Leigh Buchanan Bienen Papers
Scope and Contents
The Leigh Bienen Papers span the years 1961 through 2009, comprise 50 boxes, and document her unusual dual career as a writer and lawyer. The materials are arranged in six sub-series: research projects and writings, Africa, professional publications, teaching, fiction, and plays. The content of her papers are highly varied because of Bienen's many interests. As a teacher, public defender, legal researcher, and writer of fiction and plays, Bienen's papers consist of many different types of materials reflective each aspect of her career.
Box 1, folders 1-2 contain biographical materials.
Bienen had many professional research interests, including animal rights, capital punishment (stemming from her work in Africa as well as in Mercer County, New Jersey), physician-assisted suicide, rape and incest, and gender discrimination in higher education. Her research projects and writings files consist of research notes, data, drafts of articles and research papers, lists, a small amount of correspondence, newsclippings, and related articles from 1968-2009. She also worked on several large-scale projects, including the Chicago Historical Homicide Project, the Florence Kelley Project, and her book Crimes of the Century, published in 1998. For the Chicago Historical Homicide Project, project methodologies and reports on the project are included, as is Bienen's research on individual cases included in the database. These cases include Patrick Eugene Prendergast (assassin of Carter Harrison, Sr., in 1893) and Anton Cermak (mayor of Chicago, 1931-1933). A printed version of the records included in this online database can be found in this sub-series. Materials relating to Bienen's work on Crimes of the Century include Alger Hiss/Whittaker Chambers research, as well as research on Leopold and Loeb case, the Lindbergh baby case (including Bruno Hauptmann), and Rafaelo Liberato.
Correspondence and newsclippings from "Laura X" found here relate to Bienen's work on spousal rape, as well as Bienen's "Incest" manuscript drafts are also here. This series is arranged alphabetically within each subseries.
During 1963-1965, and again in 1972-1973, Bienen spent time in Uganda and Nigeria, and materials from these years can be found in the Africa sub-series. Materials range between 1968-1973, and include drafts of the autobiography of Bildad Kaggia from 1968 (this manuscript was published in 1975 by the East African Publishing House). Correspondence, notebooks, questionnaires, data collection cards, as well as court testimonies and Nigerian police reports, make up the materials related to Bienen's Nigerian homicide project. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
From the years 1970-2008, Bienen was the author of numerous professional publications. This series contains her actual published articles during this period. Their topics relate to those covered in the first two series, and include homicide and capital punishment in Nigeria, as well as in New Jersey, rape reform legislation, incest, the experience of being a juror, gender, physician-assisted suicide, women in the legal profession, and other topics. Many articles are published in legal journals, which include the Journal of African Law, Women's Rights Law Reporter, Rutgers Law Review, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, and the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement. Book reviews written by Bienen can also be found here. This subseries is arranged chronologically by date of publication.
Materials on Bienen's teaching career can be found in the next subseries. Instructional materials, including syllabi, reading lists, class assignments, bibliographies, lectures, and administrative materials can be found from 1984-2004. These materials are from Bienen's teaching career at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as from Northwestern University. They also include a report of Princeton's undergraduate task force on AIDS, for which Bienen was an advisor, as well as a 1972 memorial resolution for Solomon Lefschetz. This subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Bienen's career as a writer—of fiction and of plays—is well documented here, as is her career as an editor. Bienen's materials relating to her guest editing of two issues of TriQuarterly can be found here. These include manuscript drafts from contributors, and mock-ups of issues 124 and 134. For her own writings, the earliest manuscripts include various drafts from her time at the Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1961, along with drafts of "The Circus Comes to Kampala" (1966) and "No Way of Knowing" (1967); it culminates with the 2000 publication of The Left-Handed Marriage, along with the Chinese translation of her short story, "To China." This sub-series includes drafts, revisions, and notes, as well as the final published items (for those that were published).
Bienen is also a playwright. The plays files include her drafts of "Acting Out" and "Bodies," as well as notes and drafts of her interviews with Emily Mann and David Rabe. Publications from these two playwrights are also included, as are pamphlets and programs from Bienen's work with the Dramatists' Guild, L.A. Theatre Works, and the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. Administrative correspondence and forms for submission of her plays to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and other festivals can also be found here. Bienen's fiction and plays are arranged alphabetically by title.
- Bienen, Leigh B. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Some materials in this collection including folders relating to Bienen's public defender homicide study in the 1980s, letters sent to Bienen as a New Jersey public defender, including those from prisoners (1971-1989), and student assignments from courses taught by Bienen, are restricted; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.
Language of Materials
Leigh Buchanan Bienen, senior lecturer at the Northwestern School of Law and wife of Northwestern University president Henry S. Bienen, joined the School of Law in 1995, the same year her husband took office. She lectures in the areas of criminal law, juries, and law and social science, and has additional areas of interest and expertise in capital punishment, sex crimes, and rape reform legislation. In addition, she is a prolific writer of fiction, mainly short stories and plays.
The Leigh Bienen Papers span the years 1966 through 2009, comprise 51 boxes, and document her unusual dual career as a writer and lawyer. The materials are arranged in six sub-series: research projects and writings, Africa, professional publications, teaching, fiction, and plays. The content of her papers are highly varied because of Bienen's many interests. As a teacher, public defender, legal researcher, and writer of fiction and plays, Bienen's papers consist of many different types of materials reflective each aspect of her career.
Each subseries of the collection is arranged either chronologically or alphabetically by subject.
Method of Acquisition
This series was donated to the University Archives by Leigh Buchanan Bienen in 2009 and 2010 (Accessions #09-91, #09-131, #09-152, #09-158, #09-165, #09-177, #09-190, and #10-25).
Items removed to A/V collection include the following: 6 VHS videocassettes and 5 audiocassettes: performance of "Bodies" (1987), play by Bienen (VC# 2678-2683 and AC# 2088, 2089, 2095-2097). 1 audiocassette: interview of Emily Mann (Nov. 23, 1993), by Bienen (AC# 2093). 1 audiocassette: interview of David Rabe (n.d.), by Bienen (AC# 2094). 2 audiocassettes: "Crimes of the Century" interview with Bienen (Feb. 16, 1999) (AC# 2091, 2092). 1 audiocassette: "Chicago Crime," with Loerzel, Bienen, and Drummond (Nov. 18, 2003) (AC# 2090). 1 compact disc: "Ed Paschke Memorial Service, Alice Millar Chapel, February 1, 2005" (DVD# 227). Items removed to artifact collection include the following: "Trenton YWCA TWIN Award," presented to Leigh Bienen (1987). 1 computer tape, "Bodies," 1987.
Processed by Benn P. Joseph, Fall 2009 – Summer 2010.
- Guide to the Leigh Buchanan Bienen Papers
- Benn P. Joseph
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository
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