Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Philip Rieff (1922-2006) 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 were 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.
Gift of Philip Rieff, 1993-1996.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Justin A. Bortnick
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 June 9
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.