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HOLLIS 601622

Berger, Raoul. Papers, 1921-2000: 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.: HOLLIS 601622
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Berger, Raoul, 1901-
Title: Papers, 1921-2000
Date(s): 1921-2000
Date(s): 1932-1982,
Date(s): 1969-1982,
Date(s): 1938-1981,
Date(s): 1921-1979.
Quantity: 1 collection (8 boxes, 1 Paige Box)
Abstract: Berger's papers relate mainly to the preparation and publication of his written works, and his role as an authority on judicial review, executive privilege, Presidential war powers, and impeachment.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Original gift donated to the Harvard Law School Library by Raoul Berger in 1982. Addenda 3 and 4 donated 1999 and 2000-2001 respectively.

Processing Information:

Finding aid processed by Judith W. Mellins, 1983; Addenda 1 and 2 processors unknown; Addenda 3 processed by Anne Lozier, 2001; Addenda 4 processed by Erica Bicchieri, 2001.

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.

Historical/Biographical Information



Series List

Scope and Contents

The papers of Raoul Berger (b. 1901) span the years 1921 to 2000, with the bulk of the material falling into the period 1969 - the year his first book, Congress V. the Supreme Court, was published by Harvard University Press - to 1979. Dr. Berger's papers of the 1970's stem, for the most part, from:
Papers relating to Berger's fifth book, Death Penalties: The Supreme Court's Obstacle Course, 1982, were not included in the original gift, with the exception of the book review by Eric Stange in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 20 October 1982.
The papers contain letters received, carbons of letters sent (correspondence), telegrams, brochures, certificates, fliers, news and photo clippings, programs, periodical articles, reprints, photocopies, typed manuscripts of articles (some with holograph additions and corrections), typed copies of speeches, transcripts of television programs. Berger's research notes for and manuscript drafts of books are not included. Photographs were transferred to Harvard Law School Library's Art collection. The arrangement imposed upon the papers by the donor was retained.
Raoul Berger's legal education is documented in the Correspondence Series. The years spent at Northwestern Law School, 1932-1935, where he received his J.D., are reflected in letters from Dean John Henry Wigmore, who continued corresponding with Berger for many years after Berger's graduation. While at the Harvard Law School, 1937-1938, where he took his LL.M., Berger received letters from Felix Frankfurter, his teacher and mentor. Correspondence spanning Berger's years at Northwestern and Harvard Law Schools reveals his concentration on administrative law, constitutional law and legal history.
During the twenty-year period 1938-1958, Berger had a distinguished career in government service, followed by private law practice in Washington, D.C. Correspondence with Benjamin V. Cohen, Jerome Frank, Robert H. Jackson, James E. Markham, and others documents this period.
Berger's production of scholarly writings gained momentum in the years he served as Regents' Professor at the University of California School of Law at Berkeley, 1962-1965, and, subsequently, as Charles Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History at Harvard Law School, 1971-1976. The Correspondence Series is especially rich during these years because of the extensive commentaries on Berger's writings that he received prior to publication of his monographs. Such reviews and critiques were invited by the author and by his publishers. In many instances, he responded to these commentaries, and an interesting exchange of letters ensued. During the 1970's he was sought after for speaking engagements, as the principal speaker or as a participant in symposia and panel discussions. U.S. Senators and Representatives called on him to be an expert witness in Congressional hearings and read excerpts from his writings into the Congressional Record.
The above-mentioned activities are further documented in Series III: Writings, Speeches, Interviews, Congressional Testimony, Etc. Of special interest are the complete transcripts of Bill Moyer's Journal, "A Question of Impeachment," TV: Educational Broadcasting Corporation [P.B.S.] 22 January 1974, and of Aussenpolitik/Michael Verde, "Macht and Recht - Watergate und die amerikanische Prasident-schaft," TV: 12-13 May 1974, a conversation in German between Verde and Berger.
Series II, Published Reviews of Books by Raoul Berger, reflect both positive and negative reaction to his writings. This Series includes originals, reprints, and photocopies, comprising a wide sampling of reviews in legal journals, professional journals in the political science and history fields, and in serious publications aimed at the general public. Such periodicals include Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, Political Science Quarterly, and the New York Times Book Review. Some of the reviewers represented are Alexander M. Bickel, Philip Kurland, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Abraham D. Sofaer.
Series IV, Biographical Miscellany, consists essentially of music memorabilia, e.g. printed programs, news and photo clippings, and some correspondence, all reflecting Berger's years as a professional concert violinist between 1916 and 1932, and the years since, when playing the violin has continued as an avocation, and when involvement in music in general turned him into an active patron of the musical arts.
Correspondents in these papers whose names have not already been mentioned include Louis D. Brandeis, Thomas F. Eagleton, Leon Green, James W. Hurst, Stanley N. Katz, Alpheus T. Mason, and Harlan F. Stone.
Materials in the addenda are similar to those found in the original collection. They include correspondence, miscellaneous writings, materials related to the publication of Berger's monographs, and biographical items. Addenda 2 includes correspondence, reviews, and other material related to the publication of Federalism: The Founders' Design, 1987, and The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, 1989. Of interest in Addenda 3 is a scrapbook containing materials related to Berger's musical career. Addenda 4 includes materials related to Berger's death in 2000, including obituaries and sympathy cards and letters written to Berger's widow, Patty Wolcott.


Thirty-nine photos, mainly portraits of Raoul Berger, spanning the years 1916-1977.


1. 28 photos of Raoul Berger and family members, ca. 1910-1990
2. Unidentified photos
3. Plaque: ABA 1978 Gavel Award Certificate

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Impeachments -United States.
Executive privilege (Government information).
Capital punishment.
Law -United States.
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 1856-1941.
Cardozo, Benjamin N., 1870-1938.
Cohen, Benjamin V.
Eagleton, Thomas F., 1929-
Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957.
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.
Green, Leon, 1888-
Hurst, James Willard, 1910-
Jackson, Robert Houghwout, 1892-1954.
Katz, Stanley Nider.
Markham, James E.
Mason, Alpheus Thomas, 1899-
Stone, Harlan Fiske, 1872-1946.
Wigmore, John Henry, 1863-1943.