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Lenny Bruce collection

Identifier: 11-MWalB02713

Scope and Contents

The Lenny Bruce collection consists of photographs, writings and transcripts, correspondence, news clippings and articles, audio recordings and trial materials, all related to Lenny Bruce’s performances and life, as well as some materials relating to his family members. Of particular note is the large collection of photographs of Lenny Bruce, Honey Bruce (his wife), Kitty Bruce (his daughter), Sally Marr (his mother) and Myron Schneider (his father), among others. The photographs document not only his professional career but also his personal life with family and friends. Also of note are the audio recordings, which include excerpts or full recordings of some of Bruce's performances between 1958 and 1966. A small amount of these audio recordings are personal recordings made by Bruce, such as conversations with friends and family, between 1959 and 1960. The writings and transcripts offer transcripts of his performances as well as showcase screenplays he had written as well as ones written about him. The series Correspondence, Writings and transcripts, and News clippings and articles also have materials pertaining to Lenny Bruce previously gathered by a close friend named Ralph J. Gleason, who was a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle and later, the founding editor for Rolling Stone Magazine. The materials range in date from the early 1920s to the 2000s, with the bulk of the items being created between 1958 and 1966.


  • circa 1928-2009, undated


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Digitized copies of the collection’s audio recordings (located in Series 2: Audiovisual 1958 – 2004, undated) are available for use in the Reading Room only. Access to the rest of the collection is in accordance with the policies of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University. Please contact the department for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Requests to reproduce or publish material from the collection should be directed to the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department, Brandeis University.


10 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in six series: 1. Photographs, 1928-1997, undated; 2. Audiovisual materials, 1958-2004, undated; 3. Writings and transcripts, 1953-2005, undated; 4. Trial material, 1961-1965, undated; 5. Correspondence, 1933-1999, undated; 6. News clippings and articles, 1944-2009, undated. For more information about each series please consult the series descriptions in the box and folder listing.

Acquisition note

The Lenny Bruce collection came to Brandeis University several years after scholar Steve Krief, who wrote his PhD dissertation on Lenny Bruce's work, saw the collection while visiting Kitty Bruce, Lenny Bruce's daughter, at her home in Pennsylvania in 2006. Krief had worked with Professor Steve Whitfield, '72, longtime faculty member in the American Studies program, who also served on Krief's dissertation committee. Krief helped connect Kitty Bruce to Whitfield and to Sarah Shoemaker, Associate University Librarian for Archives & Special Collections. Shoemaker continued to work closely with Bruce to coordinate the acquisition.

In 2014, Brandeis University acquired the Lenny Bruce collection from Kitty Bruce, with a generous grant from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation.

Related Materials

Audio recordings in the Audiovisual series were reformatted to digital files with a grant from The GRAMMY Foundation® Grant Program in Fall 2015. Clips and in-depth descriptions of these recordings are available in Brandeis Distinctive Collections. The full recordings are available for use in the department.

Playbills from productions of “Lenny” at the Brandeis Department of Theater Arts and Charles Playhouse may be found in the University Alumni collection in University Archives. (Series 1974)

Processing Information

Processed by Kendra Ciccone, May 2015.


Lenny Bruce collection
Kendra Ciccone
May 2015
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Repository Details

Part of the Brandeis University Repository

415 South St.
Waltham MA

About Us

The Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department at Brandeis University consists of two collecting units, the University Archives and Special Collections. University Archives documents the history and development of Brandeis University and its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Special Collections features a broad array of unique primary source materials across a wide range of disciplines that support research, teaching and learning at Brandeis. Learn more about our collections