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

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Title:Sara R. Ehrmann papers
Dates:1845-1993 (bulk 1924-1988)
Call Number:M39
List of Contents
Series: 1. Geographical Files, 1845-1992 (bulk dates 1925-1969)
Volume:7.8 cubic ft.

Alphabetically by state; foreign contries follow


This series documents capital punishment in the United States (with the exception of Wyoming) and in a small number of foreign countries. Coverage of Massachusetts is extensive. Topics covered include capital punishment, civil rights, crime and justice, government, government officials, and individuals and organizations opposed to capital punishment.

Researchers should be aware that there is some overlap between this series and Series 2. This series contains sparse correspondence with some individuals documented in Series 2, Subseries B. Series 2, Subseries C contains material largely related to Massachusetts. Files on the United Prison Association and the Massachusetts Correctional Association are located in Series 2, Subseries A. Audiotapes relating to the Norfolk Lifers Group (7 cassettes) and Radio Free Norfolk (2 cassettes) can be found in Series 6.

Although correspondence and publications generated by the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty are concentrated in Series 4, small amounts also appear in this series and in Series 2.

United States
1-2Alabama – Delaware1924-1990
2, 47District of Columbia1935-1965
2Florida – Maryland1905-1988
2-3Subjects, A-Z1928-1992
3, FF5/D8Organizations, A-Z1906-1992
3-5, 47Legislative1900-1990
6Minnesota – New York1891-1991
7North Carolina – Wisconsin1898-1990
7Puerto Rico1929, 1938, 1945, 1966
Foreign Countries
7Algeria – Canada1928-1987
8Ceylon - Venezuela1890-1990
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Series: 2. Subject Files, 1849-1991 (bulk dates 1925-1980)
Volume:13.9 cubic ft.

Organized alphabetically into 3 subseries: A.) Subjects; B.) Individuals; and C.) Newspaper Clippings


This series documents topics related to capital punishment and criminal justice. It also documents individual opponents and supporters of capital punishment as well as other prominent individuals. Researchers should be aware that there is some overlap between this series and Series 1. Sparse correspondence with some individuals documented Subseries B. can also be found in Series 1 under the appropriate state. Although correspondence and publications generated by the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty are concentrated in Series 4, a small amount can be found in this series and in Series 1.

Subseries A documents capital punishment, efforts to abolish it, and other related topics. Topics of special interest include: cartoons, crime, criminal justice, death row, executions and executioners, innocence, kidnapping, legislation and legislators, lifers, prisons and prisoners, religious organizations, the Sacco and Vanzetti case, and crime statistics. In addition there are files on organizations opposed to capital punishment such as the Anti-Capital Punishment League, Citizens Against Legalized Murder, and the United Prison Association (later renamed Massachusetts Correctional Association, but filed under United Prison Association). Researchers should be aware that information on some of these organizations may also be found in Series 1 under the appropriate state. There are also two audiocassettes and one videotape concerning the Sacco and Vanzetti case in Series 6. The Norfolk Lifers Group is found in Series 1 under Massachusetts (box 2, folder 71 and box 3, folders 1-2). There are also seven audiocassettes related to the Norfolk Lifers Group and two audiocassettes related to Radio Free Norfolk in Series 6.

Subseries B consists of folders on individuals, which contain correspondence and/or collected information such as articles, editorials and newspaper clippings. The individuals documented in this series include: state and federal officials, proponents and opponents of capital punishment, and other prominent individuals. Also included are contributors, members, and officers of the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and of the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Some of the more well-known individuals include: Hugo Bedau, Herbert Cobin, Clarence Darrow, Crosby Forbes, Victor Friend, Arthur Garfield Hays, Sumner Kaplan, Lewis Lawes, Donal MacNamara, Herbert Parsons, Vivian Pierce, Thorsten Sellen, and Miriam van Waters. Sparse correspondence and collected information exists on a number of prominent individuals, notably: James M. Curley, Michael Dukakis, Henry Ford, Felix Frankfurter, William Randolph Hearst, J. Edgar Hoover, and Karl Menninger.

Subseries C consists of newspaper clippings mainly from Boston- area newspapers organized into three broad topics: capital punishment, murder cases, and other subjects. The bulk of this material relates to Massachusetts.

Subseries A: Subjects
8A – Ant1875-1992
9, 47Att – Con1928-1992
10Cor – H1901-1990
11I – Mag1925-1985
12, 47Med – Pre1904-1992
13Pre – Rel1957-1991
14Rel – Sac1921-1990
15Sac – Uni1926-1988
16Uni – Y 1929-1970
Subseries B: Individuals
16A – Doy1849-1985
17Dri – K1924-1983
18L – Ran1925-1984
19Rea – Z1925-1981
Subseries C: Newspaper Clippings
41Capital Punishment1955-1989
42Murder Cases1950-1984
41-42Other Subjects1970s-1980s
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Series: 3. Case Files, ca. 1857-1992 (bulk dates 1924-1980)
Volume:12.0 cubic ft.

Alphabetically by state, then by case name.


This series consists of information on prisoners from throughout the United States, with the exception of Alaska. The most common offense for which the prisoners were sentenced is murder, but other crimes are represented, notably rape.

Cases for which there is only a small amount of information have been grouped alphabetically into general folders under each state. Cases in which multiple persons were involved are filed under the name of the person whose name comes first alphabetically.

This series consists mainly of newspaper clippings; however, there are also pamphlets, flyers, informational cards and correspondence from the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and the Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Correspondence between Sara R. Ehrmann and various prisoners can be found in this series and in the Norfolk Lifers Group folders filed under Massachusetts in Series 1 (box 2, folder 71 and box 3, folders 1-2), and in Series 5. Researchers should also be aware that some material pertaining to individual cases may be found in Series 2, Subseries C; these are mainly Massachusetts cases from the 1970s and 1980s.

Documentation of the Sacco and Vanzetti case is found in Series 2 (box 14, folders 8-35 and box 15, folders 1-12). There are also two audiocassettes and one videotape concerning the Sacco and Vanzetti case in Series 6.

20Alabama – Arkansas1928-1980
20A – Moo1893-1992
21Mor – Z1936-1975
21Colorado – Florida1930-1991
21A – F1929-1986
22H – W1929-1972
22Hawaii – Louisiana1924-1984
23Maine – Marylandn.d.
23A - Bonn.d.
24Bon – Coon.d.
25Cot – Kern.d.
26Ker – Nikn.d.
27Nob – Yn.d.
28Michigan – New Mexicon.d.
New York
28A – Cn.d.
29C- Zn.d.
29North Carolina – Oklahoman.d.
30Oregon – Rhode Islandn.d.
31South Carolina – Wyomingn.d.
31State Unknownn.d.
31Federal Casesn.d.
31Military Casesn.d.
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Series: 4. Organizations, ca. 1890-1992 (bulk dates 1969)
Volume:6.4 cubic ft.

Organized alphabetically into 3 subseries: A.) American League to Abolish Capital Punishment; B.) Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty; and C.) Combined American League/Massachusetts Council.


This series documents two distinct organizations that eventually worked together in the same location under the direction of Sara R. Ehrmann.

The series includes: annual reports, bibliographies, bylaws, correspondence, financial and fund-raising records, flyers, informational cards, minutes and other information about meetings, membership lists, letters requesting information, and speaker's notes. There are also collected publications, publications produced by the two organizations, and reprints of articles that appeared in the press.

Subseries C consists of informational cards, other organizations' publications, and reprints produced by either the American League and the Massachusetts Council.

The bulk of material in this collection relating to and generated by the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment and Massachusetts Council to Abolish the Death Penalty is concentrated in this series. However, researchers should be aware that correspondence, publications, and press reprints generated by the two organizations can also be found elsewhere in the collection. Throughout Series 1, there is sparse correspondence between the two organizations and other organizations and individuals opposed to capital punishment. Information on and correspondence with officers and supporters of the two organizations can also be found in Series 2, Subseries B (boxes 16- 19). Sparse material documenting the two organizations' work on individual capital cases may be found in Series 3.

Subseries A: American League to Abolish Capital Punishment
32Active States1953
32Annual Meetings (3 folders)1937-1947
32Annual Reports1930-1971
32Audit Correspondence1939-1941
32Audits (13 folders)1925-1944
32Bank Resolutions1945
32Bequestsn.d., 1933-1948, 1964
32Bibliographies1956, 1968
32Board Contributions1955-1956
32Board of Directors Meeting Minutes (23 folders)1925-1960
Card Files
32Clemency Appealsn.d., 1955-1969
32Constitution and Bylaws1936
32Correctional Council Minutes1937-1969
32Correspondence (3 folders)1927-1976
32Finance (14 folders)n.d., 1930-1971
32Fundraisers and Listsn.d., 1952-1964
32Fund-raising (4 folders)1938-1968
32Hoffman, Frederick L.1928-1939
32Incorporationn.d., 1929, 1952
32Individuals Against the Death Penalty1939-1941
32Legislative Committeen.d., 1941
32“A Look at Capital Punishment” (Conference Papers)1956
32Mailing Analysis1953
32Mailing List1970
32Meetings (5 folders)n.d., 1925-1969
32Members, Membership (6 folders)1943-1970
33Miscellaneous (4 folders)n.d., 1938-1982
33Move to Massachusetts1949
33New Yorkn.d.
33New York Charitable Foundations Registration1967
33New York: Proposal for New York National Office: Correspondence1966
33Officers (2 folders)1950-1958
33Orders for Material1932-1939, 1952-1968
33Organization of Local Committeesn.d., 1953-1959
33Publicationsn.d., [1920]-1971
33Reorganizationn.d., 1951-1953
33Reports and Press Releases1928-1932
33Requests for Material and Information (15 folders)n.d., 1931-1965
33Resumes and Applications1950-1966
49Sealca. 1929
33Speakersn.d., 1931-1966
33Speakers Notesn.d., 1927-1945
33State Abolition Groupsn.d., 1963-1969
33State Committees1969-1971
33Taxes (2 folders)1930-1963
33Treasurer's Reports (7 folders)1951-1965
33Victory Meeting (2 folders)1965
33von Roosehlaub, Ruth1936-1938
33Western Council1948
Subseries B: Massachusetts Council for the Abolition of the Death Penalty
34Administrative Records (2 folders)n.d., 1937-1969
34Advisory Council1928, 1930
34Authorities (3 folders)n.d., 1931-1967
34Board of Directorsn.d., 1967-1976
34Board of Governors (12 folders)1956-1968
34Board Meetings1967-1969
34Brookline Redevelopment Authority1966-1967
Card Files
34Community Action Committeen.d., 1965-1968
34Contactsn.d., 1947-1949
34Contacts - Constituentsn.d., 1961-1977
34-35Correspondence (31 folders)n.d., 1927-1982
35Deathsn.d., 1952-1957, 1985
35Endorsements (5 folders)n.d., 1929-1953, 1963-1965
35Executive Committee1968
35Executive Secretary's Reports1929-1933
35Finance (7 folders)n.d., 1938-1970
35Finance Appealsn.d., 1931-1959
35Finance Audit1941
35Finance Campaign1948
35Finance Committee (2 folders)n.d., 1947-1950, 1956, 1966
35Finance – Lobbying Costs1956
35Finance Reports (4 folders)1940-1966
35Fund-Raisingn.d., 1940-1969
35Hearings (4 folders)1941-1962
35Historyn.d., 1943-1990
35Interdenominational Committeen.d., 1964
35Interfaith Clergy Committee1967
35Key Names (3 folders)n.d., 1935-1963
35Leading Spokesmen Quotesn.d., 1953-1966
35Legaciesn.d., 1951-1959
35Legislative Campaign Printing and Publicity1941
35Legislators (2 folders)n.d., 1943-1962
35Letters to the Editor1931-1969
35Lobbying (3 folders)n.d., 1931-1975
35Mailings to Membership1968-1970
Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty
35Board Meetings1983-1991
35Generaln.d., 1983-1992
Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty Fund
35Board Meetings1985-199?
35Generaln.d., 1985-1991
35Herbert and Sara Ehrmann Award1985-1991
36Meetings (4 folders)n.d., 1932, 1940-1975
36Membershipn.d., 1956-1975
36Miscellaneous (2 folders)n.d., 1929-1966
36Office Spacen.d., 1949-1967
36Officers1939-1941, 1967
36Organizational Material for Brochure/Letterhead1968-1969
36Publications (3 folders)n.d., 1928-1969
36Publicityn.d., 1955-1957
36Researchn.d., ca. 1930-1963
36Sample Letters, etc.1969
36Speakers Notesn.d.
36Sponsor Listsn.d.
36Taxesn.d., 1956-1966
36Treasurer's Reports1946-1948
36Women's Committeen.d., 1941, 1956-1965
Subseries C: Combined American League/Massachusetts Council
45Informational Cardsn.d.
36Collected Publications: Other Organizationsca. 1890-1970
36-37Reprints (11 folders)ca. 1890-1970
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Series: 5. Personal Files, 1906-1993 (bulk dates 1950-1990)
Volume:3.4 cubic ft.



This series contains information on Sara R. Ehrmann and her community activism, including work on behalf of Jewish and women's organizations. Materials include: awards, biographical information, correspondence (including cards and letters from prisoners), interviews, photographs and slides, and some of Ehrmann's writings.

Researchers should note that correspondence between Sara R. Ehrmann and prisoners can also be found in the Norfolk Lifers Group folders filed under Massachusetts in Series 1 (box 2, folder 71 and box 3, folders 1-2) and scattered throughout Series 3. Audiotaped and videotaped interviews with Ehrmann, an audiocassette of a Boston University Law School panel in which she participated, and an audiocassette related to the Community Church of Boston's Sacco and Vanzetti Award given to Ehrmann in 1982 can be found in Series 6. The audiotaped interviews in Series 6 are different from the printed interviews found in this series.

37, 47American Jewish Committeen.d., 1947-1991
37American Jewish Congress1982, 1985
37American Jewish Historical Societyn.d., 1977
37American Jewish Joint Distribution Committeen.d., 1941
37American Society of Criminology1961-1984
37Articlesn.d., ca. 1931-1963
37Associated Jewish Philanthropiesn.d., 1940-1947
Awards and Citations
37Abraham T. Alper Award1982, 1984
FF5/D8Abraham T. Alper Award Certificate1982
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
37Sara R. Ehrmann Day Proclamation1985
37State Senate Citation1985
37Fannie R. Bigelow Awardn.d., 1931, 1952-1955
37Hecker Award1981
FF5/D8Hecker Award Certificate1981
37Lane Bryant Awardn.d., 1966-1971
FF5/D8Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty1993
37Miscellaneousca. 1940, 1971-1977
37Norman S. Rabb Merit Award1970-1971
49Norman S. Rabb Trophy1971
37Sacco-Vanzetti Memorial Award1982
FF5/D8Sacco-Vanzetti Award Certificate1982
37Beth Israel Hospital Volunteer Servicen.d., 1942, 1951
37Billy Sunday Manuscript1976
37Biographical (4 folders)n.d., ca. 1912-1990
37Brooklinen.d., 1950-1991
37Brookline Selectman1946, 1960
37“Capital Punishment Today – Why?”n.d., 1958-1960
Card Files
37Charitiesn.d., 1971-1989
37Combined Jewish Philanthropies1965, 1978, 1983-1993
37-38Correspondence (11 folders)n.d., 1915-1993
38, FF5/D8Correspondence with Prisonersn.d., 1940, 1952, 1967-1992
38Education1908-1937, 1982
38Ehrmann Familyn.d., 1948-1991
38Ehrmann, Herbert B. (5 folders)n.d., 1914-1972
38“For Whom the Chair Waits” (3 folders)n.d., 1957, 1961-1962
47Harvard Agreement1971
38Inaugural Invitation1977
38Interviews (2 folders)n.d., 1977-1990
39Jewish Community Council1975-1977
39League of Women Votersn.d., 1944-1992
39Legislative Testimony1953-1966
39Mailing Listsn.d., 1960-1970
39National Refugee Service1941
39Northeastern University (4 folders)n.d., 1967-1992
39Notes (9 folders)n.d.
39-40Notepads and Address Books (6 folders)n.d., 1930-1986
40Obituaries and Memorial Servicesn.d., 1944-1990
40Other (3 folders)n.d.
40Photographs (2 folders)n.d., 1942-1987
40Public Appearancesn.d., 1935-1968
40Rosenfeld, Royn.d., 1906-1981
40Sara R. Ehrmann Foundationn.d., 1971-1985
40Sharon, Massachusetts High School1977, 1986
40Speeches (4 folders)n.d., 1939-1990
40Star Island Conferencesn.d., 1972-1978
40Theatern.d., 1924, 1935
40United Jewish Campaignn.d., 1938-1978
40United Nations Conference1970
40U.S.O. Greater Boston Soldiers and Sailors Committee1944-1945
40University of Rochestern.d., 1917-1953
40Willn.d., 1975-1984
40Woman's Organizations, Variousn.d., 1973
40Writingn.d., 1939-1982
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Series: 6. Audio/Visual Materials, n.d., 1967-1990
Volume:0.3 cubic ft.

Alphabetical by medium.


This series consists of audio and video tapes, including interviews with Sara R. Ehrmann , prisoners, and others. There is also a VHS tape of a television program on the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Additional documentation of the Sacco and Vanzetti case is found in Series 2 (box 14, folders 8-35 and box 15, folders 1-12). Additional documentation of the Norfolk Lifers Group can be found in Series 1 (box 2, folder 71 and box 3, folders 1-2).

48Boston University School of Law Panel, including Hugo Bedau, William Homans, Joseph Ingle, and Sara R. Ehrmannn.d.
48Community Church of Boston, Sacco and Vanzetti Award to Sara R. Ehrmann, address by Max Stern18 April 1982
48Norfolk Lifers Group (7 cassettes)n.d.
Radio Free Norfolk
48Interview with Hugo Bedau31 October 1979
48“John Kerrigan: Villain or Victim”19 July 1979
48Sacco and Vanzetti, Dukakis Proclamation22 August 1977
Sara R. Ehrmann Interviews
4812 August 1990
48On Sacco and Vanzettin.d.
48With Dr. William Alberts (2 cassettes)11 March 1982
48With Michael Sussmann (6 cassettes)1978
Open Reel Audiotape
48UnidentifiedDecember 1967
VHS Tapes
48Sacco and Vanzetti “Chronicle” Program12 March 1986
48Sara R. Ehrmann Interview with Alan Stoskopf of Brookline High School24 June 1986
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