Judith Hubback

Writer and analytical psychologist


Elaïs Judith Williams, analytical psychologist and writer: born 23 February 1917; married 1939 David Hubback (died 1991; one son, two daughters); died London 6 January 2006.

Judith Hubback first became well known as a result of her campaign for better employment opportunities for women, especially educated women, and later for her writing and as a Jungian analytical psychologist.

During the Second World War, women had been in demand for interesting and important jobs. When the war ended, these jobs were taken over by men; women found it impossible to get interesting work or find opportunities for making the kind of contribution to society which they felt they were capable of.

Hubback herself was refused a job as a teacher at a large public girls' school. She was well qualified for the job, having taken a First in History at Cambridge (Newnham College), and a diploma in education at London University. All seemed to be going well in the interview until one member of the interviewing board noticed she was wearing a wedding ring; she was turned down at once.

She conducted surveys and published a pamphlet about the difficulties faced by educated women, Graduate Wives (1954), which made quite a stir, and was the subject of articles in The Manchester Guardian and The Times. She followed this with a book, Wives Who Went to College (1957). After this, she became a journalist for a time.

Hubback had always been very politically aware. She was born Judith Williams in 1917; her father was an eminent barrister and international lawyer, a great thinker and a liberal. Her mother, who was an artist, introduced her to poetry at a very early age. She always had a great love for poetry and wrote some very good poems herself. As a child, she would prop up a book of poems in front of her so that she could read it while plaiting her hair. She had read widely and her poems (some of which were published as Islands and People, 1964) expressed her intellect, her feelings and her spirituality.

In 1939 Judith Williams married David Hubback and they shared a vision of being involved in the building of a better Britain after the war. In the post-war years David was doing interesting and satisfying work in the Civil Service but the confidential nature of much of it meant that he could not discuss it with her. Judith found this a great deprivation. She felt increasingly that something was lacking in her life and sought psychotherapy. In the Sixties, she went into analysis and after training was accepted as a member of the Society of Analytical Psychology.

From 1976 to 1985, she was editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology; she was also on the editorial committee of the Library of Analytical Psychology, a series started by Michael Fordham and concerned with the publication of books representing the working of the SAP, and from 1986 to 1992 represented the SAP on the International Association of Analytical Psychology.

Although not a religious person in the strict sense of the term, she was concerned about spirituality and later formed a group to discuss this. She contributed a chapter, "Reflections of an Analytical Psychologist on God, Religion, and Spirituality", to a book called Beyond Belief (edited by Samuel Stein, 1999).

Judith Hubback wrote a novel, The Sea Has Many Voices (1990), which won the Sagittarius Prize for authors over 60. She wrote numerous articles on analytical psychology, some of which are collected in her book People Who Do Things to Each Other: essays in analytical psychology (1998). In her autobiography, From Dawn to Dusk (2003), she gives a fascinating and candid account of her life.

Camilla Bosanquet

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