Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Ehrmann, Sara R.
Title:Sara R. Ehrmann papers
Date:1845-1993 (bulk 1924-1988)
Reference Code:M39
Location Code:65/1-2, 66/3-4, FF5/D8
Extent:43.80 cubic ft. (49 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The collection documents capital punishment in the United States in the twentieth century, the activities of the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, and Sara Ehrmann's work opposing capital punishment. It includes case files of prisoners (mainly those condemned to death), material related to the American League and Massachusetts Council, files documenting capital punishment in each state, and collected published and unpublished material on capital punishment and related subjects. The collection also includes a limited amount of biographical information on Sara Ehrmann.
Historical Abstract:Sara R. Ehrmann (1895-1993) was a Boston-area civic leader best known for her work as an opponent of capital punishment. Ehrmann's career as a capital punishment abolitionist began in 1925 when her husband Herbert B. Ehrmann became an associate counsel for Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists convicted of murder and condemned to death. Sara Ehrmann was a key leader of the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty (1928-1969) and the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment (1949-1969). She was also active in organizations serving prisoners, notably the United Prison Association and Friends of Framingham. In addition, she was active in Jewish and women's organizations and in civic life in the Town of Brookline, Massachusetts.
System of Arrangement:Insert arrangement statement Organized into 6 series: 1. Geographical Files; 2. Subject Files; 3. Case Files; 4. Organizations; 5. Personal Files; and 6. Audio/Visual Materials.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Ehrmann, Sara R., 1895-1993
  • Arsenault, Henry P., 1927-
  • Bedau, Hugo Adam
  • Bonomi, Dominick L.
  • Chapin, Kenneth R., 1937-
  • Chessman, Caryl, 1921-1960
  • Darrow, Clarence, 1857-1938
  • Ehrmann, Herbert Brutus, 1891-1970
  • Facente, Antonio, 1946-1979
  • Kerrigan, John J., 1919-
  • Lawes, Lewis, 1884?-1947
  • Lee, Edward H., 1916-
  • Neal, Don J., 1920?-1955
  • Pierce, Vivian
  • Sacco, Nicola, 1891-1927
  • Tracy, Charles E.
  • van Waters, Miriam, 1887-1974
  • Vanzetti, Bartolomeo, 1888-1927

  • American League to Abolish Capital Punishment
  • Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty
  • Anti-Capital Punishment League
  • Capital Punishment Information Services
  • Citizens Against Legalized Murder
  • Massachusetts Correctional Association
  • Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty
  • Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty Fund
  • Massachusetts Correctional Council
  • Norfolk Lifers Group
  • United Prison Association of Massachusetts

  • Capital punishment
  • Criminal law
  • Criminals
  • Death row inmates
  • Discrimination and capital punishment
  • Executions and executioners
  • Prison Administration -- Massachusetts
  • Prison reformers -- Massachusetts
  • Prisoners
  • Prisons
  • Sacco-Vanzetti trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921
  • Violent crimes

Conditions Governing Access:The collection is unrestricted.
Processor: Finding aid prepared by Jane McCavitt, September 1982; updated by Martha Pearson, May 2014.