Graduate Theological Union

Frankl Collection and Logotherapy

 

  Robert Leslie, Victor Frankl, Vienna ca. 1961
 
Victor Frankl, Robert Leslie,
Vienna, 1961

The Viktor E. Frankl Collection

The GTU archives has one of the most important collections of Viktor Frankl and Logotherapy materials in the United States.

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), a Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist, survived four concentration camps and founded the third Viennese school of psychotherapy. His emphasis on meaning of life and social responsibility, along with acceptance of a spiritual reality, provided a sympathetic theory for teachers of pastoral counseling. 

During the inauguration of the Frankl Library and Memorabilia at GTU in 1977, Frankl posed the question to the audience, why have the materials here instead of in Austria? He explained by remembering a saying, "My home is there, where I feel understood." He continued, "[There is] No other place where I felt so much understood--so deeply understood--as right here."

Robert C. Leslie and the Frankl Library and Memorabilia

The presence of the Frankl collection is due in large part to the activities of  Robert C. Leslie (1917-2006), a Methodist minister and professor of pastoral psychology at Pacific School of Religion from 1954 to 1995. Before he arrived in Berkeley, he had served as an Army chaplain in the Pacific during World War II,  received a doctorate in the psychology of religion from Boston University in 1948, and worked as mental hospital chaplain and professor at Boston University School of Theology up until 1954.

Following others locally,  Leslie studied with Frankl in Vienna in 1961.  A collaborative relationship ensued. Leslie assisted in the revision of Frankl's From Death Camp to Existentialism to Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (1962), which became his best known work.

In 1977, the Frankl Library and Memorabilia was inaugurated at GTU with Leslie as curator.  The special collection was established to contain all of Frankl's writings and include all known books and articles about the psychotherapist and logotherapy. After the completion of the GTU Library building,  the collection was transferred to the GTU Archives with books either put into rare or the general circulation. The library sponsored an exhibit of the collection to honor Frankl's 85th birthday on March 26, 1990.

Leslie continued as curator until he retired in 1995.  Among his books were Jesus and Logotherapy, later reprinted as Jesus as Counselor: Man’s Search for a Meaningful Faith.

Other GTU and Bay Area Connections

 Dr. Aaron J. Ungersma (1905-2000), an early faculty member of GTU, was the first to apply Frankl's theories to practice and pastoral counseling. Professor of pastoral psychology at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, he spent a sabbatical with Frankl in 1958-59. He wrote The Search for Meaning: A New Approach in Psychotherapy and Pastoral Psychology.

Another Berkeley connection is through Joseph Fabry (1909-1999),  who was a key promoter of  Frankl's therapeutic method. Also a Jewish native of Vienna, he had emigrated to the United States in 1938.  After working for the Office of War Information, he became an editor with University of California Press. In 1965, he heard Frankl speak at the First Unitarian Church in Berkeley. He became a tireless advocate for Frankl's meaning based therapy. He founded The Institute of Logotherapy in 1977 to teach the theory in the US, renting space from the First Unitarian Church.  The organization later changed its name to the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy. The institute is currently located in Abilene, Texas.

The Collection

Victor Frankl, PSR, 1977
Victor Frankl, Festival of Meaning,
Pacific School of Religion, 1977

The Viktor E. Frankl Collection contains 24 boxes and 4 folios, totaling 11 linear feet. Materials within the collection include original file records, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, journal article photocopies / reprints, audio tapes (cassette, reel to reel), videotapes, posters, and books. Of local note are materials from his visits to the Bay area.

Along with materials collected by Leslie, the archives received donations from J. Randolph Sasnett, who sponsored Frankl's first tour in the US; Fabry; and Vera Lieban-Kalmar, who created a curriculum for teaching Logotherapy at John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA.

See the Inventory of the Viktor E. Frankl Collection for a guide to this collection. For a list of articles within the collection, see The Bibliography of Photocopies/reprints.

For more information about access to the collection, please contact the archivist.

 

Additional Viktor Frankl Resources

A second collection in the GTU Archives contains some related material: Richard F. Boeke Collection, minister at First Unitarian Church of Berkeley from 1973-95.

The Viktor Frankl Institute in Vienna. Founded in 1992, the institute became the official repository of Frankl's personal papers and related materials.

 

Logotherapy

The GTU does not provide training or certification in logotherapy nor can it provide the names of therapists who use logotherapy.

To receive answers to those questions, please contact The Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy though Ann V. Graber, Ph.D | (325) 692-9597 or Robert C. Barnes, PhD, / 325-692-9597. The Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy, with members in 22 countries on 6 continents, was moved from Berkeley to its own international headquarters which are now in Texas. The president of the Institute’s International Board of Directors is Robert C. Barnes, PhD.

 

 

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