Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 15th, 1902. His biological father was an unnamed Danish man who abandoned Erik's mother before he was born. His mother, Karla Abrahamsen, was a young Jewish woman who raised him alone for the first three years of his life. Erik's mother married Dr. Theodor Homberger, Erik's pediatrician and moved to Karlsrune in southern Germany. The development of identity seems to have been one of his greatest concerns in Erikson's own life as well as in his history. During his childhood and early adulthood he was known as Erik Homberger, his parents kept the details of his birth a secret. Erik was a tall, blonde, blue-eyed boy who was Jewish. At school, Erik was teased for being Nordic, but at grammar school kids teased him for being Jewish.
After graduating high school, Erik was really concentrating on becoming an artist. When Erik wasn't in art classes, he would be wandering Europe while visiting museums and sleeping under bridges.
When Eric was twenty five, one of his friends, Peter Blos (an artist and later a psychoanalyst) gave him the idea of applying for a teaching position at an experimental school for American students run by a friend of Anne Freud's. Erik received a certificate in Montessori education and one from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. Anna Freud psychoanalyzed Erik. While teaching there, he met Joan Serson, a Canadian dance teacher. They had three children and one of those children became a sociologist. Erikson was offered a job at the Harvard Medical School and was able to practice child psychoanalysis privately.
Later on, he taught at Yale, and later at the University of California at Berkeley. During this time, he did his famous studies of modern life among the Lakota and the Yurok. When Erik became an American citizen, he officially changed his name to Erik Erikson. It is still unknown where he got the name from.
In 1950, Erikson wrote Childhood and Society, which contained many summaries...