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Finding Elma Lewis in the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections: Home

Researching Elma Lewis's Legacy

Photo of Elma Lewis smiling. Photo captures Lewis from shoulders up. She is looking off to the left beyond the camera smiling.

Meet Ms. Elma Lewis

Elma Ina Lewis was born and raised in Boston and lived there until her death in 2004. In her lifetime she founded three arts institutions in Boston: The Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in 1950, the National Center of Afro-American Artists in 1968, and the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in 1969. Elma Lewis's life's work was devoted to supporting the development and promotion of Afro-Centric performing and visual artists and art. Her impact in Boston's Black community, arts community, and beyond is still felt today.

Researching Elma Lewis's life and career

In the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections you can find the records of Elma Lewis's vast legacy through her own personal papers as well as the records of each institution she founded. We have the following collections that document her life and work in Boston:

Use the top menu of this guide to navigate to a page devoted to each collection that documents a portion of Ms. Elma Lewis's life's work. Each page will provide information on the collection, what it holds, and if there are any digitized materials from the collection available for viewing. 

Find here on the home page information how to arrange a visit to the Archives and Special Collections to view the records of Elma Lewis's life and work in person.

Visiting the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections

The Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections is open for all to visit by appointment. To make an appointment please email us 24 hours in advance with the exact dates and times of your visit and names and emails of all visitors. Our email is: 

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

To promote the health and well-being of the Northeastern University community and Greater Boston community during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, visitors to the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections are expected to comply with the COVID-19 Visitors and Events Protocol: We have highlighted some of the protocols below: 
  • Visitors must remain away from campus if they feel sick, have tested positive, or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19. 
  • All visitors will be required to adhere to Northeastern’s face-covering requirements.
  • If unvaccinated, visitors must practice six-feet physical distancing. All visitors must comply with federal, state and local guidelines and/or regulations.
  • Visitors who plan to only visit the Archives once for one day or less will be required to adhere to Northeastern face-covering requirements and, if unvaccinated, practice six-feet physical distancing.
  • Visitors who are on campus for a period longer than one day, including nonconsecutive days, must perform a wellness assessment as provided by the university prior to their campus visit. 
  • Visitors in this category must also attest to their vaccination status or confirmation of a negative PCR or viral antigen COVID test within 72 hours of their scheduled visit.


Questions about how to access the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections records? Need help getting started on your research journey?

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