Toni Wolff: A Chronology
This section is intended to provide a touchstone, drawing forth significant points in the life history of the author of “Structural Forms Of The Feminine Psyche.”
The time line forms a context for our homage to a great life and a splendid, disciplined mind.
A formal biography of Toni Wolff does not exist as we go to print, and information about her is sparse.
Gerhard Wehr wrote:
Jung made it extremely difficult for his biographers to shed any light on this intimate relationship.
He destroyed his letters to Toni, which were returned to him after her death in 1953, together with those she had written to him.
Similarly, according to our research, Toni’s sister, Susanne said that Toni gave her diary to her other sister, Erna, who probably destroyed.
This chronology is based on documented facts, and first-hand impressions of those who knew Toni in a variety of contexts, including:
her sister Susanne Trüb, C.G. Jung Letters, and her colleagues, friends, analysands and students.
We also found secondary sources, including entries about her life in biographies of Jung, and assorted statements in other writings.
Included are notes from Gerhard Adler, Deirdre Bair, Irene Champernowne, Barbara Hannah, Ronald Hayman, Helena Henderson, Joseph Henderson, Sonu Shamdasani, Laurens van der Post, Gerhard Wehr, and Joseph Wheelwright.
Assistance included that of librarians at the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Barbara Scheietzler at the C.G. Jung library in Küsnacht for eulogies made at Toni’s funeral, from translations provided by Tomas Willard, and other translations by Gary Hartman.
Considerably more information is given in the HETAIRA profile, along with contrasting data from the lives of other important HETAIRA women, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Lou Andreas-Salomé.
1888 On September 18 Toni is born, a native of Bern, Switzerland, first child of Anna Elisabeth Wolff (formerly Stutz), and Konrad Arnold
1890 Sister Erna Wolff, (later Naeff) is born.
1892 Toni’s only other sibling, Susanne Wolff (later Trüb) is born.
Toni and her sisters enjoy the privileges as children of the first families of Zürich.
She enters finishing school in French Switzerland, and later attends extended classes in England for six months, learning the language as well as history and culture.
Toni attends the University of Zürich as a non-matriculated student of philosophy and poetry.
Toni has a relationship with Hans Trüb, who later married her sister, Susanne.
1909 Toni’s father dies of a heart attack, at about 63-64 years old.
She is 21 years old. She suffers a deep depression.
1910 Toni’s mother brings her (age 22) to Dr. C.G. Jung (age 35) for analysis.
1911 Jung writes to Freud on August 29, (Of those who will come with us to Weimar) “a new discovery of mine, Fr. Antonia (sic) Wolff,
a remarkable intellect with an excellent feeling for religion and philosophy…”
Toni attends the Third Psychoanalytical Congress at Weimar Sept 21-22. She is one of the 46 people (of 55 attending) who posed for the official photograph.
Following termination of her analysis, her depression re-occurs.
She became an active member of the group of students surrounding Jung, and was in consistent contact with him.
1912 Toni is age 24 when Jung’s conflict with Freud is rendered visible to all, with his publication of Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido,
(later published in English as Psychology of the Unconscious in 1916). Toni is a member of a committee that meets with Jung on a regular basis, whose purpose was investigation and discussing Psyhchological types.
This committee included Emilio Medner, Adolf Keller and some theologians who focused on terminology for three types.
Toni was also instrumental in introducing the functions of sensation and (along with Moltzer’s earlier contribution) on intuition.
1913 On December 12, Toni (age 25) accompanies Carl Jung in his ‘descent into the unconscious, also called his nekyia, serving as his
analyst in the process, which she had undergone earlier herself with his guidance.
1915 By this time, Jung and Toni are known to have an intimate physical relationship, the duration of which is not known.
She remained beside him, as peer and collaborator, until her death, some thirty-eight years later.
1916 Toni Wolff is elected first president of an informal organization called The Psychological Club, consisting of Jung’s current and
former analysands and students.
She served in this capacity for seventeen years.
This group became very strong and lasted nearly 40 years.
It was a solid intellectual as well as social community for the growing number of Jung’s students and professional associates.
1921 Toni is 32 years old, Jung is 46.
Jung publishes his book, Psychological Types, which begins with documentation of the historic work of his predecessors in the field of psychological typologies.
This history formed a basis from which his own new dynamic model grew and flowered, along with the cooperative efforts made by a joint committee of peers, of which Toni is a lively contributing member.
1922 Toni is a frequent lecturer at The Psychology Club in Zürich.
1923 Jung’s mother dies. Construction begins on the first tower of Jung’s retreat at Bollingen, where Toni visits and works many hours.
1929 Toni spends a month visiting England at the home of Barbara Hannah’s family.
Jung acknowledges Toni as his capable assistant, to whom he refers patients for analysis.
Often, patients see both Jung and Toni for sessions.
1933 Jung calls a particular encounter, “One of the most curious events of my life”5 Jung and Toni experience a mutual vision that both
fully believed actually happened during a trip to Ravenna.
The mosaic in the church in Ravenna, which Toni and Jung ‘saw’ was of Christ holding out his hand to Peter, who was sinking beneath the waves.
The original mosaic was a gift from Empress Galla Placidia (d. 410, A.D.) in gratitude for her rescue from the storms in her ocean crossing. Only later, when Jung asked a colleague visiting in Ravenna to bring back a picture postcard of this mosaic, was it discovered that the mosaics, which he described, were actually destroyed by fire many years prior to their visit.
Toni takes notes on Jung’s first informal lecture at the Eranos Conference, ‘A Study in the Process of Individuation.’
1934 Toni, who is 45 years old, presented her first reading of her original monograph, “The Individuation Process In Women” at The
Psychology Club, Zürich.
1935 Toni compiles a comprehensive testimonial volume entitled “The Cultural Significance of Complex Psychology,” for Jung’s 60th
Toni acts as Jung’s hostess during his Tavistock Lectures in London, arranging his time for social visits from friends and students.
1946 On May 10, Toni delivers her paper, “Christianity Within,” in London to the Guild of Pastoral Psychology.
1948 Toni presents her work, “Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche” in a reading at The C.G. Jung Institute, Zürich, the year of its
1951 Wolff’s work, “Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche,” first appears in public print in DER PSYCHOLOGIE, Bern.
1953 Toni Wolff dies of a heart attack on March 21, the Vernal Equinox.
Her funeral is held at The Church of St. Peter, Zürich. Many of her analysands and colleagues speak during the service. Jung is ill and does not attend. Note:
Jung wrote concerning this event in a letter to James Kirsch on May 28,1953, when he was 82:
On the day of her death, even before I had received the news, I suffered a relapse and had a bad attack of tachycardia.
This has now subsided. But it has left an arrhythmia, which hampers my physical capacities very much.
1956 “Structural Forms of the Feminine Psyche” is privately printed for the student association in Zürich.
1958 March 18, Jung writes to Dr. Daniel Brody (Proprietor of Rheim-Verlag, Zürich), whose publications later included all of Toni Wolff’s written material:
I feel the need to recommend the collected papers of Toni Wolff to your attention.
As president of the Psychological Club in Zürich for many years, she had a unique opportunity to get to know the ambience of analytical psychology from all sides as well as hosting its representatives from practically all the nations of Europe and all the Anglo-Saxon countries.
1958 June 18, in a letter written to Carol Jeffrey by Jung, age 83:
It is unfortunately true that when you are wife and mother you can hardly be Hetaira too, just as it is the secret suffering of the Hetaira that she is not a Mother.
There are women who are not meant to bear physical children, but they give rebirth to a man in a spiritual sense, which is a highly important function.
1959 Included in Jung’s Collected Works (Vol. 10, pp. 887) is his Introduction to Toni Wolff’s “Studies in Jungian Psychology”:
In writing this introduction I am discharging a debt of thanks; the author of the essays, printed in this volume, was my friend and collaborator of more than forty years, until her untimely death in 1953 at the age of sixty-five.
She took an active part in all phases of the development of analytical psychology, and to her we owe the expression ‘Complex Psychology’ as a designation of this field of research.
At Toni Wolff’s death, Jung showed Joseph Henderson the Toni Wolff stone carving in his garden, which he had made and inscribed:
Mysterious ~Mary Dian Molton, Four Eternal Women: Toni Wolff Revisited, Pages4-8