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Lillian Reiner Collection

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Reiner, Lillian
Title: Lillian Reiner Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1890-1991
Quantity: 12 linear ft.
Abstract: Spanning 1890 to 1991, the Lillian Reiner Collection comprises Correspondence/subject files, Writings, and Memorabilia relating to the Syracuse, New York teacher and political activist (1901-1987).
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Lillian Reiner (1901-1987) was a native of Syracuse, New York and a civil rights and peace activist. She graduated from Syracuse University at the age of 64 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor, State Legislature, Congress and other offices as a member of the Onondaga County Liberal Party. In her campaigns, she often drew attention to issues of human services and the threat of nuclear weapons.

She was a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the National Organization for Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union. She was an advocate of gay rights and belonged to a number of peace organizatons, including the Syracuse Peace Council.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

A perpetual candidate and letter writer, Lillian Reiner was an active voice in many liberal causes and her interests and activism provide a unique perspective on the political climate of Central New York in the second half of the Twentieth Century. The Lillian Reiner Collection comprises Correspondence/subject files, Writings, and Memorabilia relating to the Syracuse, New York teacher and political activist (1901-1987).

Arranged alphabetically, the Correspondence/subject files (Boxes 1-3) illustrate the wide range of issues and organizations to which Reiner gave her time and talent, as well as her many campaigns for political office.

Including articles, letters to editors, and class notes by Lillian Reiner, Writings (Box 4) primarily comprise material gathered for Gutsy Lady, Reiner’s memoir, which was completed by Sari Biklen, Janet Bogdan, Karen DeCrow, and Jean M. Hoefer following Reiner’s death.

Memorabilia (Boxes 5-8) includes clippings, photographs, and printed material as well as Reiner’s collection of political buttons.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Reiner, Lillian, Archives

Corporate Bodies

Liberal Party of New York State


Women political activists, New York (State)
Women political candidates, New York (State)
Women social reformers

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Notes (documents)


Social reformers.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Lillian Reiner Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Sari Biklen, Janet Bogdan, Karen DeCrow, and Jean M. Hoefer. Refer to donor file or finding aids file for itemized donor/material list.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: PRB
Date: May 2004
Revision history:

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Biographical material
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 General correspondence
Box 1 Family correspondence
See also Brooks, Rodney A. and Elman, Isadore
Box 1 Abortion rights
Box 1 Abzug, Bella S.
Box 1 Action Coalition to Create Opportunities for Retirement with Dignity, Inc.
Box 1 Adams, Sherman A.
Box 1 Advocates Dedicated to Vigorous Ongoing Change of Attitudes Toward the Elderly
Box 1 American Association of University Women, Syracuse Branch
Box 1 American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born
Box 1 American Jewish Congress
Box 1 American Labor Party
Box 1 American–Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Box 1 Americans for Democratic Action
Box 1 Auer, Martin S.
Box 1 Biklen, Sari
Box 1 Black civil rights
Box 1 Brooks, Rodney A.
Box 1 1954 - U.S. Representative, 35th Congressional District
Box 1 1973 - Mayor of Syracuse (2 folders)
Box 1 1974 - New York State Assembly, 121st District
Box 1 1976 - U.S. Representative, 33rd Congressional District
Box 1 1977 - Onondaga County Clerk
Box 1 1978 - U.S. Representative, 32nd Congressional District
Box 1 1982 - New York State Assembly, 120th District
Box 1 1983 - Onondaga County Executive
Box 1 1987 - Onondaga County Executive
Box 1 undated
Box 1 Canadian Aid for Vietnam Civilians (Vancouver, BC)
Box 1 Central New York Committee Against Racism and Apartheid
Box 1 Children’s Center of Brookline and Greater Boston, The
Box 1 Children’s Television Workshop (New York, NY)
Box 1 Citizens for Water (Syracuse, NY)
Box 1 Citizens United Against Police Brutality (Syracuse, NY)
Box 1 Community Action Group Concerned with the Needs of the Institutionalized Elderly
Box 1 Congress of Racial Equality
Box 1 Consumer Information Service Center, Syracuse, NY
Box 1 Cousins, Norman
Box 1 Cowen, June C.
Box 1 DeBenedittis, Victor
Box 1 DeCrow, Karen
Box 1 Eastern Airlines
Box 1 Education
Box 1 Elderhostel
Box 1 Elman, Isadore
Box 1 Equal Rights Amendment
Feiner, Irving
See Young Progressives of America, Syracuse University Chapter
Box 1 Fisher, Marguerite J.
Box 1 Foster Grandparent Program
Box 1 Frontiers in Elementary Education Conference July 14-16, 1954
Box 1 Gay rights
Box 1 General Electric
Box 1 Gray Panthers
Box 1 The Guardian
Harambee, Inc.
See Westcott Youth Organization (Syracuse, NY)
Box 1 Hanley, James M.
Box 1 Housing, Syracuse, NY 1954
Box 1 Hunt, James B.
Box 1 Hyman, Irwin I.
Box 1 Javits, Jacob K.
Box 1 Johnson, Edwin Carl
Box 1 Krupsak, May Ann
Box 1 League of Women Shoppers, Inc.
Box 1 League of Women Voters
Box 1 Liberal Party of New York State
Box 1 Lytell, Elaine
Box 1 Manwell, Elizabeth M.
Box 1 Marcantonio, Vito
Box 2 May Memorial Unitarian Society (Syracuse, NY)
Box 2 McMahon, Brien
Box 2 Meadowbrook Area Task Force (Syracuse, NY)
Box 2 Meals on Wheels
Box 2 Migrant labor
Box 2 Military draft
Box 2 Municipal power
Box 2 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Committee to Reopen the Rosenberg Case
See Rosenberg/Sobell case
National Committee to Secure Justice for Morton Sobell
See Rosenberg/Sobell case
National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case
See Rosenberg/Sobell case
National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg-Sobell Case
See Rosenberg/Sobell case
Box 2 National Council of American-Soviet Friendship
Box 2 National Council of Senior Citizens, Inc.
Box 2 National Council of Jewish Women
Box 2 National Council of Negro Women
Box 2 National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee
National Labor Committee for Clemency for the Rosenbergs
See Rosenberg/Sobell case
Box 2 National Organization for Women 1968-1987, undated (4 folders)
Box 2 National Small Business Association
Box 2 National Women’s Political Caucus
Box 2 New Jewish Agenda
Box 2 New York Civil Liberties Union, Central New York Chapter
Box 2 New York State Assembly
Box 2 New York State Senate, Standing Committee on Labor
Box 2 New York State Teachers’ Retirement System
New York State Women’s Political Caucus
See National Women’s Political Caucus
Box 2 New York State Workmen’s Compensation Board
Box 2 Nuclear arms
Box 2 Nuclear power
Box 2 On the Rise Bakery (Syracuse, NY)
Onondaga County Women’s Political Caucus
See National Women’s Political Caucus
Box 2 Onondaga Independent Citizens’ Committee 1946
Box 2 Pageant
Box 2 Peace Now Jerusalem
Box 2 Peacewriters Network
Box 2 Police brutality
Box 2 Post-war race relations
Box 2 Progressive Citizens of America
Box 2 Retirement
Box 2 Rogers, Stephen
Box 2 Rosenberg/Sobell case 1952-1983 (4 folders)
Box 3 Schwartzman, Marshall
Seidenberg, Robert
See also National Organization for Women
Box 3 Skills for Action
Box 3 Smith, Howard K.
Box 3 Sobell, Helen
See also Rosenberg/Sobell case
Box 3 Society for Ethical Culture
Box 3 Speaking engagements 1962-1986
Box 3 State Press (Little Rock, AR)
Box 3 Syracuse (NY) Citizens’ Committee for Fair and Effective Price Control
Box 3 Syracuse (NY) City School District
Box 3 Syracuse Coalition for the Free Flow of Information in the Broadcast Media
Syracuse Developmental Center Advisory Board
See Syracuse State School Advisory Board
Box 3 Syracuse Housing Authority
Box 3 Syracuse Peace Council
Box 3 Syracuse State School Advisory Board
Box 3 Syracuse University Alumni News
Box 3 Syracuse University Center on Human Policy
Box 3 Syracuse University Humanistic Studies Center
Box 3 Syracuse (NY) Women for Peace
Box 3 Thresholds Correctional Solutions
Union for Democratic Action
See Americans for Democratic Action
Box 3 United Nations Association of Central New York
Box 3 United States Central Intelligence Agency
Box 3 United States Department of Agriculture Emergency Food Program
Box 3 United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
Box 3 United States Office of Price Administration National Consumer Advisory Committee
Box 3 United States Post Office Department
Box 3 Walsh, William F.
Box 3 War tax resistance
Box 3 Westcott Youth Organization (Syracuse, NY)
Box 3 Women in politics
Box 3 Women’s issues
Box 3 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1961-1985, undated (3 folders)
Box 3 Young Progressives of America, Syracuse University Chapter
Box 3 Youth March for Integrated Schools 1959
Box 3 Zimmer, Melvin N.
Box 4 Advocate 3/9/1974 - typescript
Box 4 Gutsy Lady Lillian Reiner Book Fund Syracuse, NY 1991
"That Gutsy Lady" (working title)
Box 4 Lillian Reiner’s first draft – typescript (2 folders)
Box 4 Jean Hoefer’s draft copy – typescript (11 folders)
Research notes
Box 4 "Activities"
Box 4 "Anti-Jew/Black"
Box 4 "Barry Park"
Box 4 "Biographical"
Box 4 "Black rights"
Box 4 "Chapter one"
Box 4 "Brooks, Rodney"
Box 4 "C.O.R.E."
Box 4 "Chronology"
Box 4 "Communist Party"
Box 4 "Cub Scouts"
Box 4 "Death penalty"
Box 4 "DeCrow interview"
Box 4 "Eightieth birthday"
Box 4 "Environmental hazards"
Box 4 "F.B.I."
Box 4 "Family"
Box 4 "Famous people"
Box 4 "Feiner case"
Box 4 "Feminist"
Box 4 "Foster Grandparents"
Box 4 "Friends"
Interviews (transcripts)
Box 4 Reiner, Larry, "tape 4a" undated
Box 4 Reiner, Lillian "tape 1" Nov. 15, 1977
Box 4 Reiner, Lillian "Session2 tape1" Nov. 29, 1977
Box 4 Reiner, Lillian 1981 (2 folders)
Box 4 Reiner, Lillian "Session 1 tape 2" undated
Box 4 Reiner, Lillian "Interviewer’s notes" undated
Box 4 Washington, Henry Oct. 26, 1978
Box 4 "Letters to publishers"
Box 4 "Liberal Party"
Box 4 "Military draft"
Box 4 "N.A.A.C.P."
Box 4 "Newspapers"
Box 4 "Obits"
Box 4 "Outlines"
Box 4 "P.C.A.-A.L.P."
Box 4 "Peace"
Box 4 "Personal philosophy"
Box 4 "Picketing"
Box 4 "Police brutality"
Box 4 "Regal Restaurant"
Box 4 "Reiner’s notes"
Box 4 "Rosenberg/Sobell"
Box 4 "Running for office"
Box 4 "Seidenberg interviews"
Box 4 "Statement of hours and expenses"
Box 4 "Syracuse Peace Council"
Box 4 "United Nations Association"
Box 4 "Wallace campaign"
Box 4 "Yiddish"
Box 4 Miscellaneous
Class notes
Box 4 "Experiences at C.C. School, July 12, 13, 14, 1972"
Box 4 "Family Living and Child Development" Summer 1953
Box 4 "Home Nursing and Community Health #30" Fall 1953-54
Box 4 "Social Organization and Deviant Groups" Spring 1954
Box 4 Sociology 109 "Primary Interaction and Personal Behavior" Spring 1964
Box 4 Sociology 133 "The Family" Fall 1953
Box 4 Sociology 142 Spring 1954
Box 4 Sociology 145 "Leisure and Social Group Work" Spring 1954
Box 4 Sociology 152b "Leisure and Social Group Work" Spring 1954
Box 4 Sociology 154a "Child in the Group" Fall 1953-54
Box 4 Special Ed 141 "Education of Children with Retarded Intelligence" Summer 1954
Box 4 "10/8 and 11/4, 1962"
Box 4 "August 6-19, 1984"
Box 4 Letters to editors 1946-1987, undated (2 folders)
Box 4 Letters to elected officials 1946, 1976
Box 4 Radio scripts "Comment" WSOQ Radio North Syracuse, NY 1962
Box 5 Academic records 1953-1972
Box 5 Appointment calendar 1983
Box 5 Portraits of Lillian Reiner (2, unframed)
Box 5 Paintings by Isabell M. Williams (3, framed)
Box 5 Tribute "The Ballad of Lillian Reiner (framed)
Audio recordings
Box 5 Cassette tapes (30 tapes)
Box 5 Vinyl phonograph records (6 records)
Awards and certificates
Box 5 1975-1987, undated
Box 8 Brass bell inscribed "To Lillian Reiner for Outstanding Service on Behalf of Mental Health Jan. 17, 1985 M.H.A.O.C."
Box 8 Plaque inscribed "Gay Light Person of the Year" 1976
Box 8 Ceramic vase
Box 8 Cloth with embroidered signatures
Box 8 Lists of addresses and other unidentified notes (1 folder)
Box 8 Political and campaign buttons
Box 6 1948-1949
Box 6 1953
Box 6 1954
Box 6 1962
Box 6 1971-1984
Box 6 About Lillian Reiner
Box 6 Employment records 1955-1974
Box 6 Financial records 1971-1976, undated
Box 6 Medical records 1954-1974
Box 6 c. 1890-1987, undated (7 folders)
Printed material
Box 7 American Friends Service Committee "Steps to Peace" 1951
Box 7 Association For Childhood Education International "Nursery School Portfolio" 1953
Box 7 Auerbach, Aline B. "How to Give Your Child a Good Start" 1951
Box 7 Braden, Anne "House Un-American Activities Committee: Bulwark of Segregation" 1964
Box 7 Civil Rights Congress "Voices for Freedom" 1951 (4 copies)
Box 7 Dawn Bible Students Association "Armageddon Then World Peace" 1960
Box 7 New York State American Labor Party Council on Public Affairs "A Program for Jobs in N.Y. State" 1954 (7 copies)
Box 7 New York State Commission Against Discrimination "Inside Facts" 1952
Box 7 New York State Department of Commerce Business Program for Women "A Business of Her Own" 1945
Box 7 Onondaga Community College "A History of the Black Community of Syracuse" 1980
Box 7 Robins, Raymond "An American Prophet Speaks" 1933 (4 copies)
Box 7 Stover, Fred "The Contest between the People and the Plunderers" undated (6 copies)
Syracuse Hebrew Day School, "Guidebook to the Syracuse Jewish Community Passover 5734/1974" 1974
Town Hall, Inc. "Town Meeting"
Box 7 v. 14 nos. 3, 12, 23, 27, 31-52
Box 7 v. 15 nos. 1- 16, 19 – 21
Box 7 Wexley, John "The Judgment of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg" 1955
Box 7 Wolf, Anna W.M. "What Makes a Good Home?" 1951
Box 7 Miscellaneous
Box 7 "Testimonial dinner in honor of Lillian Reiner" Feb. 18, 1956
Box 7 Eightieth birthday May 16, 1981

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