Skip to main content

Irving Lisman Collection

Identifier: mss-415

Scope and Contents

Correspondence is minimal in the years surrounding World War II and consists of letters home, including a description of the condition of the Dachau concentration camp when it was liberated, and a handful of drafts to family members of deceased fellow soldiers. Journal entries are few and describe training, troop movements, and fighting, including weaponry. Both correspondence and journal entries are typewritten and unsigned. Later correspondence is greater in volume and relates to research or requests for assistance from a historical perspective given Lisman's role as a liberator.

Articles and newspaper clippings include coverage of commemorations, Jewish, or Holocaust museum or memorial openings; letters to the editor; book and film or television reviews; obituaries; and articles on of topics such as the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, the holocaust, ghettoes and concentration camps, Nazi gold and art, the atomic bomb, anti-Semitism, Israel, experiences of WWII soldiers and veterans, and global issues during Lisman's lifetime.

Programs and other printed matter from the International Liberators Conference in Washington may be of particular interest.

The material is arranged chronologically.


  • 1944-2000
  • Majority of material found in 1980-1997



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Irving Lisman (1912-2011) attended the University of Vermont, graduating in 1934. In 1938, he married Lillian "Lily" Becker (1915-2014) and they had two children.

Irving worked in the family retail business (his father Samuel owned the Vermont Clothing House) and volunteered for the US Army. He served as a medic, mostly in Europe, for nearly five years, with the medical unit of the 42nd Infantry Division. Among his significant accomplishments were the successful rescue, under machine gun fire, of four soldiers who had been wounded by landmines, as well as the capture of a high ranking enemy soldier and aides. He was a liberator of the Dachau Concentration Camp. Letters home on this topic were published in the Burlington Free Press. Lisman later gave talks to community groups and participated in oral history projects to ensure that the Holocaust would not be forgotten. Irving earned a Bronze Star Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster. Shortly after the war ended, he worked to assist displaced Holocaust survivors.

After the war, he earned a master's degree in education from the University of Vermont and subsequently taught science at South Burlington High School for many years, retiring in 1977. He also coached the debate team and was active in community service organizations including Boy Scouts, AARP, and the Fletcher Free Library.

Irving had two brothers, Louis (1910-2000) and Bernard (1918-2014) who were partners in their own law firm in Burlington, Vermont. Both graduated from the University of Vermont and were active in community service, including the creation of Vermont Legal Aid (Louis) and the Sara Holbrook Center (Bernard). Bernard also served in the US Army in Europe in World War II, including the planning of the D-Day invasion from London on Commander Eisenhower's staff.

[adapted from obituary, Burlington Free Press, June 30, 2011]


1 Linear Feet (1 carton, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Collection consists of periodicals, clippings, booklets, and other materials related to the Holocaust, WWII, and Holocaust memorials. There are also materials from International Liberators Conferences, which the Lismans attended.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Related Materials

Some Lisman family members have been connected with UVM as alumni, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees. Archival records may be of use to researchers.

Processing Information

Multiple files were titled "Articles and clippings," often with overlapping date ranges, to preserve the original arrangement. Processing was done minimally and while it does not appear that Lisman divided the articles and clippings topically, this could not be determined in the processing time available. A small amount of interfiling may complicate the original order.

Guide to the Irving Lisman Collection
2018 October
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)