The New York Public Library Acquires The Archive Of Influential Psychologist And Writer Dr. Timothy Leary
The New York Public Library’s Manuscripts and Archives Division has acquired over 300 boxes of material belonging to Influential psychologist and author Timothy Leary, whose advocacy of the use psychedelic substances to promote psychological well-being, increased creativity, and spiritual renewal made him a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.
- Thousands of letters to Leary, many from luminaries of the 1960s era, including Aldous and Laura Huxley, Gerald Heard, Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Peter Orlovsky, Charles Olson, Arthur Koestler, Huston Smith, Walter Houston Clark, Walter Pahnke, Humphry Osmond, Al Hubbard, Oscar Janiger, Cary Grant, Charles Mingus, Maynard Ferguson, Michael Hollingshead , Robert Anton Wilson, Gordon Wasson, Ken Kesey and Augustus Owsley Stanley. Other correspondence is with his family – including letters to and from his mother, his wives and his children – as well as publishers, attorneys, politicians and his numerous adversaries, including G. Gordon Liddy and law enforcement figures from local sheriffs to Drug Enforcement Agency and Central Intelligence Agency operatives.
- Professional and research papers, which will provide scholars a unique opportunity to study Leary’s clinical work from graduate school through his years at Millbrook, including hundreds of reports documenting the psilocybin-induced experiences Harvard graduate students and faculty, creative artists, prisoners at the Massachusetts State Prison at Concord, and theology students.
- Files and correspondence detailing Leary’s experience at Harvard University, including his initial acceptance, the university’s eventual resistance to his research, his controversial research methods and his eventual dismissal. These files depict the evolution of Leary’s studies from rigorous, empirical research into more free-flowing, scientifically problematic exploration, as well as the promotion of psychedelics.
- The complete records of the organizations Leary formed to continue his research after leaving Harvard, including the International Federation for Internal Freedom, Castalia Foundation and the League For Spiritual Discovery. These files, like those from Leary’s research at Harvard, include session reports, completed questionnaires, and letters describing the mushroom and LSD induced experiences of many notable cultural figures and Leary’s associates, such as Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and Ralph Metzner. Letters among Leary and his research partners also document their turbulent and intense personal and professional relationships.
- Extensive correspondence, legal briefs, prison writings, letters of support and petitions sent to and produced by the four Leary defense funds during his time in prison after his arrest in 1973. There are also materials connected to his exile period in Algeria and Switzerland, including correspondence, notebooks, statements, letters and manuscript material.
- Copies of government documents, released to Leary under the Freedom of Information Act, pertaining to various agencies’ surveillance of Leary, as well as his arrest. Leary’s cooperation with the authorities, still considered by many as a betrayal of the counterculture, is also well documented.
- Computer generated text, correspondence and material relating to the computer revolution, the Biosphere project, space colonies, cryogenics and more from his time in Los Angeles.
- More than 300 videotapes and 300 audiotapes featuring Leary, including about 50 early lectures. A large portion of these tapes are noncommercial and probably represent the only copies in existence.
- Manuscripts of published books and articles, as well as a substantial number of unpublished works, some book length. Scores of unpublished essays on a variety of subjects, unproduced movie scripts, fiction and poetry are also included.