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About William Lehman Papers

William “Bill” Marx Lehman was born in Selma, Alabama on October 5, 1913, to Corinne Leva and Maurice M. Lehman. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa.  He married Joan Feibelman of Miami, who became a well-known sculptress.  Together they raised two sons, William, Jr. and Thomas, and a daughter, Kathryn (Kathy). 

In 1972, he campaigned as a Democrat for the 93rd Congress and won Florida’s newly created 13th Congressional seat.  In 1982, after redistricting, he won the 17th District Congressional seat. During his early years in office Lehman served on the Committee on Education and Labor.    

In 1975, Lehman gained a seat on the Select Committee on Intelligence, which was charged with investigating Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) abuses.  He later gained a seat on the Budget Committee and was appointed to serve on the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. 

Congressman Lehman became a member of the Appropriations Committee in 1979, serving on the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and the Subcommittee on Transportation.  As chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation he controlled billions of dollars in highway, seaport, and airport funds and secured substantial funding for numerous South Florida projects.

When the 1980 Mariel crisis and boatlift brought over 100,000 Cubans to South Florida, Congressman Lehman helped secure authorizing funds to reimburse state and local governments for the costs.  The Lehman amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill appropriated $100 million for Cuban and Haitian resettlement.  In 1988, he traveled to Cuba with Mickey Leland (D-TX) to meet with Fidel Castro and negotiated the release of three longtime political prisoners.


Scope and content

Papers include correspondence with constituents, colleagues, and other individuals and groups; bills sponsored and cosponsored; correspondence, research papers, pamphlets, ephemera, and other materials relating to legislative issues; committee and subcommittee reports, testimonies from hearings, information packets, and related materials; press releases, newsletters and drafts, copies of speeches, and clippings; memberships, campaign materials, and travel materials; photographs, audiotapes, and video tapes; and memorabilia. For the purpose of this project, photographs only will be included.

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