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Griswold, Erwin N. (Erwin Nathaniel). Papers, 1925-1994: Finding Aid.

Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard Law School

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: HOLLIS1347560
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Griswold, Erwin N., 1904-1994
Title: Erwin N. (Erwin Nathaniel) Griswold papers
Date(s): 1925-1994
Quantity: 1 collection (361 boxes, 3 Paige boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Material covers Griswold's professional career as teacher, scholar, and private consultant, also his public service. Among his papers one significant group pertains to his work as a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Other material relates to his legal writings, and to special trips he took to Africa and Russia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gift of Erwin N. Griswold, September 19, 1978.

Processing Information:

Processed by Erika Chadbourn in 1988.
The Addenda was processed in 2008 by Margaret Peachy, Edwin Moloy, and Mary Eagle.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Related Materials

For Griswold's official correspondence and other files as Dean of the Harvard Law School, see HOLLIS 604043.

Biographical note

Erwin Nathaniel Griswold


Honorary Degrees:


Bar Association memberships:
Contributor of many articles to professional journals; special lectures; book reviews; In Memoriam remarks. Please see appended bibiography at the end of this inventory.

Series List

Scope and Contents

The papers of Erwin Nathaniel Griswold (1904-1994) span the years 1925 to the 1994, with the bulk falling in the 1934 to 1967 period.
The collection includes correspondence (both letters received and carbons of letters sent); agenda; minutes of meetings; memoranda; reports; legal and legislative documents; clippings, reprints, and other printed items; drafts; manuscripts of published and unpublished writings including two travel journals; and a small amount of memorabilia such as honorary degree certificates. Photographs have been transferred to the Law Library's Art Collection.
Erwin Griswold's papers relate to the various aspects of his professional and public activities, with a relatively small group reflecting on his personal life. Perhaps the most interesting group of the papers are the five manuscript boxes of correspondence for the years 1934 to 1939 which is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Correspondence is with law school colleagues on other law faculties, former students, jurists, government officials, law review editors, and personal friends. It is of a predominantly professional nature; however, there is a certain amount of discussion of the current controversies of that period, e.g., President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Court-packing" plan. Later correspondence was kept by Griswold within special subject categories.
Another significant group (17 manuscript boxes) are the papers which Griswold accumulated while serving on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1961-1967). This group includes correspondence between Commission members, memoranda, drafts of reports, fact sheets, statements, press clippings, agenda, minutes of meetings, and directories. It documents, almost day- by-day, Griswold's activities as a Commission member. Included are drafts and analyses of the various chapters of the two reports in which he participated, namely the " Race and Education Report " and the " Urban Report."
A third group which bulks large are the papers generated by Erwin Griswold as a tax expert and consultant on tax matters, both to government agencies and to private companies. Some of the private companies whom he advised were the Massachusetts Indemnity and Life Insurance Company, American Chicle Company, American Paper Writing Company, and International Hydro-Electric System. His public service as tax consultant included his work for the U.S. Treasury's Advisory Committee on Estate and Gift Taxation (1941-1946).
The SERIES: SPECIAL TRIPS and HAGUE CONFERENCE ON PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW illustrate Griswold's increasing concern, beginning after World War II, with international legal problems and global concerns about war and peace. Griswold became quite an expert on Africa: In 1958 he was called upon to attend the "treason" trial of ninety-two South Africans as an observer, and in 1963 he visited Liberia as part of an educational strategy advisory group. There is also a folder containing a copy of 132 pages of his diary of and report on his visit to Russia in May 1961 to attend an American-Soviet Conference in the Crimea. The Hague Conference on Private and International Law took place 1964, 1965, and 1967. Griswold served as the United States expert. His papers of the Hague Conferences consist of working papers; background material; questionnaires; reports; draft conventions; correspondence, especially with Richard D. Kearney.
Although Dean Griswold was active in many professional organizations, the only ones represented in the Law School's contingent of papers are the American Bar Association's Committee on Professional Relations and the Practicing Law Institute. There is a certain amount of material on his public service other than the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, e.g. the (Massachusetts) Attorney General's Advisory Committee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; the Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the U.S. Congress's Joint Committee on the Economic Report; the U.S. Department of Justice's Alien Enemy Hearing Board; and the U.S. Treasury Department. Nine folders contain items related to Griswold's assistantship in the Solicitor General's Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, 1930-1934.
Nine manuscript boxes contain drafts of some of Griswold's writings (excluding his case and textbooks); five of these are various drafts of his first book, SPENDTHRIFT TRUSTS (first edition, 1936). Two of the manuscript boxes hold reprints of a great number of his articles.
Finally, the papers contain miscellaneous Harvard Law School and personal items, e.g., letters of congratulations upon his appointment as Dean in 1946; papers relating to his opening of the Bodleian Law Library complex in 1964; programs of special Law School events which occurred during his Deanship; lecture notes; and a large amount of clippings, arranged in roughly chronological order and covering the years 1946 to 1974. Many of the clippings relate to Griswold's public criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy and Griswold's stand on and writings about the Fifth Amendment issue.
The papers contain three over-size scrapbooks: two relate to his attendance at the South African "treason" trial in 1958, one relates to his stand on the School Prayer decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1963.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Civil rights.
International law.
Soviet Union.
South Africa.
United States -History -1933-1945.
Law teachers.
Austern, H. Thomas
Bennett, Hugh M.
Biggs, J. Crawford
Bilder, Nathan
Blodgett, Thomas
Branch, Claude R.
Brickley, Bartholomew A.
Burke, Edward R.
Cardozo, Benjamin N.
Carr, Cecil T.
Celler, Emanuel
Cheatham, Elliott E.
Clark, Grenville
Clark, Tom
Cropley, Charles E.
Dane, George E.
Dickinson, John
Donovan, J.F.
Fairman, Charles
Farley, Jarvis
Feller, Abe H.
Freedman, Peter
Freund, Paul A.
Hendricks, Homer
Holland, H. Brian
Hoppenfeld, J.
Horsky, Charles A.
Hughes, Charles E.
Hughes, John E.
Jackson, Robert H.
Kearney, Richard
Kirkpatrick, Charles L.
McEachern, A.J.
Magill, Roswell
Magruder, Calvert
Mills, Wilbur D.
Moore, Edward
Nadelman, Kurt
Nash, Frederick A.
Palmer, Herbert D.
Paul, Randolph E.
Pepper, George W.
Prince, Frederick H.
Raum, Arnold
Reed, Stanley F.
Reese, Willis
Roberts, Owen J.
Robertson, Arthur H.
Rugg, Charles B.
Rusk, Dean
Sack, Alexander N.
Salamune, S.A.
Sanford, Herbert R.
Seligson, Harold P.
Smith, Orville
Stephens, Harold M.
Taft, Robert A.
Turrentine, Lowell
Von Mehren, Arthur
Wiener, Frederick B.
Wirtz, Willard
Wyzanski, Charles E., Jr.
United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Harvard Law School.
Hague Conference on Private International Law.