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Hofstra University Library Special Collections
University Archives Faculty Collections: Harvey J. Levin (1924-1992), Economist, Author, Professor, Activist

Introduction to the Collection

The Harvey J. Levin collection at Hofstra University consists of the personal and professional papers of Levin, who was a professor at Hofstra from 1955 until his death in 1992.

See Photos

Harvey Joshua Levin was born on July 1, 1924, in New York City. He received his A.B. from Hamilton College (Clinton, New York) in 1944, while achieving departmental honors in French and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In addition to his fluency in French, he also considered Japanese as a major language, and Chinese, German, Italian, and Spanish as minor language concentrations.

Shortly after graduation, he served as a research analyst and foreign language officer for the Office of Strategic Services (Washington), U.S. Strategic Bomb Survey (Japan), and the Civil Information and Education section of the War Department (1944-1946). He received both his A.M. (1948) and Ph.D. (1953) in economics; taught economics at Columbia (1947-49, 1953-55), Rutgers (1948-49), Bard College (1949-50), and was assistant professor of economics at Penn State (1950-54).

He joined Hofstra in 1955 as an assistant professor of economics, later becoming an associate professor (1956-62), professor (1962-64), and chairman of economics (1961-64). In addition to his concentration in economics, in 1975 he was appointed Special Professor of Law (Hofstra Law School), and in that same year became the coordinating chairperson for the Faculty Public Policy Workshop. In addition, in 1989 he was appointed University research professor.

The Augustus B. Weller Chair in Economics was the first fully endowed professorial chair on Long Island. Hofstra raised $400,000 to establish the chair, which honors Mr. Weller, then chairman of the board of Meadow Brook National Bank, and a Hofstra trustee for the past 20 years.

The Public Policy Workshop was created by Dr. Levin in February 1975, to serve as an informal interchange about specific scholarly research on a variety of public policy issues, with presentations by Hofstra and visiting colleagues in economics, law, business, political science, and sociology.

Dr. Levin's areas of research were supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation (1971-72, 1973-78, 1984-90), the Russell Sage Foundation (1978-79), and Resources for the Future (1964-69, 1980-82). He was Visiting Scholar (Department of Economics/National Bureau of Economic Research, Hoover Institute, Center for Educational Research), Stanford University (Summers 1982-1991); Visiting Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University (1982-1983); Visiting Professor of Economics and Business Economics, Columbia University (1996 and 1973); Carnegie Fellow in Law and Economics at Harvard University (1963-64); and a Brookings National Research Professor in Economics (1959-60). In 1986 he was elected to the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C.

Dr. Levin felt that his interests centered around three major themes: the broadcast industry, with emphasis on public policy towards broadcasting, satellite organization, cable television and other mass media; the political economy, technology, and administrative regulation of far-flung global resources, with emphasis on the radio spectrum and orbital arc used for worldwide communications; and the exploration of selected interstices of economic science and other academic disciplines.

He also had an international reputation for his work in telecommunications, with particular stress on the political dimensions of radio and television regulations and the ramifications of communication satellites. He authored well over 70 articles and several books: Broadcast Regulation and Joint Ownership of Media (1960), The Invisible Resource: Use and Regulation of the Radio Spectrum (1971), Fact and Fancy in Television Regulation (1980); and as editor of Business Organization and Public Policy (1958). Just prior to his death, he had signed a contract with Oxford University Press in April 1992 for another book, Harvesting the Invisible Resource.

While at Hofstra, in addition to his other responsibilities, he served as a consultant to numerous organizations, such as: Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress ; General Accounting Office; Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission; Committee for Economic Development; New Jersey Coalition for Fair Broadcasting; Computer Sciences Corporation; Resources for the Future; Brookings Institute; Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Ford Foundation; United Research, Inc.; New York State Moreland Commission; Bureau of Applied Social Research; and the Center for Policy Research. His topics included: U.S. Stake in Global Spectrum Management; FCC Spectrum Management; Telecommunication Policy; National Policy for Broadcasting and Cable Television; Spectrum Allocation Issues, ABC-ITT Merger; Satellite Projects; Television Group Ownership; Economic Assessment of Liquor Licensing; Regulatory Filing; and Educational Television.

He also gave numerous talks, seminars, and colloquia nationally and worldwide. He graced such universities as: M.I.T., Michigan State University, University of Michigan, University of Hawaii, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, University of Rhode Island, and University of Virginia. His conference presentations included: American Economic Association, Atlantic Economic Society; East-West Center, International Communications Agency, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Pacific Telecommunication Council, U.S.-Asian Institute, and Western Economic Association International.

Dr. Levin was also a community activist concerned with government control of the media. He gave a number of presentations dealing with censorship and legislation in Congress that impacted First Amendment rights. In the early 1950s he was on the National Council of the Emergency Civil Liberties Union, and in the 1970s he was a member of the "Man in Crisis Committee" at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Central Nassau, and a member of the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting. In 1979 he served on the Honorary Advisory Board of the Long Island Coalition for Fair Broadcasting, Inc.

In 1975, in memory of his deceased wife, Dr. Levin and his son, Adam, established the "Rhoda Pinsley Levin Memorial Award in Musical Performance" at Hofstra. The award was to be given to a senior piano student and was initially funded for five years at $100 an award. The award was later reestablished in 1989 as the "Rhoda Pinsley Levin Award for Excellence in Music Performance."

The Harvey J. Levin Papers are arranged in 9 series.

Note: Certain papers in this collection are restricted.

  1. Biographical, Personal, and Background Materials (1946-1994) are arranged in chronological and topical order.
  2. Hofstra College/University Activities (1958-1994) are arranged in three sub-series in topical and chronological order.
    1. General Faculty Activities (1958-1994)
    2. Augustus B. Weller Professor of Economics (1964-1986)
    3. Public Policy Workshops (PPW) (1975-1994)
  3. Teaching Experience (1951-1990) is arranged in chronological order.
    1. Non-Hofstra Teaching (1951-1973)
    2. Hofstra Teaching (1955-1990)
  4. National Science Foundation (NSF) Activities (1966-1990) are arranged in chronological order.
    1. Proposals, Grants, Reports, Reviews (1966-1990)
    2. Related Correspondence/Memoranda (1970-1980)
  5. Professional Activities (1963-1992) are arranged in topical and chronological order.
    1. Resources for the Future (REF) (1963-1986)
    2. American Economics Association (AEA) (1969-1991)
    3. Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) (1980-1992)
    4. Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPR) (1974-1981)
    5. Presentations/Talks/Workshops (1965-1992)
    6. Consulting Activities (1969-1981)
    7. Stanford University - Visiting Scholar (1984-1989)
  6. Correspondence (1950-1992) is arranged in topical and chronological order.
    1. Subject-Related Correspondence (1950-1991)
    2. General Professional Correspondence (1950-1992)
  7. Professional Publications (1953-1992) are arranged in chronological order.
    1. Publications (1953-1992)
    2. Interview Notes for Publications (1971-1972)
  8. Professional Papers and Proposals (1962-1992) are arranged in chronological order.
  9. Collected Publications by Dr. Levin (1964-1987) are arranged in chronological order.

Levin is the first professor to occupy the Weller Chair at Hofstra University

  • An article entitled, 'Weller Chair Filled' about Dr. Harvey J. Levin of Westbury, a 40-year-old economist now at Harvard University on a Carnegie Fellowship, will be the first professor to occupy the Augustus B. Weller Chair in Economics at Hofstra University, Hempstead.

    An article entitled, 'Weller Chair Filled' about Dr. Harvey J. Levin of Westbury, a 40-year-old economist now at Harvard University on a Carnegie Fellowship, will be the first professor to occupy the Augustus B. Weller Chair in Economics at Hofstra University, Hempstead.

Samples from the Harvey J. Levin Collection

  • 30-year recognition award

    30-year recognition award

  • Dr. Levin's business card

    Dr. Levin's business card

  • Harvey J. Levin photo (without glasses)

    Harvey J. Levin photo (without glasses)

An extensive collection of resources and additional information can also be found at the Harvey J. Levin Web site: http://www.harveyjlevin.com