Mary Esther Harding (1888–1971) was an American Jungian analyst who was the first significant Jungian psychoanalyst in the United States.
Mary Esther Harding was born in Shropshire, England as the fourth daughter in six of a dental surgeon. She was an avid reader and home schooled until the age of eleven. Pursuing her goal of becoming a missionary doctor, she attended the London School of Medicine for Women, where she graduated in 1914 with a class of nine students.
She was then an intern at the Royal Infirmary in London, the first hospital in London to accept women interns. Here she wrote her first book, The Circulatory Failure of Diphtheria and later contracted the disease. After her recovery a friend named Constance Long gave her Beatrice Hinkle’s translation Psychology of the Unconscious by Carl Jung, which led her into entering analysis with a small group of sympathetic students in Jung’s Küsnacht home in Zurich, Switzerland.
In 1919, Eleanor Bertine and Kristine Mann traveled to Zurich following an International Conference of Medical Women. Eleanor Bertine and Esther Harding developed a close relationship there and, in 1924, decided to relocate to New York.
Each year they would travel to Zurich for two months of analysis and spend summers at Bailey Island, Maine, the ancestral summer home of Kristine Mann. There they saw analysands from the United States and Canada in a quiet, comfortable setting away from the distractions of daily life and conducive to profound experiences of the unconscious.
Mary Esther Harding became influential in the New York Jungian Analytical psychology community, a prodigious writer and a frequent lecturer in the United States and Canada. Her first Jungian book titled The Way of All Women was an instant best seller, has been translated into many languages and has introduced many people to Jung’s psychology.
Harding wrote many other well-known books as well, including: Psychic Energy, Women’s Mysteries, The Parental Image, and The I and not I, along with numerous papers on a variety of subjects from depression to religion.
Harding also helped to found many Jungian organizations, such as the Analytical Psychology Club of New York in 1936, the Medical Society for Analytical Psychology – Eastern Division in 1946, and the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology in 1963.
A study of the primitive and unconscious aspects of man’s nature and the processes by which their energies may contribute to the integration of personality. New edition, comprehensively revised and enlarged, with many new illustrations.