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Larry Ruttman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: P-1033

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains drafts, manuscripts, notes, research, correspondence, interviews, photographs, news clippings, book reviews, and VHS tapes documenting the research, writing, publication, and promotion of Ruttman’s two books, Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game. It also contains other work Ruttman conducted in the field of biographical cultural history, including participating in Yale University’s Oral History of American Music, teaching courses on oral history/biographical cultural history, and writing various newspaper articles.

Dates

  • undated, 1997-2015

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

Lawrence A. (Larry) Ruttman was born on February 8, 1931 in Boston, Massachusetts to Morris and Doris (Granberg) Ruttman. His family moved to Brookline, Massachusetts when he was two years old. Ruttman attended Brookline High School and subsequently studied at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, graduating in 1952 with a B.A. in English. From 1952-1954 Ruttman served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War and was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. After the war, he attended Boston College Law School, graduating with his J.D. in 1958. On November 3, 1963, he married Lois Raverby. From 1958-1968, Ruttman served as a Brookline Town Meeting member.

Ruttman worked in the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General’s civil rights division as an Assistant Attorney General from 1960-1962, but spent most of his professional life as a self-employed attorney, practicing in areas including civil litigation, tort law, divorce, criminal law, real estate, and constitutional law. In 1992, he was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He is a Fellow and life member of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation and served on the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.

In the early 2000s, Ruttman was selected as an interviewer for Yale University’s Oral History of American Music project, for which he conducted oral histories of composer Ezra Sims and pianist and composer Ran Blake.

From 2000-2004, Ruttman hosted the Brookline Access Television program From Community to Cyberspace, a local history show for which he interviewed various Brookline citizens, including politicians, teachers, business owners, musicians, celebrities, and professionals. Notable guests include Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, New England Patriots owner Robert K. Kraft, and former 60 Minutes news correspondent Mike Wallace. Based on these, Ruttman wrote a column titled “Brookline Then and Now” for local newspaper Brookline TAB.

In 2005, the year of Brookline’s tricentennial, Ruttman self-published through Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC Voices of Brookline. Based on his interviews from From Community to Cyberspace, the book features stories from 75 interview subjects, including Goldberg, Dukakis, Kraft, Wallace, former Superintendent of Brookline Schools Dr. Robert I. Sperber, Brookline Police Chief Daniel C. O’Leary, chef Lydia Shire, and Brookline Booksmith owner Marshall Smith. Dukakis wrote the book's foreword. Voices of Brookline was finalist for the 2005 American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit. For more information on the book, see voicesofbrookline.com.

In 2013, Ruttman’s authored his second book, American Jews and America's Game, published by University of Nebraska Press. For this book, Ruttman conducted interviews with a variety of Jewish baseball players, owners, league officials, writers, fans, and other personalities, using these interviews to write over 40 stories, in which the interview subjects reflect on their Jewish identity and baseball. Notable subjects include Hank Greenberg (through interviewing his children), former Congressman and baseball fan Barney Frank, former Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Marvin Miller, Sandy Koufax (though he was not interviewed), Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Selig authored the book’s foreword, while President and CEO of Jewish Major Leaguers Martin Abramowitz wrote its introduction. American Jews and America's Game was named Sports Collectors Digest’s #1 Best Baseball Book of 2013 and was a finalist in the sports category for the 2013 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year. The book was also the basis for Jews on First, a musical written by Larry Jay Tish and Lee Goodwin and composed by Erin Murray Quinlan, which premiered in 2016. For more information on the book, see americanjewsandamericasgame.com.

Ruttman considers both Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game to be works of biographical cultural history rather than oral history. Describing the difference between the two genres, he states: “Oral history is generally presented dryly as only the verbatim answers of the interviewee to an invisible interviewer. Or, if visible, the interviewer is represented only by his question. [With biographical cultural history], I seek to transform the interview into a short biography related as a lively conversation between the subject and me. Thus, I'm not only visible, but shifting here and there, as required by the arc of the short biography I am writing, to the third person to interject comments or information to fill in the gaps, and thus project the interview not only as a lively conversation, but as the story, in essence, of a person's life, and with his or her observations and opinions, especially within the field of their interest.”

In 2013, Ruttman was elected a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He and his wife Lois have also been involved in various philanthropic organizations, including Perkins School for the Blind, Hebrew SeniorLife, the Yiddish Book Center, and the Greater Boston Food Bank.

References

  1. Material from the collection.
  2. Ruttman, Larry. American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2013.
  3. Ruttman, Larry. "American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball." Accessed September 15, 2017.
  4. Ruttman, Larry. Voices of Brookline. Portsmouth, NH: Peter E. Randall Publisher LLC, 2005.
  5. Ruttman, Larry. "Voices of Brookline: The Oral History of an American Hometown by Larry Ruttman." Accessed September 15, 2017. http://www.voicesofbrookline.com.

Chronology

February 8, 1931
Ruttman is born in Boston, Massachusetts.
1952
Ruttman graduates from University of Masachusetts Amherst.
1952-1954
Rutman serves in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.
1958
Ruttman graduates from Boston College Law School.
1958-1968
Ruttman serves as a Brookline Town Meeting member.
November 3, 1963
Ruttman marries Lois Raverby.
2000-2004
Ruttman hosts From Community to Cyberspace on Brookline Access Television.
early 2000s
Ruttman interviews Ezra Sims and Ran Blake for Yale University's Oral History of American Music.
2001-2003
Ruttman writes the "Brookline Then and Now" column for Brookline TAB.
2005
Ruttman publishes Voices of Brookline.
2005
Voices of Brookline is a finalist for the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit.
2013
Ruttman publishes American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball.
2013
American Jews and America's Game is named the #1 Baseball Book of 2013 by Sports Collectors Digest.
2013
American Jews and America's Game is named a finalist in the Sports category for the 2013 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year.
2013
Ruttman is elected a Fellow of the Massachussetts Historical Society.

Extent

14 linear feet (14 document boxes, 3 OS folders)

Abstract

Lawerence A. (Larry) Ruttman is an attorney and author. This collection contains drafts, manuscripts, notes, research, correspondence, interviews, photographs, news clippings, book reviews, and VHS tapes documenting the research, writing, publication, and promotion of Ruttman’s two books, Voices of Brookline and American Jews and America's Game, as well as other work in the field of biographical cultural history.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Larry Ruttman, 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Lindsay Murphy, 2017
Title
Guide to the Larry Ruttman Papers, P-1033
Author
Processed by Lindsay Murphy
Date
2017
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245