Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996

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b. Oct. 22, 1920, Springfield, Mass.; d. May 31, 1996, Los Angeles; American writer, psychologist, computer software designer, and advocate of psychedelic drug research and use.

From the description of The seven levels of pleasure : unedited studio sessions / Timothy Leary, 1969. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 81303143

From the description of Timothy Leary : sound recordings / 1969. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 81303113

American-born clinical psychologist, fugitive, convict, religious leader, writer, actor, and software designer.

From the description of Collection, 1963-1973. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122590393

Timothy Francis Leary was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on October 22, 1920, and grew up as an only child in an Irish Catholic household. His father Timothy was a U.S. Army captain and his mother Abigail was a teacher.

Leary attended a number of educational institutions, including Holy Cross College (1938-39), the U.S. Military Academy (1940-41), and the University of Alabama where he earned his B.A. in 1943 while serving in the Army. He received his M.S. degree from Washington State University in 1946. Leary continued his intellectual pursuits at the University of California at Berkeley where, in 1950, he received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

After graduating from Berkeley, Leary stayed on as an assistant professor from 1950-55. He left this position to become director of clinical research and psychology at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, California, where he stayed until 1958. In 1959, Leary was appointed as a lecturer at Harvard University. During this period Leary introduced psilocybin to a number of the Beats, including Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, Peter Orlovsky, and Williams S. Burroughs. He also administered psilocybin to colleagues, students, and inmate volunteers finding that it was useful in the treatment of alcoholism, schizophrenia, and other psycho-physiological disorders. By 1963 Harvard, faced with controversy as a result of Leary's activities, dismissed him along with his colleague Richard Alpert.

After their dismissal from Harvard, Leary and Alpert founded a privately-financed research group in Mexico, called the International Foundation for Internal Freedom, to study and promote the use of LSD. However, the Mexican government soon closed them down and in August 1963, Leary moved his operation to a donated four-thousand-acre estate with a sixty-four-room mansion in Millbrook, near Poughkeepsie, New York.

From as early as 1962 until 1970, Leary had been arrested and incarcerated on drug-related charges in Mexico, British West Indies, Texas, New York, Michigan, and California. In April 1966, the Millbrook estate was raided by local police, led by G. Gordon Liddy then of the Dutchess County Sheriff's Department, and four people, including Leary, were arrested for possession of drugs. Following his arrest, Leary, to avoid constant harassment, founded the League for Spiritual Discovery which was a religious movement that sought constitutional protection for the right to take LSD as a sacramental substance.

In 1970, after being sentenced to ten years imprisonment in California to be served consecutively, not concurrently, with a Texas sentence, Leary was immediately sent to a minimum security prison near San Luis Obispo, California. However, by mid-September, Leary's third wife Rosemary, in conjunction with the radical Weathermen group, arranged for Leary's escape from prison. He was spirited to Algeria with his wife by the Weathermen, where they were granted political asylum; he details this experience in his book Jailnotes (1970). He and Rosemary took up residence in Algiers with fugitive Eldrige Cleaver and Cleaver's exiled Black Panther Party. By February 1971, a rift had developed between Cleaver and Leary, supposedly engineered by the FBI, so Leary left Algeria for Switzerland where he spent eighteen months before eventually arriving in Afghanistan.

In early 1973, Leary was kidnapped at gun point in Afghanistan by American agents. They brought him to California where he was found guilty of prison escape. He spent three more years in twenty nine jails in California's prison system. He was released on April 21, 1976, by Governor Jerry Brown.

Once Leary was released from prison in 1976, he spent most of his time at his home in Beverly Hills and on the campus lecture circuit where he took on a new role as a promoter of space colonization and life extension through scientific research to retard the aging process. Leary's activities during the late seventies included the formation of a cooperative to colonize space called Starseed and in 1982 he toured on a debate circuit with his former nemesis G. Gordon Liddy.

In 1995 Leary learned that he had inoperable cancer. He died amongst friends on May 31, 1996 at his home in Beverly Hills. On April 22, 1997, Leary's ashes were launched into space along with the ashes of 23 others, from Grand Canary Island off the Moroccan coast.

From the guide to the Timothy Leary Collection TXRC97-A15., 1963-1973, (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Terry Southern papers, 1924-1995, 1955-1995 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996. The seven levels of pleasure : unedited studio sessions / Timothy Leary, 1969. University of Michigan
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Intergroup Activities Photographs, [ca. 1937-1968]. Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Lucas, Arel,. Arel Lucas collection of papers relating to Timothy Leary, 1960-1996. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Timothy Leary letters to William Scanlon, ca. 1930s-1940s New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Gips, Elizabeth. Nina Graboi papers, ca. 1960-1999. University of California, Santa Cruz, UCSC
referencedIn Keenan, Larry. Larry Keenan, Jr. photograph archive [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn The Review of Contemporary Fiction/Dalkey Archive Press : records, 1980-1990 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Timothy Leary collection. McMaster University
referencedIn Reynolds, Paul Revere, 1864-1944. Records, 1899-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996. Letter, 1966, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. Collection of autograph and typed letters signed : London, New York, etc., to Brion Gysin, 1964-1980 1973-1976. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn John and Leni Sinclair papers, 1957-2003 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Review of Contemporary Fiction / Dalkey Archive Press : records, 1980-1988. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn William S. Burroughs papers, 1951-1972, 1958-1972 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Andrew Sacks photographs, 1964-1980, 1964-1980 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Arel Lucas Papers relating to Timothy Leary, 1965-1996 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977 bulk 1935-1969. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Beach Archive, ca. 1962-1973 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Jack Kerouac Papers, 1920-1977, 1935-1969 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Peter Simon Photographic Archive 2009-118., 1964-1995 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Monterey Public Library. California History Room. Biography clippings : "L" [surname] folder 1893-2005. Monterey Public Library
creatorOf Timothy Leary Collection TXRC97-A15., 1963-1973 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Sinclair, John, 1941-. John and Leni Sinclair papers, 1957-1979. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Buckley, William F. (William Frank), 1925-2008. "Firing Line with William Buckley" transcripts, 1966-1967 (inclusive) [microform]. Yale University Library
creatorOf Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996. Collection, 1963-1973. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Leary, Timothy, 1920-1996. Timothy Leary : sound recordings / 1969. University of Michigan
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Film and video archive, 1938-2001. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Fried, Robert, 1937-. Robert Fried papers, 1959-1975. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Felver, Christopher, 1946-. The group surrounding Allen Ginsberg : photographs, 1980-1985. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. William S. Burroughs Collection of Papers, 1951-1972 bulk (1958-1972). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. Allen Ginsberg papers, 1937-1994. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Trocchi, Alexander. Papers, 1947-1968. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Leary, Rosemary. Letters to Timothy Leary, 1970 Apr.-Sept.3, Berkeley (Calif.). Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Timothy Leary and associates collection, 1960-2005 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Paul Revere Reynolds Papers, 1899-1980. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf Sinclair, John, 1941-. John and Leni Sinclair papers, 1957-1999. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn American Medical Association. Dept. of Investigation. Records. Lung-Germine-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (inclusive), 1906-1967. American Medical Association,James S. Todd Memorial Library
referencedIn Yarrowstalks. Records, 1967-1975. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Medical Association. Dept. of Investigation. corporateBody
associatedWith Buckley, William F. (William Frank), 1925-2008. person
associatedWith Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997. person
associatedWith Felver, Christopher, 1946- person
associatedWith Fried, Robert, 1937- person
associatedWith Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997. person
associatedWith Horowitz, Michael person
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. corporateBody
associatedWith John O'Brien person
associatedWith Keenan, Larry. person
associatedWith Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969. person
associatedWith Leary, Rosemary. person
associatedWith Lucas, Arel, person
associatedWith Lucas, Arel, collector. person
associatedWith Monterey Public Library. California History Room. corporateBody
associatedWith Reynolds, Paul Revere, 1864-1944. person
associatedWith Sacks, Andrew person
associatedWith Simon, Peter person
associatedWith Sinclair, John, 1941- person
associatedWith Southern, Terry person
associatedWith Targ, William, 1907-. person
correspondedWith Trocchi, Alexander. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith United States Military Academy corporateBody
associatedWith University of Alabama corporateBody
associatedWith Yarrowstalks. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
Subject
Altered states of consciousness
Drug utilization
Governors--Election
Hallucinogenic drugs--Psychological aspects
Occupation
Students
Function

Person

Birth 1920-10-22

Death 1996-05-31

Americans

English

Information

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