On This Day … 27 October

People (Deaths)

  • 2011 – James Hillman, American psychologist and author (b. 1926).

James Hillman

James Hillman (12 April 1926 to 27 October 2011) was an American psychologist. He studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. He founded a movement toward archetypal psychology and retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Connecticut.

Early Life and Education

Hillman was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1926. He was the third child of four born to Madeleine and Julian Hillman. James was born in Breakers Hotel, one of the hotels his father owned. His maternal grandfather was Joseph Krauskopf, a rabbi in the Reform Judaism movement, who emigrated to the United States from Prussia. After high school, he studied at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service for two years. He served in the US Navy Hospital Corps from 1944 to 1946, after which he attended the University of Paris, studying English Literature, and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a degree in mental and moral science in 1950. He began his career as associate editor for the Irish literary review, Envoy. In 1953 he moved to Switzerland where he met Carl Gustav Jung and began to study his work. He also met there and became friends with the maverick young Swiss doctor and psychotherapist, Adolf Guggenbühl-Craig. In 1959, he received his PhD from the University of Zurich, as well as his analyst’s diploma from the C.G. Jung Institute and was then appointed as Director of Studies at the institute, a position he held until 1969.


In 1970, Hillman became editor of Spring Publications, a publishing company devoted to advancing Archetypal Psychology as well as publishing books on mythology, philosophy and art. His magnum opus, Re-visioning Psychology, was written in 1975 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Hillman then helped co-found the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture in 1978. His 1997 book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, was on The New York Times Best Seller List that year. His works and ideas about philosophy and psychology have also been popularised by other authors such as the psychotherapist Thomas Moore. His published works, essays, manuscripts, research notes, and correspondence (through 1999) reside at OPUS Archives and Research Centre, located on the campuses of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, California.

Hillman was married three times, lastly to Margot McLean-Hillman, who survived him. He has four children from his first marriage. He died at his home in Thompson, Connecticut, in 2011, from bone cancer.

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