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HOLLIS 601708

Zeligs, Meyer Aaron. Papers, 1923-1978: 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 601708
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Meyer Aaron Zeligs papers
Date(s): 1923-1978
Quantity: 1 collection (12 boxes, 6 Paige boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The papers cover Dr. Zeligs' research, writing and publication of his book about the Alger Hiss case, Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss (N.Y., The Viking Press, 1967). Zeligs' study approaches the relationship and conflict between Hiss and Chambers from the standpoint of the psychoanalyst.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The Papers of Dr. Meyer A. Zeligs (1909-1978), psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, teacher, and author, which relate to his research for and publication of his study Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss, were presented to the Harvard Law School Library as a gift June 24, 1980 by Dr. Zeligs' widow, Elizabeth W. Zeligs.

Processing Information:

Prepared by Erika S. Chadbourn and Richard McNally, October 1, 1980.

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.

Chronology of Whittaker Chambers


Chronology of Alger Hiss


Series List

Scope and Contents

The 4500 items in the Papers of Dr. Meyer Aaron Zeligs (1909-1978) relate to his research for and publication of Friendship and Fratricide: An Analysis of Whittaker Chambers and Alger Hiss (N.Y, The Viking Press, 1967). The Papers span the years 1923 to 1978, with the bulk of the material falling into the 1948 to 1967 period.
The collection includes correspondence; memoranda; reports; legal documents; research notes; lists; transcripts of the manuscript of Friendship and Fratricide, both in loose and in bound form; page proof; index cards; news clippings; other printed items including related books with Dr. Zeligs' marginal notes; and Photostats.
A number of books have been written and are still being written about the Alger Hiss case, including books by Hiss and his antagonist Whittaker Chambers themselves. Dr. Zeligs' Friendship and Fratricide is the only study that approaches the relationship and conflict between Hiss and Chambers from the standpoint of the psychoanalyst, probing into their childhood and their early traumas, and into the development of their complex personalities. He became interested in the two men after reading Chambers' autobiography Witness in 1953/4, and Earl Jowitt's The Strange Case of Alger Hiss (1953). His actual research for his book began in 1959, and the writing was done between 1960 and 1967.
Dr. Zeligs' Papers cover roughly these aspects of his research, writing and publication: (a) Correspondence and interviews with persons closely connected with Hiss, Chambers and the Government cases against Hiss such as family members, friends, professional associates, and attorneys; (b) Research materials such as college and other types of records, examples of writings and speeches of Hiss and Chambers, both free-lance and professional, descriptions of their places of residence and their life styles, statements regarding their religious beliefs and political convictions, court records included testimonies, copies of letters, handwriting analyses, reviews of pre-1967 books, and newspapers clippings; (c) Drafts of Dr. Zeligs' manuscript in various stages, critiques, and correspondence with publishing houses; and (d) Publication and post-publication items such as reviews and fan mail. A considerable amount of the materials were organized by Dr. Zeligs in 3-hole notebooks which have been left intact. There are a few current items such as reviews of post-1967 books and a "précis" of a projected follow-up book by Zeligs entitled (tentatively) "Ordeals of Loyalty and Betrayal: Hiss-Nixon-Chambers."
In addition, the collection includes a group of books on the Hiss case, writings of Whittaker Chambers, and hard-bound sets of the 1948 Hearings before the House Un-American Activities Committee, the so-called "Baltimore Depositions" (Alger Hiss v. Whitaker Chambers, 1948 and 1949), and the transcript of the record of the second Hiss trial (1949-1950).
Major correspondents include: Adolph A. Berle, Jr.; Carl Binger; Earl Browder; Helen L. Buttenweiser; Alistair Cooke; Malcolm Cowley; Robert Crichton; Claude B. Cross; Morris L. Ernst; Richard H. Field; Felix Frankfurter; Elizabeth Hiss Hartman; Alger Hiss; Donald Hiss; Priscilla F. Hiss; Thayer Hobson; Chester T. Lane; Isaac Don Levine; William L. Marbury; John Cabot Smith; Mark Van Doren; and Allen Weinstein. The collection includes copies of letters of Whittaker Chambers to others, but no direct correspondence between Chambers, who died in 1961, and Zeligs.
There is a considerable amount of correspondence between Alger Hiss and Professor Richard H. Field of the Harvard Law School in the Richard H. Field Papers, Series Alger Hiss, in the Harvard Law School Library.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Trials (Perjury) -New York.
Trials (Political crimes and offenses) -New York.
Berle, Adolf Augustus, 1895-1971.
Binger, Carl.
Browder, Earl, 1891-1973.
Buttenweiser, Helen L.
Chambers, Whittaker.
Cooke, Alistair, 1908-
Cowley, Malcolm, 1898-
Crichton, Robert.
Cross, Claude B.
Ernst, Morris Leopold, 1888-
Field, Richard H.
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.
Hartman, Elizabeth Hiss.
Hiss, Alger.
Hiss, Donald.
Hiss, Priscilla Fansler.
Hobson, Thayer.
Lane, Chester T.
Levine, Isaac Don, 1892-
Marbury, William L.
Smith, John Chabot.
Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972.
Weinstein, Allen.
Zeligs, Meyer Aaron, 1909-1978.