Timothy Leary

Psychologist and Advocate
Born Oct 22, 1920

Timothy Francis Leary was an American psychologist and writer, known for his advocacy of psychedelic drugs. During a time when drugs such as LSD and psilocybin were legal, Leary conducted experiments at Harvard University under the Harvard Psilocybin Project, resulting in the Concord Prison Experiment and the Marsh Chapel Experiment. Both studies produced useful data, but Leary and his associate Richard Alpert were fired from the university.… Read More

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1920 Birth Born on October 22, 1920.


1938 17 Years Old He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts from September 1938 to June 1940. … Read More


1941 - 1943 2 More Events
1945 24 Years Old 1 More Event
While stationed in Butler, Leary began to court Marianne Busch; they married in April 1945. … Read More
1947 26 Years Old In 1947, Marianne gave birth to their first child, Susan. … Read More
1950 29 Years Old In 1950, Leary received a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. … Read More


1951 - 1957 5 More Events
1958 37 Years Old Following the termination of his commodious National Institute of Mental Health research grant (precipitated by his absence from a meeting with a NIMH investigator), Leary and his children relocated to Europe in 1958, where he attempted to write his next book on psychology while subsisting on small grants and insurance policies.
1959 38 Years Old He was overcome by indigence during an unproductive stay in Florence, and returned to academia in late 1959 as a lecturer in clinical psychology at Harvard University at the behest of Frank Barron (a colleague from Berkeley) and David McClelland. … Read More
1960 39 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In August 1960, Leary traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico with Russo and consumed psilocybin mushrooms for the first time, an experience that drastically altered the course of his life. … Read More


1962 41 Years Old Leary and Alpert founded the International Federation for Internal Freedom in 1962 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. … Read More
According to Andrew Weil, Leary was fired for not giving his required lectures, while Alpert was fired for allegedly giving psilocybin to an undergraduate in an off-campus apartment. This version is supported by the words of Harvard University president Nathan Marsh Pusey, who released the following statement on May 27, 1963:
1964 43 Years Old In 1964, Leary coauthored a book with Alpert and Ralph Metzner called The Psychedelic Experience based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. … Read More
Repeated FBI raids ended the Millbrook era. Leary told author and Prankster Paul Krassner regarding a 1966 raid by Liddy, "He was a government agent entering our bedroom at midnight. … Read More
In 1967, Leary engaged in a televised debate with Jerry Lettvin of MIT.
1968 47 Years Old On December 26, 1968, Leary was arrested again in Laguna Beach, California, this time for the possession of two marijuana "roaches". … Read More
1969 48 Years Old 1 More Event
On May 19, 1969, The Supreme Court concurred with Leary in Leary v. United States, declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional, and overturned his 1965 conviction.
1970 49 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 21, 1970, Leary received a 10-year sentence for his 1968 offense, with a further 10 added later while in custody for a prior arrest in 1965, for a total of 20 years to be served consecutively. … Read More


1972 51 Years Old In 1972, President Richard Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, persuaded the Swiss government to imprison Leary, which it did for a month but refused to extradite him to the United States.
1976 55 Years Old Leary was released from prison on April 21, 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown. … Read More
1977 56 Years Old Leary and Rosemary separated later that year. Shortly thereafter, he became involved with Swiss-born British socialite Joanna Harcourt-Smith, a stepdaughter of financier Árpád Plesch. The couple "married" in a hotel under the influence of cocaine and LSD two weeks after they were first introduced, and Harcourt-Smith would use his surname until their breakup in early 1977. … Read More
1978 57 Years Old In 1978 he married filmmaker Barbara Blum, also known as Barbara Chase, sister of actress Tanya Roberts. … Read More


1982 - 1988 2 More Events
1989 68 Years Old 1 More Event
From 1989 on, Leary had begun to re-establish his connection to unconventional religious movements with an interest in altered states of consciousness.
…  After his separation and subsequent divorce from Barbara in 1992, he ensconced himself in a circle of artists and cultural figures encompassing figures as diverse as actors Johnny Depp, Susan Sarandon and Dan Aykroyd; Zach Leary; his grandson Ashley Martino and his granddaughters Dieadra Martino and Sara Brown; author Douglas Rushkoff; publisher Bob Guccione, Jr.; and goddaughters Ryder and artist/music - photographer Hilary Hulteen. … Read More
1995 74 Years Old In January 1995, Leary was diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer. … Read More
1996 75 Years Old 1 More Event
He died at 75 on May 31, 1996. … Read More
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