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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: HUD 3277.4500
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Choate Club (Harvard Law School)
Title: Records of the Choate Club, 1955-1967
Quantity: 0.18 cubic feet (1 half document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The Choate Club was founded at the Harvard Law School in 1887 as a chapter of the Phi Delta Phi, a law-school fraternity. In its later years, the Club appears to have been a secret society composed of Law School students and professors, with a focus on social and intellectual stimulation outside of study of the law. The Records of the Choate Club document the history, activities, and interests of the Club. The Club should not be confused with the Law School's Choate Law Club, associated with the Ames Competition for moot court cases.
At the Harvard University Archives:
- Records of the Choate Law Club (Harvard University Archives call number HUD 3277.4000)
- Records of the Choate Chapter of Phi Delta Phi (Harvard University Archives call number HUD 3684.2000)
At the Harvard Law School Library:
- Records of the Choate Law Club, 1909-1914 can be found in the Student Law Club Records.
The Choate Club was founded at the Harvard Law School in 1887 as a chapter (or inn) of the Phi Delta Phi, a law-school fraternity. It is unclear if or when ties with the fraternity were severed. The Club was in existence until about 1918, when it became dormant due to World War I. The Club was revived by old members in approximately 1934.In its later years, the Club appears to have been a secret society composed of Law School students and professors, with a focus on social and intellectual stimulation outside of study of the law. Monthly meetings at the Signet Society, which included cocktails and an informal dinner, featured guest speakers who were encouraged to speak on any non-legal topic, including discussions of current events or philosophical musings. Speakers were frequently prominent politicians, writers, and scientists.The Club should not be confused with the Choate Law Club, one of many Law School clubs that competed in the Ames Competition in Appellate Brief Writing and Advocacy.
The records primarily document the social activities of the Choate Club from 1955-1967, but include documentation of the history of the Club. The bulk of the records consist of incoming and outgoing correspondence between members of the Club and potential or confirmed speakers for the Club's monthly meetings. Because of the Club's secret nature, the correspondence regularly includes information on the Club's history for the benefit of potential speakers; this history includes the names of past members and speakers and their topics. Within the correspondence can also be found lists of speakers with a few biographical notes and newsclippings, and the occasional meeting notice. The outgoing correspondence includes drafts of letters by Club members, much of it with manuscript annotations and comments.
This document last updated 2016 August 11.