Caffe Lena


This project is a continuing collaboration with the Caffè Lena Board of Directors, a phenomenally dedicated group of people who have kept Lena’s legacy alive on her small stage every week since her passing. 

We owe much gratitude to the Saratoga History Museum, especially Doris Armstrong and James Parillo for their preservation of the original Lena Spencer papers and all their help in early research of the collection.

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress including its generous past and present staff members, Joe Hickerson, Peggy Bulger, Michael Taft, David Taylor, Nancy Groce, Guha Shankar, Todd Harvey, Ann Hoog, and Steve Winick, has helped make this project possible. 

Unless otherwise noted*, all photographs on this site are by Joe Alper, courtesy of the Joe Alper Photo Collection LLC. Images digitized and indexed by Edward Elbers, edited by Jaye Alper.

*Caffè Lena stairs photo ("About") CREDIT: Jocelyn Arem 2005, Caffè Lena interior photo ("Images") CREDIT: Mark Beckerman with assistance by Jessie Krzywicki 2011.

Special thanks to the 2005 Caffè Lena History exhibition volunteers: Anne Hodge, Joe Deuel, Lauren Sheehy, Jack Reber, Shayla Wallace, Hud Armstrong, Sonia & Lewis Taub, Nancy Miller, Eva Nagel, Avi Nagel, Zeina Nagel, Jonathan Whitton, Olivia Sciabelli, Vicky Peters, Betsy Boland, Katie Saxton, Emily Farrell, Dan Stalter, Ruth Copans, Caeli Paige, Jack Hellman, Debby Beatty, Ed Borzon, David LaPlante, and Chris McGill.

Special thanks to the Caffè Lena History Project interns: Lauren Sheehy, Juliet Sperling, Ian Murphy, Dylan Cowley, Evangaline Mee, Emily Werner, Rebecca Gilligan, Martha Snow, Alex Becker, Hannah Rank, Kriti Behari, Sallie Kuritsky, Samantha Skurdahl. Many thanks to our volunteer designer Caitlyn Doctor, and to our volunteer videographer George Black.

The Caffè Lena History Project especially thanks George Ward, Sarah Craig, Al McKenney, Sally Harder, Anne Hodge, Eva Nagel, Susan D’Entremont, Field Horne, Rich Bala, Mark Beckerman, Jessie Krzywicki, Alan Bartenhagen, Bill Danoff, Frank Herzog, and Sam Stephenson.

This website is a result of the vision and enthusiasm of Steve Balcom, Lane Wurster and everyone at The Splinter Group.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of credits and acknowledgements on this website. Please accept our appologies if we are in error. For questions or corrections please contact Caffè Lena Historian Jocelyn Arem so that we may adjust our records.