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Lev Raphael papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 375 large

Scope and Contents

The Lev Raphael Papers span over 40 years of the author's life. The collection consists of 54 boxes of materials including: manuscripts, research materials, book reviews, recordings of interviews with authors and Mr. Raphael, childhood and early life writings, articles, academic papers, awards and recognitions, and personal and professional correspondence. A large collection of books, many of them inscribed to Mr. Raphael by their respective authors, are stored separately and can be accessed through the MSU library catalog. (Please see "Separated Materials" note for full list.)


  • Creation: 1954-2011
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1983-2011

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research except for the contents of Box 45, which are sealed until the deaths of the author and another individual, and Box 57, which is restricted until 2100 due to FERPA.

Conditions Governing Access

The material is stored offsite in Remote Storage. Please contact Special Collections 3 working days in advance if you wish to use it.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the authors of the items in this collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. For photocopy and duplication requests, please contact the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, Michigan State University Libraries.

Biographical / Historical

Lev Raphael (b. May 19, 1954) was born and raised in New York City. He earned a BA in English from Fordham University in 1975, an MFA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1978, and a PhD in American Studies from Michigan State University in 1986. He currently resides in Okemos, Michigan. Raphael first came to national prominence as a writer with the publication of his debut collection of short stories, Dancing on Tisha B'Av in 1990, for which he received many accolades, including the Lambda Literary Award; the success of the book established him as a pioneer in writing about the gay Jewish experience in America. Raphael's experiences as a child of Holocaust survivors pervades much of his writing, fiction and non-fiction, including the two novels Winter Eyes and The German Money, and three memoirs, Journeys & Arrivals, Writing a Jewish Life, and My Germany. His shorter pieces - essays, short stories - have been published widely as well. Raphael's prolific abilities as a book reviewer are evidenced by hundreds of published reviews in national magazines and newspapers. In Michigan, Raphael is well known for his Nick Hoffman mystery series set in the fictional town of "Michiganapolis" and inspired by his years studying and teaching at MSU. He is also very familiar to the public for his years as a book reviewer for the Detroit Free Press and for his regular appearances on Michigan public radio shows. A widely acclaimed and anthologized author of over twenty books ranging in genres from memoir to mystery, he has given hundreds of talks, here and abroad, and his books have been translated into a dozen languages.The Lev Raphael Papers reveal the details of a writer's life, from the success of prizes and glowing books reviews, to the disappointments of rejections and the never-ending obligation to promote one's self and one's work. As book publishing moves rapidly into the digital age, this collection preserves the personal and professional details of that life, and reveals how one author navigates the modern varieties of media, from print to radio to the internet, in order to tell the stories that can touch a reader's life.


approximately 58 Linear Feet (58 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged into six series: Series I. Writings/recordings, Series II. Correspondence (personal and professional), Series III. Coverage of Lev Raphael, Series IV. Events, Series V. Miscellaneous, Series VI. Recently acquired materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from Lev Raphael in 2010, 2011, 2012.


The MSU Libraries Special Collections continues to add materials to this collection on a regular basis.

Related Materials

In 2007, Lev Raphael was interviewed by Melissa Ingells for WKAR, about growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors and becoming a scholar and author on the subject. You can access the interview at the StoryCorps Archive.

Separated Materials

A large collection of books, many of them inscribed to Mr. Raphael by their respective authors, are stored separately and can be accessed through the MSU library catalog. The following is a list:

Apelovich, Dobke. Zamlung, Yiddish poetry and prose (pb), inscribed. 1990, in Hebrew. [LR: “I interviewed [Apelovich] in 2001 for “The Belgian Book” (she knew my parents in Bruzelles after W.W.II).”]

Appignanesi, Lisa. Losing the Dead (pb), inscribed by the author at 2003 London Conference. 2000.

Ariel, Israeli literary journal, no. 95, 1994, inscribed by the editor.

Armchair Detective Magazine Fall 1993 with Walter Mosley cover and interview, inscribed by Mosley.

Barre, Richard. The Innocents (hc), inscribed. 1995.

Benedict, Elizabeth. Safe Conduct (hc), inscribed. 1993.

Bergman, Andrew. Sleepless Nights (hc), inscribed. 1994.

Blanchard, Ken. Big Bucks! (hc), inscribed, with note. 2000.

Bland, Eleanor Taylor. See No Evil (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Blue, Rose. Good Yontif, A Picture Book of the Jewish Year (hc), inscribed from Andrea (cultural arts coordinator at the Rochester, NY JCC). 1997.

Bouldrey, Brian. The Genius of Desire (hc), inscribed. 1993.

Bram, Christopher. Almost History (hc), inscribed. 1992.

Bram, Christopher. In memory of Angel Clare (hc), inscribed. 1989.

Brohaugh, William, ed. 1980 Writers Market (hc), inscribed from Kris Lauer. 1979.

Callen, Michael. Surviving AIDS (hc), inscribed (w/Callen’s NYT obituary). 1990.

Cannell, Dorothy. God Save the Queen (hc), inscribed + LR’s notes for a review. 1997.

Cannell, Dorothy. How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams (hc), inscribed, with thank you note. 1995.

Chyet, Stanley F. The Lord Has a Taste for Clowning (pb). 2003. [LR: “Given to me by his son (?) at my Library of Congress reading (April 23, 2009).”]

Clinton, Kate. Don’t Get Me Started (hc) autographed. 1998.

Coben, Harlan. One False Move (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Coben, Harlan. The Final Detail (hc), inscribed. 1999.

Colbert, Jaimee. Climbing the God Tree (pbk), autographed. 1998.

Delaney, Samuel R. The Motion of Light in Water (hc), inscribed. 1988.

Edwards, Ruth Dudley. Matricide at St. Martha’s (hc), inscribed. 1994.

Edwards, Ruth Dudley. Publish and Be Murdered (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Edwards, Ruth Dudley. Ten Lords A-Leaping (hc), autographed. 1995.

Estleman, Loren D. The Witchfinder (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money (hc), first edition. 1994.

Fairstein, Linda. Cold Hit (ARC), inscribed. 1999.

Fairstein, Linda. Final Jeopardy (pbk), autographed. 1996.

Fairstein, Linda. Likely to Die (hc), inscribed. 1997.

Fairstein, Linda. Sexual Violence (hc), inscribed. 1993.

Fairstein, Linda. The Bone Vault (hc), inscribed. 2003.

Ford, Milt. Playing It Straight (pb), inscribed.2009.

Ford, Milton, F. Philip a Novel (pb), inscribed. 2010. (Grand Valley State)

Foster, Linda Nemec. Amber Necklace from Gdansk, poems (pb), inscribed. 2001. (Aquinas College event 2005)

Galford, Ellen. The Dyke and the Dybbuk (pb). 1993. LR blurb on back; gift from Seal Press.

Goodman, Eric. Child of my Right Hand (pb), inscribed. 2004. (Miami University of Ohio)

Gordon, Alison. Prairie Hardball (hc), inscribed. 1997.

Gordon, Jamie. She Drove Without Stopping (hc), inscribed. 1990.

Grafton, Sue. N is for Noose (hc), autographed. 1998.

Greer, Robert. The Devil’s Backbone (hc), autographed. 1998.

Hall, Parnell. Scam (hc), inscribed. 1997.

Hall, Parnell. Suspense (ARC), inscribed. 1998.

Hall, Parnell. Trial (hc), autographed. 1996.

Handler, David. The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald (hc), inscribed. 1993.

Hart, Ellen. The Cruel Ever After (hc), inscribed. 2010. (Book dedicated to Lev Raphael)

Hartmann, Heinz. Once a Doctor, Always a Doctor (hc), inscribed. 1986. (Syracuse Univ. talk, 1991)

Hayden, G. Miki. By Reason of Insanity (pbk), inscribed. 1998.

Hayter, Sparkle. Nice Girls Finish Last (hc), inscribed. 1996.

Henderson, Lauren. Pretty Boy (pbk), inscribed. 2001.

Hightower, Lynn. No Good Deed (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Hogg, Frances Augusta. These Wee Bones (pb), inscribed. 2011.

Holleran, Andrew. Dancer from the Dance (hc), inscribed. 1988.

Hollinghurst, Alan. The Folding Star (hc), inscribed. 1994.

Jacobson, Alan. False Accusations (hc), inscribed + letter. 1999.

Jance, J.A. Kiss of the Bees (hc), slip covered special reader’s edition, #52 of 300, autographed. 2000.

Jewell, Terri L. Succulent Heretic, chapbook, inscribed. 1994. (w/Lansing State Journal obituary 12/6/95)

Jewell, Terri. The Black Women’s Gumbo Ya-Ya (pbk), inscribed. 1993.

Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, Vol. VI, Aug. 1985, inscribed from Kris Lauer.

Kane, Jim & Carmen Germaine Warner. Touched by a Nurse (pb), inscribed, w/letter from Jim Kane. 1999.

Kaufman, Kuf. Wodka ist immer koscher, (pb), inscribed. 2011. (Received in Leipzig, 11/11)

Langley, Liz. Crazy Little Thing (pb). 2011. (with blurb by Lev Raphael)

Lankford, Terrill. Shooters (hc), inscribed. 1997.

Lawrence, Martha. Murder in Scorpio (hc), inscribed. 1995.

Lawrence, Martha. Pisces Rising (hc), inscribed. 2000.

Leland, Christopher. The Professor of Aesthetics (hc), autographed. 1994.

Liu, Timothy. Sat Goodnight (pbk), inscribed with drawing. 1998.

Lively, Penelope. Cleopatra’s Sister (hc), autographed. 1993.

Lustig, Arnost. Lovely Green Eyes (pb). 2001. (Received by LR in 2010 at Fordham University, NYC appearance)

Massey, Sujata. The Flower Master (hc), inscribed to Gersh Kaufman. [LR: “Gersh came up with the title at a Magna cum Murder conference when Massey asked a tableful of writers what to call her next book and we were all stumped.”] 1998.

Massey, Sujata. The Salaryman’s Wife (ARC) (insert card with note). 1997.

McDermid, Val. A Place of Execution (hc), inscribed. 1999.

McDermid, Val. Killing the Shadows (hc), inscribed. 2000.

McInerny, Jay. Brightness Falls (hc), inscribed. 1992.

Meadows, Lee. Silent Conspiracy (hc), inscribed. 1996.

Michael Z., Lewin, Rover’s Tales (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Miller, Neil. Out in the World (hc), inscribed. 1992. [LR: “Inscribed in Lansing over dinner at Clara’s Restaurant when Neil Miller visited MSU.”]

Miller, Robert. Finding My Father’s War (pb), inscribed. 2009.

Miller, Terry, Standing By (hc), 1984. [LR: “From Marilyn Stasio at the NYTPR seeking help with republication.”]

Monette, Paul. Love Alone (hc), inscribed. 1988.

Moore, Michael Scott. Sweetness and Blood (hc), inscribed. 2003. [LR: “Given to me in Berlin.”]

Moore, Michael Scott. Too Much of Nothing (pb), inscribed. 2003. [LR: “Given to me in Berlin.”]

Mosley, Walter. White Butterfly (hc), inscribed. 1992.

Mulhern, Daniel Granholm. Everyday Leadership (pb), inscribed. 2007.

Nava, Michael. Golden Boy (hc), inscribed. 1988.

Nava, Michael. The Hidden Law (hc), autographed. 1992.

Neto, Roque. Porque Eu Amei (pb), inscribed. 2011. (Preface by Lev Raphael)

O’Dell, Mary. Poems for the Man Who Weighs Light (pb), inscribed. (Green River Writers Workshop)

Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (pbk). [LR: “Borrowed from me by the author for her MSU reading, inscribed.”] 1974.

Peters, Robert. Gauguin’s Chair (pbk), inscribed. 1977.

Peters, Robert. Ludwig of Bavaria (pbk), inscribed. 1986.

Phillips, Gary. Bad Night is Falling (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Reuben, Shelly. Spent Matches (hc), inscribed + letter. 1996.

Ross, Kate. Cut to the Quick (pbk), inscribed. 1993.

Russo, Richard. Straight Man (pbk), autographed. 1998.

Sawyer, Michelle. They Say She Tastes Like Honey (pb), inscribed. 2003.

Shames, Laurence. Mangrove Squeeze (hc), inscribed. 1998.

Snow, Judith. How it Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent (pbk), autographed. 2004.

Sobanski, Antoni Graf. Nachrichten aus Berlin (hc), to LR from Bagriela Wachter of Parthas Verlag Publishing. 2007, in German.

Solotaroff, Ted, ed. The Best American Short Stories 1978 (hc), inscribed from Kris Lauer. 1978.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus II (hc), inscribed with cartoon. 1991.

Spiegelman, Art. Maus (pbk), inscribed with cartoon. 1986.

Spring, Michelle. In the Midnight Hour (hc), inscribed. 2001.

Steinberg, Mike and Carole. Word Painting chapbook , inscribed. 1993.

Steinberg, Mike. City Kid (chapbook), inscribed. 1991.

Stocking, Kathleen. Lake Country (pb), inscribed. 1994.

Stratton, Michael. Everybody Dreams (pb), inscribed. 2009.

Swick, Marley. Evening News (hc), inscribed. 1999.

Taub, Yermiyahu Ahron. The Insatiable Psalm (pb), inscribed, with note. 2005.

Taub, Yermiyahu Ahron. What Stillness Illuminated (pb), inscribed. 2008.

Wakoski, Diane. The Rings of Saturn (pbk), inscribed. 1988.

Wakoski, Diane. Trilogy (pb), inscribed. 1974.

Westerman, John. Exit Wounds (pbk), autographed. 1990.

White, Edmund. Caracole (hc), inscribed. 1985.

White, Edmund. The Beautiful Room is Empty (hc), inscribed. 1988.

Zweig, Stefanie. Neubeginn in der Rothschildallee (hc), inscribed. 2011. (Received in Frankfurt, 11/11)

Note: The following books, received as gifts during the 2010 German Book Tour, or via mail afterwards, have been added to the MSU Special Collections catalog and can be found there. Here is a list:

Der Judas-Iohn by Andree Hesse (2008). Given to LR by Monika Goedecke in Celle.

Rezso Kasztner, The Daring Rescue of Hungarian Jews: A Survivor’s Account by Ladislaus Löb (2009). Autographed copy from Bernd Horstmann at Belsen Memorial.

Meine Leben by Isabelle Choko (2008). Given to LR by Monika Goedecke (pre-tour).

Von Kasan nach Berben-Belsen by T. Dawletschin (2005).

AugenZeugen by H. von Rainer Schulze and W. Wiedermann (2007)

Jahresbericht 2010 (Annual Report of the Lower Saxony Memorial Foundation).

Bergen-Belsen Catalog (accompanying the permanent exhibition at the Bergen-Belsen Information and Documentation Centre) (2010) (in English).

4 Books given by Bernd Ulbrich to LR in Dessau: Stolpersteine für Dessau-Roßlau by Werkstatt Gedenkkaltur (2008). Antisemitismus in Dessau by Bernd Ulbrich (2004). Rundgang über den Israelitischen Friedhof in dessau-Roßlau by Bernd Ulbrich (2009). Einblicke, Zwölf Essays und eine Ausstellung zur Geschitchte der Juden in Anhalt ed. by Bernd Ulbrich (2004).

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Anne-Marie Rachman in August 2012.

Finding Aid for the the Lev Raphael papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Finding aid prepared by Anne-Marie Rachman.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections Repository

MSU Libraries
366 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing MI 48823 USA