Sigmund Freud Copyrights Limited

views updated


Sigmund Freud bequeathed the income from this world copyrights, which was seen as "pocket money," to five of his grandchildren, who were still all minors at the time of his death in 1939. His will appointed three of his children, Ernst, Martin, and Anna as trustees.

After World War II, the trustees decided that a limited company should be formed to handle the copyrights, promote publication and translations, and collect royalties and distribute them to the grandchildren. The company was incorporated April 15, 1946, and acquired from the trustees the copyright in all Sigmund Freud's works and other writings, letters, and so on, by an agreement of April 5, 1947.

The company was managed for many years by Ernst Freud, operating from his home in St. John's Wood, London, where he also continued to carry on his architect's practice. With his wife, Lucie, Ernst was also closely involved with editorial work, dedicating himself wholeheartedly to keeping his father's name before the public. He acquired an intimate knowledge of his father's vast correspondence and one of the earliest volumes of these letters, a selection to various correspondents, published under the title The Letters of Sigmund Freud 1879-1939 (1960) was entirely Ernst's idea and his almost unaided achievement. Several other volumes followed, such as Psych-analysis and Faith; The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Oskar Pfister (with Heinrich Meng) in 1963; A Psycho-alanytic Dialogue; The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Karl Abraham 1907-1926 (with Hilda C. Abraham) in 1965; and The Letters of Sigmund Freud and Arnold Zweig in 1970. It had also long been Ernst's dream to publish a picture biography of his father, using letters and other documents and photographs mainly from the family's private collection. He worked on this for many years, together with his devoted wife, Lucie. The work remained uncompleted when he died in 1970, when the German scholar and psychoanalyst, Ilse Grubrich-Simitis, took on the task of finishing it. It finally appeared as Sigmund Freud: His Life in Pictures and Words in 1976 and was translated into many languages.

Although in 1960 he had passed the work of administering most German and foreign language rights in his father's published works (except English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to the S. Fischer publishing house in Frankfurt, by the mid-1960s Ernst Freud's health was failing and he was seeking someone to help him. At this point the literary agent, Mark Paterson, was asked by an American publisher to clear the rights in one of Freud's pre-analytic works. He contacted Anna Freud, who referred him to her brother Ernst. The two men met and warmed to each other immediately, and Paterson was appointed as a consultant. Shortly after Ernst's death he took over as Director.

The company continued to thrive, promoting new editions of Freud's works and many more editions of correspondences. The limited company became dormant in 1987 but the name "Sigmund Freud Copyrights" continues to be used as the collective name of the literary heirs of Sigmund Freud and its affairs are handled by Mark Paterson and Associates, 10 Brook Street, Wivenhoe, Essex, GB-C07 9DS.

This company also handles the works of many other psychoanalysts, including those of Anna Freud, and in conjunction with administering the Freud copyright, maintains a small archive comprising letters and other documents, many of them originals, relating to the history of psychoanalysis.

Thomas Roberts and Mark Paterson

See also: Freud, Anna; Freud, Ernst.