Brandeis celebrates official opening of Lenny Bruce collection

From left: Christie Hefner, Kitty Bruce and Ron Liebowitz.Photo/Mike Lovett

From left: Christie Hefner, Kitty Bruce and Ron Liebowitz.

Brandeis University opened of the archive of Lenny Bruce’s personal photographs, papers and recordings with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 27, kicking off two days of discussion focused on Bruce’s legacy.

The two-day symposium "Comedy and the Constitution: The Legacy of Lenny Bruce," featured a variety of academic panels dedicated to Bruce's work and influence, as well as a keynote speech by Christie Hefner and a conversation with Kitty Bruce and Lenny Bruce scholar Steve Krief. Comedian Lewis Black, an admirer of Lenny Bruce’s who wrote the preface to a re-issued edition of Bruce’s “How to Talk Dirty and Influence People,”  discussed Bruce and his influence on comedy today in an appearance at a dinner on the first evening of the conference.

The collection was acquired by the university from Lenny Bruce’s daughter Kitty Bruce in 2014 thanks to a generous gift from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation. Along with the Hefner Foundation, the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund and the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts supported the symposium. It was organized by the University Archives and Special Collections Department and American Studies Program. Within the university, many offices and programs also had a hand in supporting the event, including the Journalism program, the departments Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, English, History, and Sociology, and the Office of the Provost.

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