Item #39601 Letter to Forum Members. Timothy LEARY.
Letter to Forum Members.


LEARY, Timothy.

Letter to Forum Members.

An offprint from Forum for Contemporary History (July 1973). Prints Leary’s 4pp. letter written from Folsom Prison, Represa, Calif., dated July 2, 1973. Four quarto sheets, stapled at top corner.

The letter deals with “the cultural message of the 1960's” and Leary's central involvement “in these social changes as member of, and shamanic spokesman for, a small group of innovative intellectuals who sought to receive and to transmit the emerging cultural signals”. It concludes: “Everyone knows that something is going to happen. The seeds of the sixties have taken root underground. The blossoming is to come.”

Signed in the copy by Leary. Old central horizontal fold, o/w Very Good.

Together with: a press release, dated “29 January 1974 London, England”, issued by Jay Landesman, announcing that “We are here today to form a committee, a nucleus of interested individuals and organizations - scientists, psychologists, philosophers, poets, artists - to aid in obtaining the immediate release of Dr. Timothy Leary [who] has been incarcerated in California prisons for one year and ten days.” 3 quarto typed sheets (duplicated), stapled at top corner.

Landesman's press release claims that “Dr. Leary and I were illegally kidnapped and abducted by American narcotics agents from Kabul Airport in Afghanistan in January 1973.” There is, however, no evidence that Landesman was with Timothy Leary and Joanna Harcourt-Smith in Kabul at the time of their capture, and given his legendary aptitude for self-mythology, this was almost certainly fantasy on his part.

The document continues by describing Leary as a political prisoner, “like Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov in Russia”, and “a victim of the Nixon administration”, before telling of how he [Landesman] smuggled a copy of “Terra II” from Folsom Prison to his uncle, Dr. Stanislaw Ulam, “inventor of and holder of the patent to the hydrogen bomb”, who has “been working independently on a futuristic project for galactic explorations.”

The document ends: “The film you are about to see was made in August 1973 in the maximum security prison at Folsom, California” (presumably “Dr. Timothy Leary Speaks His Mind From Folsom Prison”, Joanna Harcourt-Smith’s 16mm. colour film of her 20min. interview with Leary). No other details of the event announced in the press release can be found.

Old central horizontal fold, o/w Very Good.