Memory of Toni Wolff by Joseph L. Henderson

Still today there seems to be a misconception about the relationship of C. G. Jung with his close assistant, Toni Wolff.

Their love relationship has been given its psychological justification in Barbara Hannah’s and Laurens van der Post’s biographical studies of Jung.

What is not so well known is their social relationship as it could be observed by those of us who knew and worked with them analytically during the 1920s and 30s.

A brief reminiscence may help to set this aspect of the record straight.

A socially prominent couple from New York who had recently profited from a stay in Zurich, where they got help for their tottering marriage, wanted to give a dinner party for C. G., Emma and Toni before a Chinese Ball, a fancy dress benefit at the Grand Hotel Dolder, in the winter of 1929.

Although I was still wary of entering into a social relationship with Jung as my analyst I was drawn into this party as an extra man, which under the circumstances seemed natural.

It was a delightful evening beginning in a private room at the Kronenhalle Restaurant with everyone in good humor, done up in some form of Chinese coat or mildly disguised with an oriental eye makeup in preparation for the ball .

Like most such dinner parties the world over, conversation swung from funny to serious and, as is usual with six people, general talk alternated easily with tete-~Hete .

Jung, true to habit in his own milieu, was full of energy for making the party a success and I especially remember the dedication with which he and Emma ate the excellent
dinner provided for us by our hosts.

Memory has blocked out most of what happened to our party at the ball and that is, I think, because it was quite unremarkable.

This is in itself remarkable in that I recall no strain or tension between Emma Jung and Toni Wolff.

They seemed perfectly at ease with each other as was Jung with each of them .

At other times in later years I was aware that Jung was careful to give Emma and Toni their affectionate places in his public life.

When he came to London to deliver the Tavistock Lectures in 1935 he brought Toni Wolff as his companion and hostess.

I remember the surprise and pleasure of the Englishwomen who met her at her elegance in wearing a different striking hat for each occasion .

Two years later in 1937 Jung again came to London to give a public lecture after a trip to America and this time his companion and hostess was Emma Jung who had her own style and dignity.

Fowler McCormick, a businessman and philanthropist from Chicago, was a close friend of the Jung family and he often told me in later years how deeply the Jung’s and Toni were respected in their own circle for keeping their personal problems to themselves.

Even the Jung children did not know of their father’s close relation to Toni until long after it began, even though they often saw her in their home.

He felt, and I would corroborate this impression, that as nearly as possible in our monogamous society, Jung found two wives in these women and so provides no model for the rest of us to follow.

It depended on a form of consciousness that totally transcended the ordinary worldly model-that of an important man who maintains a marriage and indulges himself on the side with a mistress .

It is true that in later years Toni Wolff and Jung saw less of each other as age and sickness kept him at home with his family a large part of the time.

This must have been a lonely time for her. Was he at fault?

I think not, since he had said from the beginning that his relation with another woman would never separate him from his basic commitment to his marriage.

But his relation to Toni had its own unique place in his life, even surviving her death, which came before Emma’s.

His testament of this fact was shown in a touching way.

He made a sculpture expressing his sadness at Toni’s departure which he placed in his garden at the family home in Kusnacht .

After Emma’s death he made a commemorative sculpture for her which he placed, almost as a little shrine, in the garden of his country home at Bollingen. ~ C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 32-33.