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West (Louis Jolyon) papers
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing on Access
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use.
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Louis Jolyon West papers
    Creator: West, Louis Jolyon, 1924-1999
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.0590
    Physical Description: 106.0 Linear Feet (265 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1998
    Date (bulk): 1948-1998
    Abstract: Louis Jolyon (Jolly) West, M.D. (1924-1999) was a well-known Los Angles psychiatrist who served as the chair of UCLA's Department of Psychiatry and as director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute from 1969 to 1989. He was an expert on cults, coercive persuasion ("brainwashing"), alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and terrorism. The collection contains Dr. West's research materials, lecture and presentation materials, personal and professional correspondence, and documents related to his professional associations and academic positions.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing on Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Boxes 250-265 are closed due to HIPAA restrictions. In order to access materials that are protected under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or for which there is sensitive health information, please submit a research protocol to Library Special Collections at speccoll@library.ucla.edu.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use.

    Copyright to portions of this collection has been assigned to the UCLA Library Special Collections. The library can grant permission to publish for materials to which it holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish must be submitted in writing to Library Special Collections. Credit shall be given as follows: The Regents of the University of California on behalf of the UCLA Library Special Collections.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    CONTAINS AUDIO MATERIALS: This collection contains both processed and unprocessed audiovisual materials. Audiovisual materials are not currently available for access, unless otherwise noted in a Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements note at the series and file levels. All requests to access processed digital materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Louis Jolyon West papers (Collection 590). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Processing Information

    Jolene Beiser with assistance from Kelley Bachli in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), June 2009.
    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections.  

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9962185603606533 


    Louis Jolyon (Jolly) West, M.D. (1924-1999) was a well-known Los Angeles psychiatrist who served as the chair of UCLA's Department of Psychiatry and as director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute from 1969 to1989. He was an expert on cults, coercive persuasion ("brainwashing"), alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and terrorism. He served as an expert witness in the trial of Patricia "Patty" Hearst, and examined Jack Ruby, the murderer of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
    Dr. West was born in New York City on October 6, 1924 and grew up in Madison, WI. After a year of college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army hoping to serve combat duty in World War II, but was instead sent to the State University of Iowa for Army Specialized Training in medicine. He met his wife, Kathryn "K" Louise Hopkirk in Iowa, and the two married on April 29, 1944. Together they had three children, Anne Kathryn, Mary Elizabeth, and John Stuart.
    Dr. West continued his studies at the University Of Minnesota School Of Medicine, and received his M.D. in 1949. He completed his psychiatric residency at the Payne Whitney Clinic of the New York Hospital (Cornell Medical Center) in 1952.
    Dr. West served Lieutenant to Major in the U.S. Air Force from 1948 to 1956, and after completing his residency at Payne Whitney, he became the Chief of Psychiatric Service at the 3700th USAF Hospital at the Lackland Air Force Base. At Lackland he worked with returning POWs from the Korean War who had falsely confessed to germ warfare. His experiences with these men sparked a lifelong interest in helping victims of imprisonment, torture, and coercive persuasion ("brainwashing"). He also helped develop a highly successful method of alcoholism treatment dubbed "The Lackland Model," and he took a humanitarian approach to understanding homosexuality in the military.
    In 1954, at only 29, Dr. West was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma, being "perhaps the youngest full professor in an American medical school." In Oklahoma City he demonstrated his support of the civil rights movement by attending sit-ins and rallies, and bringing along his friend, actor Charlton Heston, to aid in the publicity of such events.
    Dr. West's research interests continually expanded, always incorporating the changes taking place in society. During a 1962 study on the effects of LSD on a bull elephant, Dr. West and his colleagues accidently killed the elephant by administering too high of a dosage of either LSD or a tranquilizer. This incident was often brought up by his adversaries when they attempted to portray him as irresponsible and as a "crack pot." In 1967, he led a group of researchers to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district where they rented an apartment and studied the hippie culture, particularly as it related to sex and drugs.
    In 1969, Dr. West seized the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and become the chair of UCLA's Department of Psychiatry and director of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. In terms of his research interests, Dr. West felt that a rapidly expanding and diverse city like Los Angeles was most appropriate. Shortly after arriving at UCLA, he set out to create a "Center for the Study and Reduction in Violence," "the world's first and only center for the study of interpersonal violence." His plans for the Center were never actually realized because there was "such an outcry against it?based on arguments that to study violence was essentially to experiment on underprivileged people,?, doing brain operations, putting electrodes in their heads, or making guinea pigs out of them… This was the most frustrating experience of my career."
    Dr. West's career included many remarkable events, including his participation in the highly-publicized 1976 trial of newspaper heiress Patricia "Patty" Hearst. Dr. West, an expert on coercive persuasion, testified for the defense that Ms. Hearst was not in her right mind when she participated in the bank robbery with the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). In 1977, he traveled to South Africa to testify on behalf of a group of Zulus who had been forced, through torture and other inhumane tactics, to confess to crimes they did not commit. He returned to South Africa in 1983 and 1984 to testify on behalf of a political prisoner suffering from post-traumatic stress.
    Throughout his career Dr. West was interviewed for newspaper articles and television reports on a variety of topics including cults, coercive persuasion, violence, alcoholism and drug abuse, kidnapping and terrorism. He received many honors including a 1959 nomination as one of the "Ten Most Outstanding Young Men in America," the 1973 Benjamin Rush Gold Medal Award from the American Psychiatric Association, a dedication--the "Louis Jolyon West House" treatment facility at the Oklahoma Center for Alcohol-Related Studies, the 1987 Vestermark Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute of Mental Health, the 1989 Leo J. Ryan Award from the National Cult Awareness Network, and in 1990 an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Hebrew Union College.
    West retired from his positions as chair and director in 1989, but continued as a professor in the Psychiatry department, and continued to write articles and present papers at conferences around the world. West passed away on January 2, 1999 at the age of 74. In 2009, his son, John Stuart West published a memoir about being asked to assist in the suicides of each of his parents, Jolly and K.
    1 Dean of Oklahoma medical school

    2 West quoted in the Los Angeles Times, 1985

    3 Ibid.

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists primarily of paper materials, but also includes newspaper and magazine clippings, audio cassette recordings, and slides. The collection includes research materials; lecture and slide presentation materials; writing; correspondence with colleagues and friends; materials related to his involvement in professional organizations; and materials related to his positions as chair of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and director of the Neuropsychiatric Institute. Dr. West's collected newspaper and magazine clippings related to a vast array of research interests, and clipped seemingly every newspaper and magazine article regarding the Patty Hearst case between 1975 and 1977. The collection does not contain any of Dr. West's patient records.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into seven series: Lectures, Writing, Office Files, Personal, Professional Activities, Academic Career, and Research Files.
    1. Series 1. Lectures. Materials are grouped according to the subject of the lecture. The materials include slides and notes about slides, research materials, travel information and correspondence related to presentations, audio recordings and transcripts. Related materials can be found in Professional Activities and Research Materials. Filing sequence is by contents: Slide materials (no slides) --> Slides and slide materials'Slides only, contains slides people, facilities, and celebrations at UCLA --> Audio cassettes, reel tapes and transcripts.
    2. Series 2. Writing. Folders are named according to title or subject of writing, or publication the writing was intended for. Folders include correspondence and research materials. See related materials in Professional Activities and Research Materials.
    3. Series 3. Office Files. Contains three subseries:
      • 3.1 LJW in the Media. Contains newspaper clippings and articles about LJW or where LJW was interviewed and media contacts.
      • 3.2 Consultation. Contains materials related to legal cases where LJW has been asked to consult
      • 3.3 Correspondence. Contains correspondence to and from LJW, primarily with professional colleagues.
      Materials are grouped by year, by first letter of the last name of correspondent, and by last name of correspondent.
    4. Series 4. Personal. Contains correspondence of a personal nature with LJW's family and friends and military orders
    5. Series 5. Professional Activities. Contains eight subseries with materials related to each professional organization and activities:
      • 5.1 American Association of Chairmen of Departments of Psychiatry (AACDP)
      • 5.2 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
      • 5.3 American Psychiatric Association (APA)
      • 5.4 California Medical Association (CMA)
      • 5.5 Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences
      • 5.6 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
      • 5.7 Miscellaneous professional activities. Contains materials related to smaller organizations and onetime events.
      • 5.8 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    6. Series 6. Academic Career. Contains six subseries.
      • 6.1 UCLA-LJW's Committees, activities, teaching, and grant applications
      • 6.2 UCLA-LJW's Promotions, sabbaticals, and retirement
      • 6.3 UCLA Center for Preventive Psychiatry
      • 6.4 UCLA Center for the Study and Reduction of Violence (CSRV)
      • 6.5 UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI)
      • 6.6 University of Oklahoma
    7. Series 7. Research Files. Contains three subseries.
      • 7.1 Research A to Z-Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject area.
      • 7.2 Cults
      • 7.3 Newspaper clippings

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    West, Louis Jolyon, 1924-1999 -- Archives