Lester Grinspoon Papers, 1962-2011.
30 boxes (45 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 751
Lester Grinspoon, the Harvard psychiatrist who became a celebrated advocate for reforming marijuana laws, was born June 24, 1928, in Newton, Massachusetts. A veteran of the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Tufts University and Harvard Medical School, he trained at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute but later turned away from psychoanalysis. Senior psychiatrist for 40 years at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Grinspoon is associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In the mid-1960s, struck by the rising popularity of marijuana and its reputed dangers, Grinspoon began to examine the medical and scientific literature about marijuana usage. To his surprise, he found no evidence to support claims of marijuana’s harmful effects, and his resulting 1969 Scientific American article drew wide attention. His research ultimately convinced him of marijuana’s benefits, including enhanced creativity and medicinal uses. His own young son, undergoing chemotherapy for the leukemia that eventually took his life, found his severe nausea greatly eased by marijuana. By his 40s, Grinspoon had gained renown as an outspoken proponent of responsible adult use and legalization.
The Lester Grinspoon Papers comprehensively document Grinspoon’s advocacy and activism, including his role as a board member of NORML; his research and writing of the books Marihuana Reconsidered and Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine, numerous articles, two web sites, and more; his position as an expert witness in criminal trials; and his relationships with friends, colleagues, and many others, such as Carl Sagan, John Lennon, Keith Stroup, and Melanie Dreher. The collection comprises correspondence, research material, drafts and publications, clinical accounts, clippings, ephemera, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials: photographs, as well as videotapes and DVDs of Grinspoon’s appearances on television and in documentary films.
- Harvard Medical School. Dept. of Psychiatry
- Marijuana--Health aspects
- Marijuana--Law and legislation
- Marijuana--Physiological effect
- Marijuana--Therapeutic use
- Marijuana--Therapeutic use--Social aspects
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (U.S.)
Types of material
- Letters (Correspondence)
Phyllis Hamilton Sketch Collection, 1970-1989.
1 box (2 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 752
Phyllis Hamilton was a recently divorced mother of a young daughter when she joined the Brotherhood of the Spirit in 1970. Encouraged to visit the commune by two young friends, Phyllis was attracted to the spiritual values of the group and relocated herself and her daughter from Worcester to Heath, making her at the age of 40 one of the oldest members of the community. She quickly used her more mature demeanor and appearance to the group’s advantage. In an area where realtors were increasingly reluctant to work with “hippies,” Phyllis was able to negotiate and purchase the Warwick property with the assistance of another member; together they signed the deed over to the Brotherhood after the sale was final. Her age was not her only distinction, however, she was also an artist, and used her artistic capabilities to capture the familiar faces of her fellow commune members.
The collection consists of 146 sketches of members of the Brotherhood of the Spirit (renamed the Renaissance Community in 1974) from 1970-1989. About half of the drawings were identified by the artist’s daughter, the others are of unidentified individuals.
- Brotherhood of the Spirit (Commune)
- Communal living--Massachusetts
Types of material