January 2010 Update
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
& The Wilhelm Reich Museum
We thank you for your continual interest and support. For newcomers to our e-mail Update list, none of the names on this list--nor the names of any Museum visitors, conference attendees or bookstore customers--are shared with any other individuals or organizations. If at any time you wish to be removed from this list, please let us know.
All previous Updates, dating from March 2004, available online.
You can access them through the Updates option at the top of this page or via the Quick Links along the left side of the page. These Updates provide the best contemporaneous accounts of the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.
New Year's Thoughts
Providing Content in the Digital Age
Invitation to Speak in Greece
Seeking Grants for Archival Work
Example of an Archival "Finding Aid"
Money and the Management of Reich's Archives
Coming Soon: Primary Materials Online
Submitting Our New Manuscript
History of Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
Behind the Scenes
New Email Update Format
We Have Speakers Available
NEW YEAR'S THOUGHTS
As one year ends and another begins, we've been evaluating a variety of new projects and partnerships in which to invest our time, our resources, our hopes and our friendship.
Among them are new speaking opportunities, including two talks this March in Greece; seeking major grants for further archival work at the Countway Library of Medicine; continuing to design our new website; showing Reich's unpublished laboratory notebooks to specific individuals in the scientific community; and numerous other initiatives.
We've also spent considerable time immersed in the current literature and discussions about the challenges and opportunities for content providers in the digital age.
PROVIDING CONTENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Newspapers, magazines, book publishers and major Internet companies are now struggling to resolve issues regarding copyrights, privacy, distribution and new business models. And all of the recent books we've read on these issues, as well as discussions we've had with people in book publishing and print journalism, always include one key question:
With today's Internet capabilities, how can intellectual property and content be responsibly distributed in ways that legally, financially and morally respect the efforts and expenses that create this intellectual property and content?
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust holds the copyrights to what amounts to over 7000 pages of publicly available published materials--i.e. books, research journals and bulletins--plus all rights to Reich's unpublished materials in the Archives of the Orgone Institute.
Royalties from Reich's books, plus the sales of his research journals, bulletins and other materials in the Museum bookstore, are important revenue sources for the Trust.
But we also recognize the opportunities that digital platforms offer for wider distribution of content by and about Wilhelm Reich. The Trust is now exploring ways to balance digital dissemination of content with our financial and intellectual responsibilities..
INVITATION TO SPEAK IN GREECE
The Hellenic Association of Orgonomy (HAO), located in Greece, has invited the Trust
to deliver two talks this March: in Thessaloniki on Saturday, March 13; and again in
Athens on Sunday, March 14. Details on the specific venues for these presentations
are being worked out and will be announced in our next Update.
This invitation came from two attendees at our 2009 Summer Conference at Orgonon, "From the Archives of the Orgone Institute": Theodota Chasapi, M.D. and Tania Anastasia Zotou, M.D. who are psychiatrists, medical orgonomists and clinical associates of the American College of Orgonomy.
Dr. Chasapi was a founding member of the HAO in 1988, and Dr. Zotou is currently its
president. Since its founding to promote Reich's work in public health, the HAO has
hosted many well attended lectures and workshops featuring HAO members as well as
speakers from around the world. The HAO also publishes a newsletter entitled Orgonoma.
Representing the Trust will be Kevin Hinchey, Board Member of the Trust and Associate
Director of The Wilhelm Reich Museum, whose talk is entitled: Wilhelm Reich, M.D. –
Safeguarding his Legacy from Distortion and Slander.
In what will be essentially a new narrative for a new audience, Mr. Hinchey will discuss:
- the history and principal activities of the Trust
- the importance of primary materials--Reich's books, research journals & bulletins, and archives--for intellectually honest scholarship and narratives about Reich
- today's challenges in publishing and archival management
- the importance of new and factually accurate narratives for broader audiences
- the critical need for new research in orgonomic medicine and science.
SEEKING MAJOR GRANTS FOR ARCHIVAL WORK
Since October 2007 the Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute has been posted on our website.
And since November 2007, these archives--located at the Center for the History of
Medicine at the Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University--have been
accessible to scholars and researchers.
But we now need to take the next major step: conforming this archive Index--which was
prepared in 2007 solely by The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust--to the HOLLIS catalogue
format used by the Countway Library and Harvard University's seventy other libraries.
HOLLIS stands for Harvard OnLine Library Information System, and its catalogues are
the databases containing over 11 million records for more than 15 million books, journals,
manuscripts, government documents, maps, microforms, music scores, sound recordings,
visual materials, and data files in Harvard's many libraries.
HOLLIS has its own specific designs, templates and parameters into which content from
the Trust's existing archive Index needs to be properly entered and conformed. HOLLIS
also requires additional information about archive collections: i.e. a descriptive summary
of each collection, biographical information, introductions to the various categories of
materials, detailed data about many individual files, restrictions on specific materials, etc.
Once all of these inputs are made according to HOLLIS standards, HOLLIS will have
what is known as a "Finding Aid" for the Archives of the Orgone Institute that can be
easily accessed throughout Harvard University's library information system.
Transferring this data from our current 141-page Index to HOLLIS, and supplementing it
with the required additional information will be a labor intensive process, and a costly one
for which the Trust must provide the funds. The Countway Library will need to hire people
familiar with HOLLIS to review hundreds of files in the Archives of the Orgone Institute,
adapt the Index's current listings to HOLLIS, and work closely with the Trust to include
further information where it's needed.
The Trust has begun the process of trying to identify funding organizations that might
provide major grants for this type of work. The final price tag for creating a HOLLIS
Finding Aid for Reich's entire archive will be tens of thousands of dollars. Until then,
scholars and researchers continue to use the Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute,
posted on our website, to prepare for their visits to the Countway Library.
If anyone has any knowledge about potential funding sources for this endeavor or can
provide any help to us in this effort, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
EXAMPLE OF A "FINDING AID" (ARCHIVE INDEX) AT THE COUNTWAY LIBRARY OF MEDICINE
To illustrate some of the points in our previous discussion, we suggest you look at the
Finding Aid for one of the other archives at the Center for the History of Medicine at
the Countway Library.
If you compare our existing Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute on our website
to this HOLLIS Finding Aid, you'll get a clear picture of where we are now and where
we want to be in the near future in terms of permanently indexing Reich's archives.
And this example is not without its ironies: this HOLLIS Finding Aid is for the papers of
noted Austrian psychoanalyst Greta Lehner Bibring, M.D. (1899 – 1977) who emigrated to
Boston in 1941 and was appointed head of the department of psychiatry at the Beth Israel
Hospital in 1946, the first woman head of a clinical department at Harvard Medical School.
As Greta Lehner, she and her future husband Edward Bibring were Reich's friends and
fellow students at the University of Vienna Medical School. In the book Passion of Youth,
Reich's diary entries (Vienna, 1918–1922) document his friendship and romantic feelings
for the young Greta Lehner.
Peruse the HOLLIS Finding Aid for the Greta Bibring collection and you'll see numerous
features that are typical of archival Finding Aids at many institutions: descriptive summary
of the collection; processing information; access and use restrictions; related collections
at other institutions; series and subseries in the collection (which would relate to what we
now call "Categories" in our Index); biographical information; information about the
scope and content of the collection, etc.
At the beginning of this Finder's Aid you'll also find this statement: "This collection has
been sponsored by a generous donation by Joseph B. Martin, Dean of Harvard Medical
School, to the Archives for Women in Medicine." Which brings us to our next discussion.
MONEY AND THE MANAGEMENT OF REICH'S ARCHIVES
The previous items inevitably bring up a fair question: "Why wasn't the Index of the
Archives of the Orgone Institute put into Harvard's HOLLIS format back in 2007?"
The quick and simple answer: "No money."
When archive collections are given to a library or other institution, they customarily come
with funding to pay for the expenses of "processing" the collection:
- having professional archivists go through all of the materials
- organizing, labeling and boxing these materials for storage and access
- compiling the necessary data about these materials to create a Finding Aid for scholars and researchers to access these materials in the future
Check out any major archive at any major institution and you'll find that it most likely was
acquired by that institution with significant funding attached to it for the requisite archive
work that would follow. As we've indicated above, the Greta Bibring collection--a little
less than half the size of Reich's at 45.6 cubic feet--brought with it a donation from the
Dean of the Harvard Medical School which provided funding for processing this archive.
When an agreement was signed in October 1973 between The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust
and the Countway Library to deposit Reich's archives at the library over the next few
years, the Trust had no money to finance the massive processing work that this collection
required. Nor has the Trust ever had the luxury of earmarking any significant monies to
pay for professional archivists to process the 98 cubic feet of materials in Reich's archives.
Fortunately for the Trust, this was not an issue for the man responsible for welcoming
Reich's archives to the Countway: Richard Wolfe, Chief Librarian of Rare Books
and Special Collections, the former name of the Center for the History of Medicine.
(Mr. Wolfe is no longer at the Countway and is no relation to Theodore Wolfe, M.D.,
Reich's colleague and translator.)
Consequently, for over three decades--amid all of her other Trust responsibilities--it has
been Mary Higgins who has perused, organized and labeled all of the archival materials,
painstakingly creating, compiling and revising handwritten and typewritten lists of over
1,700 file names.
Shortly after the 2007 International Conference on Orgonomy in Rangeley, Maine, these
handwritten and typewritten lists were turned into computer files and organized into the
141-page Index of the Archives of the Orgone Institute.
We are currently in the process of revamping our website which receives hundreds of hits
every day. Because this website is our arm out into the world and, for some people, their
first point-of-contact with Reich's work, we need to constantly anticipate and respond to
the changing needs of our web visitors.
And because we have to compete with countless Internet sources that distort, misrepresent
and trivialize the facts of Reich's life and work, our website will aspire to be the "gold
standard" for providing accurate content about Reich.
Our new site will be under the umbrella of THE WILHELM REICH INFANT TRUST,
which was conceived by Wilhelm Reich, M.D. in his Last Will and Testament in March
of 1957. We have developed a Trust banner or "brand" for the new website, under which
content about the principal responsibilities and activities of the Trust will be organized.
COMING SOON: PRIMARY MATERIALS ON OUR NEW WEBSITE
Our current website contains no content from Reich's published books, research journals
or bulletins. The reason for this is because the Trust relies on the sales of these materials
for much-needed income. But there is now considerable evidence and literature from
authors and publishers that posting excerpts from published books on the Internet can
actually generate increased book sales. It's something we're going to try.
Therefore, our new website will include:
- FROM REICH'S BOOKS: Reich's Introductions or Prefaces, plus Chapter One
- FROM REICH'S BOOKS: Other chapters from selected books
- FROM REICH'S RESEARCH JOURNALS & BULLETINS: Selected articles
- FROM REICH'S VOICE RECORDINGS: Selected audio clips
- FROM REICH'S ARCHIVES: Samples/visuals of original documents
- Plus excerpts from Man's Right to Know, our 28-minute biographical DVD
We hope by posting substantial samples of these materials that many of our hundreds of
daily website visitors will access these excerpts and will be inspired to purchase books,
journals, bulletins, CDs and DVDs.
SUBMITTING OUR NEW MANUSCRIPT
This month we're submitting our new manuscript to Farrar, Straus and Giroux, our
publisher in New York. Its working title is Letters and Journals: 1948–1957, the sequel
to American Odyssey and the fourth and final collection of Reich's letters and journals.
We had originally hoped to submit it by the end of November 2009. But the arduous task
of typing up the manuscript draft--culled from hundreds of pages of selections from
Reich's letters, handwritten diaries and work journals--took longer than we anticipated.
HISTORY OF THE WILHELM REICH INFANT TRUST
People often ask us if there is a formal printed history of the Trust, to which we have to answer "no." As we reiterate at every opportunity, the Trust's major responsibilities are:
- operating The Wilhelm Reich Museum
- working with New York publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux since 1960 to publish Reich's books
- managing the Archives of the Orgone Institute
While there is no printed volume about the Trust, a brief overview of its history can be found on our website.
And these Updates (47 of them), which we began in March 2004, are the best source of regular contemporaneous documentation about the Trust's ongoing activities over the past six years.
Also, the Trust's Organizational Chart provides a succinct visual look at our major responsibilities.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Most people are generally unaware of the many things we do out of the public eye to
try to expand awareness and support for Reich's legacy in realistic and practical ways.
For example, in 2008 we wrote a lengthy letter to renowned physicist Fritjof Capra who
had commented briefly but favorably about Reich in his 1982 book The Turning Point.
"Do you still have any interest in Reich's medical and scientific legacy?" we asked at one
point in the letter. "And if so, is that interest sufficient to want to become involved in some
way --consultant, advisor, researcher--in any future projects involving Reich and his
work, i.e. laboratory research, clinical trials, conferences, seminars, film projects, etc.?"
We received a standard form letter from Capra's office, informing us that he was too busy
with his own work to take on any other activities. The one grace note to this disappointing,
but not unexpected response, was a handwritten line from his secretary telling us that Capra
wished us the best of luck in our endeavors.
Last year we had an opportunity to meet a Nobel Prize winner in medicine and talk to him
about Reich. We followed up by sending this physician a copy of Orgonomic Diagnosis
of Cancer Biopathy and a DVD of Man's Right to Know.
We also made some inquiries last year about the possibility of college physics students
replicating some of Reich's experiments as described in The Cancer Biopathy as part of
their course requirements to carry out independent research projects.
Regrettably none of these efforts--or others like them--has come to anything, but we're
always keeping an eye open for opportunities to reach out to new audiences.
LATEST E-MAIL UPDATE FORMAT
You've undoubtedly noticed that we've experimented with different formats in our last
few Updates. For years we've sent out the Updates as PDF attachments because we find
the PDF format attractive and easy to read. But there was some concern and speculation
on our end about how many recipients were or were not opening these attachments for
whatever reason. (Ultimately, of course, we have no way of telling.)
So our August and September 2009 Updates had the text imbedded in the actual e-mails.
Unfortunately some of the formatting of the text was distorted during transmission. We
then toyed around with the idea of buying some expensive software. But finally we came
to feel that the e-mail format is simply not the best or easiest format for reading lengthy
text of any kind, that the PDF format offers a more visually pleasing look for extended
Which is why we're trying something a little different now: to maintain the PDF format
and save recipients from possible concerns about opening any attachments, we'll be
posting the Updates on our website, and then e-mailing you the link to the posted Update.
We hope this is easy and convenient for you.
UNTIL NEXT MONTH
Please share this Update with colleagues, friends, and family who may be interested in the life and legacy of Wilhelm Reich and the good works of The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust and The Wilhelm Reich Museum. Thank you again for your friendship and support.