Manuscripts Collection
Louisiana Division
New Orleans Public Library

Mervis, Helen Ackerman, 1917-2000
Papers, 1953-1989 (bulk 1965-1978)

Helen Ackerman Mervis was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1917 to immigrant Jewish parents. After her marriage to Leo Mervis, she moved to New Orleans in 1939 and in time became involved in civic organizations, including the Council of Jewish Women and Save Our Schools. The papers reflect Mervis' involvement with other civic organizations, primarily during the 1960s and 1970s; a number of these organizations devoted themselves to promoting race relations: the Community Relations Council (a bi-racial, non-sectarian group formed in 1962 to promote harmony between the race, which Mervis headed from 1962-1967), the National Urban League and its New Orleans affiliate, and the Southern Regional Council (Mervis served on the executive council in the mid-1970s). The records also reflect her involvement with the New Orleans Chapter of the Brandeis University National Women's Committee and the American Jewish Congress and her participation in several local political campaigns. Also included are records that deal with Mervis' employment by the New Orleans Consortium (a cooperative program between Loyola and Xavier Universities and Dominican College to exchange students, library facilities, and cultural events); by Wake Up, Louisiana (a federal grant-funded program designed "to mobilize citizen interest" in Louisiana's social, economic, governmental, and educational problems and potential; and by Mayor Ernest N. Morial's Office of Community Development (for which Mervis served as Public Information Officer).

The papers include correspondence and memos, press releases, speeches, minutes of meetings, annual reports, various publications such as newsletters and reports, a number of photographs (including photos of a Community Relations Council meeting) and slides (primarily concerning Wake Up, Louisiana's Crime Check program), and several audio tapes. Also included are a number of publications collected by Mrs. Mervis, several folders of unprocessed news or magazine clippings or photocopies (many on the subject of race relations, an unidentified 16mm film, and two unidentified television tapes.

Gift of Mrs. Mervis.

Box 1

American Jewish Congress
Brandeis University National Women's Committee, New Orleans Chapter
Brookings Institute--Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Policy Conference
Campaign Strategies
Citizens' Advisory Committee on Housing Improvement
Community Relations Council--Correspondence
Community Relations Council--Meeting Notes/Annual Reports
Community Relations Council--Minutes
Community Relations Council--Miscellaneous
Community Relations Council--Photographs
Community Relations Council--Program Announcements
Community Relations Council--Publications
Community Relations Council--Reunion, 1895 [includes tape recording]
Concerned Citizens on Police Matters
Correspondence, Personal
Democratic Alliance for Louisiana
Education--Vermont Plan
Goals for Louisiana
Invitations, Programs, Etc.
Louisiana Health Plan, Inc.
Louisiana Priorities for the Future
New Orleans Consortium--Correspondence
New Orleans Consortium--Miscellaneous
New Orleans Home for the Aged
Office of Community Development--Comments (newsletter)
Office of Community Development--Correspondence, Memos
Office of Community Development--Press Releases, Public Notices
Political Campaigns--James E. Fitzmorris
Political Campaigns--Michael O'Keefe
Political Campaigns--Michael O'Keefe--Clippings, Speech Ideas
Political Campaigns--Moon Landrieu
Political Campaigns--Moon Landrieu--Clippings
School Desegregation in New Orleans (Report)

Box 2

Southern Regional Council--Clipped and Noted (newsletter)
Southern Regional Council--Correspondence
Southern Regional Council--Memos
Southern Regional Council--Minutes
Southern Regional Council--Press Releases/Statements
Southern Regional Council--Reports (unpublished)/Proposals
Southern Regional Council--Southern Governmental Monitoring Project
Southern Regional Council--Speeches
Total Community Action
Urban League--Correspondence/Memos
Urban League--Invitations, Programs, Etc.
Urban League--Miscellaneous
Urban League--Reports (unpublished)

Box 3

Urban League--Speeches
Urban League--To Be Equal (column)
Wake Up, Louisiana--Copy for Brochure
Wake Up, Louisiana--Correspondence, Memos
Wake Up, Louisiana--Crime Check (2 folders)
Wake Up, Louisiana--Crime Check--Photographs
Wake Up, Louisiana--Crime Check--Project Binder (3 folders)
Wake Up, Louisiana--Crime Check--Zimbardo, Philip
Wake Up, Louisiana--Finances/Office Operations
Wake Up, Louisiana--Grants Materials
Wake Up, Louisiana--Miscellaneous
Wake Up, Louisiana--Prisoner Rehabilitation Program
Wake Up, Louisiana--Slides [for use in presentations]
Wake Up, Louisiana--Speeches, Press Releases
Wake Up, Louisiana--Tape Recording--"Mervis-Zimbardo; Stanford Experiment"
Young Leadership Council

Box 4

Newspaper and magazine clippings or photocopies (6 folders; unprocessed)
Two unidentified television tapes, possibly related to Crime Check
One unidentified 16mm film
One reel-to-reel tape -- Community Relations Council meeting, September 25, 1965, Hilton Inn

Box 5

Publications collected by Mrs. Mervis:

Lemberg Center for the Study of Violence, Brandeis University. The First Two Years: A Report to the Board of Overseers, Sept. 1968.

Brookings Institute Urban Policy Conference Program. The Greater New Orleans Metropolitan Policy Conference. (In association with Tulane University). Seminar One -- Seminar Eleven, Summary Seminar, 11/23/1965-1/24/1966.

Louis, Bowles & Grace. Study of Racial Attitudes in Louisiana, Fall of 1966. Vol. 1: Principal Findings.

Louis, Bowles & Grace. Louisiana Attitudes Toward Urban Renewal. March 1966.

Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Forward Thrust: Guidelines for Mobilizing Total Community Resources. October 1968.

Department of Sociology. Tulane University. Sociological Components of Community Renewal in New Orleans. January 1967.

American Jewish Committee. Institute of Human Relations. The Reacting Americans: An Interim Look at the White Ethnic Lower Middle Class. October 1968.

Urban Studies Institute. Tulane University. Metropolitan New Orleans Urban Affairs Bibliography. June 1969.

National Urban League. Report of the Commission on the National Urban League Delegate Assembly. May 1976.

Egerton, John. School Desegregation: A Report Card from the South. Southern Regional Council, April 1976.

Southern Regional Council. Testing . . . Grouping: The New Segregation in Southern Schools?, 1976.

American Assembly and American Bar Association. Report of the American Assembly on Law and a Changing Society II. Stanford Law School, Jan. 26-29, 1975.

Durham, Laird. Black Capitalism. Critical Issues in Urban Management Series. 1970.

Urban League of Greater New Orleans. Annual Report, 1971-1972.

Urban League of Greater New Orleans. The New Frontier: Our City. 40th Annual Report, 1978.

Southern Changes: A Chronicle of the Ongoing Struggle for Equality. February 1979.

Southern Governmental Monitoring Project. Government in the Sunshine: Open Record/Open Meetings. Emphasis: Louisiana. 1975.

Southern Regional Council. Annual Report, 1978.

Southern Regional Council. The Segregated Governments of the South. 1979.

Southern Regional Council. Untitled collection of newspaper articles on race. 1978.

Henderson, Vivian N. The Economic Status of Negroes: In the Nation and in the South. Toward Regional Realism, No. 3. Southern Regional Council, n.d.

National Urban League. Progress Report, 1972.

National Urban League. Progress Report, 1971.

National Urban League. The State of Black America. 1976.

Southern Regional Council. Program & Budget for 1976.

Clark, Kenneth B. The Present Dilemma of the Negro: An Address Before the Annual Meeting of the Southern Regional Council. November 2, 1967.

Watters, Pat and Weldon Rougeau. Events at Orangeburg: A Report Based on Study and Interviews in Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the Aftermath of Tragedy. Southern Regional Council, February, 1968.

Urban Renewal Administration. Housing and Home Finance Agency. 20 Questions and Answers on Urban Renewal. February, 1963.

Louis, Bowles & Grace. Louisiana Attitudes Toward Men and Issues in 1964 Presidential Race: A Study of Voters and Opinions. Conducted for: Johnson-Humphrey Campaign Committee. September 1964.

Krathwohl, David R. How to Prepare a Research Proposal. n.d.

Louis, Bowles & Grove, Inc. Opinions and Attitudes Toward Crime in New Orleans: Pre-Program Survey. July 1964.

The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: A Report by the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. February, 1967.

The New Orleans Review. Published by Loyola University for the New Orleans Consortium. Winter 1969, Vol 1, no. 2.

Earl Nightingale television program scripts.

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