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Lewis (Jerry) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Scope and Content

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Jerry Lewis papers
    source: Lewis, Jerry
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.2124
    Physical Description: 73.4 Linear Feet (6 record carton boxes, 27 document boxes, 3 flat boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1956-2012
    Abstract: Charles Jeremy Lewis was an American politician who served in the California State Assembly from 1969 to 1979 and then the US House of Representatives from 1979 to 2013. This collection contains papers, photographs, and videotapes which were formerly held by Lewis's congressional office and transferred to UCLA upon his retirement in 2013. The materials document the work done by Lewis over his half century of involvement in local, state, and federal politics, containing everything from election records to legislative background material to personal correspondence.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site. All requests to access special collections material must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance using the request button located on this page.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jerry Lewis Papers (Collection 2124). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Donated by Jerry Lewis, 2012.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Cal Margulis and Vanessa Febo in 2013–2014 in the Center for Primary Research and Training (CFPRT), with assistance from Jillian Cuellar.
    The processing of this collection was generously supported by Arcadia.
    Collections are processed to a variety of levels depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived user interest and research value, availability of staff and resources, and competing priorities. Library Special Collections provides a standard level of preservation and access for all collections and, when time and resources permit, conducts more intensive processing. These materials have been arranged and described according to national and local standards and best practices.
    We are committed to providing ethical, inclusive, and anti-racist description of the materials we steward, and to remediating existing description of our materials that contains language that may be offensive or cause harm. We invite you to submit feedback about how our collections are described, and how they could be described more accurately, by filling out the form located on our website: Report Potentially Offensive Description in Library Special Collections.  

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 9974252173606533 


    Charles Jeremy Lewis was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 21, 1934. He grew up primarily in California, however, graduating from San Bernardino High School in 1952 and UCLA in 1956. After receiving his BA, Lewis returned to the Inland Empire and worked for many years as a successful insurance broker. In 1964, he decided to run for a position on the San Bernardino City Unified School District board, which he won and held until 1968. His appetite for politics whetted, in 1966 he worked on the staff of Jerry Pettis, who was elected to Congress to represent California's 33rd district. In 1968, Lewis made a run of his own to represent California's 73rd district, encompassing eastern San Bernardino, in the California State Assembly.
    Lewis served in the Assembly for ten years, authoring a number of pieces of legislation which would prove to have significant statewide and national impact. In 1972, he authored the Child Development Act, which consolidated all child care and preschool programs into one overarching program managed by the Department of Education. In 1976, he wrote legislation that created the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has been one of the main drivers of air quality improvement in Southern California. Lewis made an unsuccessful bid for California State Senate in 1974, but four years later pulled off a successful run to represent California's 37th Congressional district in the 96th United States Congress.
    Over the next thirty four years, Jerry Lewis was reelected by the people of the Inland Empire sixteen times, never with lower than 61% of the vote. In his second term, he was appointed to the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, where he would remain until his retirement in 2012. His position on this committee—including a stint as chairman from 1999 to 2005—gave him the power he needed to pursue an extensive legislative agenda. Nationally, Lewis worked to uncover fraud and expand oversight of federal agencies. But his most lasting achievements were his work on land, water, and energy issues facing the state of California. The construction of the Seven Oaks Dam, designed to prevent the disastrous flooding which was once common in the area, as well as numerous efforts to reduce fire risk in the San Bernardino Mountains, can all be credited to Lewis's dedicated committee work.

    Organization and Arrangement

    This collection has been arranged in the following series:
    • Series 1: Public Relations, 1956–2012
      • Subseries 1.1: Press Clippings, 1969–2012
      • Subseries 1.2: Press Releases, 1979–2005
      • Subseries 1.3: District Mailers, 1971–2007
      • Subseries 1.4: Correspondence, 1969–2012
      • Subseries 1.5: Travel, Events, and Speeches, 1956–2012
    • Series 2: Election Campaigns, 1968–2010
      • Subseries 2.1: California State Assembly, 1968–1978
      • Subseries 2.2: California State Senate, 1973–1976
      • Subseries 2.3: United States Congress, 1970–2010
      • Subseries 2.4: Other Campaigns and Appointments, 1968–1993
    • Series 3: Legislative Files, 1969–2013
      • Subseries 3.1: California State Assembly, 1969–1978
      • Subseries 3.2: US Congress, California Subject Files, 1979–2013
      • Subseries 3.3: US Congress, National Subject Files, 1979–2013
    • Series 4: Media, 1961–2012
    • Series 5: Electronic calendar print outs, budget requests, and CDs, 1996-2009

    Scope and Content

    Jerry Lewis's political career spanned almost a half century, from his election to the San Bernardino City Unified School District board in 1964 until his retirement as representative of California's 41st district in 2013. In that time, his offices collected a remarkable amount of material relating to his career as a legislator. The collection contains internal memoranda, external correspondence, photographs, maps, posters, legislative information, artifacts, memorabilia, and most of all background documentation on the many local, state, and national issues that Lewis was most concerned with.
    The most unique material in this collection is contained in Series 1 (Public Relations), Series 2 (Election Campaigns), and Series 4 (Media). The first series contains documentation relating to the daily operation of Lewis's offices: press clippings on Lewis and his legislative activities, copies of press releases and office mailings, correspondence with constituents and fellow politicians, and travel and event documentation. The second series consists of documentation relating to every election that Lewis ran in from his first campaign for California State Assembly in 1968 to his second to last campaign for Congress in 2008. Finally, the fourth series contains all of the video tapes, photographs, and books maintained by his office, including video tape masters of commercials from Lewis's first campaign for Congress in 1978 and hundreds of photographs of Lewis with everyone from constituents visiting DC to Ronald Reagan to the comedian Jerry Lewis. Since the majority of the material in these three series does not exist elsewhere, researchers interested in understanding the internal workings of Jerry Lewis's congressional office will find these sections to be invaluable.
    The remaining material, contained in Series 3 (Legislative Records), covers the many local, state, and national subjects that Lewis was concerned with during his time in both the California State Assembly and the US House of Representatives. There are also reams of documentation produced by Lewis and other office members indicating their opinions on issues and strategies they planned to take in passing legislation. This material may be of great benefit to a researcher concerned with minute details of particular issues or the internal workings of the House Appropriations committee.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lewis, Jerry