A native and long-time resident of Holyoke, Mass., J. Roy Lewis was a prominent businessman in the lumber trade and a model of civic engagement during the decades prior to the Second World War. A 1903 graduate of Phillips Academy, Lewis worked as an executive with the Hampden-Ely Lumber Company and was active in trade associations as well as civic and political groups such as the Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Tax Association, and the Holyoke Planning committee. Locally, he may have been best known as the writer of hundreds of letters and opinion pieces to the editors of the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram and the Springfield Republican. An ardent conservative, Lewis was a vocal opponent of women’s suffrage, prohibition, and anything he deemed contrary to the interests of business.
This small collection, consisting of a scrapbook and a handful of miscellaneous letters from J. Roy Lewis are a testament to the mindset of a conservative businessman during a progressive age. Lewis’s letters to the editor and his small surviving correspondence touch on a wide range of political and social issues of the day, most notably women’s suffrage, prohibition, business support, the New Deal, and the Depression.
- Holyoke (Mass.)--History
- United States--Economic policy--1933-1945
- Lewis, J. Roy
Types of material
- Letters to the editor