Thayer, Ezra Ripley. Papers, 1882-1915: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard Law School
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: HOLLIS 601661
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915
Title: Ezra Ripley Thayer papers
Quantity: 1 collection (15 boxes, 2 Paige boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Papers relating to Thayer's student and teaching career at Harvard Law School, work
as a practicing attorney, and involvement in professional affairs. Includes notes,
financial records (1884-1891), and examination questions from his student days at
Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and studies for the Massachusetts Bar Association
and Carnegie Foundation on the quality and content of bar examinations and methods
of teaching in American law schools.
The provenance of the Ezra Ripley Thayer Papers has not been definitively ascertained.
Quite possibly they were collected in Dean Thayer's office soon after his unexpected
death and stored with other manuscript materials of the Law School Library. It is
also possible that they were transferred to the Law School in later years by Dean
Thayer's son, James B. Thayer (1899-).
Prepared by John J. Feeney, Jr., October 1974.
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.
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.
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, attorney, law professor and law dean.
b. February 21, 1866, Milton, Massachusetts.
p. James Bradley and Sophia Bradford (Ripley) T.
A.B. Harvard College, 1888.
LL.B. Harvard Law School, 1891.
m. Ethel Randolf Clark, June 23, 1898 (three children).
Secretary to Justice Horace Gray, U.S. Supreme Court, 1892.
Practiced law in Boston with the firm of Brandeis, Dunbar, and Nutter, 1893-1900.
Practiced law in Boston with the firm of Storey, Thorndike, Palmer and Thayer, 1900-1910.
Dane Professor of Law and Dean of the Harvard Law School, 1910-1915.
d. September 14, 1915.
- "The Harvard Law School: Looking Ahead," Harvard Alumni Bulletin 17, 7, November 11, 1914, pp. 104-105.
- "Observations on the Law of Evidence," Michigan Law Review XIII, 5 March, 1915.
- "Judicial Administration"; an address before the Law Association of Philadelphia, 1915.
- References to Cases and Statutes to Accompany Lectures on Massachusetts Practice,
Compiler: Legal Essays, by James Bradley Thayer, 1908.
The approximately 1,400 items in the papers of Ezra Ripley Thayer (1866-1915) span
the years 1882 to 1915. The collection includes correspondence; letterpress copybooks; notes; drafts; reports; memoranda; clippings; and other printed items.
The bulk of the Ezra Ripley Thayer papers relates to his years at Harvard, both as
a student at the College and as a student, teacher and dean at the Law School. Thayer
preserved sets of examination questions, student notes, and personal financial records while a student at Harvard (1884-1891). His papers from his teaching period (1910-1915)
include some of his lecture notes, studies for the Massachusetts Bar Association and for the Carnegie Foundation concerning the quality and content of Bar examination
questions and methods of teaching in American law schools. Also contained is a certain
amount of correspondence with colleagues and others concerning professional matters.
Arrangement of this correspondence is partially chronological (11 folders) and partially
alphabetical. The chronological sequence contains a considerable amount of correspondence
with Harlan Fiske Stone, at that time Dean of the Columbia University Law School. Among his other correspondents
during this period were: Adolf Berle, Jr.; F.W. Grinnell; Richard W. Hale; Judge Joseph
C. Higgins; Roscoe Pound; John H. Wigmore; and Bruce Wyman.
A third prominent group of papers consists of material preserved from his years as
practicing attorney (1893-1910). Included in this group are seven letterpress volumes
of carbons of letters sent during this period. There is also a small amount of correspondence
with Louis D. Brandeis and Henry L. Stimson.
- Series: EZRA RIPLEY THAYER AS STUDENT
- 1-1. Preliminary ( 1882) and prescribed examinations ( 1884) for admission to Harvard College, including admission certificate, June 30, 1884
Date: June 30, 1884
Includes ERT's room assignments, 1885 - 1888
- 1-2. Harvard College examination papers, 1884 - 1888
Date: 1884 - 1888
- 1-3. Harvard Law School examinations, 1890 - 1891
Date: 1890 - 1891
- 1-4 to 1-6. Student notebooks of ERT
- 1-6. Suretyships and Mortgages
- 1-7. Student essay of ERT on " The Right of Eminent Domain"
- 1-8. Personal accounting records of ERT 1882 - 1997
Date: 1882 - 1997
Includes poems in honor of his 21st birthday by ERT's mother and by his aunt
- Series: EZRA RIPLEY THAYER AS PRACTICING ATTORNEY
- 1-9. Correspondence (unbound) and accounting records of the law firm of Warren and Brandeis;
after 1897, Brandeis, Nutter and Dunbar. 1895 - 1997
Date: 1895 - 1997
Includes 3 TLS of Brandeis to ERT
- 1-10. Correspondence (unbound) with F. Larnaud of the Revue du Droit Public et de la Science Politique
- 1-11. Correspondence (unbound) between ERT and Henry L. Stimson re the General Slocum case.
Includes an editorial written by ERT and printed in the Boston Herald, February 28,
- 2 to 4. Correspondence (bound)
- 2. Vol. I December, 1893 to December, 1897 Vol. II December, 1897 to April, 1905 Vol.
III April, 1902 to April, 1905
Date: December, 1893 to December, 1897
Date: December, 1897 to April, 1905
Date: April, 1902 to April, 1905
- 3. Vol. IV April, 1905 to February, 1907 Vol. V February, 1907 to July, 1908
Date: April, 1905 to February, 1907
Date: February, 1907 to July, 1908
- 4. Vol. VI July, 1908 to June, 1909 Vol. VII June, 1909 to July, 1910
Date: July, 1908 to June, 1909
Date: June, 1909 to July, 1910
These are letterpress volumes of carbons of letters sent; no incoming mail included.
Carbons are bound in chronological order, and there is an alphabetical index of addresses
at the beginning of each volume giving corresponding page numbers.
- Series: TEACHING NOTES
- 5-1. Lectures notebooks (2) on Massachusetts Practice 1897 - 1903
Date: 1897 - 1903
It is possible that ERT taught courses on Massachusetts practice at the law school
while he was in private practice.
- 5-2 to 5-5. Evidence lecture notes 1910 - 1914
Date: 1910 - 1914
- 5-2. Bound notebook, 1910
- 5-3. Unbound notes, 1911
- 5-4. Unbound notes, 1912 - 1913
Date: 1912 - 1913
- 5-5. Unbound notes, 1914
- 5-6. Lecture notebook on Property II., n.d.
This is the second part of a course on Property II; pages are marked 195 - 301; part
one is missing.
- 5-7 to 6-13. Torts lecture notes 1910 - 1915
Date: 1910 - 1915
These are mainly notes covering various aspects of the law of torts.
- Series: CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS PAPERS OF EZRA RIPLEY THAYER AS DEAN AND DANE PROFESSOR
- 6-14. The American Academy of Jurisprudence, 1913, 1914
Date: 1913, 1914
- 6-15 to 7-6. Bar examinations, File I 1910 - 1915
Date: 1910 - 1915
Dean Thayer was a member of the Committee on Legal Education of the Massachusetts Bar Association. He participated in studies of the quality and content of Bar examinations and qualifications
of examiners, mainly in Massachusetts and New York. These 10 folders contain mostly
correspondence concerning his findings. Material in reverse chronological order.
- 7-7 to 7-13. Bar examinations, file II 1914, 1915
Date: 1914, 1915
This file contains carbon copies of actual Bar examination questions, given by the
State Board of Law Examiners, mostly in New York State.
- 7-14 to 8-5. Bar examinations, File III 1914, 1915, 1916
Date: 1914, 1915, 1916
Study made by Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of teaching analyzing and criticizing the Bar examination questions
of several states. Dean Pound was a member of this group. File contains sets of examination
questions used by the state of New York in June and October of 1914 and January and
October of 1915. Some correspondence between members of study group. Material was
collected by Dean Thayer. Some Pound correspondence about report resulting from study.
- 8-6. Blackstone Institute, Chicago 1914, 1915
Date: 1914, 1915
- 8-7. Boston, Charles 1915
Letters of Charles Boston to ERT re Committee on Professional Ethics of the American Bar Association of which ERT was chairman
- 8-8 to 8-10. Carnegie Investigation
- 8-8. Correspondence, June 1, 1914 to April 5, 1915
Date: June 1, 1914 to April 5, 1915
- 8-9. Translation of Professor Joseph Redlich's Report, pp. 1 - 59
- 8-10. Translation of Professor Joseph Redlich's Report, pp. 60 - 120
Investigation into the teaching methods used in American Law Schools, made by Professor
Redlich of Vienna, and funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Correspondence deals mainly with changes in Report.
- 8-11 to 8-13. Harvard Law School Association
Correspondence covers period between 2 April 1913 and 1 July 1915 [in reverse chronological
order]. Correspondence about meetings, scholarship fund, etc., with various Chapters.
Programs for meetings.
- 8-14. Higgins, Joseph C. (Judge) 1912
- 8-15. Honnegger, Emma 1910, 1911
Date: 1910, 1911
- 8-16. Taylor v. Prince: Master's Report
- 8-17. Storey, Charles Moorfield
1 letter of ERT to Charles Moorfield Storey, 20 March 1910, informing him of his decision
to accept Harvard Law School Deanship.
- 8-18. Wenzell, Henry B. 1913
- 8-19. Wigmore, John Henry 1913, 1914, 1915
Date: 1913, 1914, 1915
- 9-1 to 9-11. Miscellaneous correspondence: chronological series
- 9-1. November 19, 1910 to September 30, 1913
Date: November 19, 1910 to September 30, 1913
- 9-2. October 2, 1913 to November 3, 1913
Date: October 2, 1913 to November 3, 1913
- 9-3. November 4, 1913 to January 31, 1914
Date: November 4, 1913 to January 31, 1914
- 9-4. February 4 to April 13, 1914
Date: February 4 to April 13, 1914
- 9-5. April 16 to May 22, 1914
Date: April 16 to May 22, 1914
- 9-6. May 26 to July 30, 1914
Date: May 26 to July 30, 1914
- 9-7. August 4 to October 17, 1914
Date: August 4 to October 17, 1914
- 9-8. October 20 to December 21, 1914
Date: October 20 to December 21, 1914
- 9-9. December 23, 1914 to February 3, 1915
Date: December 23, 1914 to February 3, 1915
- 9-10. February 4 to April 16, 1915
Date: February 4 to April 16, 1915
- 9-11. April 27, to September 4, 1915
Date: April 27, to September 4, 1915
1 unidentified letter re Dred Scott case, 21 Dec. 1892
- 9-12. Miscellaneous correspondence: alphabetical series 1914 - 1915
Date: 1914 - 1915
- Berle, Adolf, Jr.
- Brown, Rome
- Brown, William H.
- Chapman, F.E.
- Clarke, Samuel B.
- Davis, Harold S.
- Grinnell, F.W.
- Hale, Richard W.
- Meldrim, Peter W.
- Miller, E. Spencer
- Piatt, W.H.H.
- Pound, Roscoe
- Ross, William H.
- Spencer, Arthur W.
- Whitelock, George
- Weston, Robert D.
- Wyman, Bruce
- 9-13. Miscellaneous address and papers re Harvard and the American Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics
Note: File includes an address to the Harvard Law School Alumni, draft of Missouri
legislation re the practice of law, a memo on the relation of criminality to civil
liability, and writings on standards of bar admission and theatricals of courts and
- 9-14 to 9-15. Miscellany
- 9-14. Clippings and pamphlets
- 9-15. Unidentified notebook
- Series: ADDENDA
- 10-1 to 10-4. Student notebooks of ERT as a student
- Vol. I: Political Economy 134p. Legal History, pt. I 50p.
- Vol. II: Legal History, pt. II 88p. Damages 85p.
- Vol. III: Sales 181p.
- Vol. IV: Property II 195p.
- 10-5 to 10-10. Typed copy of outline of " Lectures on the Law of Evidence", presumably ERT's
- 10-11. "A Sermon on the Consecration of the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Hingham, Massachusetts,
in Memory of Ezra Ripley Thayer, LL.D., by Elwood Worcester, June 4, 1921"
Date: June 4, 1921"
- 10-12. H. B. Schermerhorn ALS to ERT, 1913
Harvard Law School -History.
Law -Study and teaching.
Berle, Adolf Augustus, 1895-1971.
Brandeis, Louis Dembitz, 1856-1941.
Grinnell, Frank W. (Frank Washburn), 1873-1964.
Hale, Richard Walden, 1909-
Higgins, Joseph C.
Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964.
Stimson, Henry Lewis, 1867-1950.
Stone, Harlan Fiske, 1872-1946.
Thayer, Ezra Ripley, 1866-1915.
Wigmore, John Henry, 1863-1943.
Wyman, Bruce, 1876-1926.