars, the South African Balint Society, as well as the Swiss Balint Society Group. Also included are the typescripts of the 2,000 Freud-Ferenczi letters, 1908 to 1933.

The contents can be summarized as follows:

  • Enid Balint's professional correspondence and papers
  • Papers and articles by Enid Balint and reprints of papers
  • Drafts and typescripts of books
  • Conferences attended by Enid Balint
  • Royalty agreements
  • Michael Balint's correspondence with publishers, and correspondence concerning conferences attended and reprints Correspondence with the committee for the publication of the Freud-Ferenczi letters
  • Typescripts of the Freud-Ferenczi letters
  • Typescripts and reprints of articles other than those by Enid and Michael Balint

Administrative / Biographical History

This collection comprises the official correspondence of Michael Balint (b. 1896-d. 1970) and his wife Enid Balint, as well as documentation relating to the publication of the Freud-Ferenczi letters.

Michael Balint originally surnamed Bergsman, was born in Budapest, Hungary on December 3, 1896, the first child to a middle-class Jewish family practitioner. In 1918 he qualified as a doctor, but proceeded to take up psychoanalysis, spending 2 years in Berlin with Hans Sachs, and another 2 years in Budapest with Sandor Ferenczi (1873-1933). Balint was profoundly influenced by Ferenczi. From 1931 to 1935 Michael Balint served as vice-director of the Budapest Psychoanalytic Institute, and was its director from 1935 to 1939.

The 1930s was a key decade for Michael Balint with a pronounced development towards his subsequent career as a general practitioner educator (1950). In that decade Balint began gathering together a few general practitioners with the sole purpose of studying methods by which psychotherapeutic skills could be introduced into medicine. These group meetings foreshadowed the later Balint societies.

Balint moved to England in the late 30s and made this his adopted home. He resided initially in Manchester, but later on settled in London. Michael Balint married for the third time in 1953, taking as his wife Enid Flora Eichholtz. They had met in 1949 when Enid was working in the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in conjunction with a group of psychologists and social workers upon the idea of investigating marriage problems. Michael Balint became the leader of this group and together the Balints developed the Balint group, a coterie of general practitioners influenced by psychoanalysis. Balint societies were eventually set up in Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, and West Germany and by the 1970s this international group led to the founding of the Balint Federation. This now comprises 12 affiliated national societies.


  • Boxes 1-10: Enid Balint - professional correspondence 1966-1994
  • Box 11-12: Enid Balint: day file correspondence 1981-1993
  • Box 13: Enid Balint: correspondence, 1980-1994: Balint Society, American Balint Society, British Psycho-Analytical Society
  • Boxes 14-16: Enid Balint: drafts and typescripts of papers, 1956-1994
  • Box 17: Enid Balint: reports of journal articles, 1950-1991
  • Box 18-25: Enid Balint: drafts and typescripts of books
  • Boxes 26-27: Enid Balint: conferences attended, 1971-1989
  • Box 28: Enid and Michael Balint: conferences attended, 1952-1979
  • Box 29: Enid and Michael Balint: correspondence, 1936-1970
  • Box 30: Michael Balint: correspodence, 1936-1970
  • Box 31: Michael Balint - correspondence with publishers, 1938-1972
  • Box 32: Michael Balint: typescripts and notes, 1956-1969; conferences attended, 1962 and 1964
  • Box 33: Michael Balint: reprints, 1934-1972
  • Boxes 34-35: International Balint Conferences, 1972-1984
  • Box 36: Balint Society conferences and seminars, 1985-1986; South African Balint Society meetings, 1980-1984
  • Boxes 37-39: Freud-Ferenczi letters, 1908-1933, correspondence between members of the committee for publication of the letters, 1952-1990
  • Box 40-41: Freud-Ferenczi letters, 1908-1933: Enid Balint correspondence with members of the publications committee, 1974-1986
  • Boxes 42-44: Freud-Ferenczi correspondence, 1908-1933: typescripts of letters
  • Boxes 45-48: Typescripts and reprints of articles other than by Enid and Michael Balint

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. Jennifer Johns.


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

Following Enid Balint's death, the collection was placed in the keeping of Dr. Jennifer Johns in London and was only deposited with the Albert Sloman Library in 1999.


No further material will be added.

Additional Information

University of Essex: Albert Sloman Library.