Ref NoWol/001
TitleCharlotte Wolff (1897-1986) Papers
Extent19-Record boxes, 1-pipe
Physical DescriptionThe handprints are very fragile. Handle with care.
DescriptionThe fonds consists of correspondence, handprints (human and animal) , manuscripts, offprints, photographs, publishing material and printed matter relating to the life and career of Dr.Charlotte Wolff, FBPsS (1897 - 1986).

Series available are:
Correspondence Wol/001/01
Handprints I Wol/001/02
Handprints II Wol/001/03
Miscellaneous Wol/001/04
Personal Wol/001/05
Published Books: Research Material Wol/001/06
Verse Wol/001/07

Copyright Notice:

Subject to the condition of the original, copies may be supplied for private research use only on receipt of a signed undertaking to comply with current copyright legislation.
Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Head of the History of Psychology Centre and Archives and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. Where possible, assistance will be given in identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material

Please note that some material is closed.


By subject into 6 alphabetical series:
All titles written onto folders have been kept for multi-level description

Sources: Biographical details taken from: Aldrich R. and Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001.
Published obituaries (all 1986) include: The Times (A.L.Barker), New Statesman (Gary Pulsifer), Women's Review, No.13, (Janet Law).
In addition please see the names tab (above) for further biographical details.
NotesThe History of Psychology Centre is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all our users. Be aware that our catalogue contains historic terminology relating to mental health which could be considered offensive. The terminology exists within the original record and has been retained to inform users on viewpoints at the time. It in no way reflects the attitudes of the cataloguers or the British Psychological Society.
Wellcome Ref: PSY/WOL
AccessConditionsAuthorised Users. View by Appointment-subject to data protection act
Location16: Wellcome Library
AdminHistoryDr.Charlotte Wolff (1897 - 1986)
Born in Riesenburg, West Prussia, 30 September 1897 moved to Danzig in 1913. Studied philosophy in Freiburg, Königsberg and Tübingen, and philosophy and medicine in Berlin, where she was awarded a medical doctorate in 1928.

Wolff's first medical post was at the Wirchow hospital in Berlin, and subsequently in the Neukolln district. She also worked in family planning in some of the city's most deprived areas.

As a Jewish doctor, she lost her job and was arrested, on charges of espionage and wearing men's clothes, and released only when a guard recognised and defended her as his wife's doctor. Three days later her apartment was searched, and Wolff decided that it was time to leave Germany. In May 1933 she emigrated to Paris.

In Neukölln she had begun to specialize in chirology, the study of the hand, and she had developed a theory of diagnosis via the hand. In exile in France and England, she performed experiments publishing her results. In 1943, in recognition of her work, she was made a Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

In Paris, Wolff shared a flat with the journalist Helen Hassel. Barred from working as a doctor, she lived from reading hands. In 1936 she moved to London with the help of Aldous and Maria Huxley. It was Maria who arranged a meeting with Virginia Woolf, whose hands Wolff analysed. In return Woolf invited Wolff to tea.

Shortly after the completion of her book The Hand in Psychological Diagnosis (1951) Wolff was finally registered as a doctor in Britain (1952), and could practice again. Her research diversified into lesbianism and bisexuality, and won international recognition in these areas, influencing particularly the German lesbian movement of the 1970s.

In 1978 she accepted an invitation from the lesbian group L.74 (Lesbos 74) to give a reading in Berlin, her first visit to the capital since her emigration, and a year later returned again, this time to address a university summer course on "Lesbian Love and Women's Movement".
ArchNoteCompiled by Mike Maskill BPS Archivist for the History of Psychology Centre.

Show related Persons records.

BPS/GB/03Wolff; Charlotte (1897-1986); Dr; FBPsS1897-1986
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