Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D.


At Sidis Psychotherapeutic Institute, Portsmouth NH, 1912

 

 


"A bitter controversy developed, and in the end he and his associates were swept from office with their work unfinished, and the Institute was reorganized on a 'practical' basis. For a time the little band of investigators found refuge in a private laboratory, but ere long lack of funds caused their dispersal, Dr. Sidis removing to Brookline, Mass., where he continued his scientific work."H. A. Bruce

 

"Sidis' remark is of course unpardonable, and Prince should not have allowed it to be printed; one will be bound to ignore him in the future."Dr. Ernest Jones

 

  "My right eye is amblyopic; for it, things are enshrouded in a mist. When my left eye is closed and a book is opened before me I am unable to tell letter from figure; I see only dots, rows of them, all indistinct, hazy, oscillating, appearing and disappearing from my field of vision."The Psychology of Suggestion, Chap. 17

 

 

 

Boris Sidis Bibliography
Clickable and Printable

 

 

 

 

Sample of his books online here...
Click book covers or underlineds to read / save / print.
To print in b/w select all, copy, and paste into word processor.
Click empty space on page to activate mouse-wheel scrolling.
Text size can be adjusted in 'View' window.

 

 

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUGGESTION (1898)

"My mode of hypnotization consists in forming a monotonous environment;
the light is lowered, and a profound silence reigns in the room;
then gently and monotonously stroking the skin of the subject's forehead,
and in a low, muffled, monotonous voice, as if rocking a baby to sleep,
I go on repeating, 'Sleep, sleep, sleep,' etc., until the subject falls into the hypnotic state."
Chap. 6

 

 

 

 

 

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PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL RESEARCHES
(1902)
with William Alanson White, M.D., and George M. Parker, M.D.

"Great stress is laid on re-association, or synthesis of dissociated systems.
From a therapeutic point of view, synthesis is cure."
Intro

 

 

 

 

 


MULTIPLE PERSONALITY
(1904)

"The individual is a composite,—a multiple individuality." Chap. 1

 

 

 

 

 


Psychotherapeutics
A Symposium by Morton Prince... Frederic H. Gerrish...
James J. Putnam...E.W. Taylor... Boris Sidis... George A.
Waterman... John E. Donley... Ernest Jones... Tom A. Williams

(1908, 1909, 1912)

"Important, however, as the following-up of the history or of the psychogenesis of the symptoms may be, both to the physician and to the patient, for an intelligent and scientific comprehension of the case, it does not cure, as some are apt to claim, the psychopathic malady." Chap. 6

"Most important, however, is the access gained through the agency of the hypnoidal state to the stores of potential subconscious reserve-energy, which, by a liberation of energy, bring about a re-association and synthesis of the dissociated mental systems underlying the symptoms o f the disease." Chap. 6

 

 

 

 

 


AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF SLEEP (1909)
 

"The hypnoidal state precedes and succeeds sleep." Chap. 9
"In the study of sleep then we must devote our attention to the investigation of transitory
subwaking states which form the transition between waking and sleeping."
Chap. 4

 

 

 

 

 

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PHILISTINE AND GENIUS (1911)

"The principle of recognition of evil under all its guises
is at the basis of the true education of man." 

 

 

 

 

 


THE PSYCHOLOGY OF LAUGHTER (1913)

"What is there in the object of merriment that unloosens the pent-up energies
resulting in the psychomotor activities of laughter?"

 

 

 

 

 

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THE FOUNDATIONS OF NORMAL
AND ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY
(1914) 

"There is no special controlling agency somewhere in the mind sending out orders, mandates, inhibitions, like a despotically ruling autocrat, like a psycho-analytic censor, or like an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, invisible deity Part II, Chap. 9."

"Chance variations form the matrix out of which the purposive psychic process arises.
Not purpose, but chance is at the heart of mental life
Chap. 15."

"Science is the description of phenomena and the formulation of their relations." link

 

 

 

 

 


SYMPTOMATOLOGY, PSYCHOGNOSIS, AND DIAGNOSIS
OF PSYCHOPATHIC DISEASES
(1914)
"The phenomena that lie on the borderland of what is regarded as normal mental activity are of great interest and importance, because, being deviations or variations from the normal and the familiar, they are apt to call attention to the mechanism, causation and laws that govern mental activity in general―normal and abnormal, conscious and subconscious."
"Distasteful as it is for me to do it, I find it my duty to enter a protest against the vagaries and absurdities of psychoanalysis which is nothing but a pseudo-science, the same as astrology, oneiromancy, palmistry and magic."

 

 

 

 

 


THE CAUSATION AND TREATMENT OF PSYCHOPATHIC DISEASES (1916)
“The fear instinct is the ultimate cause of the infinite varieties of psychopathic diseases.” Chapter V
“Himself first and last, that is the essence of psychopathic life.” Chapter XI

 

 

 

 

 

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THE SOURCE AND AIM OF HUMAN PROGRESS (1919)
"The full development of a synthetic unity of the conscious in control of the subconscious in a pure atmosphere ofliberty is sure immunity against all mental plagues, and is at the same time
the source and aim of all true human progress
."

 

 

 

 

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NERVOUS ILLS: THEIR CAUSE AND CURE
(1922)
"...a brief popular account of my work in abnormal psychology for the past quarter of a century
."

 

 

 

"When he died he had just begun the Psychology of the Folk Tale."

"In fact we have some partially completed manuscripts on the subjects
which we hope sometime to publish."

 

 

           Selected articles...

 

Foundations of Psychology

Neuron Energy and its Psychomotor Manifestations (1898)
Remarks on a review of The Psychology of Suggestion (1898)

The Nature and Principles of Psychology (1899)

I An Inquiry into the Nature of Hallucinations (1904)

II An Inquiry into the Nature of Hallucination (1904)

Review of Freud's The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1906) Letter to William James re Freud's book (1905)

Are There Hypnotic Hallucinations? (1906)
Doctrine of Primary and Secondary Sensory Elements (1908)

Review of Gustav Störring's Mental Pathology and its Relation to Normal Psychology (1908)

Fundamental States in Psychoneurosis (1910)
This article was part of an angry controversy over psychoanalysis: "Sidis' remark is of course unpardonable, and Prince should not have allowed it to be printed; one will be bound to ignore him in the future."Ernest Jones Letters

Dreams (1912) Short review of the literature, bibliography.

The Mental Factor in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Functional Diseases (1912)

Consciousness (1914)

The Psychopathology of Neurosis (1915)

Treatment Methods

The Psychotherapeutic Value of the Hypnoidal State (1909)
How Dr. Sidis Hypnoidizes His Patients by H. A. Bruce (1910)
Masters of the Mind by H. A. Bruce (1910)
Psychopathic Aphonia, Stammering and Catalepsy (1917)
A Clinical Study of a Dream Personality (1918)

The Value of the Method of Hypnoidization in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychopathic Disorders (1919)
"The whole process is one of disintegration and reintegration of psycho-physiological neuron systems with the awakening of dormant, reserve energy, resulting in a complete and permanent cure of the patient."

"Great stress is laid on re-association, or synthesis of dissociated systems. From a therapeutic point of view, synthesis is cure." Psychopathological Researches

"My mode of hypnotization consists in forming a monotonous environment; the light is lowered, and a profound silence reigns in the room; then gently and monotonously stroking the skin of the subject's forehead, and in a low, muffled, monotonous voice, as if rocking a baby to sleep, I go on repeating, 'Sleep, sleep, sleep,' etc., until the subject falls into the hypnotic state." Psychology of Suggestion

Psychology and Education

Precocity in Children (1919)
"Ontogenesis is an epitome of Phylogenesis. This biogenetic law holds true in the domain of education. The stored-up experiences of the race are condensed, foreshortened, and recapitulated in the child's life history. This process of progressive "precocity," or of foreshortening of education, has been going on unconsciously in the course of human evolution. We have reached a stage when man can be made conscious of this fundamental process, thus getting control over his own growth and development." "We should remember that there is genius in every healthy, normal child."

Lecture on the Abuse of Fear Instinct in Early Education (1919)
"The aim of education of children is self-perfection. We should surround our young with the graceful, the true, the beautiful, the good, the kind, the lovely, and the loving."

Social Psychology

A Study of the Mob (1895)
The Study of Mental Epidemics (1896)
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SUGGESTION, PART III, SOCIETY (1897)
"The subwaking mob self slumbers within the bosom of society."
Fear, Anxiety, and Psychopathic Maladies (1911)
Neurosis and Eugenics (1915)
Foreword to "A Remark on the Occurrence of Revolutions" by William James Sidis (1918)
Time Crowding As A Factor in Influenza (1918)
The Source and Aim of Human Progress (1919)

Laboratory Experiments

 An Experimental Study of Sleep (1909)
The Nature and Causation of the Galvanic Phenomenon (1910)
I Laboratory Instruments Used by Boris Sidis

 

 

 

Reviews of Boris Sidis's Books and Articles 

The Psychology of Suggestion Charles Sanders Peirce [?]
The Psychology of Suggestion

E. B. Titchener

The Psychology of Suggestion

Margaret F. Washburn

The Psychology of Suggestion

Charles K. Mills

The Psychology of Suggestion Unsigned
Neuron Energy and its Psychomotor Manifestations

George Dearborn

Psychopathological Researches Joseph Jastrow

Psychopathological Researches

Charles H. Judd

Multiple Personality

Joseph Jastrow

Multiple Personality Isador H. Coriat
(Review of the literature.)
Multiple Personality C.W.B.
Are There Hypnotic Hallucinations? Morton Prince
Studies in Psychopathology Harry Linenthal
Studies in Psychopathology Adolf Meyer

An Experimental Study of Sleep

Alice Pickel

An Experimental Study of Sleep Shepherd Franz
The Doctrine of Primary and Secondary Sensory Elements

Robert S. Woodworth

The Doctrine of Primary and Secondary Sensory Elements E. Weaver
The Nature and Causation of the Galvanic Phenomenon Knight Dunlap
The Nature and Causation of the Galvanic Phenomenon

Joseph Breitwieser

The Foundations of Normal and Abnormal Psychology Harry Linenthal
Symptomatology, Psychognosis, and Diagnosis of Psychopathic Diseases R. H. Steen
Symptomatology, Psychognosis, and Diagnosis of Psychopathic Diseases Meyer Soloman
The Causation and Treatment of Psychopathic Diseases Meyer Soloman
Philistine and Genius Meyer Soloman

 

 

Ernest Jones Letters re "The controversy over Psychoanalysis," March, 1911

Sidis wrote: "Some of Freud's admirers, with a metaphysical proclivity, are delighted over the theory of suppressed wishes. The wish is fundamental and prior to all mental states. This piece of metaphysical psychologism is supposed to be based on clinical experience. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. The Freudist manages to ride such horses."

Wrote Jones: "Sidis' remark is of course unpardonable, and Prince should not have allowed it to be printed; one will be bound to ignore him in the future."

 

 

Biographical Material

Boris Sidis
b. Oct. 12, 1867, Berditchev, Russia
d. Oct. 24, 1923, Portsmouth, NH


Dr. Boris Sidis was born in Russia and came to the United States when twenty years old. He won four degrees at Harvard, the A. B., A. M., Ph. D.,' and M. D. He is a widely known writer on psychopathology and kindred subjects. "Experimental Study of Sleep," "The Psychology of Laughter," "The Causation and Treatment of Psychopathic Diseases, and "The Source and Aim of Human Progress," are among his books. He has been associated with various institutions, including the Pathological Institute of N. Y. State. He is fifty-three [56] years old and resides at Portsmouth, N. H.

American Magazine
, 1923, 95, 14-15; 98-102.


Outline for The Sidis Story (Contains more biographical information about the Sidises than any other source found so far.)

The Sidis Story by Sarah Sidis, M.D. (1952)

"Most thoughtful people today have come to realize that all effective psychologists must be as much artist as scientist. They must have a perception so delicate and acute that they can follow instantly along the twisting paths of the subwaking mind. Boris had the delicacy, the perception and the artistry that that takes. It made him not only a great scientist, but a great teacher and a great man, and it made him a marvelous husband."

"But his college teachers did not want him to be a college teacher. 'I am in a rut', said James. 'I teach the same thing over and over again year after year. I have too little time to really study, or really contribute anything to the world. It is a question to me whether my teaching means anything at all to 90 per cent of my students. You mustn't teach, for you can do greater things'."

"...so Boris said to Morton Prince, who had inherited a million dollars, 'Look here, Prince, let's have a Journal of Abnormal Psychology'. Prince said, 'If you think it's a good idea, let's do it'."

[Photo: Boris, Helena, Sarah in Los Angeles, ca. 1920]

Boris Sidis's Harvard Undergraduate Transcript

Biographical Sketches (1923) "He did not encourage anything in the way of a 'following' of pupils to disseminate his findings and his doctrines. Nor was he in frequent contact with fellow-workers. Add an uncompromising intellectual honesty that impelled him to a blunt outrightness with regard to whatever seemed to him erroneous or mischievous, and it is not difficult to understand why during his lifetime Boris Sidis did not enjoy the full measure of recognition which he merited, and which it would seem certain will eventually be accorded to him." Harold Addington Bruce

Masters of the Mind (1910) "Born in a city of southern Russia, he became involved, while still a very young man, in the Russian revolutionary movement; was arrested, clapped into a fortress, and narrowly escaped a sentence to Siberia. After his release the police made matters so uncomfortable for him that he fled the country, and, after a brief sojourn in Germany, came to New York, knowing not a word of English, friendless, and almost penniless.

    This was in 1888. Less than a decade later―the young Russian having managed to put himself through Harvard, where he came under the stimulating influence of Professor William James, and was led to specialize in psychology―he astonished the veterans in that science by the publication of a striking book on "The Psychology of Suggestion." In the meantime he had been appointed Associate in Psychopathology in the then recently established Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals. Here he remained several years, developing his method of hypnoidization and effecting many impressive cures." Harold Addington Bruce

BORIS SIDIS in H. A. Bruce's The Riddle of Personality (1915) "A bitter controversy developed, and in the end he and his associates were swept from office with their work unfinished, and the institute was reorganized on a "practical" basis. For a time the little band of investigators found refuge in a private laboratory, but ere long lack of funds caused their dispersal, Dr. Sidis removing to Brookline, Mass., where he continued his scientific work, to no small extent centering his efforts on elaborating the law of dissociation."

Letter to Prof. George Herbert Palmer from Dr. Sarah Sidis (1923) "In fact we have some partially completed manuscripts on the subjects which we hope sometime to publish."

Letter from Dr. Herbert T. Kalmus to Dr. Sarah Sidis (1950)
"There is no memory of any friend that I hold more dear than that of Dr. Boris Sidis. I need not tell you how close we were and how greatly I admired his ingenuity, his ability, and especially his character and personal qualities. He was a great pioneer in his chosen field of abnormal psychiatry...Hence I was very much interested to learn from you that the University of Miami is planning with you the establishment of a department bearing the name of your illustrious husband."

Sidis Psychotherapeutic Institute

"Dr. Sidis will soon be in a position to carry on his investigations more extensively and systematically than in the past, since, through the generosity of a wealthy New England woman, Mrs. Martha Jones, he has come into possession of a beautiful estate near Portsmouth, N. H., given for the express purpose of establishing a psycho-pathological institute―the first of its kind in the United States." American Magazine, 1910

 

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"The treatment is essentially PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC, based on the latest methods of medical research in the domain of Psychopathology. The psychotherapeutic treatment, however, is combined with general medical treatment of the patients along established and well accepted methods of medicine. Special care is given to the hygienic and dietetic regulation of the patient's life, and electrotheraphy and hydrotherapy, etc., are used when requisite.

"By psychotherapeutic methods is meant to indicate the practical therapeutic results obtained by medical psychopathologists in clinics and laboratories. As a reply to many inquiring letters, the opportunity is taken here to state, although it ought to be needless, that Psychotherapy, based on Psychopathological research, has nothing in common with, and in its methods is, diametrically opposed to the superstitious and anti-scientific practices of lay healers and non-medical practitioners. This point cannot be too strongly emphasized." See Sidis Psychotherapeutic Institute

 

Peter Vandermark's Photos

 


frankjonesmansion.com

 


More about Frank Jones

 

 

THE BERDICHEV REVIVAL

 

Letter Re Demise of Badger Books

 

 

 


Leon Hansen's Sidis Collection

 

 

Research Links

Berdichev.org

Abnormal Psychology Past and Present

Theories and Methods

William James

Library of Congress Online Catalog

Lib. of Congress researchers page: http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/

 


Sidis was virtually the founder of this journal, and a very frequent contributor,
but does not appear in the one issue available in this online archive.

 

 
At Sidis Psychotherapeutic Institute, Portsmouth NH, 1912

 

 

 

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