Peter Bourne

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Peter Bourne

Peter Bourne is a professor, psychiatrist, activist, former government official, and author.


He was born in Oxford, England and educated at the Dragon School. Bourne received an MD from Emory University and an MA in anthropology from Stanford. Bourne served as a captain in the US Army, specifically with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.[1]

Jimmy Carter friendship

Bourne initially became involved in Democratic politics in the early 1970s. He and Jimmy Carter are described as "very old friends." In 1972, Bourne held the number two position in the White House's SPecial Action Office on Drug Abuse.[2] In an interview, Carter said: "[Bourne] was the first person to suggest I run for President, fall of 1972. It was from that memorandum that our campaign was based"[3]

White House scandal

On July 19, 1978, Bourne was placed on leave after it was discovered that he had used a false name to prescribe Quaalude -- a sedativie-hypnotic -- to a White House aide.[4] Although initially placed on leave, Bourne resigned after it was reported by a Washington Post columnist that Bourne had smoked marijuana and sniffed cocaine at a party. Bourne denied using cocaine.[5]

Institute for Southern Studies

Bourne was a member of the Institute for Southern Studies from 1969-1986.[6]

In 1970, Bourne helped found the Institute for Southern Studies, along with Sue Thrasher, Julian Bond, John Lewis, N. Jerold Cohen and Howard Romaine. When the organization was founded, the initial work was done preforming research, holding seminars, and performing activism against the Vietnam War.[7]

Founding Board members

 Institute for Southern Studies Incorporating Documents in North Carolina 

The Institute for Southern Studies was incorporated in the state of North Carolina on July 28, 1989. The founding members listed on the incorporation papers:

Legalizing heroin

In the 1970s, Bourne was quoted as being in favor of legalizing heroin. "Legalizing heroin may increase the number of addicts, but it would reduce the cost of addiction," he said in an interview.[8]

Fidel Castro

Bourne authored a biography in 1986 of Fidel Castro titled, Fidel. Bourne was granted access to Cuban archives and granted interviews with individuals close to Castro.[9]


Bourne is married to Dr. Mary Elizabeth King. They reside in Oxford, UK and Washington DC. Mary is a described "peace and nonviolent action" activist.[3]

External links