Born to a Jewish family in Richmond, Virginia, he was the founder of Best Products Co. (now defunct). He is the namesake of Lewis Hall at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, whose construction he and his wife, Frances, funded in 1976. Lewis himself held his B.A. from Washington and Lee (1940), and though he began the study of law, never received a law degree from Washington and Lee University as his legal education was interrupted by World War II. Subsequently, he finished his JD degree at George Washington University in Washington DC. He practiced law for a brief period prior to entering his father's business, eventually to become Best Products Co, Inc.
Lewis and his wife Frances were benefactors of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. According to the New York Times "in 1985, the couple donated more than 1,500 artworks to the museum, making it the home of the most important collection of Art Nouveau outside Paris and of an especially beautiful selection of Tiffany lamps. "
Sydney and Frances Lewis were awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1987.
- "Sydney and Frances Lewis | Virginia Historical Society". www.vahistorical.org.
- "Sydney Lewis, 79, Art Collector and Patron".
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