Guide to the Betty Grover Eisner Papers

Aimee L. Morgan
Stanford University Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford, California
February 2009
Copyright © 2013 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.

Note

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


Overview

Call Number: SC0924
Creator: Eisner, Betty Grover, 1915-2004.
Creator: Eisner, Willard D.
Title: Betty Grover Eisner papers
Dates: 1927-2002
Physical Description: 10 Linear feet
Summary: 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.
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Repository: Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford University Libraries.
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
Email: speccollref@stanford.edu
Phone: (650) 725-1022
URL: http://library.stanford.edu/spc

Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of Betty Grover Eisner, 2001.

Information about Access

With the exception of Series 2 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.

Ownership & Copyright

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.

Cite As

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

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.

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.

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.

Access Terms

Cohen, Sidney, 1910-1987.
Denber, Herman C. B., (Herman Cecil B.), 1917-
Eisner, Betty Grover, 1915-2004.
Eisner, Willard D.
Hofmann, Albert, 1906-2008
Krishnamurti, J., (Jiddu), 1895-1986
Nin, Anaïs, 1903-1977
Sandison, Ronald
Terman, Lewis Madison, 1877-1956
Articles.
Correspondence.
Group psychoanalysis
Group psychotherapy
LSD (Drug)--Therapeutic use
Psychoanalysis
Psychologists
Psychotherapy
sound recordings


Collection Contents

 

Series 1 Personal and family papers 1927-1987

Scope and Content Note

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 clippings circa 1933-1937

Box 2, Folder 12

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

 

Will Eisner 1927-1967

 

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 clippings 1948-1949

 

Series 2 Writing 1957-2002, undated

Scope and Content Note

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

 

Series 3 Correspondence 1946-1998

 

Series 4 Legal files 1975-1994

 

Series 5 Therapy and research files 1946-1995, undated

 

Series 6 Audio materials 1957-1972, undated