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Wolff, Antonia Anna (1888-1953)


Swiss analyst Antonia ("Toni") Anna Wolff was born on September 18, 1888, in Zürich, where she died on March 21, 1953. Wolff was the oldest of three daughters born to Konrad Arnold Wolff and Anna Elisebetha Sutz. The Wolff family had resided in Zürich since the 1300s and was one of its most distinguished names. The family had been members of the Swiss Reform Church for many centuries. Konrad had been a merchant and a businessman in Japan prior to his marriage. Although the marriage was arranged, it has been described as a happy one. Wolff was her father's favorite. When he died in 1910, her mother sent her to Jung for treatment of what today would be diagnosed as depression. Jung immediately sensed her aptitude for analysis, because in 1911 he invited her, along with his wife and several other women that showed promise, to the Weimar Psychoanalytic Congress.

When Jung began his nekyia into the unconscious, Wolff was the one he turned to. He shared his dreams and active imaginations with her, which he recorded in his Red Book. She became his soul mate for psychological matters in a way that Emma could not provide. She maintained this function for most of the rest of his life. Jung described her as his "second wife." Jung's relationship to Wolff was completely public, and all immediate members of the Jung family, including Emma, were aware of the situation. Emma and Wolff often sat on either side of Jung when he gave a seminar, and Toni frequently traveled with Jung on his lecture tours. This arrangement did not sit well with the children and grandchildren, but it was completely accepted by Jung's analysands. It has been said that Jung, as he got older, turned to her less frequently.

She became a founding member of the Analytical Psychology Club in 1916 and was its president from 1928 to 1945. It was under her presidency that the tenper-cent quota on Jews was passed. From 1948 to 1952 she was honorary president of the club. The club, the only Jungian organization at the time, was her domain.

From the 1920s on she worked as a professional assistant to Jung. Most people who entered analysis with Jung also saw her. She was considered to be more practical and worked in the personal aspects with the analysand, whereas Jung dealt mainly with the archetypal issues. She favored the term Complex Psychology over any other name for Jung's psychology, and when the Jung Institute was founded she wanted to name it the "Institute for Complex Psychology". Her major paper was, "Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche," published in German in 1951 and translated into English by Paul Watziliwak. As of 2005 her other papers were being prepared for publication in English by Robert Hinshaw.

On a personal level she was always described as elegant, and dramatic in her dress; a chain smoker who liked her cocktails, but was never drunk. She never married, as Jung was the man in her life. There were rumors of other flirtations, but nothing has been verified. She suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, which hampered her mobility toward the end of her life. She worked until the day she died. Gerhard Adler described having an excellent analytic hour with her the day before she suffered her fatal heart attack on March 21, 1953.

Thomas Kirsch

See also: Jung, Carl Gustav.

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