New York University Professor Ester Schaler Buchholz, whose The Call of Solitude (Simon & Schuster, 1997) contended that society overvalues attachment, died on October 26 in Washington, D.C.’s Sibley Hospital. The cause of death was breast cancer. The Manhattan resident was 71.
Despite the expanding singles universe in the United States, Buchholz said earlier this year, society still renders harsh judgments on the unmarried.
“Society doesn’t want people to be mateless,” Buchholz told the Los Angeles Times in a September 2, 2004 story. “They want it to perpetuate itself. All the push all the time is toward relationships, and if you resist that, you’re just considered antisocial or crazy.”
The Call of Solitude also noted that the lack of “alonetime” in today’s frenzied U.S. culture increases stress and depression. Buchholz saw relationships and attachments along with humans’ ability and desire to be on their own as twin routes to survival.
Buchholz, a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, also examined good, bad, and evil behaviors through a developmental psychoanalytic lens. Her research in this area, which appeared in Creative Dissent: Psychoanalysis in Evolution (Praeger, 2003) [Alan Roland, Barry Ulanov and Claude Barbre, eds], posited that children provide a concrete display of the struggle humans have with good, bad, and evil and that these behaviors are common as we mature. At the time of her death, Buchholz was working on a book on this subject.
She also co-edited Ego and Self Psychology: Group Interventions with Children, Adolescents, and Parents (Aronson, 1983) and authored Child Analytic Work: A Special Issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology (Erlbaum, 1994).
Buchholz, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology from NYU in 1968.
Buchholz is survived by her husband, Leonard Wolf, M.D., and her sons Gary Fineman of Chicago, David Buchholz of Silver Spring, MD, and Phillip Buchholz of Jupiter, FL. She also had two stepchildren, Melissa Wolf of Queens and Megan Wolf of Boston, and five grandchildren.
A November 20 memorial service is planned at New York University’s Greenberg Lounge in Vanderbilt Hall (40 Washington Square South). Donations may be sent to UNICEF, Cancer Care, or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
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