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Delano E. Lewis papers

Call Number: RH MS 1075


The Delano E. Lewis papers are those of a Kansas native who was President and CEO of C & P Telephone (Washington, D.C.) and later became President of National Public Radio.


  • Creation: 1960 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Delano E. Lewis

Delano Eugene Lewis was born November 12, 1938 in Arkansas City, Kansas. Two years later the family moved to Kansas City, Kansas where Lewis graduated from Sumner High School. In 1960, Lewis graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, and, in 1963, he received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from Washburn University School of Law. Later in 1963, Lewis moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked as an attorney for the United States Department of Justice. Beginning in 1966, Lewis worked for the Peace Corps, serving as Associate Director in Nigeria for one year and as Country Director in Uganda from 1967-1969. After leaving Uganda, he worked at the Peace Corps Headquarters as Chief, East & Southern Africa Division. Lewis then became a Legal Assistant to Senator Edward Brooke (Ma) and, in 1971, became Chief of Staff for Representative Walter E. Fauntroy (D.C.). In 1973, Lewis began work as a public affairs manager at Chesapeake and Potomac (C & P) Telephone; by 1988 he had risen to become the company's President and, in 1990, he also became its Ceo. During his time at C & P, in 1978, Lewis took a leave of absence to serve as head of D.C. Mayor Marion Berry's transition team. In 1993, Lewis left C & P and became President of National Public Radio (Npr); in doing so, he became the first African American to be named to that position. Lewis was highly active in numerous organizations. He served on the Board of Directors for several companies and groups, including Palmolive Corporation, Geico, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and the Catholic University of America. He also served as Chairman of the United Negro College Fund Executive Committee and as Vice Chair of the American Red Cross D.C. Chapter. Lewis was an active member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; in 1988 he came the first African American to take office as president (he was the third elected but neither of the others took office). Lewis was appointed to a number of Advisory Councils, Commissions, and Task Forces, such as the U.S. Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure and the Commission on Vocational Education and Career Opportunities, both of which he co-chaired. In 1960, Delano E. Lewis married Gayle Carolyn Jones. The couple had four sons, Delano Jr, Geoffrey, Brian, and Phillip.


11 Linear Feet (14 boxes + 8 oversize boxes, 22 audio cassettes, 17 video cassettes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Papers of Delano E. Lewis date from 1960 to 1997 and are arranged in six series: Career; Personal; Speeches; Honors, awards, and certificates; Photographs; and Audiovisual materials. Within the Career Series are three subseries: C & P Telephone, Miscellaneous Ephemera, and Npr, which include such items as correspondence, clippings, and certificates. Also within the Npr subseries are speeches by Lewis that are readily identifiable as being NPR-related; unless otherwise noted, speech materials have been left in their original order. Personal papers include clippings, awards and honors, letters, and education-related documents. There are two subseries within Speeches: Catalogued by Lewis and Not Catalogued by Lewis. The first subseries has maintained an order Lewis created; although some items relate to such as C & P, they were left within this subseries to maintain original ordering. Speeches that were not catalogued by Lewis constitute the remainder of this series and cover a range of topics not easily classified within another series. Unless otherwise noted, Speeches papers have been left in their original order. Due to volume, plaques, awards, and and other honors are arranged as a series. Folder arrangement within each series is alphabetical by topic; within Speeches, folder arrangement within each subseries is chronological. Photographs from the Collection are located at RH MS-P 1075 and oversize photographs are at RH MS-P 1075(f). Other oversize items are located at RH MS Q268 and RH MS R218. Audio cassettes are located at RH Cassette Tape 42 and video cassettes are at RH Video 18.

Series List

The Delano E. Lewis papers date from 1960 to 2004 and are arranged in 6 series:

  1. Career (sub-series: C&P Telephone, NPR)
  2. Personal papers
  3. Speeches (sub-series: Catalogued by Lewis, Not catalogued by Lewis)
  4. Awards, honors, and certificates
  5. Photographic materials
  6. Audio-visual materials

Physical Location

RH MS 1075

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1075

Physical Location

RH MS-P 1075(f)

Physical Location

RH MS Q268

Physical Location

RH MS R218

Physical Location

RH MS R397

Physical Location

RH Cassette Tape 42

Physical Location

RH Video 18

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Delano E. Lewis, 1997-1998, 2013.

Related Materials

Shinn, Mike, Deborah L. Dandridge, Amber Reagan-Kendrick. "African American leaders and innovators." [graphic] [Lawrence, Kan.] : University of Kansas, [2006]. Available at Spencer Research Library at RH R202.

Processing Information

In the course of processing, materials from RH MS Q268 and RH MS-P 1075 (f) were unframed and integrated into the foldered collection. RH MS Q268 box 3 and RH MS-P 1075 (f) boxes 2-3 were eliminated from the collection.

Guide to the Delano E. Lewis Collection
Delano E. Lewis papers
Finding aid prepared by mbw, 2007; revised by cl, 2010; skt, 2010; het, 2016. Finding aid encoded by mbw, 2007; revised by cl, 2010; skt, 2010; het, 2016.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this Collection was provided by the Dana and Sue Anderson African American Collecting Program Endowment Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Delano E. Lewis papers, RH MS 1075, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States