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Duncan Blewett


Duncan Blewett

BLEWETT, Duncan  (1920-2007)
Researcher, Psychologist, Educator

Duncan Blewett was born in Edmonton, Alberta on October 28, 1920. After fighting in World War II, Blewett, along with other young veterans, was offered the choice of a lump sum payment or a free education as compensation for their time given to the war.  Blewett chose to pursue an education in psychology. He received his BA from the University of British Columbia in 1947 and his MA from the same institution in 1950.

Blewett went on to earn his PhD in one and a half years at the University of London with renowned psychologist Hans Eysenck. He later taught at the University of Illinois which was headed by noted psychologist Raymond Cattell, before the government of Saskatchewan recruited Blewett to be chief psychologist of the province in the 1950s.

Blewett was pivotal in pioneering psychedelic research. In 1959 along with Nicholas Chwelos, he co-authored Handbook for the Therapeutic Use of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide- 25(LSD): Individual and Group Procedures. Blewett became instrumental in advancing LSD treatment programs as therapy for schizophrenics and alcoholics in Saskatchewan.

In 1961, he was hired by the University of Saskatchewan Regina Campus to develop psychology as a discipline at the rapidly growing institution. Here he founded the Department of Psychology. Blewett would also be a founder of the Saskatchewan Psychological Association. During this time he joined the world-renowned University of Saskatchewan research team at the Saskatchewan Hospital in Weyburn and worked beside such notable researchers as biochemist and psychiatrist Abram Hoffer, and project coordinator Humphry Osmond (who coined the word “psychedelic” in a letter to his friend Aldous Huxley).

Blewett retired from the University of Regina in 1986 and moved to Gabriola Island, B.C. after nearly three decades of dynamic research and teaching. Throughout his career Blewett wrote many books and publications that continue to influence the field of psychology today. His early work has been the subject of at least three documentaries, and a fourth was created around his March 24, 2007 memorial on Gabriola Island, B.C.

Blewett died on February 24, 2007. The Duncan Blewett Memorial Psychadelic Research Fund was created by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psycedelic Studies (MAPS) in his honour.

Written with information from MAPS.org, “Duncan Blewett: A
Life’s Work, Maybe More” (2007) and U of R Degrees Magazine,
“The Remarkable Legacy of Duncan Blewett” (2007)
Elizabeth Seitz, 2015
Photograph Credit: Dr. Robert Stek

Archival Collections (Finding Aids in PDF format)


88-29 - Personal and Professional Papers, 1954-1988

91-87 - Personal and Professional Papers, 1953-1986

92-64 - Professional Papers: Osmond and Stefaniuk, “Psychological Study; LSD-25”, 1955

93-19 - Personal and Professional Papers, 1957-1986

96-59 - Photographs and Negatives, n.d.

2005-5 - Personal and Professional Papers, 1958-2002