Guide to the Papers of Anna Sten

AR 25477

Processed by Marie-Theres Kohn

Leo Baeck Institute

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 744-6400

Fax: (212) 988-1305



© 2012 Leo Baeck Institute. All rights reserved.
Center for Jewish History, Publisher.
Electronic finding aid was encoded in EAD 2002 by Emily Andresini in November 2012. Description is in English.
July 09, 2014  Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sten, Anna
Title: Anna Sten Collection
Dates:bulk 1970s-1990s
Abstract: The Anna Sten Collection documents the life of Anna Sten, a Psychotherapist in New York, who survived the Holocaust in a Romanian concentration camp. The collection contains personal and professional papers, as well as creative writings by Anna Sten. In the first folder most of the papers are correspondence and notebooks. The second folder contains essays about psychotherapy and child development and some short-stories written for the general public.
Languages: The collection is in French, English, and Romanian
Quantity: 0.25 linear feet
Identification: AR 25477
Repository: Leo Baeck Institute
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Biographical Note
Portrait of Anna Sten

Portrait of Anna Sten

Anna Sten was born in Romania into an upper-class family as an only child. During the Second World War she was interned at a concentration camp in Vapniarka, Romania (today Ukraine). The camp was liquidated in 1944 and the prisoners were brought to other concentration camps. The Nazis tortured her by cutting the tendons in her knees. Anna Sten lost all her family members during the Holocaust (only her father had died prior to the war). In August 1974, she obtained her diploma in psychotherapy from the University of London and later, after her immigration in 1953, she worked for the Alfred-Adler Institute in New York, with an interest in child development. All attempts to publish her manuscripts of short-stories failed. Anna Sten died in or before 1987.

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Scope and Content Note

The Anna Sten Collection includes hardly any biographical information (neither her dates of birth nor of her death are provided). In the first series, Personal Papers, the correspondence, composed of letters and postcards, cover a period from 1975 to 1992. Her notebooks are undated; the other personal documents relate to her correspondence and writings. Most letters in this collection are addressed to Eva Dukes, who was an important person in her life from 1975 to 1992. They show Anna Sten's desperate attempt to publish and her loneliness.

The second series contains her writings. The first folder with her professional writings shows her particular interest in child development and psychology. She even participated at a conference, at which she gave a talk about children (The First Global Conference on the Future, July 20-24, 1980, Toronto Ontario, Canada). The documents report on inventive therapies and describe her techniques.

The last folder includes manuscripts of her writings. One of her stories is called "A Child is Born", which takes place in the concentration camp Vapniarka. Another story titled "Father and Son" deals with the problems of growing up to be a man.

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This collection is arranged in two series.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact: Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011 email:

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

Eva Dukes Collection, AR 25476

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); Anna Sten Collection; AR 25477; box number; folder number; Leo Baeck Institute.

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Processing Information

The collection was first overviewed and then ordered in series and folders. Descriptions were added after that.

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Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Follow the links to access the digitized materials.


Series I: Personal Papers, 1866-1992

This series is in English and French, with some Romanian
0.05 linear feet.

The series and folder are ordered topically. The documents in the folders are ordered chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The personal papers contain a lot of correspondences between Anna Sten and her friend Eva Dukes. The first folder contains postcards that Eva Dukes received from Anna Sten between the years 1979 and 1983. In addition, the folder contains letters to Anna Sten during a period from 1975 to 1987. From 1988 on Anna Sten did not write anymore, all letters from 1988 to 1992 are about her and addressed to other persons. Most of the documents are written in French, which seem to have been Anna Sten’s preferred language. Eva Dukes and Anna Sten often discussed Anna’s attempt to publish her short-stories. Eva Dukes encouraged Anna Sten to find a publisher and helped her to improve on her English grammar. When Anna saddened due to her loneliness, Eva motivated her.

The second folder contains four notebooks, written by or given to Anna Sten. In these notebooks more information about her earlier life is provided. Her father died when she was eight years old due to a heart-attack. As a child Anna Sten loved to dance, but could not continue that hobby because of her destroyed tendons cut by the Nazis. The notebooks are in English, Romanian and French.

The last folder contains three documents: a photograph that shows a woman in a folklore dress. The other document is a Russian bond (1866) that might have been given to her from her father, who had lost a lot of money in Russia. The third document is the diploma that Anna Sten earned from the University of London in 1974, qualifying her to be a psychotherapist.

11CorrespondenceFebruary 1975 - April 1992
13Other documentsundated, 1866, 1974
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Series II: Writings, 1980-1983

This series is in English.
2 folders.

The series and folder are ordered topically. The documents in the folders are ordered chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The second series gives an impression of Anna Sten’s creative potential. In the two folders her life merges together with her professional work: psychoanalysis as story telling. Her professional writing seems to have been intended for publishing too, but like her creative writing, never caught the interest of any publisher. Anna Sten’s work focused on the psychotherapy of children and inventive therapies to help gifted children. She tried to get the children’s problems resolved by analyzing the family and using special forms of therapy like role playing. The folder contains manuscripts and speeches (a conference paper from 1980 is added as well). In her creative writings the topic of children appears again. In the short story "A child is born", Anna Sten offers an extraordinary piece of hope to the destructive life in a concentration camp. In this story a certain Henry Wapniarka is born by a miracle. Another short-story called "Father and Son" deals with the problems of a young boy becoming a man and losing his parents. This folder also contains a poem by Anna Sten.

14Professional writingsundated, 1980, 1983
15Creative writingundated
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