UMass Boston’s Healey Library Fast Becoming National Resource on Bicycling History

Original Post from UMass Boston News

By Colleen Locke | September 23, 2015

[caption id="attachment_24335" align="alignleft" width="300"] John Allen, part of the Board of Directors for the Charles River Wheelmen, unloads one of 200 boxes donated to the archives.[/caption]

The Joseph P. Healey Library’s University Archives and Special Collections Department’s collection on bicycling history grew even larger on Tuesday, with the addition of 200 boxes of records from the League of American Wheelmen (LAW).

Known as the League of American Bicyclists since 1997, the organization dates back to 1880 and has played an important role around issues of bicycle safety, design standards, and the rights of bicyclists.

The boxes had been in Pennsylvania; a grant the Charles River Wheelmen gave Cycling Through History: The Massachusetts African American Heritage Bike Network earlier this year fully funded the transportation of the records to UMass Boston. The Charles River Wheelmen, Cycling Through History, and Lorenz Finison, author of Boston’s Cycling Craze, 1880-1900: A Story of Race, Sport, and Society, all helped bring the collection to the archives.

“The League of American Wheelmen as an organization has strong roots in New England, and we’re so thrilled to see the records returning to the region. We’re happy to say that we’re increasingly seen as the ideal home for archival materials about bicycling and bicycling history,” said Processing Archivist Meghan Bailey.

Before Tuesday, University Archives and Special Collections already had some documents related to the League of American Wheelmen in the form of the papers of Ralph Galen and Phyllis Harmon. Galen co-founded the Charles River Wheelmen and Harmon is known as the “Grande Dame of American Bicycling” for her work with LAW and other bicycling organizations.

The new collection is now being processed. To get updates about when the collection is available to view, visit and subscribe to the archives’s website and newsletter at

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