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Interpretation of Dreams: Topics in Chronicling America

In the 1890s, psychologists theorize about the meaning of dreams and the subconscious. This guide provides access to materials related to the "Interpretation of Dreams" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The boy's dream." April 14, 1912. The Sun (New York, NY), Image 48. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

An 1893 article speculates dreams are how God speaks to us. Two turn-of-the-century scientists theorized dreams predict physical illness or bodily pain. Modern psychologists wrangled with the meaning of dreams for decades, until Sigmund Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis and the subconscious swept the country. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


March 1893Dr. Talmage gives a public discourse explaining dreams as God’s way of communicating special messages with humans.
1902MM. N. Vaschide and H. Pieron of the Paris Institute claim that dreams are mental manifestations of physical maladies.
1911Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and ideas of the subconscious receive attention in the United States.
1920Dr. Wilfred Lay publishes an essay on how Freud’s theories can be used to better our lives.
1922In response to the critical acclaim Freud’s theories received Dr. Lean Gorodiche, foremost neurologist of France, warns “society women, business girls and flappers, beware of psychoanalysis!”