Caffè Lena opened in Saratoga Springs, NY in May of 1960. Since then, the coffee house has kept its doors open featuring predominately performances by folk musicians. Often the performers were at the start of their careers. The café has featured now familiar songwriters including Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Ani DiFranco, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle - to name just a few. After the death of the founder, Lena Spencer, in 1989 Caffè Lena was converted to a non-profit institution.
The Caffè Lena History Project has launched an online searchable database for the complete Caffè Lena collection. The processing of this collection was made possible with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives Project. The digitization of the material was made possible through generous funding from the EMC Corporation.