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Dexter L. Lewis Papers

Identifier: IBT0072

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting Teamsters activities on the West Coast and Tennessee 1937-1951; photoportraits of John English, Dave Beck, Daniel Tobin, Thomas Flynn and Joseph Padway; and a typescipt memoir describing his work on the West Coast.


  • 1937-1951

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Dexter L. Lewis was born in Osakis, Minnesota, in 1903. In 1936 he worked as a driver for Owl Truck and Materials Company, Compton, California. He became a shop steward for Teamsters Local 692 and, following that, a business agent for Teamsters Local 208. In March 1938 Lewis was put in charge of a strike at Pacific Freight Lines. In July of that year the Los Angeles District Attorney raided the offices of Local 208, seized records and began an investigation of Lewis and other local officers over alleged “goon squad” activities. Lewis and others were charged with conspiracy to extort and commit assault. Lewis was found guilty and given a 10-year jail sentence but this was reduced to 10 years of probation. In 1939 he became secretary of the Highway Drivers Council of California and was an international organizer for Southern California. In 1942 he became an IBT general organizer and director of the Central States Drivers Council. In 1944 he became president of Teamsters Local 1394, Memphis. Lewis became chairman of the Southern Conference of Teamsters Over-the-Road and Freight Division as well as Southern Teamsters international representative in 1947. He subsequently lost the local president position and was discharged as international rep. After his career with the IBT, Dexter Lewis worked as a salesman, selling car insurance and furniture. He died in Ocotber 1987 in Covina, California.


1 Linear Feet (2 newspaper clippings scrapbooks, 5 photo portraits, 1 typescript memoir.)

Language of Materials



The Dexter Lewis Papers consists of two scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting Lewis's career with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, five photoportraits of IBT officers (three inscribed) and a typescript memoir of his work with the Teamsters in the 1930s into the 1950s.


The collections is arranged by item: scrapbooks, memoir, and photographs.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Dexter Lewis's granddaughter Cheryl Shinn.

Guide to the Dexter L. Lewis Papers1937-1951
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America