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In memoriam: Burness E. Moore, MD

December 21, 2018

Burness E. Moore, MD, who helped refine psychoanalytic terms and concepts by bringing clarity and rigor to their definitions, passed away Nov. 27, 2018 in Stone Mountain, Ga. He was almost 105. Dr. Moore was Physician-in-Charge of Yale Psychiatric Institute from 1943 to 1951. At that time, there were only three full-time psychiatric faculty: the Chairman, Eugen Kahn, MD; Frederick Redlich, MD; and Dr. Moore. Dr. Moore's son, Daniel C. Moore, MD, is a clinical faculty member at Yale.

Like many colleagues of his era, Dr. Moore started out in internal medicine and neurology but eventually migrated to psychiatry and psychoanalysis. In addition to being a Training and Supervising Analyst, he was a natural mediator and conciliator and was involved in many aspects of psychoanalytic education and organization. He was President of the American Psychoanalytic Association from 1973-74 and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute from 1976-78. He was also Treasurer of the International Psychoanalytic Association.

He was the author of 42 original papers and 10 book chapters, but his most significant contribution was as principal editor of Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts. Prior to Dr. Moore's involvement, psychoanalysts often had differing definitions of terms such as ego, internal object, or transference based on where they trained and their personal conceptions. As principal editor, Dr. Moore took on the difficult task of working with 200 authors to bring these differing concepts into a coherent whole. The book is now in a fourth edition and is translated into seven languages. He was also the principal editor of Psychoanalysis: the Major Concepts which dealt with overarching theoretical issues such as resistance, character, and object relationships which required more extensive explanation.

Dr. Moore was born in Valdosta, Ga., on Jan. 31, 1914, the younger son of a sawmill operator and a schoolteacher. His older brother CD developed a mysterious disease of muscle weakness eventually diagnosed as muscular dystrophy. His brother's death at the age of 12 followed by his mother's melancholy was the central trauma of Dr. Moore's life. However, this event was also the wellspring of his life's career, propelling him into medicine and subsequently psychoanalysis.

He was a bright student, graduating valedictorian from Thomasville High School and at the age of 15 went to Emory College. Dr. Moore graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1933 in the midst of the economic depression. He had to work part-time teaching biology while going part-time to medical school, but was able to win a Beck Foundation Scholarship which paid for him to attend Harvard Medical School. While in Boston, he met Doris Anderson, a Simmons College undergraduate, who became his beloved wife for 75 years.

Dr. Moore received internal medicine, neurology, and psychiatric training at both Vanderbilt and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. After serving as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale for seven years, he moved to New York for psychoanalytic training in 1951, rising rapidly to become a Training and Supervising Analyst at New York Psychoanalytic Institute. In 1980, Dr. Moore moved back to Georgia and became a Training and Supervising Analyst and later President of the Emory Psychoanalytic Institute. He was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Emory and practiced until age 85. He received the Emory Medal in 2000 for his contributions to psychoanalysis.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on December 21, 2018