Philip Rieff correspondence, 1959-2001.
7 boxes (2.6 linear feet)
- Sociologists -- United States.
- Manuscripts, American -- 20th century.
- Philip Rieff was an American sociologist, cultural critic and professor at the University of Pennsylvania from 1961 to 1992. He is best known for his critiques of Freud and Freud's influence on society and morality in Western cultures. Born in Chicago to refugees from Lithuania, Rieff earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago, where he also earned his master's and doctorate degrees before joining the faculty. It was here he would meet his future wife, Susan Sontag, whom he married after a ten-day courtship. Moving to Boston in 1952, Reiff took a teaching position at Brandeis University. His first book, Freud: the mind of the moralist, was published in 1959 and established him as a respected sociologist. After his marriage ended, he moved to Berkley where he taught until moving to Pennsylvania in 1961, where he remarried and accepted a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania, a position which he held for the next thirty years. He published his second book, The triumph of the therapeutic: uses of faith after Freud, in 1966 and his third, Fellow teachers in 1973. He died in Philadelphia at the age of 83.
- The collection consists almost entirely of letters and postcards written to and from Rieff. A wide range of topics are addressed in these letters, including politics, publications and writings, activities in organizations and committees, personal notes, and student thank yous and requests for academic help. The bulk of the letters appear to be largely social, but even professional letters contain personal notes and inquiries after family and friends. There are a number of letters from various universities, with topics ranging from publication information to details on visits. Significant correspondence exists between Rieff and Samuel Carr, Hamid Dabshi, Mara Graham, Steven Grosby, C. Willim Kontos, Boris Levy, The Philadelphia Museum of Art's European Painting and Sculpture Committee (of which Rieff was a member), Rosalind Lott Rechstein, and Bryan Wilson. The largest body of letters in the collection was written by Evelyn Joll (1925-2001), an art dealer and scholar who specialized in the work of the British painter J. M. W. Turner. There are also a small number of documents from academic and professional bodies, such as the letter awarding Rieff a Guggenheim fellowship in 1970. This collection is arranged alphabetically by the person with whom Rieff corresponded.
- Penn Provenance:
- Gift of Philip Rieff, 1993-1996.
- Joll, Evelyn, 1925-
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