Collections: L

Lerner, Steve, 1946-

Steve Lerner Papers

1994-2011
22 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 673
Depiction of Diamond, La.
Diamond, La.

For decades, the writer Steve Lerner has been a significant contributor to public awareness of the issues surrounding environmental justice. Immersed in the environmental movement through his work as research director at Commonweal, a health and environment research institute founded with his brother Michael in 1976, Lerner earned wide recognition for his first book, Eco-Pioneers (1998), about “practical visionaries” who developed pragmatic solutions to environmental problems. In two subsequent books, Lerner turned to an examination of the impact of environmental toxins and industrial pollutants on low-income communities and people of color and the rise of grassroots opposition within those communities. In Diamond (2006), Lerner explored the impact of a Shell Chemical plant in Louisiana as a microcosm of the broader environmental-justice movement, and more recently, Sacrifice Zones (2010) traced the organization and resistance against industrial and chemical pollutants in a dozen communities in the eastern United States. In 2007, Lerner left his position at Commonweal, but continues his research and writing on environmental issues.

The research notes, interviews, photographs and other documentation comprising the Lerner collection form the basis for Lerner’s three major books.

Subjects

Environmental justiceEnvironmentalism

Types of material

AudiotapesPhotographs
Lesinski-Rusin family

Lesinski-Rusin Family Papers

1908-1925
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 131
Depiction of Nun and two girls at first communion, ca.1920
Nun and two girls at first communion, ca.1920

Polish immigrants Jan Lesinski and his wife Weronika (Rusin) settled in Easthampton, Massachusetts, in 1909 and worked in the textile mills there for decades. Married in 1922, the couple raised a son and daughter in their home on Franklin Street. Weronika Lesinski died in Northampton in 1961, her husband following twelve years later.

The Lesinski and Rusin family collection reflect the lives of an average working-class Polish family from Easthampton, Mass., during the early twentieth century. Numerous family photographs document important occasions for the families, such as baptisms, first communions, and weddings, and the photographic postcards and commercial postcards document their relationships, interests, and travel.

Gift of Mary Ryan, June 1990
Language(s): Polish

Subjects

Lesinski familyPolish Americans--Massachusetts--EasthamptonRusin familySoldiers--Massachusetts--Easthampton--PhotographsWorld War, 1914-1918--Photographs

Types of material

PhotographsPostcardsScrapbooks
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Trial transcripts

1989
12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 334

For over a decade, the radical United Freedom Front waged a concerted revolutionary campaign, confronting U.S. imperialism in Central America, apartheid, and other issues. Led by Raymond Luc Levasseur (b. 1940), the UFF carried out a string of bank robberies and bombings in the northeast, usually providing forewarning to avoid casualties. On November 4, 1984, following an intense nationwide manhunt, the FBI succeeded in apprehending Levasseur and his wife Patricia Gros near Deerfield, Ohio, and within a year, most of the remaining members of the UFF were under arrest. Levasseur and six of his comrades were eventually sentenced to long terms for the robberies and bombings and (two of them) for the death of a New Jersey state trooper. The government’s attempt in 1989 to bring charges of seditious conspiracy and violations of the RICO act, however, ended in an acquittal on most charges and a hung jury on the rest. Having served nearly half of his 45 year sentence, Levasseur was released from prison in November 2004.

The Levasseur Collection consists of the complete transcripts of the 1989 sedition trial of the “Ohio Seven” (US v. Levasseur).

Subjects

Political prisoners--United StatesSeditionUnited Freedom Front

Contributors

Levasseur, Ray Luc
Levasseur, Raymond Luc

Raymond Luc Levasseur Papers

1966-2017
10 boxes 12 linear feet
Call no.: MS 971

Raymond Luc Levasseur went underground with a revolutionary Marxist organization in 1974 and spent a decade in armed resistance against the American state. Radicalized by his experiences in Vietnam and by a stint in a Tennessee prison for the sale of marijuana, Levasseur became convinced that revolutionary action was a “necessary step in defeating the enemy — monopoly Capitalism and its Imperialism expression.” As a leader of the Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson Unit, later called the United Freedom Front, he took part in a string of bombings and bank robberies targeting symbols of the state including government and military buildings and corporate offices. All active members of the UFF were arrested in 1984 and 1985 and sentenced to long prison terms, although the government’s effort to prosecute them (the Ohio 7) on separate charges of seditious conspiracy ultimately failed. Levasseur served twenty years of a 45-year prison sentence, approximately thirteen years of them in solitary confinement, before being released on parole in 2004. He continues to write and speak out for prisoners’ rights.

The Levasseur papers are an important record of a committed revolutionary and political prisoner. Beginning with his work in the early 1970s with the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform (SCAR), a prisoners’ rights organization, the collection includes communiques and other materials from revolutionary groups including the UFF, the Armed Resistance Unit, and the Black Liberation Army; Levasseur’s political and autobiographical writings; numerous interviews; selected correspondence; and a range of material on political prisoners and mass incarceration. Consisting in part of material seized by the FBI following Levasseur’s arrest or recovered through the Freedom of Information Act, and supplemented by newsclippings and video from media coverage, the collection has particularly rich content for the criminal and seditious conspiracy trials of UFF members (also known as the “Ohio 7”) in Brooklyn, NY and Springfield, MA, as well as Levasseur’s years in prison and his work on behalf of political prisoners.

Gift of Raymond Luc Levasseur, 2017

Subjects

Anti-imperialist movements--United StatesPolitical prisoners--United StatesPrisons--United StatesRevolutionaries

Contributors

Armed Clandestine MovementBlack Liberation ArmyManning, TomOhio 7Sam Melville/Jonathan Jackson UnitStatewide Correctional Alliance for ReformUnited Freedom FrontWilliams, Raymond C.

Types of material

PhotographsTrials
Levy, Donald

Donald Levy Papers

1966-1987
2 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 878
Depiction of Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968
Richie Havens at Krackerjacks, ca. 1968

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 1973, 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.”

Subjects

Counterculture--United States--20th centuryFashion--United States--20th centuryMassachusetts--Cambridge--History--20th centuryStores, Retail--Massachusetts

Contributors

Richman, Jonathan (Vocalist)

Types of material

ClippingsPetitionsPhotographs
Lewin, Julie

Julie Lewin Papers

1947-2003
11 boxes 5.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 454

Julie Lewin began her career as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist, and went from writing articles about sexual abuse of children and women’s prison reforms to lobbying for the protection and treatment of animals. The collection documents Lewin’s efforts to uphold the rights of animals, and in particular focuses on her opposition to the pet industry and to the use of animals in research.

Subjects

Animal rights--ActivismAnimal rights--AdvocatesAnimal rights--Law and legislationAnimal welfare--RescueConnecticut Humane SocietyGreyhound racingHuntingPet industryTrapping--LegholdVivisection-Animal research

Contributors

Lewin, Julie
Lewin, Leonard C.

Leonard C. Lewin Papers

1930s-1994
20 boxes 28.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 491

When Leonard Lewin’s satire Report from Iron Mountain was published in November 1967, as the U.S. was ramping up its involvement in Vietnam, it struck an immediate chord. Purporting to be a document leaked from a special study group in the highest level of the government, the Report examined the peril that would result to the economy and social stability of the nation should a condition of “permanent peace” break out.

The Lewin Papers offer insight into the history of the reception of Report from Iron Mountain and on Leonard Lewin’s career as a writer. Included in the collection are materials relating to his education at Harvard, his social and political background, his writing, and the copyright infringement legal case concerning the Report. Of additional interest are letters from his wife Iris, a union organizer during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and from his father, who ran sugar plantations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and a refinery in Indianapolis.

Subjects

Labor unions--ConnecticutVietnam War, 1961-1975

Contributors

Lewin, Leonard C
Lewis, Benjamin F.

Benjamin F. Lewis Collection of Robert Frost

1901-1986
301 items 24 linear feet
Call no.: RB 036

An avid collector of Robert Frost, Benjamin F. Lewis was born in Boston, on 23, 1941, to Leo and Anne (Starr) Lewis, Benjamin Lewis. Lewis enjoyed a distinguished career as a social worker, an adminstrator, a researcher in drug and alcohol abuse, and on the AIDS epidemic, working in his latter years as a member of the Department of Psychiatry at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Lewis died on Jan. 29, 2019, leaving his life partner Karen Orsini and two children. While working at Goodspeeds in Boston as a college student, Lewis was presented with a Robert Frost first edition, beginning a lifelong collecting habit.

The collection assembled by Lewis includes first and early editions of Frost’s books (many inscribed), early printings and later (life-time) editions of most, selected first appearances of his poetry in magazines and anthologies, scarce ephemeral printings of his work and association pieces, a handful of letters and holograph poems, and phonograph recordings of Frost reading his own work.

Gift of Benjamin F. Lewis and Karen Orsini, 2018-2019

Contributors

Frost, Robert, 1874-1963
Lewis, David L., 1936-

David Levering Lewis Papers

ca.1955-2012
54 boxes 81 linear feet
Call no.: MS 827
Depiction of David Levering Lewis
David Levering Lewis

The historian David Levering Lewis is the author of eight remarkably diverse monographs. Raised in an academic family, his father was president of Morris Brown College, Lewis enrolled at Fisk University at the age of 15 and was only 26 when he was awarded a doctorate in modern European history from the London School of Economics (1962). Through an academic career that has included numerous stops, including Morgan State, Notre Dame, Howard, the University of the District of Columbia (1970-1980), and Rutgers (1985-2003), Lewis remained consistently productive. Author of the first academic biography of Martin Luther King (1970) and a history of the Dreyfus Affair (1974), he wrote an influential study of the Harlem renaissance (1981) and important works on colonialism in Africa (1987) and Islamic Spain (2008), but he is best known for his two monumental biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois (1993, 2000), each of which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. One of the most lauded African American historians of his generation, Lewis was recipient of the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prizes, the 2009 National Humanities Medal, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and he was elected as a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Lewis was Julius Silver University Professor in History at New York University from 2003 until his retirement.

The papers of David Levering Lewis document a long and productive career as an academic historian and scholar of African American history and culture. Beginning with his years in college and graduate school, the collection offers a rich perspective on the evolution of his career. Lewis’s essential biographies of W.E.B. Du Bois are particularly well documented, however the collection includes abundant materials for each of his earlier projects, including correspondence, research notes, and drafts.

Subjects

African Americans--HistoryColonies--Africa--HistoryDu Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963Harlem RenaissanceHistorians--United StatesKing, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968United States--History--20th century

Types of material

Photographs
Lewis, Edward M.

Edward M. Lewis Papers

1910-1936
6 boxes 2.5 linear feet
Call no.: RG 003/1 L49

A one time baseball player, Edward M. Lewis was hired as a Professor of Language and Literature at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, serving as the College’s President from 1924 to 1927.

Includes personal and official correspondence primarily while Dean and President of Massachusetts Agricultural College, particularly with President Kenyon Leech Butterfield (1868-1935); administrative memoranda; student records; other records generated while Dean and President of MAC on such subjects as relations of the college with state officials, curriculum, purpose of the college, desirability of compulsory chapel, establishment of Jewish fraternities, and women’s education; also, transcripts of addresses, newspaper clippings, and biographical material. The collection includes nothing relating to Lewis’s baseball or teaching careers.

Subjects

Massachusetts Agricultural College. FacultyMassachusetts Agricultural College. President

Contributors

Lewis, Edward M