History of the Library
The library was created 1934 by Princesse Marie Bonaparte at the same time as the Institute of Psychoanalysis:
“This Institute is situated, not far from the church of Saint Germain-des-Prés, at 137 Boulevard Saint-Germain, on the first floor of an elegant building. The headquarters of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society, which holds its sessions (meetings there, it comprises a classroom-library and a certain number of rooms for the secretariat and the warden of the premises...” John Leuba, RFP 1934.
The library was intended for the training of future psychoanalysts. At the time it had just a few hundred books given mainly by Marie Bonaparte and by the members of the young association.
In the spring of 1940, the SPP was dissolved, the premises closed and the books of the library were probably scattered among the members. The Institute and its library only reopened in 1954 in the new premises at 187 rue Saint Jacques. The library was then set up in a large room (30 m2) which also served for classes and meetings. In 1956, an activity report recorded a resource of 1000 books and 350 volumes of periodicals. The first inventory register was in 1958.
On her death in 1962, Marie Bonaparte bequeathed her personal library to the SPP, roughly 1300 documents including complete collections of the first psychoanalytic journals in the German language and numerous dedicated and annotated books. The library of the Institute was at that time reserved for the members and students of the SPP and a bibliographical catalogue on cards was established. With the merger of the Institute and of the SPP in 1986, the Institute library became the library of the Paris Psychoanalytic Society and the first stages of its computerization began.
Faced with the restricted space of the premises, the decision was taken in 1992 to buy premises (160 m2) for the library. It was then renamed the “Bibliothèque Sigmund Freud” and inaugurated in 1994. From 2000 onwards, the library was opened to the public at large without restriction or preliminary authorization. Usage increased rapidly and in 2004, a report by the General Inspectorate of Libraries recommended closer relations with the French National Library. The BSF became the psychoanalytic centre for the BNF and this relationship made possible the digitalization of the Revue française de psychanalyse in Gallica.
Since then, the BSF has modernized itself considerably by developing internet access and digital resources (subscriptions to Cairn and Pep-Web) and its sphere of influence now extends well beyond the borders of France towards other French-speaking countries, but also towards other European countries, South America, the United States or Asia. Partnerships have also been signed with other French psychoanalytic societies like the APF (French Psychoanalytic Association) and the SPRF (Psychoanalytic Society for Research and Training), the Fourth Group and the Society of Freudian Psychoanalysis.
Since June 2016, the library has been located in the same building as the SPP, 21 rue Daviel, 75013 Paris. It has a large reading room with 7000 documents that can be accessed directly and a further large stockroom, air conditioned in conformity with conservation standards and indirectly accessible.