Rank-Minzer (Munzer), Beata (1886-1961)

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Psychoanalyst Beata Rank was born on February 16, 1886, in Neusandetz near Krakow, Poland, then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. She died on April 11, 1961, in Boston. Her life can be divided into four distinctive periods in different countries, which in turn delineated her professional career.

Originally named Beata Minzer (or Munzer), she was born into a middle-class, assimilated Jewish family. Early on she chose for herself the name Tola, used by family and friends, but never professionally. Her mother was one of 12 children, several of whom became professionals or business people. Beata's interest in psychology and the arts was encouraged by an aunt who had studied in Vienna and is credited with introducing her to her future husband, Otto Rank. Otto had been drafted into the army and stationed in Krakow where he was the editor of the Krakauer Zeitung from 1916 to 1918. Beata and Otto were married in a Jewish ceremony on November 7, 1918, a week before the armistice. The young couple moved back to Vienna soon thereafter.

Vienna, 1918-1926: This period covers the last years of the Rank-Freud relationship, culminating with the well-documented, yet still not completely understood, final break. Beata and Otto's only child, Helene, was born on August 23, 1919. With Freud's and her husband's encouragement, Beata attended meetings, seminars, and lectures on psychoanalysis. She worked with Otto in the Verlag. Her interest in dream work led to her translation into Polish in 1923 of Freud's bookÜber Träume (On Dreams ), and a later inquiry into the dreams of six-year-old schoolchildren. Also in 1923 she presented a paper to the Vienna Psychoanalytical Society which served as her ticket of admission to the group. It appeared in Imago in 1924 in the original German. An English translation of the title would be "The role of woman in the development of human society." The Imago paper was meant as an introduction to a large three-part study on the subject, which was never completed.

Paris, 1926-1936: In 1924 Otto began visiting the United States, teaching, lecturing, and seeing patients. By 1926 the relationship with Freud had seriously deteriorated, and the Rank family moved to Paris. This was seen as a compromise since Beata did not want to move to the United States, while artistic and cultural Paris had great appeal. As for Otto, Paris was a rest stop. He would build an American practice and earn a good income while increasing his American visits. Beata did not engage in clinical work during her Paris years, but continued research at the Bibliotheque Nationale on the role of women. In 1933, Otto, with the encouragement of some American colleagues, developed the Psychological Center and Summer Institute, a training, teaching, and general education center, and Beata worked with him primarily as an administrator. In 1934 there was a "de facto" dissolution of their marriage when Otto emigrated to the United States. This was also the time when he and Anaïs Nin became involved. Beata remained in Paris while their daughter Helene completed her French baccalaureate. Then, with Fascism extending its power, she decided to leave.

Boston, 1936-1969: Beata, still legally married to Otto, was able to enter the United States with Helene in the fall of 1936 as permanent residents under Otto's visa. Beata came to Boston where she was quickly accepted in the Boston psychoanalytic community, due especially to the help of her longtime close friends from Vienna, Helene and Felix Deutsch. She came into her own as a prominent child analyst, as well as a highly respected supervisor and training analyst at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, where she was chair of the education committee for several years. Her influence reached far in the Boston community as diverse mental health professionals, as well as pediatricians and social scientists, sought out her teaching, while psychiatrists from many other countries also came to study with her. She was an honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, a consultant and supervisor at Judge Baker Guidance Center, and with Marian C. Putnam, co-founded and co-directed the James Jackson Putnam Children's Center in 1943. This center was a pioneering day-treatment facility for pre-school children and their parents. It simultaneously offered day-care and/or psychological evaluation and treatment for children with emotional and cognitive developmental problems, and their parents. Research was an integral part of the program and the staff published numerous papers, including Beata Rank's papers on atypical development. Beata Rank's contributions to child analysis live on through the many people she influenced through her teachings.

Helene Rank-Veltfort

See also: Rank (Rosenfeld), Otto.


Lieberman, E. James. (1985). Acts of will: The life and work of Otto Rank. New York: The Free Press.

Rank, Beata. (1924). Zur Rolle der Frau in der Entwicklung der menschlichen Gesellschaft (On the role of the woman in the development of human society). Imago, 10, 1924, 278-295; Abstract in International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 7, 1926, 89.

. (1942). Where child analysis stands today. American Imago, 3 (3), 41-60.

. (1949). Adaptation of the psychoanalytic technique for the treatment of young children with atypical development. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 19, 130-139.

. (1955). Intensive study and treatment of pre-school children who show marked personality deviations, or atypical development and their parents. In G. Caplan (Ed.), Emotional problems of early childhood: Proceedings of the International Institute of Child Psychiatry (pp. 491-501). New York: Basic.