(October 10, 2006)
National Death Penalty Archive Gains Significant New Documents
The National Death Penalty Archive at the University at Albany has gained significant additions to its collection of materials related to capital punishment.
The new documents include papers and research materials of attorney Michael A. Mello, an internationally recognized authority on the death penalty and capital punishment who represented Joseph Robert "Crazy Joe" Spaziano, Theodore Bundy, and Paul Hill. The additions also include supplements to the Bill Babbitt Collection, which has materials related to the execution of Manny Babbitt in California on May 4, 1999 and the subsequent activism of his brother Bill, as well as new materials for the Abraham J. Bonowitz Collection and the Bill Pelke Collection.
Bill Babbitt personally presented his contribution of additional materials – contained in, as he said, "an old tattered cardboard box" -- on Oct. 6 during the 2nd Annual Albany Symposium on Crime and Justice – The Next Generation of Death Penalty Research: Priorities, Strategies and an Agenda. The box contained effects from his brother's cell after he was put to death, court documents, family photos, his brother's writing, and materials related to the clemency campaign for his brother. "If you peer into this box, you will peer into Manny's humanity, you will peer into his soul," said Babbitt.
The National Death Penalty Archive, which was established in August 2005, was initiated by the Capital Punishment Research Initiative of the University's School of Criminal Justice. CPRI Co-Director Charles Lanier said the additions are strengthening the archive as an unrivaled resource for all who are interested in the history of capital punishment in the U.S.
Dean and Director of Libraries Frank D'Andraia noted the importance of such resources as the National Death Penalty Archive. "Great collections make great libraries, and great libraries attract star faculty and promising grad students," he said.