Log In | Contact Us| View Cart (0)
Browse: Collections Digital Content Subjects Creators Record Groups

William Richards collection of Walter Pahnke papers


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Scholarly writings

Curriculum vitae

Personal writings

Miscellaneous Items, circa 1955-1964

Walter Pahnke Funeral, 1971

Contact us about this collection

William Richards collection of Walter Pahnke papers, 1952-1972 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Kristin Leaman

Printer-friendly Printer-friendly | Email Us Contact Us About This Collection

Collection Overview

Title: William Richards collection of Walter Pahnke papers, 1952-1972Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1964-1971

Primary Creator: Pahnke, Walter

Extent: 0.2 Cubic feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 04/17/2009

Subjects: Death--Psychological aspects, Hallucinogenic drugs and religious experience, LSD (Drug)--Therapeutic use, Psychoactive Substances Research Collection at Purdue University., Psychology, Psychopharmacology

Forms of Material: Articles, Black-and-white photographs, Diaries, Manuscripts (Documents), Reports

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

William Richards Collection of Walter Pahnke papers (1952-1972; 0.2 cubic feet) contains materials that document the life and works of Walter Pahnke. Article reprints, a listing of his publications, a photograph of Pahnke, a summary of his doctoral thesis, his CV from 1970, an account of his first LSD experience, a poem by his wife, personal manuscripts, and his obituary are included in the collection.

Collection Historical Note

Walter Pahnke (1931-1971) earned his Artium Baccalaureus (magna cum laude) from Carleton College in 1952, his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1956, his BD (cum laude) from Harvard Divinity School in 1960, and his PhD from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1964. He completed training in LSD therapy and research with Hanscarl Leuner at the University of Göttingen and completed his psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Care Center. Pahnke’s main research interests were psychopharmacology (especially psychedelic drugs in regard to psychotherapeutic usefulness, sociological abuse, and religious implications), psychiatric and ethical issues in the care of the dying patient, and psychology of religion. He held many esteemed positions in the field of psychiatry and served as the Director of Clinical Sciences at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before his untimely death in 1971. Pahnke wrote many articles concerning the therapeutic use of LSD including his 1969 article “The Psychedelic Mystical Experience in the Human Encounter with Death.” He was a Phi Beta Kappa member, a Kent Fellow, and an Ingersoll Lecturer at Harvard University. Pahnke passed away at the age of forty in a scuba diving accident in the Atlantic off the coast of Maine on July 10, 1971 leaving behind his wife and three children. Pahnke was “admired by his friends for his boundless energy and enthusiasm and for the diversity of his interests.”


“William Richards Collection of Walter Pahnke papers.” Purdue University Special Collections and Archives.

Subject/Index Terms

Death--Psychological aspects
Hallucinogenic drugs and religious experience
LSD (Drug)--Therapeutic use
Psychoactive Substances Research Collection at Purdue University.

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 5 folders

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: Copyright restrictions may apply. Consult a reference archivist for details.

Acquisition Source: William Richards

Acquisition Method: Donation

Preferred Citation: MSP 68, William Richards Collection of Walter Pahnke papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Processing Information: All materials have been place in archival housing.

Finding Aid Revision History: Revised 2/21/2013 EW

Other URL: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/fa/pdf/msp68_pahnke.pdf

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Folder:

[Folder 1: Scholarly writings, 1963-1971],
[Folder 2: Curriculum vitae, 1970],
[Folder 3: Personal writings, 1950-1970],
[Folder 4: Miscellaneous Items, circa 1955-1964],
[Folder 5: Walter Pahnke Funeral, 1971],