The William H. Hannon Library has received a significant collection of papers from the Honorable Anthony L. Coelho in order to support the recently established Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation. The collection, given to LMU by California State University, Fresno, continues to grow with added donations by Coelho. It is currently being processed and will be available to researchers later this year.
Tony Coelho is a former six-term United States Congressman from California (1978-1989) and the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During his time in office and continuing throughout his public career, he has been a strong advocate for civil rights for individuals with disabilities, helping to establish the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, serving as Chairman of President Bill Clinton’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, and persuading President Barack Obama to issue an executive order enforcing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to hire people with disabilities. Coelho also served on the board of directors for the Epilepsy Foundation of America and chairman of the board of directors for the American Association of People with Disabilities.
The Tony Coelho papers date from 1955 to 2008. The collection is arranged in nine series: Activism, Congressional years, Corporate, Foreign, Personal, Political activity, Photographs, Multimedia, and Artifacts. Information that future research will discover there include (among many other documents): information and materials compiled during Coelho’s involvement in various charities and foundations; materials from Coelho’s time as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and his congressional years; material from Coelho’s post-congressional career; material and information that deal with Coelho’s overseas activity as a U.S. diplomat to Portugal; material related to various events from Coelho’s personal life, including documents and materials from his life from high school to college; materials that Coelho compiled during his post-congressional political activity; and various photographs, multimedia, and other artifacts.