Margaret Schonberger Mahler was born in 1897 in a small border district in western Hungary. Schooled in Hungary and Germany, she specialized in pediatrics and gained respect for her work with severely disturbed and psychotic children. In the stimulating academic and intellectual environment of Heidelberg, Mahler broadened her interest in psychology and trained in psychoanalysis, all the while honing her observational skills to better understand early childhood development in normal, severely disturbed, and autistic children.
The turmoil of war-beset-Europe sent Mahler to London and then to New York where she pursued her dedication and work in psychoanalysis and continued her research efforts. She established a therapeutic nursery at the Masters Childrens Center in New York City. The Center later expanded to include a mother-child center for neighborhood families and provided an optimal setting for Mahler and her colleagues to further their research for child development.
Until her death in 1985, Dr. Mahler continued to write, teach, and supervise analysts in training in New York and Philadelphia. Her many publications continue to provide a rich resource for clinicians and researchers.