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Lawrence LeShan papers

Identifier: MS-0101

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the materials pertain to Lawrence LeShan's life and career and date from 1916 to 2017. This includes an address book and notebooks; correspondence with among others James S. McDonnell, Henry Margenau, Gertrude Schmeidler, and his family; papers and drafts by LeShan and others; conference programs; articles about him; a lapel pin dedicated to him by Klaus Lederer; his license to practice as a psychologist (New York State, 1959, 1963, 1983, 2003); a manuscript of "The Miracle of Existence" sent to him by Henry Margenau; his parents' marriage license (1916), his and Ada Nicolescu's marriage license (2007); photographs; and his professional and personal writing projects.

A portion of these papers relate to life and career of his wife, Eda Grossman LeShan. These materials, which date from 1947, and then from 1988-2003, include drafts of her writings including "A Gift of Time" and "The Lobster Reef," correspondence, photographs, a newspaper clipping (1947), and her obituary and memorial service printed program.

Additionally, the papers contain promotional postcards for Ada Nicolescu's books, Prelude in Black and Green (2009) and Four Hundred Bones: Stalin's Teeth in Academia (2015).


  • 1916 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

Open to all users; no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Intellectual property rights of Lawrence LeShan are unknown.

Biographical / Historical

Lawrence LeShan (1920-2020) was born in New York City on September 8, 1920, to Julius and Rose LeShan. He married Eda Joan Grossman in 1944, beginning an intellectual partnership that ended with her death in March 2002. The couple had one daughter and a granddaughter. Lawrence LeShan married Ada Nicolescu on July 20, 2007.

Lawrence LeShan was educated at the College of William and Mary (B.A., 1942), the University of Nebraska (M.S., 1943), and the University of Chicago where he earned a Ph.D. in human development (1954). Following several years of U.S. military service, he became head of the department for psychology at the Institute of Applied Biography in New York (1954-1964) and was a research associate of the Ayer Foundation in New York (1954-1970). His mainstream research focused on cancer and therapy, war, the state of psychology, psychotherapy, and transpersonal experiences.

LeShan moved into the field of parapsychology "through," as he put it, "a fundamental mistake." After depleting a grant he had been using to fund some of his research, he was curious to explore a discipline in which he had previously not found any value. A colleague referred him to Eileen J. Garrett, a medium and founder of the Parapsychology Foundation. "It was a meeting made in heaven," LeShan told the Parapsychology Foundation in 2017. "We needed each other. She wanted to be monitored by a real psychologist and I wanted someone like her to study." In the course of his career, LeShan authored or co-authored some two dozen books and more than 75 articles.

Lawrence LeShan died on November 9, 2020, in New York City at the age of 100.

Eda Joan Grossman LeShan (1922-2002) was born in Manhattan on June 6, 1922. Her mother, Jean Schick Grossman, was a parent educator, and her father, Max Grossman, was a lawyer and president of the Ethical Culture Society of New York. She graduated from the Fieldston School and received a degree in early childhood education from Teachers College at Columbia University. She earned a master's degree in child psychology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Eda Grossman married Lawrence LeShan in 1944.

LeShan wrote her first book when she was 43, began to appear regularly on a television show when she was 46 and got her own program on educational television when she was 48. She brought psychoanalytic insights and common sense to two dozen books meant to guide people through life's challenges.

In addition to her books, which have been translated into nine languages, and her television and radio shows, she wrote a regular column for Newsday for years and was a contributing editor of Parents magazine. Her articles appeared in many magazines, including The New York Times Magazine in the 1960's. For nine years, she wrote the "Talking It Over" column for Woman's Day.

As she aged, Eda LeShan wrote more about older people. In her 70s, she wrote a play, "The Lobster Reef," in reference to the vulnerability lobsters experience when they shed their shells and are completely naked until they grow a new one. It told the story of a woman battling to rid herself of literal and figurative cancers. The one-woman play opened off-Broadway in New York in 1995 on her 73rd birthday.

Eda LeShan died on March 2, 2002, at the age of 79, at her home in Riverdale, the Bronx.

Ada Nicolescu (1929- ) was born in Bucharest, Romania, on January 9, 1929, where she witnessed life through the 1930s, World War II, and Stalin’s Communism.

She graduated from Bucharest’s Carol Davila University of Medicine. In 1961, she emigrated to Paris and later to the United States where she took up residence in New York City. In addition to her medical degree, Dr. Nicolescu earned a Master of Arts in art history from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.

She is a member of the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Psychiatric Association and, at age 93, continues to work as a psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan.

Nicolescu is the author of three novels, Prelude in Black and Green: A Novel (2009), The Black and the Green: The Sequel (2013), and Four Hundred Bones: Stalin's Teeth in Academia (2015).


2.31 Linear Feet (6 boxes, digital file)




The Lawrence LeShan papers contain materials related to the life and careers of Lawrence LeShan (1920-2020), Eda Grossman LeShan (1922-2002), and Ada Nicolescu LeShan (1929 -).


This collection is arranged in four series: 1. Lawrence LeShan, 2. Eda LeShan, 3. Ada LeShan, and 4. Miscellaneous. Within each series, the files are arranged in alphabetical order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Maria Cooper Janis, November 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the papers were not physically acquired until May 2022. Addition from Maria Cooper Janis received on December 6, 2023.


The document, "What Is Important About the Paranormal?" (Box 6, Folder 7) is also in digital form.

Guide to the Lawrence LeShan Papers
Catherine Hendricks
Language of description
Script of description
This acquisition was generously supported by the Swann-Ryder Acquisitions and Collaborations fund.

Repository Details

Part of the University of West Georgia Special Collections Repository

Special Collections, Ingram Library
University of West Georgia
1601 Maple Street
Carrollton GA 30118-2000 United States