NYPL Acquires Timothy Leary Papers

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has purchased the papers (above) of psychologist and LSD proponent Timothy Leary. The library purchased the papers from Leary’s estate for $900,000 some of which will be donated back to the NYPL to help with the costs associated with processing the collection.

As announced by the New York Times, Leary’s papers consist of

335 boxes of papers, videotapes, photographs and more … The material documents the evolution of the tweedy middle-aged academic into a drug guru, international outlaw, gubernatorial candidate, computer software designer and progenitor of the Me Decade’s self-absorbed interest in self-help.

The archive will not be available to the public or scholars for 18 to 24 months, as the library organizes the papers. A preview of the collection, however, reveals a rich record not only of Leary’s tumultuous life but also of the lives of many significant cultural figures in the ’60, ’70s and ’80s.

More details on Leary’s life and work, including photographs of some of the collection’s items, can be found here.

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About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a doctoral student in the History and Theory of Psychology program at York University. Her dissertation explores the early history of questionnaires in American psychology.

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