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Stanislav Grof papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 1

Scope and Contents

Papers and related materials documenting the life and career and of psychiatrist and author Dr. Stanislav Grof (Stan Grof). The papers consist primarily of published research articles and clippings discussing the therapeutic effects of psychoactive substances, as well as some first-hand accounts of transcendental experiences.


  • 1931 - 2014
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1980


Language of Materials

Collection material is primarily in English and German. Czech, Russian, Danish, Spanish, French, Swedish, Italian, Norwegian, Japanese, Galician, and Portuguese are also present.

Access Information

Patient Notes (Series 1, Sub-Series 4), Student Experiences (Series 2), and Research Studies, Projects and Proposals (Series 3, Sub-Series 1) containing confidential information are restricted for 75 years from the date they were created. Copies with sensitive information redacted are available for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Biographical or Historical Information

Stanislav (Stan) Grof, noted psychiatrist, author, consciousness researcher, and pioneer of transpersonal psychology, was born on July 1, 1931 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to Stanislav (a chemical engineer) and Maria Petnik Grof. Heavily influenced by the works of Freud early in his studies, Grof was inspired to become a psychiatrist and earned an M.D. at the Charles University School of Medicine in Czechoslovakia in 1956, and a Ph.D. at the Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences in 1965. Dr. Grof’s interest in the clinical use of psychedelic substances was spurred in the 1960s when the Sandoz pharmaceutical company approached the Psychiatric Research Institute in Prague, requesting that studies be conducted on LSD-25 in order to ascertain whether or not the substance had therapeutic properties.  Grof subsequently volunteered to participate in a research program which explored LSD as a tool for experiential training, allowing psychiatrists and psychologists to experience the “inner-world” of psychotic patients.  He eventually became principal investigator of this program, and has gone on to devote his career to examining the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances. In 1967, he was invited to Johns Hopkins University as a research scientist, and in 1969 continued on at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center where he served as Chief of Psychiatric Research and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry.  In 1973, Grof became a scholar-in-residence at the Esalen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to the exploration of human potential in Big Sur, California.  While there, he authored books, lectured, and developed Holotropic Breathwork, an innovative form of experiential psychotherapy, with his wife Christina. Dr. Grof is also the founder and president of the International Transpersonal Association (ITA), and has organized major international conferences on transpersonal psychology. Grof’s major fields of research interest include therapeutic and heuristic aspects of non-ordinary states of consciousness, the use of psychedelics and non-drug techniques in psychotherapy, alternative approaches to psychoses, spiritual emergency and treatment of transpersonal crises, biology, brain research, and consciousness studies.  He also maintains interests in other non-ordinary states of consciousness such as shamanism, Eastern spiritual systems, mysticism, the rites of passage of aboriginal cultures, and near-death experiences. Dr. Grof is a Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in the Department of Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and also teaches in the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. In October 2007, Dr. Grof received a VISION 97 award granted by the Foundation of Dagmar and Vaclav Havel in Prague.  The foundation’s mission supports cultural and social projects with the potential to bring meaningful change to the future. Dr. Grof has written extensively on LSD and its use in psychotherapy and about other methods and types of psycho-spiritual work.

Note written by


13.80 Cubic Feet (15 full-width legal-sized manuscript boxes, four half-width letter-sized manuscript boxes, five full-width letter-sized manuscript boxes, two Hollinger records boxes, and two flat boxes)


Collection materials are arranged into seven series based on subject.
  1. Writings and Biographical Information
  2. Student Experiences
  3. Research Materials
  4. Photographs and Slides
  5. Correspondence
  6. Miscellaneous Materials
  7. Multimedia Materials

Technical Access Information

Born-digital content found in Multimedia Materials (Series 7) is currently being processed and is not avaialable for access at this time. Contact an archivist for more information.

Custodial History

Stan Grof’s papers were initially deposited with Betsy Gordon. In 2006 they were transferred from Betsy Gordon to Purdue Archives and Special Collections. Additional materials were received directly from Stan Grof to the Archives in 2006 to the present.

Acquisition Information

Collection material partially donated by Betsy Gordon on May 25, 2006; remaining material donated by Stanislav Grof between 2006-2014.

Processing Information

All materials have been rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Rusted staples have been removed from the materials and plastic paper clips or file folder inserts have been used in their place. Oversized materials have been kept in their original series; however, items requiring storage in a larger container have been moved to a box labeled oversize and a separation sheet has been put in place where items have been moved from original location within the series. Series III-2 (Research Articles) appears to have once been arranged with an alpha-numeric system, but upon consulting with Stanislav Grof about the practicality of maintaining this order, the alpha-numeric system was abandoned in favor of alphabetizing the articles by author's last name. When appropriate, materials have been moved to related resources; this is indicated in the collection description. Portions of the collection contain sensitive information and have been restricted in order to respect confidentiality. These items have separated from their original location in the collection and moved to Box 16. They will be made available for research 2083.
Stanislav Grof papers
Under Review
Stephanie Schmitz, Kristin Leaman, and Serena Potter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Third edition. Collection description was first completed in 2009.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States