Lewis Family. Collection, circa 1911-2011 and 2021 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
This collection consists of materials formerly arranged into an art portfolio by Bonnie Lewis Mandell, whose family established the W. Lewis & Co. department store in Champaign, Illinois. Included are photos, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and ephemera that represent the Lewis family, their involvement in Sinai Temple, and W. Lewis & Co.
Bonnie Mandell (née Lewis) was born to Arthur Lewis and Norma Lieberman in 1943. Arthur Lewis was the grandson of Wolf Lewis (1858-1942), a Polish immigrant who established a mercantile business at 57 North Neil Street in Champaign in 1897. Initially called "The Economy," W. Lewis & Co. moved to 115 North Neil Street in 1901.
Until the closure of W. Lewis & Co. in 1972, the Lewis family maintained a prominent role in Champaign's business economy, as well as in its Jewish community. Wolf Lewis became a member of the Jewish Synagogue of Champaign in 1897. Leonard Lewis was a member of the local B'nai B'rith lodge (an international Jewish humanitarian organization) as well as Sinai Temple, a Reform congregation located at 301 West Clark Street in Champaign. Arthur Lewis was a lifelong member of Sinai Temple and served as its president from 1947-1950.
Bonnie Mandell collected and arranged these materials into an art portfolio to honor the numerous contributions that the Lewis family made to the Champaign community. This collection contains photos, postcards, newspaper clippings, correspondence, department store catalogs and other promotional materials, articles, and ephemera. Photos portray members of the Lewis family, employees of W. Lewis & Co., and the department store building. Department store catalogs and promotional materials advertise offerings and sales. Newspapers describe the business and its impact on the Champaign community, as well as Lewis family experiences at Sinai Temple. Correspondence focuses on deaths within the family.
While these materials range broadly throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries, they primarily date circa 1911-1942, 1952-1982, 1997-2011, and 2021.
This collection was preserved and arranged by Bonnie Mandell, and was donated by Sybil Mervis in 2021.
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