John Bowlby

1907 (London) – 1990 (Isle of Skye)

Bowlby developed influential ideas about children and separation. Klein supervised part of his training. The ethologists Hinde, Lorenz and Tinbergen all had lively and influential contact with him following Huxley’s encouragement. Winnicott’s and Bowlby’s professional lives ran in close parallel, though they were not close friends, Winnicott actually opposing Bowlby’s election to the British Analytical Society. Freud thought he was taking psychoanalysis in the wrong direction, but still respected him. Mead, Erikson, Bertalanffy, Grey Walter, Piaget and Inhelder all shared WHO connections, while Jones had consulting rooms in Bowlby’s house.

John Bowlby knew…

James McKeen Cattell

1860 (Easton, Pa.) – 1944 (Lancaster, Pa.)

Cattell did much to get psychology taken seriously as a science and a discipline. He did his PhD under Wundt (they collaborated extensively), then while studying medicine at Cambridge met, worked with and was influenced by Galton, describing him as “the greatest man I have known.” The philosopher Dewey was a university classmate, and one of his earliest experimental subjects: he later helped bring Dewey (and Boas) to Columbia as university colleagues, both supporting him when his principles got him into trouble. James, whom Cattell admired, was a correspondent, and Thorndike, Washburn and Watson all students.

James McKeen Cattell knew…

Hermann von Helmholtz

1821 (Potsdam, Prussia, now Germany) – 1894 (Charlottenberg)

Helmholtz is a towering figure in science, his work notable for its scope and vision. Mitscherlich and Müller both taught him, with Brücke and du Bois-Reymond fellow-students and lasting friends. He himself taught Planck, Hertz, König, Michelson and James; Hertz (happily) and Wundt (less so) became his assistants. He found his close colleague Kirchhoff extraordinarily clear-headed, Faraday as unaffected as a child. He drank “remarkably good wine” with Plücker. Magnus offered him research facilities when he was stuck in the army, while Humboldt hastened his release. Siemens was a lifelong close friend, whose son married Helmholtz’s daughter.

Hermann von Helmholtz knew…

Francis Galton

1822 (Birmingham, England) – 1911 (Haslemere)

A notable scientific polymath, Galton was Darwin’s cousin; they corresponded enthusiastically, intrigued by each other’s researches — Galton’s invention of the field of statistical analysis can be said to have had its roots in Darwin’s work. De Candolle was also an influential correspondent, forcing him to reformulate the nature/nurture debate; other correspondents included Wallace (a friend), Stokes, Rayleigh and Maxwell. Herschel taught him the use of an instrument of his own devising; the young Cattell worked alongside him. Hooker, Spencer and Bentham were all friends, while the statistically-minded Nightingale mooted a professorship with him.

William James

1842 (New York) – 1910 (Chocorua, N.H.)

Henry James was William James’s brother and close friend, Emerson his godfather. He went up the Amazon to collect zoological specimens with Agassiz, and studied with Helmholtz. Wright and Peirce (a lifelong friend) were close Harvard colleagues; Santayana, Du Bois, Sidis and Stein were among his students. He met Russell in England, Bergson and Charcot in France, and Freud on his only U.S. visit. Meeting Wundt (his fellow-founder of experimental psychology) in Germany, they thought little of each other. Wells drove up just after he’d been found up a ladder by his brother, spying on his colleague Chesterton.

William James knew…

Timothy Leary

1920 (Springfield, Mass.) – 1996 (Los Angeles)

Huxley and Leary knew one another from the period when Leary was conducting conventional research into the effects of LSD. McLuhan’s prompt led to his best-known utterance. Laing gave him his first shot of heroin in Trocchi’s house, while Leary himself introduced Ginsberg, one of his oldest friends, to psilocybin. Di Prima lived on Leary’s New York commune, Snyder (and Ginsberg) discussed spiritual change with him on a Sausalito houseboat, Lennon wrote a song to support his California governorship campaign, while Byrne and Gibson were among his acquaintances after his release from prison.

Sigmund Freud

1856 (Freiburg, Austria, now Přibor, Czech Rep.) – 1939 (London)

As a young man, Freud worked in Brücke’s laboratory and almost discovered the neurone. He studied under Charcot in Paris, and formed the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society with Adler. Breuer was a close friend and collaborator, Mahler one of his patients, Jones his biographer, and Einstein a noted correspondent. He maintained an intense collaboration with Jung up to 1914, the pair travelling together to the U.S., but Freud thought America “a big mistake.” Rank joined his Wednesday discussion circle and became one of his closest collaborators. Breton visited him in Vienna, and tried his methods out on his own patients.

Sigmund Freud knew…