The Abraham Bonowitz Papers, 1977-2015, bulk 1977-2015
- For nearly two decades, Abe Bonowitz has worked to educate the public about human rights problems, in particular the death penalty and the need for alternatives to the death penalty. During this time he served in numerous director, consultant, managerial, and activist roles with leading advocacy and death penalty abolitionist organizations.
- 86.49 cubic ft.
- English .
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, The Abraham Bonowitz Papers, 1977-2015. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as the Bonowitz Papers).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The Abraham Bonowitz papers covers an expansive and prolific career as an activist and humanitarian. Mr. Bonowitz had a hand in many avenues from Amnesty International to fasting for his causes with Starvin For Justice, an annual fast and vigil to abolish the Death Penalty. Mr. Bonowitz donated extensive memorabilia from different abolitionist organizations that he was and currently active in.
The communications series encompasses mailings, newsletters, and events that Mr. Bonowitz participated in. Mr. Bonowitz corresponded with inmates as a part of his work to end the death penalty in the United States as well as improve death row conditions. He was successful in acquiring fans for all death row inmates in Florida.
As a campaign strategist, Mr. Bonowitz works with statewide organizations also seeking to end the death penalty in their state. Among the statewide abolition organizations, Mr. Bonowitz was the Director of Affiliate Support and much of his work from this period is documented in series six. Some of the prominent groups Mr. Bonowitz work with were New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP), Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CUADP), Ohioans to Stop Executions, and Delaware Citizens Opposed to the Death Penalty.
- Biographical / Historical:
Abraham Bonowitz is a leading advocate in the abolition of the death penalty. For nearly three decades, Bonowitz has worked to educate the public about human rights problems, in particular, the death penalty and the need for alternatives to the death penalty. During this time, he served in numerous director, consultant, managerial, and activist roles with leading advocacy and death penalty abolitionist organizations. Previously, he co-founded and directed Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty from 1997 to 2008, directed Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty from 1999 until 2007, and served first as a consultant and then as a field manager with New Jersians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty from 2005 until 2008. Bonowitz most recently worked as director of affiliate support for the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. In 2004 he was elected to the board of directors of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty until resigning to take a staff position with the organization in 2008.
Bonowitz gained first hand knowledge of the death penalty by working in the death penalty section of the Ohio Public Defender Commission, with murder victims' family members, and with death row inmates. He appears briefly in the film "Dead Man Walking" and has worked closely on several projects with author and spiritual advisor Helen Prejean, CSJ. Bonowitz is a long-time activist with Amnesty International (AIUSA), including four years as a member of the Board of Directors of AIUSA. He is a former member of the board of directors of NCADP and also a former board member of the Journey of Hope ...From Violence to Healing, Inc., an organization led by murder victim family members.
Abe is currently independently working as a campaign strategy & tactics consultant. His currents clients include the Delaware Repeal Project, the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty, and Ohioans to Stop Executions. Bonowitz is deeply engaged in the strategic work of the movement.
- Acquisition information:
All items in this collection were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Abraham Bonowitz in 2007, 2009, and 2012.
The collection is organized into the following series:Series 1: Communications; Series 2: Inmate Correspondence and Research; Series; 3: General Correspondence; Series 4: General Memorabilia; Series 5: Statewide Abolition Groups; Series 6: National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP); Series 7: Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (CUADP); Series 8: New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP); Series 9: Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) Exhibit Not in Our Name; Series 10: Subject Files; Series 11: Photographs; Series 12: Audio Visual Materials; Series 13: Amnesty International
- Processing information:
Processed in 2016 by Melissa McMullen, Stephanie Clowe, and Jon Palmer.
- Death Penalty
Criminal Justice and Prisons
Capital punishment--United States
Death row--United States
Executions and executioners--United States
- Bonowitz, Abraham
Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing
Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (U.S.)