This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.
Cataloging work is now underway on the complete bibliography of author, psychologist, countercultural guru, and erstwhile Harvard lecturer Timothy Leary. The Leary volumes in the Santo Domingo Collection were previously the collection of Michael Horowitz, Leary’s associate and bibliographer. The collection is exhaustive, with translations, uncorrected proofs, pamphlets and other ephemera, and even computer software included with the monographs.
Pictured here are two of Leary’s works from markedly different points in his career. First is the psychological text Interpersonal diagnosis of personality, published in 1957, while Leary was director of psychology research at the Kaiser Family Foundation. In his Ph. D. work and his early career as a psychologist, Leary studied personality and mental health. Years later, arrested for marijuana possession and sent to California Men’s Colony Prison near San Luis Obispo in 1970, Leary would have to take personality tests he had himself designed; he used his expertise to present himself as compliant and unlikely to escape, and was assigned a gardening position. In this way Leary effected his famous prison escape, abetted by the Weather Underground, who smuggled Leary and his wife to Algeria. Interpersonal diagnosis of personality was published shortly before Leary took interest in psychoactive substances and their effect on mood and personality; by 1960, he would be leading the Harvard Psilocybin Project with his colleague Richard Alpert (now known as Ram Dass).
The second publication, Chaos and cyber culture, finds Leary in 1994, two years prior to his death, after decades as a divisive advocate of psychedelic drugs, altered consciousness, and transhumanism. Chaos and cyber culture is Leary’s “cyberpunk manifesto”, a treatise on the coming technology-obsessed generations and the new informational world they would inhabit. Leary’s emphasis on establishing individuality and questioning authority is still in effect, but the vehicle he proposes is computer technology rather than mind-altering drugs. Included as well are conversations with such figures as William Gibson and David Byrne, as well as an interview between Leary and Winona Ryder, Michael Horowitz’s daughter and Leary’s goddaughter.
Timothy Leary. Interpersonal diagnosis of personality. New York: Ronald Press Company, c1957. AC95.L4795.957i (A).
Timothy Leary. Chaos and cyber culture. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Pub., 1994. AC95.L4795.995c (A).
Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.