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Ehrmann, Herbert B. (Herbert Brutus). Papers, 1906-1970: 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.: HOLLIS601620
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Ehrmann, Herbert B. (Herbert Brutus), 1891-1970
Title: Papers, 1906-1970
Date(s): 1906-1970
Quantity: 27 boxes
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Papers chiefly relating to Ehrmann's involvement in the Sacco-Vanzetti case as junior counsel for the defense and his research and writings (1927-1969) on the case. Includes much correspondence (1915-1965) with Felix Frankfurter; letters (1920-1927) written by Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti to various persons; material pertaining to Ehrmann's participation with the Massachusetts Commissions on Capital Punishment and on Unemployment, the Massachusetts Judicial Council, the Massachusetts Defenders Committee, and other State agencies; and draft material for two projected autobiographical works, tentatively entitled Adventure of Living and Education of a Liberal.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Papers of Herbert B. Ehrmann, lawyer and author, were presented to the Harvard Law School Library as a gift in December, 1970, by Mr. Ehrmann's widow, Sara R. Ehrmann.

Processing Information:

Prepared by Erika S. Chadbourn, January 1972.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library, and in addition by the terms of the agreement between Sara R. Ehrmann and the Harvard Corporation (see CASE FILE at Curator's desk).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

Ehrmann, Herbert Brutus lawyer, writer.



Series List

Scope and Contents

The Herbert B. Ehrmann Papers span the years 1906 to 1970. The collection includes correspondence, notes, drafts, proof sheets, reports, memoranda, tables, legal documents, book reviews, fan mail, publicity items, bibliographies, clippings, maps, street plans, charts, journal issues, pamphlets, miscellaneous printed items, press releases, editorials, fragments of unpublished manuscripts, photographs, posters, awards, and citations. Photographs have been transferred to the Art Collection.
The main body of the material relates to Herbert B. Ehrmann's involvement in the Sacco-Vanzetti case (Commonwealth v. Sacco and Vanzetti) as junior counsel for the defense for the period May 1926 until just before the execution in August of 1927. Also included are materials related to his research on and writings about the case during the ensuing forty-two years (1927-1969). The titles of the two books he wrote on the Sacco-Vanzetti case are: The Untried Case: The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Morelli Gang (1 st ed. 1933, 2 nd ed. 1960), and The Case That Will Not Die: Commonwealth V. Sacco and Vanzetti (1969).
Another significant contingent of the collection (approximately 300 items) is Ehrmann's correspondence with Felix Frankfurter (1882-1965) which spans the years 1915-1965. Ehrmann and Frankfurter were very close friends. A third important segment of the papers is a group of eighty original letters (A.L.S.) of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti to various individuals, written from their respective prisons, and covering the period 1920-1927. None of these letters of Sacco and Vanzetti have been published in full text; only excerpts from a few of the early ones have appeared in print.
Other activities represented in the papers are materials relating to Ehrmann's participation, in various capacities, in Massachusetts public agencies such as the Massachusetts Commission on Capital Punishment, on Unemployment (1915-1916), the Massachusetts Defenders Committee (1964-1967), and the Massachusetts Judicial Council (1934-1937). There is also a sizeable amount of draft material of two projected autobiographical works, tentatively entitled Adventure of Living and Education of a Liberal.
Among Ehrmann's correspondents, besides Felix Frankfurter, were: Morris B. Abrams, Louis D. Brandeis, John Dos Passos, Morris L. Ernst, David Felix, Bernard Flexner, Osmond K. Fraenkel, Alvan T. Fuller, Arthur J. Goldberg, Erwin N. Griswold, Norman Hapgood, Arthur Garfield Hays, Arthur Dehon Hill, Hubert H. Humphrey, Gardner Jackson, Jacob K. Javits, Paul U. Kellog, Edward M. Kennedy, Robert Morss Lovett, Robert H. Montgomery, Micjael A. Musmanno, Endicott Peabody, Roscoe Pound, Elliot L. Richardson, Francis Russell, Leverett Saltonstall, Upton Sinclair, William G. Thompson, and Joseph N. Welch.
Materials relating to Herbert B. Ehrmann's activities as a member and president of the American Jewish Committee were separated from the Papers and transferred to the archives of the American Jewish Committee. Materials relating to Ehrmann's authorship of staged and unstaged plays were transferred to the Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Massachusetts. Commission on Capital Punishmnent.
Massachusetts. Commission on Unemployment.
Massachusetts. Judicial Council.
Massachusetts. Defenders Committee.
Anarchism -United States.
Sacco-Vanzetti Trial, Dedham, Mass., 1921.
Trials -Massachusetts.
Ehrmann, Herbert B. (Herbert Brutus), b. 1891.
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.
Sacco, Nicola, 1891-1927.
Vanzetti, Bartolomeo, 1888-1927.
Abrams, Morris B.
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 1856-1941.
Dos Passos, John, 1896-1970.
Ernst, Morris Leopold, 1888-
Felix, David, 1921-
Flexner, Bernard.
Fraenkel, Osmond Kessler, 1888-
Fuller, Alvan Tufts, 1878-1958.
Goldberg, Arthur J.
Griswold, Erwin N. (Erwin Nathaniel), 1904-
Hapgood, Norman.
Hays, Arthur Garfield, 1881-1954.
Hill, Arthur Dehon.
Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978.
Jackson, Gardner, 1896-1965.
Javits, Jacob K. (Jacob Koppel), 1904-
Kellogg, Paul U., 1879-
Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932-
Lovett, Robert M.
Montgomery, Robert H.
Morelli, Joseph
Musmanno, Michael Angelo.
Peabody, Endicott.
Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964.
Richardson, Elliot L., 1920-
Russell, Francis, 1816-1891.
Saltonstall, Leverett, 1892-
Sinclair, Upton, 1878-1968.
Thompson, William Goodrich, 1864-1935.