Legacy of the Ancestors

[The following are excerpts from a work-in-progress, the first biography of James Hillman, by Dick Russell]

“…Blow on a dead man’s embers
And a live flame will start
Let his forgotten briefs be now,
And now, his withered hopes….”

-Robert Graves, “To bring the dead to life

Nearly all biographies begin with the antecedents of their subject, to one degree or another. Most do not linger long on the forbears, perhaps because not enough is known about them, generally because the life of the “main man” or woman is what the reader is most interested to know about. In the case of James Hillman, however, we must digress, meditate, reflect upon the ancestors, about whom much seems to have been passed down to him.

From the earliest societies to contemporary civilizations, genealogical methods have been utilized to trace ancestries back to gods, animal totems, and legendary heroes. Originally it was the oral history narratives of clan or tribe that bequeathed the lineage. In ancient Sumeria, Babylon, Egypt, India and China, kings and heads of state traced their rights to the throne through genealogy. Adam, Abraham, and Noah all have their “begats” sketched in the Old Testament, where the House of David traces a royal bloodline. Muslims track their descent to Mohammed, while of course the Greeks and Romans sought to link their heritage to the gods.

In the last book of his Republic, Plato sets down the Myth of Er, where he uses the word daimon to describe a “soul-companion” that guides us during our time on earth. The idea is, we each have a unique image or pattern that our soul selects before we are born, forgotten by us in the process of arrival but remembered by the daimon – which becomes, in effect, the carrier of our destiny. “Other cultures have many words for those ‘spirits’ that seem to guide us,” Hillman has said, “terms like ‘the invisibles'” – or what we often describe as fate or destiny.1

Confucius described two souls of humankind, the living and the spiritual, the latter containing the departed ancestors. The dead are given a greater reality by the memory that the living keep alive of them, and are thus invoked to participate on important occasions such as births and marriages. In today’s Africa, the Ibo and Kalabari peoples of Nigeria continue to believe in the “two souls” that Confucius advanced. One is always being watched by the ancestral spirits, and “to be cut off from relationships with one’s ancestors is to cease to be a whole person.”2

Many Australian aborigines believe that an infant is a reincarnation of deceased ancestors. Certain Indonesian peoples say that ancestral souls reside in sacred animals, sometimes in preparation for a new human incarnation. In the western Amazon, tribes eschew eating particular animals, such as deer, because the ancestral souls have entered the animal’s bodies. Native peoples of central Mexico traditionally believed that the migrating monarch butterflies were their returning ancestors.

The importance of ancestry to soul appears in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian genealogies. In Germanic folklore the soul was considered, in certain respects, something inherited. And it was out of this German Romantic tradition – the one that gave us poets like Goethe, philosophers like Kant and Nietzche, composers like Beethoven – that C.G. Jung came to prominence in the early years of the twentieth century.

Himself a pastor’s son, Jung’s maternal grandmother often fell into trances and awoke uttering prophecies, while his maternal grandfather was an Old Testament scholar who “spoke” frequently to spirits. It was the legend of his grandfather – not the living example of his father – by which Jung measured himself as a young man. By the time he was nineteen, Jung was convinced that his existence was somehow deeply entwined with his ancestors and the spiritual mysteries.3

As a pioneer in the nascent field of psychiatry, Jung’s chief disagreement with Sigmund Freud was his belief that the unconscious was a far vaster realm than Freud hypothesized. Across time and divergent cultures, behaviors, fears, and thoughts proved remarkably similar. Jung termed this a “collective unconscious,” comprised of archetypes, or primordial images inherited from our ancestors. From the infant’s attachment to the mother and fear of the dark, to the images of sun, moon, angels, evil, and the wise old man, there was a consistency of influence upon the human personality, no matter its origins.

In the course of giving a seminar in Zurich in 1925, Jung went so far as to espouse a belief in “ancestor possession.” Under certain circumstances in your life, he said, particular hereditary units could activate themselves and, in effect, “take over” your own actions. “I know no answer to the question of whether the karma which I live is the outcome of my past lives, or whether it is not rather the achievement of my ancestors, whose heritage comes together in me,” Jung would write in his autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. “Am I a combination of the lives of these ancestors and do I embody these lives again?”4

In 1975, James Hillman published his landmark book, Re-visioning Psychology, where he refines some of Jung’s ideas into what has come to be known as archetypal psychology. Here Hillman harkened to the Neoplatonists of the Renaissance, to whom “the great men of the past were living realities…because they personified the soul’s needs for spiritual ancestors, ideal types, internal guides and mentors who can share our lives with us and inspire them beyond our personal narrowness.”5 In reaching back to “Greek and Roman mythical figures – not as allegories, but as modes of reflection,” these Renaissance thinkers had rediscovered soul and its paradoxical nature: Soul is in us, but we are also in it.

Later, in his essay Extending the Family (1985), Hillman wrote: “The ancient home gave plenty of space to the invisibles that live in a family, propitiating and domesticating its daimones, which it acknowledged as rightfully belonging.” He went on to add: “With the passing of time a sense of its power grows within one’s psyche, like the movements of its skeleton inside one’s flesh, which keeps one in servitude to patterns entombed in our closest attitudes and habits. From this interior family we are never free. This service keeps us bonded to the ancestors.”6

Yet, as he would elaborate in The Soul’s Code (1995): “Only if a member of the natural family (itself not always determinable), say a grandparent or an uncle or an aunt, is worthy enough, powerful enough, knowledgeable enough, may he or she become an ancestor in the sense of a guardian spirit.”7

Even as a young man, Hillman had found himself compelled to know all he could about his ancestors. “I am grateful to you for thinking of me in connection with a box or boxes of personal papers of Grandfathers,” he once wrote his parents. “These things mean much to me….” Another time, he wrote of being “delighted to be getting all this family information.”

Today, their portraits all hang in an upstairs bedroom and in the attic there are literally thousands of pages about Hillman’s forbears – letters and postcards, faded newspapers and photographs, genealogical charts – reaching back two centuries. Indeed, so much was recorded and kept, by so many branches of the family, that it is almost as if we are scrutinizing some Egyptian or Chinese “cult of the ancestors.”

There is, perhaps, one distinction. This particular one saved the menus from all the great occasions.


The dedication page of Hillman’s first book, Emotion (1960), reads: “To the spirits of my grandfathers – JOEL HILLMAN and JOSEPH KRAUSKOPF.”

James Hillman never knew Krauskopf, his maternal grandfather, who died in 1923, three years before his birth. Yet Krauskopf remained a dominant, even legendary, figure in the household, an oil portrait peering intensely down from the living-room hearth in Atlantic City. An immigrant youth who spoke no English upon arriving at Ellis Island, Krauskopf had risen to become the most prominent Reform rabbi in the United States.

He had spent his youth in the forests of eastern Prussia (today’s Poland), helping his wood contractor father haul small bundles to the local villagers. At fourteen, Krauskopf sailed in steerage to join his older brothers in America, the “land of opportunity.” But after the brother supposed to take him in was robbed and murdered on the road, Krauskopf ended up alone in the textile town of Fall River, Massachusetts. He took part in amateur theatricals to facilitate learning the language, while selling trinkets door-to-door. One of his customers, a Christian schoolteacher named Mary Slade, took a keen interest in the uncommonly bright teenager – and eventually requested a scholarship for him to the new Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.8

Years later, Krauskopf reflected: “Neither environment nor family tradition could have exercized [sic] an unconscious impelling influence on me, for I knew of no minister in my family; and when I felt myself drawn toward the Jewish pulpit I lived in a gentile community, and far removed from a Jewish congregation….I felt within me what I believed to be a divine call, and I obeyed.”9

His mentor at the college was Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, then the leading advocate for Reform Judaism – giving services in English instead of Hebrew, and on Sundays rather than the customary Saturday Sabbath. A fellow student would describe Krauskopf as a born leader, one who “struck out into original paths” with a “veritable passion for work” and “apparently inexhaustible fund of energy.”10 Krauskopf would be among the first four young men to become American-trained ordained rabbis.

His initial posting was to Kansas City, then a booming cattle town. There, Krauskopf was taken under the wing of a prosperous local merchant named Benjamin Arnold Feineman, whom everyone called B.A. He was married to a Binswanger, one of four daughters of an immigrant shopkeeper who had been shot to death in frontier Missouri after refusing to open his store and sell liquor to a customer on the Sabbath. Although Feineman’s diaries record his enchantment with the Binswanger widow, he had ended up wed to daughter Bettie when she turned sixteen. The reception supper provided, according to the local newspaper, “everything that the daintiest epicure could desire.”

Feineman had been among the founders of Kansas City’s Reform temple, and Krauskopf wasted no time in pushing the envelope. The new theory of evolution was not in conflict with religion, he preached, and Jesus possessed traits that Jews should emulate. He fought against child labor, became active in prison reform, and arranged low-cost housing for impoverished families. Embodied in Krauskopf, a contemporary wrote, “we can hear the longing of the new American rabbi for the emancipation of Judaism from its outlandish, outmoded Oriental cloak.”11

After four years in Kansas City, in 1887 Krauskopf was summoned by the Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Philadelphia to be its spiritual leader. He was only twenty-nine when he and his wife, Rose, boarded the railway coach eastbound with three children. During his first year, Krauskopf initiated what conservative members viewed as “unwarranted innovations” – calling for more art, music and dancing in the temple’s religious school and beginning a young people’s society of “Knowledge Seekers.” The fallible Bible, he told his congregation, “is the work of man and shares all the faults that characterize the religious writings of bygone ages….No religion, if it is to serve its purpose, is to be permitted to become congealed or fossilized.”12 Religion had to confront the social issues of the day and address the needs of the poor, the ill, and the imprisoned. “He discards…the idea of a coming Messiah, believing that the Messianic age will have dawned when all mankind shall be one brotherhood,” it was written of Krauskopf.

His “Sunday Lectures,” delivered from memory with “literary charm,” proved so popular that they were published weekly in pamphlet form. A new synagogue had to be built to hold the burgeoning crowds, which included many non-Jews. The rabbi himself designed the edifice, in the style of the Italian Renaissance: “A square and graceful tower, capped by a minaret, rises above the front façade; and the inner structure is crowned by a dome of grand proportions.”

Krauskopf launched the Jewish Publication Society of America, a non-profit cooperative venture whose objective was to bring books on Jewish subjects to a wider American audience. (Now based in New York, it remains a leader in religious publishing). His call for a public library helped push Philadelphia to establish it first in 1892. The prestigious National Encyclopedia of American Biography was by then describing Krauskopf as “giving the Jewish reform movement a direction and a force hitherto unthought of.”

His ongoing interest in slum conditions led to a Model Dwelling Association, an attempt to bring private enterprise into low-income housing. He was among the first to call for a federal Secretary of Labor. He was also an early environmental champion who, in speaking out for pure food and smog-control laws, proclaimed: “It is not an unwarranted assumption of power for the state to interfere with the food we eat and the air we breathe.” According to a later chronicler, “Many of his suggestions were far ahead of his time, especially the notion that poverty and crime were largely functions of the environment and child development.”13

In 1894, following the expulsion of all Jews from Moscow and concerns that pogroms there were intensifying, Krauskopf arranged a trip to Russia after meeting with several wealthy Americans. His intent was to discuss, with the Czar, their purchase of a large tract of available land where Jews might be resettled as farmers. While this effort did not bear fruit, Krauskopf did make a pilgrimage to the rural home of Count Leo Tolstoy, already world renowned as the author of War and Peace. Tolstoy had condemned persecution of the Jews, and been denounced as an anarchist by the Russian hierarchy for advocating collective ownership of land.

From Moscow, it took six hours by rail and horse-drawn wagon to reach the ancestral estate where Tolstoy continued to work the land like an ordinary peasant. Krauskopf was mightily impressed, later recalling “the fire of humanity beaming” from the man’s eyes as they shared a frugal evening meal. Expressing doubt that the Czarists would ever accept Krauskopf’s plan, Tolstoy suggested that he instead open an agricultural school in America “where young Jews could learn the skills of their ancestors.”

Krauskopf, who would describe Tolstoy as “one of those rare geniuses of whom Emerson speaks, who prove their greatness by being greatly misunderstood,”14 followed Tolstoy’s advice. Raising funds to purchase 122 acres in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, two years later he would open the National Farm School, its first students being a dozen boys taken off the streets of Philadelphia. “Gradually, Krauskopf recognized that his interest in agriculture as the means for helping Jews in the American slums and European ghettos began to coincide with Zionist efforts to establish agricultural colonies in Palestine,” according to an article in American Jewish History.15 Those would become the first kibbutzes. Yet Krauskopf himself continued to believe that “there will never be a return to Palestinian Zion unless there will first be a return to Eden nearer home” in America.

Today, his original school is called Delaware Valley College, stretching across 940 acres; with more than a thousand students, it is the only private college in America that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture.

Following the unexpected death of his wife, Krauskopf was left a widower raising three children. Then, in 1896, the same year that he established the National Farm School, he returned to Kansas City to marry Sybil Feineman. She was a primary schoolteacher, the eldest daughter of B.A. and Bettie and, thirteen years younger than Krauskopf, had in fact been part of his first confirmation class. Sybil’s sole attendant at the wedding was her grandmother, Elise Binswanger.16

Elise’s murdered husband, Solomon Binswanger – great-great-grandfather of James Hillman – had been the last of nine brothers. One of those, Ludwig, had remained in southern Germany and become a well-known medical “psychiatrist,” before the term was ever used. In 1857, Ludwig had founded the Bellevue Sanitorium in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. His private asylum would become famous, eventually caring for luminaries including F. Scott FitzGerald’s wife, Zelda. This Binswanger’s grandson, also named Ludwig, ended up a student of Jung, who introduced him to Freud. All through the Freud-Jung letters, he is described as a go-between in their relationship.

Another Binswanger descendant would later be elected to the governing Curatorium of the Jung Institute. Hilda Binswanger, a Jungian analyst in Zurich, would translate James Hillman’s book, Suicide and the Soul, into German. Yet another Binswanger would be Hillman’s family physician during his years in Zurich. Hillman himself knew nothing of these ancestral connections before he moved to Zurich in 1953, where he would remain for most of a quarter-century.17

During the Spanish-American War, Joseph Krauskopf had been one of several field commissioners enlisted to visit hospitals at the front in Cuba and military camps in the U.S. There he became acquainted with Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. In 1906, Roosevelt would write Krauskopf from the White House, praising the National Farm School: “no nation can afford to forget that in the last resort its well-being rests upon the well-being and high character of the man who tills the soil.”18 When Roosevelt died in 1917, Krauskopf dedicated to his memory a stained-glass window in his Broad Street Temple.

In the early years of the twentieth century, while that temple boasted the largest Jewish congregation in America, Krauskopf went on to work for civic improvements and be a fervent supporter of women’s suffrage and civil rights, while adamantly opposed to capital punishment and later Prohibition.19

Accompanied by his wife Sybil and daughter Madeleine, in the summer of 1912 Krauskopf returned to visit their ancestral German homeland. Sybil wrote to her father, B.A., of visiting with a woman who “took us to the house where you were born Papa….Madeleine and I delighted ourselves by plucking some of the beautiful poppies and cornflowers.” Later that year, B.A. Feineman died, lauded by the Kansas City Star for having “contributed in a very substantial manner to [the city’s] development, especially along humanitarian and philanthropic lines.”

Krauskopf’s congregation paid for a year-long trip around the world for his family in the summer of 1913; their voyage took them across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, up the Nile, to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Delphi and Olympia, the trip ultimately cut short by the beginning of World War One. While America’s entry into the war would turn the tide against the Axis powers, the rabbi’s sermons grew increasingly pessimistic. He was disappointed with Woodrow Wilson’s failure to bring the country into the new League of Nations, with the vengeful Versailles Treaty that ended the conflict, above all by the ongoing persecution of Jews in both Eastern and Western Europe.

A large library in the rabbi’s home contained busts of Shakespeare, Dante, and other literary giants. As a boy, his grandson James would sometimes stand there, gazing upon the bookshelves. Krauskopf’s last sermon, delivered on Christmas Eve 1922, concerned the value of art in the worship of God. “Take the best sermon and see how dull it is alongside a good play,” he had once written in a lecture called “The Stage as a Pulpit.”20

Krauskopf, who loved the ocean, was taken by his family to the seaside resort of Atlantic City after collapsing in his home. There, his oldest daughter Madeleine lived with her husband, Julian Hillman, who with his father managed a Boardwalk hotel, the Breakers. The Philadelphia American reported that Krauskopf “spent his last days sitting on the porch of the hotel, wrapped in blankets.” He died of arteriosclerosis in a room at the Breakers, on June 12, 1923. Less than three years later, his grandson James Hillman would be born – also in a room at the Breakers, overlooking the water.

A crowd of thousands came to pay respects to “a man who was an institution,” as the Philadelphia newspaper editorialized. Joseph Krauskopf “stood in the forefront of those who believe that ancient religion should not stand still, but keep pace with the changing needs of mankind. This attitude made him for many years a storm center, with the forces of orthodox Judaism openly arrayed against him.”

As Krauskopf had said in one of his Sunday Lectures (1912), “Progress has ever been the gift to the many by the few who have had the courage to differ, who have dared to stand alone.”21


The paternal grandfather, Joel Hillman, had like Krauskopf been on his own since his early years. Born in Memphis a year after the Civil War ended, he’d been raised by a shopkeeper family in Okolona, Mississippi after his father died in a cholera or yellow fever epidemic and his mother disappeared. At fourteen, Hillman left whatever home he knew and found work selling sandwiches, cigars, and magazines from a pushcart for the Illinois Central railroad that ran between New Orleans and Chicago. In the latter city he remained, sweeping out a slaughterhouse in the Union Stockyards, described in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle as a “square mile of abominations.”

Standing more than six-foot-two, Hillman caught the eye of one of the meatpacking companies. After a few years apprenticing as a butcher, he was dispatched to open a branch office in Washington, D.C. There, he sold butter, eggs, and chickens to local restaurants. His occupation, at the time of his marriage to Sarah Lulley in 1891, was listed as “porkpacker.”22

Sarah was a petite young lady who enjoyed wearing fantastic hats, jewelry, and costumes. Well-educated at a private girls school in Washington, she was the grand-daughter of a Hungarian revolutionary. During the initially successful rebellion against Hapsburg Austrian rule led by Louis Kossuth in 1848, Emanuel (Mano) Lulley had been the “spymaster,” or chief of intelligence. After Russia sent a huge army to maintain the status quo, Kossuth and his men were forced to capitulate. “Lulley was one of the five men who buried the crown of Hungary and refused to reveal its hiding-place.”

From a refugee camp in Turkey, Lulley, along with his wife and five children, were among fifty of Kossuth’s band rescued by the American steam frigate Mississippi. Landing at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Lulley is said to have dressed his children in Hungarian national costumes and sent them marching ashore to wild applause. Invited to Washington to meet President Fillmore, he was given “a splendid silver medal” and decided to remain.

During the Civil War, Lulley sought to raise a volunteer regiment called the Kossuth Corps for the Union Army. (Hungarian participation in the Civil War exceeded that of any other ethnic group). He and one of his sons were sutlers in the nation’s capitol, merchants who followed the army selling various provisions – which may have been a “cover” for Lulley’s actually working as a secret agent for Lincoln’s Department of Justice.23

In recent years, James Hillman would tramp through at least fifteen of the Civil War battlefields, from Pennsylvania to Mississippi.

Writing books for me is anyway much like a military campaign. I confess to fighting my way through with military metaphors. There is a strategy, an overall concept, and there are tactics along the way…Tradition would say I was a ‘child of Mars.'” – James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War, 2004.24

After the war, Lulley set himself up in the auctioneering and commission business on the same block as Harvey’s Restaurant and Oyster Saloon, whose steamed oysters were considered the beginning of real American cuisine.25 Since Harvey’s was one of Joel Hillman’s customers, this may have been where he first encountered Lulley’ grand-daughter Sarah, “a proud little Hungarian princess,” as her grandson James Hillman would recall.

Julian, the newlyweds’ second child, came along in 1894. And Joel’s business enterprise continued to gather momentum. Although lacking any formal education, he read prodigiously and could quote Keats and Shelley. He had “style and taste, a gentleman’s fantasy,” James remembers. “He was extremely distinguished, spoke with a slight Southern accent, and had the kind of presence where he was often mistaken for a senator.”26

In 1906, a Washington newspaper headline announced: “Harvey’s Changes Hands: Hillman, the Purchaser.” Joel had bought the restaurant business for $140,000. Under his management, the New York Times reported, Harvey’s “became well known as a rendezvous for members of Congress, the diplomatic corps and the press.” The restaurant was famed for its Imperial crab and steaks broiled to perfection. Joel selected the meat personally; the market kept a skewer with his name on it. He made an “epicurean trip” to Europe, about which the Washington Herald interviewed him: “On the other side eating is a recreation and a pleasure…over there we can learn the lesson that in our rush and hurry we sacrifice some of the real pleasures of life.”27

Sarah’s father, Anthony Lulley, also a merchant, had retired to Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the time the leading resort community in the U.S. And in 1907, Joel Hillman acquired the lease on a Boardwalk hotel then called the Rudolf. It was a five-story wood-frame building, with a ballroom that could accommodate 500 dancers. While maintaining his interest in Harvey’s, Joel moved his family to Atlantic City and was soon elected the first president of the New Jersey Hotel Association.

After building an addition and changing the hotel’s name during World War One, Hillman’s Breakers now stood ten stories high, “with a magnificent green copper roof, like a French chateau,” and baths in each of the 450 rooms.28 His son, Julian, intent upon marriage to Madeleine Krauskopf, the attractive rabbi’s daughter, decided to join his father as assistant manager.

The families came together for the first time when the Krauskopfs invited the Hillmans to a meal in Philadelphia, at which Sybil Krauskopf prepared what she considered a very special dinner. Yet, as they all sat down in front of the platters, Joel Hillman said, loud enough for all to hear: “Why do they think they always have to have squab?” The fare, it seemed, was too bourgeois for his “refined European” tastes. Or perhaps the Southern-born “aristocrat” felt the need to upstage the prominent Reform rabbi.29

The marriage ceremony in the Krauskopf garden was a lavish affair hailed as “one of the most artistic weddings ever witnessed” by the Atlantic City press. The magnificent tiered wedding cake, a creation of the Breakers’ head baker, stood more than three feet high and required five men to take it from Atlantic City for delivery to the bride’s home in the Germantown section of north Philadelphia.30

During the Roaring Twenties, the couple traveled across the Atlantic on luxury steamers, while Joel sat in the smoker’s lounge regaling people with his stories. In 1927, Joel and Julian became the American partners in the building of a new luxury hotel in Paris. It would be called the George V, rising a luminous whiteness of high marble and stone walls, in a “modern French style” that drew admirers from the international design world. Guests would come to include Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Prince of Wales. The glory was fleeting, as the Hillman family was bankrupted by the advent of the Great Depression and lost its ownership interest in the George V. (Today, the hotel is owned by His Royal Highness Prince Al Waleed of Saudi Arabia).

Years later, Madeleine Hillman would remember her father-in-law once stopping their chauffeured car on a Paris street, to point out something in a butcher shop and how beautiful it was. Espying a foie gras that had opened up, he marveled, “Look at that, it’s like a sunset. It should be painted.” Not surprisingly, Joel became the first American member of the Escoffier Society, a Parisian group of epicurean chefs and hoteliers that gathered for long dinners to compare notes on gourmet cuisine.

When he died at 85, the Atlantic City Press wrote in 1951: “Mr. Hillman represented a glittering era in which hotel reputations were made when a host was almost as great as the famous guests who visited his establishment.” He was a man with “a genius for hotel keeping and a magic touch….known to literally thousands of visitors in his heyday.”


So let us reconsider Jung’s question: “Am I a combination of the lives of these ancestors and do I embody these lives again?” What do we see reflected in the life of James Hillman?

In Joseph Krauskopf, we encounter the reformer, both of his own discipline and in aspiration of the larger world beyond it. In the Binswanger line is the therapeutic-psychiatric element. In B.A. Feineman, the sense of civic duty and involvement. In Emanuel Lulley, the revolutionary warrior. In Joel Hillman, the quality of worldliness and international style. Also in these ancestors, we find the ongoing link between the undaunted self-made American and the European tradition. We observe a combination of luck, privilege, ability, and chutzpah.

Of course, all these expansive aspects of the ancestors leave their shadow traces. With the light comes darkness. Ancestral blessings are not unaccompanied by ancestral curses.


In the summer of 2007, Robert Bly, the poet and a longtime friend of James Hillman’s – born the same year, 1926 – is sitting over breakfast in his Minneapolis kitchen for an interview. “My first impression of Jim was of someone who came from a line of very good inn-keepers,” Bly is saying. “I saw him as host at a hotel that served wonderful food, had great rooms – and the feeling that you were always welcome. He’s standing behind the desk, checking you out. And he’s going to do things for you – I mean, the room service is superb!”

Later that morning, Bly adds: “Jim expands outward into the universe from an object or an idea. He is honoring what used to be called ‘angels’ – all the invisible beings, both in the psyche and in the world.”

  1. Plato/Hillman quote: www.menweb.org/hillmaiv.htm
  2. Ancestor quote: “Christians and Their Ancestors: A Dilemma of African Theology,” by Jack Partain, www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1078
  3. Jung: www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/jung.htm
  4. Jung also wrote (p. 233, Memories, Dreams Reflections): “I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family, which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answerquestions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered….”
  5. James Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology, 1992 Harper Colophon edition, p. 198.
  6. James Hillman, A Blue Fire, p. 204, Harper & Row, N.Y., 1989.
  7. James Hillman, The Soul’s Code, p. 89, Random House, N.Y. 1996.
  8. Krauskopf background: In addition to family archives, much is derived from Apostle of Reason: A Biography of Joseph Krauskopf, by William W. Blood, Dorrance & Co., Philadelphia, 1973. See also Profiles in Faith, by Glenn D. Kittler, pp. 131-151, Coward-McCann, N.Y., 1962.
  9. “divine call:” Ibid, p. 12.
  10. “born leader”:Ibid, p. 17 (quoting David Philipson).
  11. “emancipation of Judaism”: ibid, p. 28 (quoting Rabbi Stuart E. Rosenberg).
  12. Krauskopf on religion: ibid, pp. 41-42.
  13. Poverty and crime: “The Early Years of Joseph Krauskopf at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel,” paper by Martin P. Beifeld, Jr., January 1971.
  14. Krauskopf on Tolstoy: Gleanings from our Vineyard: Seven Lectures by Rabbi Jos. Krauskopf, pub. Oscar Klonower, Philadelphia
  15. Zionism: “Joseph Krauskopf and Zionism: Partners in Change,” by Martin P. Beifeld, Jr., American Jewish History, September 1985.
  16. Feineman/Binswanger background: Derived from James Hillman personal archive of newspaper clippings, etc. See also, “A history of the Jews of Kansas City,” by Ethel R. Feineman, The Reform Advocate, Chicago, March 28, 1908; “Development of the Jewish Community of Kansas City, 1864-1908,” by Howard F. Sachs, Missouri Historical Review (www.kclibrary.org)
  17. Binswanger family: Derived from conversations with James Hillman and Internet search.
  18. Roosevelt letter: in Hillman personal archive.
  19. Capital punishment & Prohibition: Beifeld, op.cit.
  20. Lecture: in Gleanings from our Vineyard.
  21. “Progress”: Blood, p. 183.
  22. Joel Hillman background: derived from interviews with James Hillman, Joel Hillman, Jr.
  23. Lulley family background: derived primarily from materials sent by Steve Beszedits, University of Toronto; also “The Lulley Family: From the Danube to the Potomac and Beyond,” by Lois Hechinger England, in The Record (The Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington), 1991, Vol. 18.
  24. “writing books…”: A Terrible Love of War, by James Hillman, p. 15 (The Penguin Press, N.Y., 2004).
  25. Harvey’s restaurant: The History of Harvey’s, pamphlet by Frank Romer.
  26. Hillman quotes: author interviews with James Hillman.
  27. Joel Hillman articles: in James Hillman personal archive, Atlantic City Press obituary and editorial, August 17, 1951; New York Times obituary, August 18, 1951.
  28. Breakers: Boardwalk of Dreams, by Bryant Simon, Oxford University Press, 2004; Atlantic City: America’s Playground, by Bill Kent with Robert E. Ruffolo and Lauralee Dobbins, Heritage Media Group, 1998.
  29. Krauskopf-Hillman meeting: author interview with James Hillman.
  30. Wedding: Atlantic City Evening Union, September 20, 1919.