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Guide to the Paul K. Longmore Papers, 1951-2010 asc.2013.005
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Collection Details
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  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition
  • Restrictions
  • Availability
  • Arrangement
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents

  • Title: Paul K. Longmore papers
    Creator: Longmore, Paul K.
    Accession number: asc.2013.005
    Date (inclusive): 1951-2010
    Date (bulk): 1980-2010
    Contributing Institution: University Archives, J. Paul Leonard Library
    1630 Holloway Ave
    San Francisco, CA, 94132-1722
    (415) 338-1856
    Language of Materials: Materials are in English. One scrapbook of letters in German in Series I: Personal Files. One article in Spanish in Series II: Writings. Some articles in German and French in Series III: Research Files.
    Extent: 63.0 cubic ft. (135 document boxes, 2 audiocassette tape boxes, 9 bulk video storage boxes, 1 digital media box, 3 record storage cartons, 1 flat oversized box, 1 oversized document box, 1 textiles box).
    Abstract: The materials in this collection were produced by Paul K. Longmore (1946-2010), Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University and the founder of the SFSU Institute on Disability. The collection documents Longmore's prestigious academic career as a historian and educator as well as his tenacious advocacy for disability rights and the development of disability studies as an academic field. It includes personal correspondence and financial records; writings; extensive research files relating to Longmore's work in colonial U.S. history and in disability studies; audio-visual materials; and artifacts/realia.
    Location: Materials are stored offsite; advance notice required.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Kate Tasker from May 2013 - September 2013.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], Paul K. Longmore Papers, asc-2013-005, University Archives, San Francisco State University.


    The collection was donated to the San Francisco State University Archives by Ellen Longmore Brown in 2012-2013.


    Copyright has not been assigned to the University Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
    The collection includes unpublished drafts of manuscripts and articles by third-party authors, including students and other scholars. By accessing the collection, researchers agree to respect the intellectual rights of these individuals and to refrain from citing or publishing from materials without the permission of the authors.


    Collection is open for research. Access restrictions are placed on material with privacy issues for a specific time period from the date of creation. Access to personal correspondence from third parties is restricted for 20 years from the date of creation or until the death of the author, whichever occurs first, and will be further reviewed at that time. Restrictions are noted at the file level. Contact the University Archives staff for information on access to these files.


    The collection is arranged as seven series: Series I: Personal Files (1951-2010); Series II: Writings (1981-2009); Series III: Research Files (1975-2007); Series IV: Professional Activities (1977-2010); Series V: Audio-Visual Materials (1952-2010); Series VI: Artifacts (undated); Series VII: Digital Files.


    Paul K. Longmore, Professor of History and founding Director of the San Francisco State University Institute on Disability, was one of the first historians to study the social history and experience of people with disabilities. A respected scholar and author of numerous publications on the disability rights movement and disability history, Longmore delivered keynote addresses and presentations at conferences across the country and mentored academics, activists, and artists from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. He was a founder of the Disability History Association, the H-Disability listserv and the American Historical Association's Taskforce on Disability. As Director of the SFSU Institute on Disability he won major federal research grants to develop disability studies curricula, to sponsor conferences and symposia, and to establish a certificate program in Independent Living services.
    Paul Kenneth Longmore was born July 10, 1946 in Mount Holly, New Jersey. He contracted poliomyelitis in 1953 when he was seven years old, and contended with the resulting physical complications throughout his life. The virus severely curved his spine and left him without the use of his hands and arms, and as he grew older he increasingly required the use of a ventilator to help him breathe.
    Longmore attended elementary, junior high, and high schools in Los Angeles, CA, and in Portland, OR, and graduated from Fremont High School in California in 1964. He went on to earn a BA and MA in History from Occidental College and a PhD from Claremont Graduate School. Longmore fought to receive the support and funding he needed from the California State Department of Rehabilitation for assistive services to complete his studies and to prepare himself for an academic career. He completed his dissertation on George Washington and earned his doctorate in U.S. History in 1984, and subsequently obtained a teaching position at the University of Southern California, where he developed and administered USC's Program in Disability and Society.
    In 1988 Longmore published his first book, The Invention of George Washington, which received critical acclaim for its analysis of Washington as a political figure and public actor. Longmore's modestly increased income from book royalties made him ineligible for continuing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which he depended on to pay for essential assistive services and for the rental of his ventilator. In protest, he burned a copy of his book on the steps of the federal building in Los Angeles in 1988 to challenge government policies that prevented people with disabilities from earning a living. As a result of Longmore's activism, Congress amended the Social Security Act to recognize book royalties as "earned income" and to allow authors with disabilities to remain eligible for SSI benefits. The amendment is known as the Longmore Amendment.
    In 1990 Longmore received an Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities to teach as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. He joined the faculty at San Francisco State University two years later and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1995, becoming a Full Professor in 1998. Longmore founded the SFSU Institute on Disability in 1996 and directed major grant-funded projects including the 2000 NEH Summer Institute (with Professor Rosemarie Garland-Thomson) and the Certificate in Independent Living Services program (with Professor Alice Nemon).
    Longmore also authored dozens of articles on U.S. history and disability studies which appeared in national newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals and reference books. He co-edited the textbook The New Disability History: American Perspectives with Lauri Umansky in 2001, and published an anthology of his writings titled Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability in 2003. His substantial research on telethons and models of charity was in progress at the time of his death, and his manuscript is being prepared for publication (2013). Longmore was awarded numerous fellowships and individual grants to support his research. He received many professional honors, including the 2005 Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of Persons with Disabilities and the 2006 California State University Wang Family Excellence Award, which recognized his exemplary work in the field of disability studies and as a professor and mentor.
    "About Paul K. Longmore." Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University. Accessed September 4, 2013. http://longmoreinstitute.sfsu.edu/pages/about-paul-longmore
    Longmore, Paul K. "Curriculum Vita." Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Association. Accessed September 4, 2013. http://www.wilsonalumni.com/In_Memory/Paul_Longmore_CV.pdf
    "Mischievous Entanglements: The Embodied Histories of Paul K. Longmore—Scholar, Teacher, Activist." Panel presentation, April 12, 2013. Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University. Accessed August 3, 2013. http://longmoreinstitute.sfsu.edu/pages/641
    Nelson, Valerie J. "Longmore Dies at 64; Leading Disability Scholar and Activist." Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2010. Accessed September 4, 2013. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/15/local/la-me-paul-longmore-20100816
    Richards, Penny L. "In Memoriam: Paul Kenneth Longmore." Perspectives on History, American Historical Association, May 2011. Accessed September 9, 2013. http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2011/1105/1105mem4.cfm

    Scope and Contents

    This collection contains papers, audio-visual materials, artifacts, and digital files produced and gathered by Paul K. Longmore which document his academic career and his advocacy for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Records relate to Longmore’s research in U.S. colonial history and in disability studies, his professional work including his teaching positions at Stanford University and at San Francisco State University, his work with the SFSU Institute on Disability, and his activism on behalf of the disabled community. Records include correspondence, personal papers and financial records, writings, research files, administrative records, publications, photographs, audio-visual recordings and digital media, and artifacts/realia. Materials dates from 1951-2010.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Longmore, Paul K.
    Disability studies.
    Dissertations, Academic.
    Mass media.
    People with disabilities--United States--History.
    San Francisco State University. Institute on Disability.
    United States--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.