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Donald Levy Papers

1966-1987
2 boxes (2 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 878

The co-owner with Alan Peterson of Krackerjacks, a psychedelic clothing store in Boston, Donald "Jack" Levy grew the boutique he started in 1966 into a staple of the counterculture in the Boston area and eventually a franchise. Levy was at the center of a controversy in Cambridge when the city tried to ban "obscene" buttons. Though several stores removed the buttons, Levy refused and with community support, fought the city's ban. Levy also opened several clothing stores in the Boston-area: Garbo, a women’s clothing store; Dazzle in 1971, a vintage clothing store; Goods in 1976, a natural fiber and novelty store; and purchased and refurbished the Blue Diner in 1986 (now the South Street Diner). He currently owns diners in Newton, Framingham, and Watertown Mass.

The Donald Levy Papers contain ephemera, photographs, and clippings primarily documenting Krackerjacks as well as Levy's other clothing stores and the opening of Blue Diner. Of particular interest is a petition circulated by Levy during the city's attempt to ban "obscene" buttons. Included among the signatures is a 15-year-old Jonathan Richman, who called the button ban, "an example of lingering Victorianism."

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Background on Donald Levy


An image of: Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968

Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968

Clothes and fashion played a central role in the 1960s countercultural revolution in the United States and at the center of the counterculture’s fashion in the Boston-area was Krackerjacks. Krackerjacks was founded in Cambridge, Mass. by Donald "Jack" Levy and Alan Peterson in 1966 and was a boutique synonymous with "mod" and "hippie" fashion and accessories. In 1967, when Krackerjacks was attacked, among other shops, for having "obscene" buttons by Cambridge City Council member Thomas H.D. Mahoney, it became a symbol of the countercultural movement itself. Levy fought back against the ban, refusing to take the buttons off his shelves despite pressures from local police. Krackerjacks survived and expanded into a successful franchise.

In addition to Karckerjacks, Levy opened several other boutiques in the Boston-area: Garbo, a women's clothing store; Dazzle in 1971, a vintage clothing store; and Goods in 1976, a natural fiber and novelty store. In 1986, Levy expanded into the restaurant business, purchasing and refurbishing the Blue Diner (now the South Street Diner and no longer owned by Levy). He currently owns the Deluxe Station Diner, the Deluxe Depot Diner, and the Deluxe Town Diner in Newton, Framingham, and Watertown, Mass. respectively.

Scope of collection

The Donald Levy Papers contain ephemera, photographs, and clippings primarily documenting Krackerjacks as well as Levy's other clothing stores and the opening of Blue Diner. Of particular interest is a petition circulated by Levy during the city's attempt to ban "obscene" buttons. Included among the signatures is a 15-year-old Jonathan Richman, who called the button ban, "an example of lingering Victorianism."

Inventory

Blue Diner
1986-1987
Box 1: 1
Garbo
undated
Box 1: 2
Goods: clippings
1976-1986
Box 1: 3
Goods: ephemera
1975-1985
Box 1: 4
Dazzle: clippings
1971-1974
Box 1: 5
Dazzle: ephemera
1971
Box 1: 6
Krackerjacks: advertising
ca.1970
Box 1: 7
Krackerjacks: button controversy
1967
Box 1: 8
Krackerjacks: clippings
1966-1969
Box 1: 9
Krackerjacks: ephemera
ca.1967
Box 1: 10
Krackerjacks: photographs
ca.1970
Box 1: 11
Krackerjacks: photographs
ca.1970
Box 1: 12
Krackerjacks: photographs
ca.1970
Box 1: 13
Krackerjacks: photographs, staff
ca.1970
Box 1: 14
Krackerjacks: posters
undated
Box 2: 2
Krackerjacks: scrapbook
ca.1967
Box 2: 1
Photographs
undated
Box 1: 15
Photographs: contact sheets
undated
Box 1: 16

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Acquired from Donald Levy, 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Rainer Werner, August 2015.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Donald Levy Papers (MS 878). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Counterculture--United States--20th century
  • Fashion--United States--20th century
  • Massachusetts--Cambridge--History--20th century
  • Stores, Retail--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Levy, Donald [main entry]
  • Richman, Jonathan (Vocalist)

Genres and formats

  • Clippings
  • Petitions
  • Photographs

Link to similar SCUA collections