Viola Wertheim Bernard papers


Correspondence, oral history interviews, reports, patient records, financial records, photographs, audio and video recordings, phonograph records, printed material, newspaper clippings, and artifacts. Almost every aspect of Bernard's life, both personal and professional, is documented in her papers. There are extensive records of her involvement with such educational and social welfare groups as Bank Street College of Education; Bureau of Child Guidance of the New York City Board of Education; Citizens' Committee for Children of New York, Inc.; Louise Wise Services; Northside Center for Child Development; and the Wiltwyck School for Boys. Professional organizations for which there are extensive records include American Psychiatric Association; American Psychoanalytic Association; and Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry.

Also included are records documenting her work with the Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, and her leadership of the University's Division of Community and Social Psychiatry. Bernard's political activism is seen in the records of her work with the Non-Sectarian Committee for German Refugee Children in the late 1930s; her opposition to the Loyalty Oath; her involvement in the legal defense of Alger Hiss; her participation in the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; and her long commitment to the racial integration of the psychiatric profession.

There is considerable material relating to the Bernard family. Records of the Clarkstown Country Club, an ashram founded by Pierre A. Bernard for the study of yoga and “Eastern philosophy,” can be found here. From 1934 to 1938 Bernard was married to Theos C. Bernard, Pierre's nephew and a pioneer in the study of yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. Of particular note are the many letters and photographs from Theos's stay in Tibet in 1937


Viola W. Bernard, 1907-1998

Date [inclusive]: 


Physical Description: 

129.65 cubic feet (382 boxes, 5 oversize boxes, 3 folders)



All records in Record Series 12 (Clinical Records) are permanently restricted and many are closed for a specified period; see the folder list for more details. Access after the closure period will be regulated by Archives and Special Collections' Access Policy to Records Containing Protected Health Information. Bernard's treatment records of the poet (Box 307) are closed until January 1, 2050, after which they will be open without restriction, if permitted by HIPAA.

The records of the Child Development Center's Twin Study, 1953-1997 (Boxes 74-77) are closed until January 1, 2021, after which some will remain restricted.

Guidance records of the Ethical Culture Schools (Boxes 193-194) are permanently restricted. Access is regulated by Archives and Special Collections' Access Policy to Records Containing Protected Health Information.

Several other folders are closed or restricted for privacy reasons. Please see the folder list for specific details.

Cite as: 

Viola Wertheim Bernard Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.