Leo Levine was born Leizers Levins in Riga, Latvia, on September 30, 1907. He worked as a European war correspondent until the outbreak of World War II. After immigrating to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1941, Levine worked as a freelance newspaper columnist. In 1943, he married Sylvia Shlifer, a graduate of Radcliffe College and researcher in the field of early American art. They had one daughter, Helena.
In photographs, below: On left, Leo and Sylvia Schlifer Levine, circa 1940s; on right, Sylvia Schlifer (in the center), circa 1920s. From the Leo Levine Papers, American Jewish Historical Society, New England Archives.