Mort Reis Lewis was a Southern California writer and historian. Lewis wrote scripts for several TV shows including "Bonanza" "Rawhide" "Bewitched" and "Dennis the Menace." His script for the radio show "A Pair of Boots" was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award (Lewis was a member of the Writers Guild of America). Lewis also wrote several articles including one each in the anthologies Lincoln, a contemporary portrait and Lincoln for the ages. Lewis served on the following committees: Television Program Committee Advisory Council to U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission; California Civil War Centennial Commission; Southern California Civil War Round Table; and Lincoln Sesquicentennial Association. Lewis met historian Allan Nevins in 1953 in New York when Nevins was a consultant for a radio show written by Lewis. The two became good friends and continued their friendship until Nevins' death in 1971. After Nevins' death, Lewis spent much of his time trying to honor Nevins' memory by nominating his image for a U.S. postage stamp and by writing pieces on Nevins for a variety of publications including The Los Angeles times West magazine. He also worked on an Oral History Project about Nevins for Columbia University.
Scope and Content
The entire collection deals with Allan Nevins, his work and Mort Reis Lewis' efforts after Nevins' death to keep his legacy alive. The manuscripts include various drafts, most of which deal with Allan Nevins. These include copies of Ray Allen Billington's eulogy for Allan Nevins, his article "Allan Nevins - Historian: A Personal Reminiscences" and a copy of a speech by Billington regarding Nevins, which he gave at the Huntington Library. This series also includes drafts of manuscripts by Mort Reis Lewis such as "A Country Boy at the Huntington Library" and "A Different Profile in Courage: The Triumph of Will." There are also copies of the following scripts by Lewis: "A Pair of Boots" and "Stroke of Fate." Also included are transcripts of interviews, press releases and miscellaneous notes all dealing with Allan Nevins. The correspondence chiefly consists of letters by and to Mort Reis Lewis about Allan Nevins. The letters discuss Nevins' career as an American historian and the senior research associate at the Huntington Library. This series also deals with Lewis and other historians publishing about Nevins and Lewis' effort to get Nevins' image on a stamp. The correspondence also covers American society and politics during the 1960s and 1970s. Allan Nevins is the author of 36 letters, most of which are written to Lewis. There is also much correspondence between Lewis and Allan Nevins' wife, Mary, and his daughters, Anne Nevins Loftis and Meredith Nevins Mayer. The ephemera, which chiefly deals with Allan Nevins, includes newspaper clippings, obituaries, brochures, programs and audiocassettes. The ephemera also touches upon Mort Reis Lewis and Ray Billington and their work. There are four audiocassettes which contain interviews with James Thorpe, Ray Billington and E. B. Long and audio from the Allan Nevins Seminar at Claremont College, May 30, 1969. Notable participants include: American scholar, Ray Billington, Cass Canfield, Bruce Catton, Henry Steele Commager, Carl Haverlin, Alfred A. Knopf, Anne Lofits, Everette Beach Long, Los Angeles times, Allan Nevins, Claiborne Pell, Abraham Ribicoff, Andrew F. Rolle, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Louis Morris Starr, Irving Stone, James Thorpe, Justin G. Turner, Bell Wiley and Daniel Woodward. Subjects covered in the collection include: American heritage, Ray Bradbury, CBS, Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, Henry E. Huntington Library, Historical Times, Inc., Lyndon B. Johnson, KCET Television Station, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, George S. McGovern, NBC, National Historical Society, New York Times Company, Richard M. Nixon and Watergate, Reader's digest, Ronald Reagan, and the Writer's Guild of America. The collection also includes items about the historians' research including Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses S. Grant.