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Frink Family Collection

Horace Westlake Frink
by Pirie MacDonald

Collection Overview

Creator: Frink, Horace Westlake (1883 - 1936) Kraft, Helen Frink (1920 - )
Collection Date: 1904 - 1985
Extent: 2 linear feet

Biography

Horace Frink was born in Millerton, New York. He received his M.D. in 1905 from Cornell University Medical School and subsequently served an internship at Bellevue Hospital from 1906 to 1908. In 1909, he became an assistant in the outpatient neurological clinic at Cornell University under the tutelage of Charles Dana. It was here that Frink began the outpatient treatment of neuroses using hypnosis and psychoanalysis. In 1914, Frink became assistant professor of neurology at Cornell University and began to teach psychoanalysis to medical students. In 1918, he published Morbid Fears and Compulsions, described as “a clear and readable” explanation of neuroses. At the close of World War I, Frink traveled to Europe to study with Sigmund Freud. Frink was twice psychoanalyzed by Freud, once in 1921 and again in 1922. In August 1923, he gave up practice due to mental illness. In 1924, he put himself in the care of the noted psychiatrist Adolf Meyer at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. From December 1924 through April 1925, he was a patient of Frederick Packard, Superintendent of McLean Hospital in Waverly, Massachusetts, at which time his illness was diagnosed as being manic-depressive. From then until a week before his death in 1936, he lead a normal life functioning as single parent to two children. In April 1936, he had a psychotic incident and arranged to be committed to the Pine Bluff Sanitarium in North Carolina, where he died a week later of a heart attack.

Scope and Content

The Frink Family Collection contains the papers of Horace Westlake Frink, M.D., and of his daughter Helen Frink Kraft. Papers of Helen Kraft comprise her research into her father’s life and his career as a psychoanalyst. Horace Frink’s papers cover the years 1904 to 1936 and are comprised of family correspondence, photographs, vital documents, and miscellany. The papers relate primarily to his illness and to the course of his treatment, especially by Freud. Included are two photographs of Frink and Freud, copies of a letter and two telegrams from Freud concerning Frink’s analysis. Also among the papers is a copy of the minutes of the organizational meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, of which Frink was a founding member.

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