February 2010 Newsletter

Greetings, friends! Welcome to the first newsletter from the Caffè Lena History Project. 2010 marks Caffè Lena’s 50th year! You are receiving this newsletter because of your love for the preservation of music history. Since 2002 the Caffè Lena History Project has been committed to documenting the history of the Caffè, the grandmother of the folk music scene, and commemorating the life and legacy of its founder, Lena Spencer. Over the past eight years the Caffè Lena History Project has:

  • Collected oral histories from Caffè community members. Some interviewees have passed on, but their stories have been forever preserved.
  • Collected rare photos of performers, Lena and staff, assisting in the archival efforts of the Joe Alper and Joe Deuel Caffè Lena photography collections.
  • Archived and preserved countless posters, articles, writings, works of art and other memorabilia from the Caffè’s history.
  • Secured the support of the Library of Congress in preserving the Caffè Lena Archives, making the Caffè’s history accessible to a national audience.
  • Provided photographs for a special January 15th article on Caffè Lena in AMERICAN WAY– the official in-flight magazine of American Airlines!


We are urgently in need of funding to complete the preparation of rare archival  photographs and stories, that will enable us to produce a coffeetable book documenting the first five decades of Caffè Lena’s history. This book will show the Caffè’s impact on America’s musical heritage and its role as an important waystation in the 1960s folk  revival movement. Donations, grant leads, grantwriting volunteer help and funding source recommendations welcomed. You can make a donation or learn more here. To inquire about further ways to support the project, email jocelyn@caffelenahistory.org.


We are actively seeking Caffè archival materials, in particular photographs and audio recordings, and other materials including letters, posters, songbooks, recipes, programs for our archival collection. If we can use your materials, we will be happy to send you a tax donation form. To share a story, please fill out the Oral History Questionnaire.

In the coming months, stay tuned for updates about the book project, annoucements about featured project partners, and news about 50th Anniversary events.

Thank you for your continued support, and happy new year!

-Jocelyn Arem

Caffè Lena History Project Director

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