David Solomon, Compliance Officer at The Fortune Society

Fortune Donates Archives, Makes Them Accessible To All

Monday, July 13, 2015

The story of The Fortune Society’s origin — from David Rothenberg’s off-Broadway production of “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” in 1967 — is well-documented in countless news stories and reminiscences, including David’s 2012 memoir, Fortune in My Eyes

However, the history of The Fortune Society’s activities over the 48 years since its founding is not so well-known, primarily because the source material — the records and documents of the Society — has not been available to the public.

That is about to change.

The Fortune Society has donated its archives — its collection of internal documents, photos, videos, and published material, including all of the issues of Fortune News –- to the Special Collections of Lloyd Sealy Library of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City University of New York (CUNY). The Library is named after George Lloyd Sealy, the first black officer to hold top command positions in the New York City Police Department and a pioneering professor at John Jay.

The Lloyd Sealy Library, housing the foremost collection of criminal justice materials in the world, holds a number of unique special collections pertaining to criminal justice in New York City and New York State.

There is no more appropriate repository for Fortune’s archives.

After the archives are processed — arranged by subject, a finding aid (which is an index to the collection) is produced, and “Fortune News” is digitized — the material will be open to anyone wishing to research it. The archives will be of special interest to John Jay students as well as scholars researching criminal justice, particularly reentry.

As the years pass, Fortune will update the collection with recently produced material.

In the fall, John Jay and The Fortune Society will join in holding an event to publicize the donation and to invite scholars to make use of it.

Fortune’s institutional history will enrich scholarship about reentry and memorialize Fortune as a force in service to individuals as well as for enlightened policies in criminal justice.

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