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Burlingham-Tiffany, Dorothy (1891-1979)


Psychoanalyst Dorothy Burlingham was born in New York on October 11, 1891, and died in London on November 19, 1979. She was closely associated with Anna Freud and her personal history is intimately linked to the psychoanalytic movement.

Burlingham's grandfather, Charles Tiffany, was the founder of the famous jewelry store, Tiffany & Co., and her father was Louis Comfort Tiffany, the celebrated painter and artisan. In 1914 Dorothy wed a surgeon, Robert Burlingham, but their marriage was soon troubled, in great part due to his phobias and episodes of manic-depressive illness. The couple separated in 1921.

After moving to Vienna with her four children in 1925, Dorothy began analysis with Theodore Reik. Her life subsequently became entwined with that of the Freuds, as Anna Freud took her children into treatment. In spite of becoming Anna's close friend, Dorothy undertook a second analysis with Sigmund Freud. The situation was loaded with a series of fantastically complex entanglements. Ernst, son of Sophie Halberstadt (Freud's daughter, who died in 1920) was best friends with Bob, Dorothy Burlingham's son. Both attended the Hietzing School, which had been founded in 1927 by Anna and Dorothy, together with Eva Rosenfeld, with a view to raising children from their milieu in a "psychoanalytic" fashion.

Burlingham fled Vienna upon the Nazi invasion in 1938, and after a short stay in the United States, and following Freud's death in London, settled close to Anna Freud near Maresfield Gardens. During the war, Anna and Dorothy founded and managed together the Hampstead War Nurseries, where they undertook historic research which they reported on in Infants Without Families (1943). Their collaboration led them to a groundbreaking description of infantile depression and an important advance in psychoanalytic psychopathology.

Their friendship was profound, and Dorothy's death powerfully affected Anna. She continued to care for her friend's children with such emotional investment that it provides an interesting perspective on the mechanism of "altruistic surrender" that she had once described.

In addition to her work with Anna Freud, Burlingham wrote several studies of blind children and, in addition, undertook early research on the psychology of identical twins.

Bernard Golse

See also: Abandonment; Bergasse 19, Wien IX; Freud, Anna; Hampstead Clinic; Latent; Lehrinstitut der Wiener psychoanalystischen Vereinigung.


Burlingham, Dorothy. (1952). Twins: A study of three pairs of identical twins. London: Imago Publishing.

Burlingham, Michael John. (1989). The last Tiffany: A biography of Dorothy Tiffany Burlingham. New York: Atheneum.

Freud, Anna, and Burlingham, Dorothy. (1943). Infants without families. London: G. Allen and Unwin.

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