Honoring Generosity

DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN LEWIS ’86, 77, of Windsor, NH passed away on January 29, 2019, survived by his children and his spouBook cover: Robert Frost poemsse, Karen Collis Orsini. Born in Boston in 1941, Ben worked for many years in mental health administration, but his lifelong love of books dates back to a summer job he held at the famed Goodspeed’s Book Shop in Boston during his college years. As a reward for hard work, Ben was given a first edition of Robert Frost, which set him on a long bibliographic and collecting journey. The Ben Lewis Collection of Robert Frost, donated to the Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives shortly before his death, includes signed copies of first and other editions of nearly all of Frost’s works, along with first appearances of many of Frost’s poems in magazines, special editions, ephemera, and a handful of autographs and letters.

books in the Masha Rudman Issues in Children's Literature CollectionDR. MASHA K. RUDMAN G’70 (Education), Emeritus Faculty, College of Education, was an innovator in the field of children’s literature. Her book Children’s Literature: An Issues Approach in its many editions was groundbreaking in its approach to the study of multicultural literature. Not only was she a dedicated advocate for libraries but indeed was a librarian in her own right as she developed a taxonomic system for the organization and discovery of the many facets of Children’s Literature. In 2009, she donated her private collection of more than 8,000 books to the Libraries. The Masha K. Rudman Issues in Children’s Literature Collection is housed on Floor 21 of the Du Bois Library, occupying a place of honor in our stacks and retaining its distinctive organizational scheme to this day. Masha’s long-time friend, author Jane Yolen, remembers that in all ways, Masha was “bigger than life—a mentor, friend, sister, mom, best friend to her students. Harder on herself than on others, she was the pathfinder always going ahead and then waiting patiently for the rest to catch up. She read the world deeply and made the world into deep readers. And her enthusiasms, even at the end of her time, never diminished but became a light for everyone else to follow.”

Norton Anthology booksDR. SALLY N. LAWALL, who passed away in March, 2019, was distinguished professor of Comparative Literature and French at UMass Amherst beginning in 1965. Sally was born in Newton and grew up in Wellesley Hills. She attended Oberlin College, where she majored in French, studied piano at the conservatory, and met her husband-to-be, Gilbert. After graduation, she pursued a doctoral degree in Comparative Literature at Yale University which she received in 1961. She and Gilbert moved to Amherst in 1965. She was a passionate lover of libraries and print culture and a person dedicated to promoting the centrality of the library in the intellectual life of the university community. Her scholarly editorial work on The Norton Anthology of World Literature opened the world of comparative literature to generations of undergraduate students and gave long overdue attention to the role of women, indigenous peoples, and the place of developing nations in the field of world literature. With an estate gift, Sally established an endowment to support library acquisition of books on comparative literature and, more broadly, the humanities. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Professor Gilbert W. Lawall.

Also in March, we bid farewell to WILFRED (BILL) R. LENVILLE. Bill was a lifelong book collector and he and his wife, Francesca, have given the majority of his collection to UMass. Bill always had a keen interest in books; he bought his first rare book—Spelman’s translation of The Roman Antiquities (1758)—as a high school student. He amassed a collectioRoman Antiquities booksn of more than 8,000 volumes in his lifetime.

The Lenvilles wanted the collection housed at a public repository with wide access, to light the imagination of students and instill in them a love for the printed book in the digital age. Bill’s interest in books was wide-ranging and eclectic, but he had a discerning eye. Most of his books are in immaculate condition and he took great pains to repair and restore bindings as needed or to rebind them in a sensitive manner. He and Francesca have established a trust to ensure their long-term care.

Orthodox woman, ca. 1978, Macedonia, Joel Halpern Collection
Orthodox woman, ca. 1978, Macedonia, Joel Halpern Collection

DR. JOEL HALPERN passed in July, 2019. Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, he was a generous donor of materials to the Libraries for nearly thirty years. Throughout his long career, he conducted ethnographic research in regions ranging from Lapland to Laos, and is best known for his studies of the effects of modernization in the Balkans, particularly the work he and his wife, Barbara, performed in the Serbian village of Orašac, which spanned six decades. His own work in anthropology, chiefly in Southeast Asia and the former Yugoslavia, allowed him to amass a noteworthy collection of otherwise hard-to-find books and journals from those locales which, upon his retirement, he carefully screened and then presented to the Libraries. He was not only a staunch advocate for libraries but also a familiar figure to all of the many librarians whom he befriended during his years of post-retirement engagement with library resources. Joel’s partner since 1985, June Guild, whose family papers reside at the Libraries, survives him. View thousands of items from the Joel Martin Halpern Papers.


Larry Paros was a man filled with compassion and commitment for creating educational equity in the United States. He directed the Yale Summer High School (YSHS) program.  It was an initiative that would have life-long impact on those who attended and which he documented in the film “Walk Right In, the Movie.” YSHS cemented some life-long relationships for many with Larry who was an instigator for equity and equality in education as well as an advocate of alternative educational programs. What didn’t exist in the educational landscape of the 1960s and 1970s, he invented. Larry Paros was one of a kind—teacher, mentor, guru, instigator, advocate—and everything he did was to make the world and field of education better. Larry Paros’s papers on the Yale Summer High School and his other alternative education endeavors are part of the Larry Paros Alternative Education Collection in Special Collections and University Archives, in the Irma McClaurin Black Feminist Archive.