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Brandeis University Acquires Personal Papers of Comedian Lenny Bruce

Brandeis University Acquires Personal Papers of Comedian Lenny Bruce

Brandeis University has acquired the personal papers of Lenny Bruce. Bruce was an American stand-up comedian, social critic and satirist. He was renowned for his open, free-style and critical form of comedy which integrated politics, religion, sex, and vulgarity. His private life was marked by substance abuse and promiscuity as well as efforts to prevent his wife from working as a stripper. His 1964 conviction in an obscenity trial was followed by a posthumous pardon, the first in New York State history, by then-Governor George Pataki in 2003. He paved the way for future outspoken counterculture-eracomedians, and his trial for obscenity, in which - after being forced into bankruptcy - he was eventually pardoned, is seen as a landmark trial for freedom of speech in the US.

The papers and material will become part of the Robert D. Farber Archives and Special Collections.

Sarah Shoemaker, associate university librarian for archives and special collections says, "This is an exciting collection that touches on many subjects, including freedom of speech, censorship, social justice and Jewish humor, and it is a great fit for Brandeis. We are grateful to both Kitty Bruce and the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation for giving the collection a new home at Brandeis, where it will be available to researchers."


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