Sigmund Freud of course the famous psychologist known for suggesting you’d secretly enjoy a shag with your mother. However, similar things could be suggested also about his love for having a big fatty between his lips – a cigar that is.
Frued began smoking cigarettes at the age of 24 but quickly converted over to cigars. He believed that smoking could enhance his capacity to work and was a staple for all of his work from analyzing patients, while writing, on walks and while discussing the latest discoveries in psychoanalysis. He even suggested to his colleague Wilhelm Fliess in 1897 that addiction, including to tobacco, were substitutes for masturbation – “the one great habit”. He believed he would be able to excercise control in moderating it. A task which he probably failed at considering he typically smoked around 20 per day.
“One was won over by the atmosphere of his office, a rather dark room, which opened onto a courtyard. Light came not from the windows but from the brilliance of that lucid, discerning mind. Contact was established only by means of his voice and the odor of the cigars he ceaselessly smoked.” – Freud As We Knew Him
When Freud’s nephew declined a cigar at age 17, Freud admonished him saying
“My boy, smoking is one of the greatest and cheapest enjoyments in life, and if you decide in advance not to smoke, I can only feel sorry for you.” – Freud: A Life for Our Time
Every Wednesday evening in Frued’s home in Vienna the “Wednesday Psychological Society” would meet (later renamed “Vienna Psycho-Analytical Society” and eventually the “Cigars & Spirits Pairing group”). An ashtray from Freud’s collection was placed in front of each chair. His wife would serve each guest a cigar and a black coffee before he would make his grand entrance. It was Freud’s conviction that work could not proceed without a cigar. Cigars had a great influence on the field of psychoanalysis.
We know Freud enjoyed a black coffee with his cigar. But what did he smoke?
“According to The Diary of Sigmund Freud 1929-1939: A Record of the Final Decade, translated by Michael Molnar, Freud usually smoked a cigar called a trabucco, which was small, relatively mild and considered the best of those produced by the Austrian monopoly. But he complained that they were inferior, preferring the Don Pedros and Reina Cubanas, which he could get during his vacations in the picturesque Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden. Freud also enjoyed Dutch Liliputanos, and when old age limited his travel, he frequently recruited friends and colleagues to bring him his favorite cigars from across the border.” – Cigar Aficionado
Later in his life Freud remarked
“[cigars have] served me for precisely fifty years as protection and a weapon in the combat of life…I owe to the cigar a great intensification of my capacity to work and a facilitation of my self-control.”
Despite health warnings from colleague Wilhelm Fliess, he remained a smoker, eventually suffering a buccal cancer. But seriously… 20 a day? You may have seen that one coming.
Happy Birthday Dr. Freud!
Cigar Afficionado has an excellent full length article on Freud’s passion for cigars here.