Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Leo H. Downes Papers, 1789-2014, bulk 1950s-2014

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1749
Bib ID 11359941 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Downes, Leo H
Title Leo H. Downes Papers, 1789-2014, bulk 1950s-2014
Physical Description 20 linear feet (34 cassette boxes; 13 document boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are (available online / available onsite) via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Arrangement

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in three series.

Description

Summary

The collection comprises 753 cassette tapes; 2 videotapes, and 13 boxes of papers.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are (available online / available onsite) via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized. Email rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Leo Downes Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers Processed, PTL and 7/20/2017.

Revision Description

2017-07-22 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
African American intellectuals Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Afrocentrism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Alzheimer's disease Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Baldwin, James, 1924-1987 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ben-Jochannan, Yosef Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Biological psychiatry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Black nationalism Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Black power Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Blacks -- America -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Blacks -- Politics and government Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bodybuilding Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Carruthers, Jacob H. Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chomsky, Noam Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Clarke, John Henrik, 1915-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Epilepsy Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Farrakhan, Louis Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hilliard, Asa G Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hughes, Langston, 1902-1967 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jeffries, Leonard Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Molecular genetics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Neurology Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Neurosciences Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
New York State Psychiatric Institute Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Occupation Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Psychiatry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Psychoanalysis Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Psychopharmacology Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Race relations Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scobie, Edward Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Slave narratives Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Slavery -- United States -- History Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Van Sertima, Ivan Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
West, Cornel Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Wilson, Amos Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Leo H. Downes was an independent and provocative intellectual based in Harlem. His interests covered a wide range of topics, including African-American history, neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, art, music, culture, sociology, theology, athletics, and education.

Downes was born July 15, 1933 in Coffee Gully, The Parish of St. Joseph on the island of Barbados. He was the only child of William Lionel Blackman and Adeline Ione Downes. His father was an engineer and, overseer. Leo graduated from St. Leonard's Boy's School in St. Michael Barbados West Indies in 1955. He attended the New School of Social Research in New York City from 1967 to 1970. He attended Columbia University School of General Studies from 1972 to 1974. He then attended New York Institute of Technology in Psychology in Westbury, New York.

Downes directed the Youth Opportunity Program for the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) located in the Washington Heights neighborhood for 32 years, from 1971 to 2003. The YOP program was designed as a pairing of high school adolescents with doctors as mentors for 15 to 20 hours per week to work in each doctor's respective area of research. It was a valuable and critically successful support system that worked well for both the doctors and students. Downes received numerous awards for this outstanding work. A teacher, counselor and, rehabilitator, he worked with children and adults in the Reality Halfway House, Cornell's Children's Services, and New York City Model Cities Program. He worked one to one, with small groups and, large groups as needed. He taught ex-cons, ex-addicts, dropouts and, High School Equivalency Programs.

Downes had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and consistently asked the most challenging questions of anyone on any given topic. Others sought him out frequently to attend their classes, lectures, discussion groups and, movies because, they knew he would come up with the best questions. For 35 years he moderated a monthly study group of the Society for the Study of African Philosophy. He was a part of the Institute for Research in African American Studies program at Columbia University from its beginning in 1993.

Downes was a member of the Harlem YMCA for 55 years. He was a competitive body builder from 1950 to 1974. He died on April 28, 2014 at the age of 80.