Guide to the Betty Grover Eisner Papers SC0924

Aimee L. Morgan
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
February 2009
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064
specialcollections@stanford.edu

Note

This encoded finding aid is compliant with Stanford EAD Best Practice Guidelines, Version 1.0.


Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Betty Grover Eisner papers
creator: Eisner, Betty Grover
creator: Eisner, Willard D.
Identifier/Call Number: SC0924
Physical Description: 10 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1927-2002
Abstract: Papers documenting Betty Grover Eisner's career in clinical psychology and experimental use of LSD and other drugs. Includes narrative reports and audio recordings of drug therapy sessions, articles and conference papers, book manuscripts, journals, legal documents, journals, personal and professional correspondence, and other materials.

Biography

Betty Grover Eisner (1915-2004), a clinical psychologist best known for her experiments with LSD and other psychoactive drugs, was born Helen Elizabeth Grover in Kansas City, MO. After completing high school in Kansas City, she attended Stanford University and earned a B.A. in political science in 1937. She volunteered with the Red Cross during World War II, then spent a year in the late 1940s traveling Europe, Asia, and Africa with her first husband, fellow Stanford graduate Will Eisner. She documented their trip in a series of columns published in the Los Angeles Times.
Eisner earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1956. She completed her dissertation on the psychology of infertile women, but by the time she graduated her primary professional interest had shifted to the use of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy. She conducted LSD experiments with Dr. Sidney Cohen at a Veterans' Administration hospital in Los Angeles, and later established a private psychotherapy practice in Santa Monica. After psychiatric research with LSD was banned in the United States in the late 1960s, Eisner experimented with using other drugs to promote psychological breakthroughs in patients, including ketamine and injectable Ritalin. Other treatments favored by Eisner included the inhalation of carbogen (a mix of 70% oxygen and 30% carbon dioxide), hot mineral baths, massage, and "blasting," a technique in which a patient was encouraged to release hostility by yelling while muffled by a washcloth.
In 1976, one of Eisner's patients died following mineral bath treatment and blasting therapy. A wrongful death investigation ensued, as well an ethics investigation by the American Psychological Association. The Psychology Examining Committee of the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance revoked Eisner's license to practice in 1978. Eisner twice attempted to have her license restored in the early 1980s. Both attempts were unsuccessful.
Eisner was the author of The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex , published in 1970, as well as an unpublished book based on her group therapy work, I Can't, You Can't, But We Can. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, she authored several journal articles and conference papers on her use of LSD and other drugs in psychotherapy In 2002, she wrote a memoir titled Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past. Although unpublished, this memoir is available on the World Wide Web. Eisner also wrote song lyrics in the 1970s under the pseudonym Rev. B. Later in life, she wrote poetry under the name Abigail Bradbury. She and her second husband, Bill Micks, helped to found the Center for Learning, a school for the teaching of English in Mexico.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Betty Grover Eisner Papers, SC 0924. Stanford University Archives, Stanford, Calif.

Arrangement

The collection consists of six series: Series 1: Personal and Family Papers; Series 2: Writing; Series 3: Correspondence; Series 4: Legal Files; Series 5: Therapy and Research Files; and Series 6: Audio Materials.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Betty Grover Eisner, 2001.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

Access

With the exception of Series 2, Series 3 and the world trip materials in Series 1, access to the collection is restricted according to the Department's Access to Health Information of Individuals Policy  . Please contact the University Archivist for more information.

Scope and Content of Collection

The papers document Betty Grover Eisner's career in clinical psychology as well as the intersection of her career with her personal life. Included are detailed narrative reports on Eisner's use of LSD and other drugs in conjunction with psychotherapy; audio tapes of drug sessions; numerous articles and conference papers as well as drafts of two books by Eisner; dream journals, free association writing, and other personal writing; legal papers and supporting documents related to an investigation of Eisner for wrongful death and the subsequent revocation of her professional license; and professional and family correspondence. Prominent correspondents include Sidney J. Cohen, Herman Denber, Albert Hoffman, Krishnamurti, Anais Nin, Ron Sandison, and Lewis Terman.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Group psychoanalysis
Group psychotherapy
Psychoanalysis
Correspondence.
sound recordings
Psychotherapy
Psychologists
Articles.
LSD (Drug) -- Therapeutic use
Eisner, Betty Grover
Eisner, Willard D.
Abramson, Harold A. (Harold Alexander), 1899-1980
Cohen, Sidney
Denber, Herman C. B. (Herman Cecil B.)
Eisner, Betty Grover
Eisner, Willard D.
Harman, Willis W.
Hofmann, Albert
Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav)
Krishnamurti, J. (Jiddu)
Nin, Anaïs
Sandison, Ronald
Terman, Lewis Madison

 

Personal and family papers Series 1 1927-1987

Series Description

This series includes a variety of materials related to Eisner's early education, marriage, and family life. Included are report cards from Kansas City public schools and Stanford University and a scrapbook of Stanford Daily clippings which documents Eisner's involvement in campus life from 1933-1937.
The correspondence in this series is of a highly personal nature, particularly the correspondence which documents Eisner's relationship with her first husband, Will Eisner, in the years immediately prior to his death from lung cancer in 1965. Betty's correspondence with Will's family is also intensely personal, discussing the couple's marital difficulties in detail.
Also included is personal writing by Eisner, including a diary of dreams and free association writing, both of which appear to reflect her growing interest in psychology prior to enrolling in UCLA's clinical psychology Ph.D. program.
There is also a subseries comprised of material created by or about Will Eisner. It includes correspondence, documentation of his employment at the Rand Corporation and SRI, personal writings on his experiences with psychotherapy, and documents related to his estate.
A second subseries contains materials related to a year-long trip taken by Will and Betty Eisner in 1948 and 1949. Destinations included Europe, India, and Egypt. During this trip, letters that Betty ostensibly wrote to her family were published as a Los Angeles Times column titled "Travel Letter from Betty." Included in this series are complete manuscripts for these columns and a scrapbook with newspaper clippings of the published column. There are also letters from Will Eisner to his family while abroad, correspondence documenting a dispute over money that was seized from the Eisners at the Indian border, and Betty's correspondence with met while traveling.

Arrangement

Files are arranged alphabetically within each subseries.
box 1, folder 1

Advertisement for illuminated darning egg invented and sold by Betty and Will Eisner 1946

box 1, folder 2

Correspondence re: attempt to purchase a Studebaker 1947

box 1, folder 3

Correspondence with Eisner family [1 of 3] 1957-1973

box 1, folder 4

Correspondence with Eisner family [2 of 3] 1957-1973

box 1, folder 5

Correspondence with Eisner family [3 of 3] 1957-1973

box 1, folder 6

Correspondence re: separation and Will's illness [1 of 2] 1963-1964

box 1, folder 7

Correspondence re: separation and Will's illness [2 of 2] 1963-1964

box 1, folder 8

Correspondence re: Will's illness 1964

box 1, folder 9

Correspondence, condolence letters re: Will's death [1 of 2] 1965-1966

box 1, folder 10

Correspondence, condolence letters re: Will's death [2 of 2] 1965-1966

box 1, folder 11

Mexico investments 1965-1966

box 1, folder 12

Personal writing, diary re: relationship with Will 1961

box 2, folder 1

Personal writing, dreams [1 of 2] 1947-1952

box 2, folder 2

Personal writing, dreams [2 of 2] 1947-1952

box 2, folder 3

Personal writing, free association 1946

box 2, folder 4

Personal writing, free associaion (24 hour association) 1947 August 9

box 2, folder 5

Personal writing, free associaion 1951-1955

box 2, folder 6

Personal writing, UCLA workshop 1987

box 2, folder 7

Promotional material for "song poetry" performance by Eisner (as Abigail Bradbury) and Charlotte Lancaster undated

box 2, folder 8

Psychological tests, Will and Betty 1947-1951, undated

box 2, folder 9

Report cards 1925-1936

box 2, folder 10

Rorschach test, Helen W. Grover (mother of Betty) 1950

box 2, folder 11

Scrapbook of Stanford Daily clippings circa 1933-1937

box 2, folder 12

Songwriting, copyright registration forms plus index cards with song titles 1971-1979

 

Will Eisner 1927-1967

box 3, folder 1

Correspondence, incoming 1947-1963

box 3, folder 2

Eisner, Milton (Will's father), death 1960

box 3, folder 3

Employment at Rand and SRI 1959-1963, undated

box 3, folder 4

Estate (1 of 2) 1959-1967

box 3, folder 5

Estate (2 of 2) 1959-1967

box 3, folder 6

Personal documents 1927-1965

box 3, folder 7

Writings on therapy 1949-1950, undated

 

World Trip 1948-1967

box 4, folder 1

Correspondence from Will to family during trip [1 of 3] 1948-1949

box 4, folder 2

Correspondence from Will to family during trip [2 of 3] 1948-1949

box 4, folder 3

Correspondence from Will to family during trip [3 of 3] 1948-1949

box 4, folder 4

Correspondence re: money confiscated in India 1949-1951

box 4, folder 5

Correspondence with people met on world trip 1949-1967

box 4, folder 6

Correspondence, writing, and miscellaneous materials 1948-1949

box 4, folder 7

Newspaper column, correspondence about 1948-1949

box 4, folder 8

Newspaper column, manuscripts [1 of 2] 1948-1949

box 4, folder 9

Newspaper column, manuscripts [2 of 2] 1948-1949

box 4, folder 10

Newspaper column, scrapbook of Los Angeles Times clippings 1948-1949

 

Writing Series 2 1957-2002, undated

Series Description

The bulk of this series consists of journal articles, conference papers, and other professional writing by Eisner. Most of these works have been published, although some are unpublished manuscripts. There is also a copy of a manuscript for Eisner's book The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex (published 1970) and an unpublished manuscript based on Eisner's experiences with group therapy titled I Can't, You Can't, But We Can.
Later in life Eisner pursued creative writing and composed poetry under the name Abigail Bradbury. Although there are no examples of her poetry in this series, there are manuscripts of a series of fables, titled "New Fables for New Times," written by Eisner in the early 1990s.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
box 5, folder 1

"Current Thinking on LSD Therapy" (with Sidney Cohen) 1957

box 5, folder 2

"Psychotherapy with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" (written with Sidney Cohen) 1958

box 5, folder 3

"Subjective Reports on Lysergic Acid Experiences... " (with Sidney Cohen and Lionel Fischman) 1958

box 5, folder 4

"The Influence of LSD on Unconscious Activity" 1961

box 5, folder 6

"Some Psychological Differences Between Fertile and Infertile Women" 1963

box 5, folder 7

"Notes on the Use of Drugs to Facilitate Group Psychotherapy" 1964

box 5, folder 8

"Psychedelics and People as Adjuncts to Psychotherapy" 1964

box 5, folder 9

"The Importance of the Non-Verbal" 1965

box 5, folder 10

The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [1 of 3] 1970

box 5, folder 11

The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [2 of 3] 1970

box 5, folder 12

The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [3 of 3] 1970

box 5, folder no folder

The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex 1970

box 5, folder 13

"The Group as a Means and Matrix for Change" 1971

box 5, folder 14

See You To-Morrow, by the Children of Mexcales (words by Betty Eisner, pictures by Les McCann) 1972

box 5, folder 15

"The Use of an Alpha Feedback Machine in a Therapeutic Problem Solving Setting" (with Jonathan D. Melvin) 1972

box 5, folder 16

"The Two Faces of Man's Problem Today" 1974

box 5, folder 17

"Networking Provides Realtime Application Upgrade from TRT-11 to VMS" (with Jonathan D. Melvin) 1987

box 5, folder 18

"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [1 of 2] circa 1987

box 6, folder 1

"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [2 of 2] circa 1987

box 6, folder 2

"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [3 of 3] circa 1987

box 6, folder 3

"Huaulta -- Place Where Eagles Are Born," manuscript and drafts circa 1994

box 6, folder 4

"Physical and Psychical Loading," paper read at Society for Scientific Exploration meeting 1995

box 6, folder 5

Response to Daniel J. Benor's comments on "loading" and "telesomatic reactions" 1996

box 6, folder 6

"The Sick Role Versus the Dying Role," (written with Humphrey Osmond) 1996

box 6, folder 7

"Body Work and Psychological Healing" 1997

box 6, folder 8

"Set, Setting, and Matrix" 1997

box 6, folder 9

Excerpt from Remembrance of LSD Therapy Past 2002

box 6, folder 10

I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [1 of 3] undated

box 6, folder 11

I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [2 of 3] undated

box 6, folder 12

I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [3 of 3] undated

box 6, folder 13

Living in the Now, foreword, chapter 1, and appendix D undated

box 6, folder 14

"Observations on Possible Order Within the Unconscious" undated

box 6, folder 15

"Observations on the Psychotherapeutic Use of Ritalin" undated

box 6, folder 16

"The Paradox of Carroll John Daly," manuscript and research material (includes manuscript of a Daly short story) undated

box 6, folder 17

"Parallel Experiences" undated

 

Correspondence Series 3 1946-1998

Series Description

This series consists primarily of Eisner's professional correspondence. However, since Eisner developed close friendships with many colleagues who shared her interest in LSD and other drug research, much of the content is of a personal nature. Some files also include clippings and other materials. Researchers should note the presence of additional correspondence in other series, particularly in Series 1: Family Papers.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by last name of correspondent.
box 7, folder 1

Abramson, Harold 1957-1968, 1994

box 7, folder 2

Cohen, Sidney J. [1 of 2] 1967-1997, undated

box 7, folder 3

Cohen, Sidney J. [2 of 2] 1967-1997, undated

box 7, folder 4

Denber, Herman [1 of 3] 1957-1998

box 7, folder 5

Denber, Herman [2 of 3] 1957-1998

box 7, folder 6

Denber, Herman [3 of 3] 1957-1998

box 7, folder 7

Graf, Stanya 1965-1993

box 7, folder 8

Harman, Willis 1957-1997

box 7, folder 9

Hoffman, Albert [1 of 2] 1976-1997

box 7, folder 10

Hoffman, Albert [2 of 2] 1976-1997

box 8, folder 1

Hubbard, Al 1957-1965, undated

box 8, folder 2

Jung, Carl 1952-1972

box 8, folder 3

Krishnamurti, J. [1 of 3] 1946-1986

box 8, folder 4

Krishnamurti, J. [2 of 3] 1946-1986

box 8, folder 5

Krishnamurti, J. [3 of 3] 1946-1996

box 8, folder 6

Martin, Joyce 1957, 1963-1970

box 8, folder 7

Naranjo, Caludio 1965, 1981

box 8, folder 8

Nin, Anais, correspondence and clippings 1958-1992

box 8, folder 14

Osment, Humphrey 1961-1970

box 8, folder 9

Powers, Tom and Zip Riley 1957-1995

box 8, folder 10

Sandison, Ron and Margaret [1 of 3] 1958-1997

box 8, folder 11

Sandison, Ron and Margaret [2 of 3] 1958-1997

box 8, folder 12

Sandison, Ron and Margaret [3 of 3] 1958-1997

box 8, folder 13

Terman, Lewis 1946-1956

box 8, folder 15

Miscellaneous correspondence

 

Legal files Series 4 1975-1994

Series Description

Files in this series relate to legal action against Eisner following a patient's death in 1976. In addition to the wrongful death investigation that followed, Eisner faced an ethics investigation by the California State Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association, as well as an investigation and hearing before the Psychology Examining Committee of the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance. As a result of this investigation, her professional license was revoked in 1978. At Eisner's request, relicensing hearings were held in 1980 and 1983. In both cases the Psychology Examining Committee refused to restore her license. This series includes copies of legal documents, correspondence, and other supporting material collected by Eisner.
Also included is one file on a small claims court case filed against a patient in 1973.

Arrangement

Files are arranged chronologically within each subseries.
 

Small claims court case 1973-1974

box 9, folder 1

Small claims court case against Karen Otte 1973-1974

 

Wrongful death investigation and lawsuits 1976-1984

box 9, folder 2

Inquest and wrongful death lawsuit [1 of 3] 1976-1984

box 9, folder 3

Inquest and wrongful death lawsuit [2 of 3] 1976-1984

box 9, folder 4

Inquest and wrongful death lawsuit [3 of 3] 1976-1984

box 9, folder 5

State of California et. al. v. Eisner, Declarations in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction, 1977 [1 of 2] 1977

box 9, folder 6

State of California et. al. v. Eisner, Declarations in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction, 1977 [2 of 2] 1977

box 9, folder 7

State of California et. al. v. Eisner, declarations of witnesses 1977

box 9, folder 8

State of California et. al. v. Eisner, Objections and Motion to Strike Proffered Evidence 1977

box 9, folder 9

State of California et. al. v. Eisner, other legal filings 1977

box 9, folder 10

Unsworn statement of Betty Eisner 1978

box 9, folder 11

Insurance company lawsuit [1 of 3] 1981-1984

box 9, folder 12

Insurance company lawsuit [2 of 3] 1981-1984

box 10, folder 1

Insurance company lawsuit [3 of 3] 1981-1984

box 10, folder 2

Insurance company lawsuit, Betty Eisner deposition 1982

box 10, folder 3

Insurance company lawsuit, William Raymond Micks deposition 1982

 

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearings and license revocation 1975-1994

box 17, folder 1

Accusation against Eisner 1977

box 10, folder 4

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearing, background materials [1 of 2] 1975-1978, undated

box 10, folder 5

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearing, background materials [2 of 2] 1975-1978, undated

box 10, folder 6

Affidavits given by Eisner patients to Board of Medical Quality Assurance 1977

box 10, folder 7

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearing, statements by Eisner and patients [1 of 2] 1977

box 10, folder 8

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearing, statements by Eisner and patients [2 of 2] 1977

box 10, folder 9

Board of Medical Quality Assurance hearing, legal filings 1977-1978

box 10, folder 10

Board of Medical Quality Assurance decision against Eisner 1978

box 10, folder 11

Eisner v. Psychology Examining Committee, legal filings 1979

box 10, folder 12

Relicensing hearing 1980

box 17, folder 2

Relicensing hearing, exhibits 1980

box 11, folder 1

Relicensing hearing, transcripts and decision 1980

box 11, folder 2

Relicensing attempt, affidavits and letters of support 1983

box 11, folder 3

Relicensing attempt, statements on behalf of Eisner 1983

box 11, folder 4

Petition for license restoration and correspondence re: hearing 1983-1984

box 11, folder 5

Relicensing hearing, transcript 1984

box 11, folder 6

Relicensing hearing, decision and follow-up 1984-1985

box 11, folder 7

Relicensing attempts, miscellaneous materials [1 of 2] 1979-1994

box 11, folder 8

Relicensing attempts, miscellaneous materials [2 of 2] 1979-1994

 

American Psychological Association and California State Psychological Associtation ethics investigations 1976-1980

box 11, folder 9

American Psychological Association Committee Hearing [1 of 4] 1976-1979

box 11, folder 10

American Psychological Association Committee Hearing [2 of 4] 1976-1979

box 12, folder 1

American Psychological Association Committee Hearing [3 of 4] 1976-1979

box 12, folder 2

American Psychological Association Committee Hearing [4 of 4] 1976-1979

box 12, folder 3

American Psychological Association and California State Psychological Association Ethics Investigations [1 of 4] 1977-1980

box 12, folder 4

American Psychological Association and California State Psychological Association Ethics Investigations [2 of 4] 1977-1980

box 12, folder 5

American Psychological Association and California State Psychological Association Ethics Investigations [3 of 4] 1977-1980

box 12, folder 6

American Psychological Association and California State Psychological Association Ethics Investigations [4 of 4] 1977-1980

box 12, folder 7

Correspondence re: legal cases 1977-1979

box 12, folder 8

Miscellaneous papers re: legal cases

 

Therapy and research files Series 5 1946-1995, undated

Series Description

The bulk of this series consists of Eisner's detailed narrative accounts of therapy sessions, the majority of which involved the use of LSD, ritalin, ketamine, and other psychoactive drugs. Early session reports include descriptions of Eisner's own use of these drugs; later, she focused on her experiences facilitating group therapy sessions in which participants were given drugs in an attempt to break through psychological barriers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, these sessions increasingly incorporated other non-mainstream therapies, including mineral baths, "blasting" (a technique in which patients immersed in a mineral bath were encouraged to yell and scream while muffled by a washcloth), and massage.
There is also a subseries related to Eisner's involvement with the Sequoia Seminar. The Sequoia Seminar was established by Stanford University Law professor Harry Rathbun and his wife, Emalia, in the 1930s. Its original goal was the study of historical records of the life of Jesus in a non-religious context. Many of Betty Eisner's early LSD subjects were Sequoia Seminar participants.

Arrangement

Arrangement varies by subseries.
 

Audio materials Series 6 1957-1972, undated

Series Description

Audio recordings, primarily of drug sessions conducted by Eisner in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The recordings were not played back during processing.
 

Therapy sessions

Conditions Governing Access

access to the collection is restricted according to the Department's Access to Health Information of Individuals Policy . Please contact the University Archives  for more information.
 

Events and Talks

box 18

Eisner, Betty, reading The Prophet 18.43 undated

Eisner, Betty, reading The Prophet: undated
Eisner, Betty, reading The Prophet: undated

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

Eisner, Betty, seminar 18.44 1972-05-14

Eisner, Betty, seminar: 1972 May 14

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

Eisner, Betty, talk at UCLA psychology seminar 18.42 1971-04-25

Eisner, Betty, talk at UCLA psychology seminar: 1971 Apr 25
Eisner, Betty, talk at UCLA psychology seminar: 1971 Apr 25

Physical Description: 1 audiocassette(s)
box 18

The Sacred Mushroom Chant, Ch. 11 18.25 1965-06-15

The Sacred Mushroom Chant, Ch. 11: 1965 Jun 15
The Sacred Mushroom Chant, Ch. 11: 1965 Jun 15

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

Arrowhead session (snow) 18.26 undated

Arrowhead session (snow): undated
Arrowhead session (snow): undated

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

Meetings at La Mesa following the talks by Krishnamurti 18.24 1972-03

Meetings at La Mesa following the talks by Krishnamurti: 1972 Mar
Meetings at La Mesa following the talks by Krishnamurti: 1972 Mar
Meetings at La Mesa following the talks by Krishnamurti: 1972 Mar
Meetings at La Mesa following the talks by Krishnamurti: 1972 Mar

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

Seminar on research on the mind at the Rand Corporation 18.27 1963-10-07

Seminar on research on the mind at the Rand Corporation: 1963 Oct 7
Seminar on research on the mind at the Rand Corporation: 1963 Oct 7

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)
box 18

unlabeled tape 18.45

Physical Description: 1 audiotape reel(s)