Abraham A. Brill

Abraham Arden Brill (October 12, 1874 – March 2, 1948) was an Austrian-born psychiatrist who spent almost his entire adult life in the United States. He was the first psychoanalyst to practice in the United States and the first translator of Freud into English.[1]


Brill was born in Kańczuga, Austrian Galicia. He arrived in the United States alone at the age of 15. He graduated from New York University in 1901 and obtained his M.D. from Columbia University in 1903.[2] He spent the next 4 years working at Central Islip State Hospital on Long Island.[2]


After studying with Eugen Bleuler in Zurich, Switzerland,[1] He met Freud, with whom he maintained a correspondence until Freud's death in 1939.[1] He returned to the United States in 1908 to become one of the earliest and most active exponents of psychoanalysis, being the first to translate into English most of the major works of Freud, as well as books by Jung. His first translation of Freud appeared in 1909 as "Some Papers on Hysteria.[2] He campaigned for academic recognition of his field, lectured at Columbia University, and became clinical professor of psychiatry at New York University.[1] He maintained a psychoanalytic practice as well.

In 1911 he founded the New York Psychoanalytic Society (or Institute) and later helped found the American Psychoanalytic Association.[1] The library of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute is named in his honor.[1] In 1929, following Freud's lead, as head of the New York Psychoanalytic Society, he sanctioned the introduction of lay analysts to the profession, which had previously restricted its ranks to medical professionals.[3] During the 1930s he played a key role in finding employment for psychiatric professionals exiled from Nazi Europe.[4]

Once sympathetic to homosexuals, he revised his views and wrote in 1940 that "even so-called classical inverts are not entirely free from some paranoid traits".[5]

E. L. Bernays consulted with Brill on the subject of women's smoking.

He married Dr. K. Rose Owen. They had two children. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in March 2, 1948.[2]


  • Psychoanalysis: Its Theories and Practical Application (1912)
  • Fundamental Conceptions of Psychoanalysis (1921)
Translations of Freud
Translations of Jung
  • Psychology of Dementia Praecox


External links

Psychiatry portal
  • Project Gutenberg