Guide to the Betty Grover Eisner Papers
Aimee L. Morgan
Stanford University. Libraries.
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Copyright © 2015 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
This encoded finding aid is compliant with Stanford EAD Best Practice Guidelines, Version 1.0.
Call Number: SC0924
Eisner, Betty Grover, 1915-2004.
Eisner, Willard D.
Title: Betty Grover Eisner papers
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.
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022
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.
[Identification of item], Betty Grover Eisner Papers, SC 0924. Stanford University Archives, Stanford, Calif.
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
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.
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
Terman, Lewis Madison, 1877-1956
LSD (Drug)--Therapeutic use
Personal and family papers
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
Files are arranged alphabetically within each subseries.
Box 1, Folder 1
Advertisement for illuminated darning egg invented and sold by Betty and Will Eisner
Box 1, Folder 2
Correspondence re: attempt to purchase a Studebaker
Box 1, Folder 3
Correspondence with Eisner family [1 of 3]
Box 1, Folder 4
Correspondence with Eisner family [2 of 3]
Box 1, Folder 5
Correspondence with Eisner family [3 of 3]
Box 1, Folder 6
Correspondence re: separation and Will's illness [1 of 2]
Box 1, Folder 7
Correspondence re: separation and Will's illness [2 of 2]
Box 1, Folder 8
Correspondence re: Will's illness
Box 1, Folder 9
Correspondence, condolence letters re: Will's death [1 of 2]
Box 1, Folder 10
Correspondence, condolence letters re: Will's death [2 of 2]
Box 1, Folder 11
Box 1, Folder 12
Personal writing, diary re: relationship with Will
Box 2, Folder 1
Personal writing, dreams [1 of 2]
Box 2, Folder 2
Personal writing, dreams [2 of 2]
Box 2, Folder 3
Personal writing, free association
Box 2, Folder 4
Personal writing, free associaion (24 hour association)
1947 August 9
Box 2, Folder 5
Personal writing, free associaion
Box 2, Folder 6
Personal writing, UCLA workshop
Box 2, Folder 7
Promotional material for "song poetry" performance by Eisner (as Abigail Bradbury) and Charlotte Lancaster
Box 2, Folder 8
Psychological tests, Will and Betty
Box 2, Folder 10
Rorschach test, Helen W. Grover (mother of Betty)
Box 2, Folder 11
Scrapbook of clippings
Box 2, Folder 12
Songwriting, copyright registration forms plus index cards with song titles
Box 4, Folder 1
Correspondence from Will to family during trip [1 of 3]
Box 4, Folder 2
Correspondence from Will to family during trip [2 of 3]
Box 4, Folder 3
Correspondence from Will to family during trip [3 of 3]
Box 4, Folder 4
Correspondence re: money confiscated in India
Box 4, Folder 5
Correspondence with people met on world trip
Box 4, Folder 6
Correspondence, writing, and miscellaneous materials
Box 4, Folder 7
Newspaper column, correspondence about
Box 4, Folder 8
Newspaper column, manuscripts [1 of 2]
Box 4, Folder 9
Newspaper column, manuscripts [2 of 2]
Box 4, Folder 10
Newspaper column, scrapbook of clippings
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
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.
Box 5, Folder 1
"Current Thinking on LSD Therapy" (with Sidney Cohen)
Box 5, Folder 2
"Psychotherapy with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" (written with Sidney Cohen)
Box 5, Folder 3
"Subjective Reports on Lysergic Acid Experiences... " (with Sidney Cohen and Lionel Fischman)
Box 5, Folder 4
"The Influence of LSD on Unconscious Activity"
Box 5, Folder 6
"Some Psychological Differences Between Fertile and Infertile Women"
Box 5, Folder 7
"Notes on the Use of Drugs to Facilitate Group Psychotherapy"
Box 5, Folder 8
"Psychedelics and People as Adjuncts to Psychotherapy"
Box 5, Folder 9
"The Importance of the Non-Verbal"
Box 5, Folder 10
The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [1 of 3]
Box 5, Folder 11
The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [2 of 3]
Box 5, Folder 12
The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex, original manuscript [3 of 3]
Box 5, Folder no folder
The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex
Box 5, Folder 13
"The Group as a Means and Matrix for Change"
Box 5, Folder 14
See You To-Morrow, by the Children of Mexcales (words by Betty Eisner, pictures by Les McCann)
Box 5, Folder 15
"The Use of an Alpha Feedback Machine in a Therapeutic Problem Solving Setting" (with Jonathan D. Melvin)
Box 5, Folder 16
"The Two Faces of Man's Problem Today"
Box 5, Folder 17
"Networking Provides Realtime Application Upgrade from TRT-11 to VMS" (with Jonathan D. Melvin)
Box 5, Folder 18
"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [1 of 2]
Box 6, Folder 1
"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [2 of 2]
Box 6, Folder 2
"New Fables for New Times," manuscripts and drafts [3 of 3]
Box 6, Folder 3
"Huaulta -- Place Where Eagles Are Born," manuscript and drafts
Box 6, Folder 4
"Physical and Psychical Loading," paper read at Society for Scientific Exploration meeting
Box 6, Folder 5
Response to Daniel J. Benor's comments on "loading" and "telesomatic reactions"
Box 6, Folder 6
"The Sick Role Versus the Dying Role," (written with Humphrey Osmond)
Box 6, Folder 7
"Body Work and Psychological Healing"
Box 6, Folder 8
"Set, Setting, and Matrix"
Box 6, Folder 9
Excerpt from Remembrance of LSD Therapy Past
Box 6, Folder 10
I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [1 of 3]
Box 6, Folder 11
I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [2 of 3]
Box 6, Folder 12
I Can't, You Can't, But We Can, third draft (final?) [3 of 3]
Box 6, Folder 13
Living in the Now, foreword, chapter 1, and appendix D
Box 6, Folder 14
"Observations on Possible Order Within the Unconscious"
Box 6, Folder 15
"Observations on the Psychotherapeutic Use of Ritalin"
Box 6, Folder 16
"The Paradox of Carroll John Daly," manuscript and research material (includes manuscript of a Daly short story)
Box 6, Folder 17
Therapy and research files