January 16, 2022

Processing the Timothy Leary Papers at the New York Public Library

A new blog post by Jennifer Ulrich, Specialist, Manuscripts and Archives Division at the NYPL.

The post includes several pictures.

Ulrich writes:

People ask me what my work entails as I process the Timothy Leary papers. As I pore through the boxes, I am faced with over 400 linear ft. of material created and collected by Leary which I must process to make available for research. I encounter various media, such as photographs, video tapes, computer disks, prints and posters. I encounter quite a bit of paper.

My responsibilities include determining the record keeping structure and making decisions regarding the intellectual and physical arrangement of the material, describing the material according to archival standards, and physically re-housing for access and long-term preservation.


The Leary papers, like other personal papers, blends qualities both from traditional archives (institutional records) and manuscripts collections. It contains records created during his work as a student, enlisted man, clinical psychologist, professor, lecturer, author, and actor, among his many personas. His papers also consist of his writings: handwritten notes, journals, drafts, typescripts, annotated and not. His papers contain some collected material, publications, posters, recorded music and videos. The collection also holds collaborative work, such as writings and correspondence authored by his wives. There are his father’s records retrieved and assembled by Leary’s associates. There is his mother’s correspondence, given to him after her death. Some material may have been retrieved by private collectors. His papers are an assemblage of material produced in the course of his work, received by others, and collected for his consideration.

Read the Complete Blog Post, View Images

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.