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HOLLIS 5999978

Paul A. Freund. Papers, 1918-1993: Finding Aid

Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138


Harvard Law School
October 2006

© 2005 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Summary Information

Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University
Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: HOLLIS 5999978
Creator: Paul A. Freund
Title: Papers, 1918-1993
Quantity: 242 boxes and 17 Paige boxes
Abstract: The Papers of Paul Freund consist of materials related to his work as government lawyer, author, teacher, authority on Constitutional Law, and as a member of numerous organizations, such as the American Association of Arts and Sciences.

Processing Information:

Processed by Edwin Moloy and Sally Vermaaten, 2005-2006
Addenda processed by Margaret Peachy, December 2010

Acquisition Information:

The Papers of Paul Freund were presented to Harvard Law School as a gift under terms of his will, dated August 22, 1991. These papers were received by the Law School in February 1992. Pursuant to the provisions of Professor Freund's will, the Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise was given his notes, memoranda, drafts and other material prepared for the history of the United States Supreme Court.

Access Restrictions:

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.

Use Restrictions:

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.

Scope and Content

The material in this collection reflects both Paul Freund’s career and personal life, which were inextricably entwined. The bulk of the material reflects his work as a professor of law and as a member of the Harvard community. There is also substantial material from his time as a government lawyer. His work with numerous organizations, including his alma mater Washington University and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is also well represented. A small portion of the collection stems from his college and graduate years.
The Paul A. Freund Papers include both institutional and personal correspondence, memoranda, speeches, articles, publications, court opinions, clippings, briefs, drafts, research notes, copies of bills, and some ephemera.

Series List

Biography and Chronology

Paul Abraham Freund, 1908-1992, was a preeminent legal scholar. Under the guidance of Professor Thomas Reed Powell, Felix Frankfurter and others, Freund became a standout student at Harvard Law School, and was elected as President of the Harvard Law Review from 1930-1931.
After receiving his S.J.D. magna cum laude in 1932, Freund spent a year as clerk to Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis. He remained in Washington for the rest of the decade, working as a government lawyer in the Treasury Department (under Thomas Corcoran and Dean Acheson), Reconstruction Finance Corporation (under Stanley Reed), and finally in the Solicitor Generals Office (again with Stanley Reed, followed by Robert Jackson). In Washington, Freund argued before the United States Supreme Court and wrote briefs for New Deal cases such as gold clause and Tennessee Valley Authority.
Freund returned to Harvard in the fall of 1939 and began an academic career that would take up the rest of his life. (The only interruption was a return to the Department of Justice from 1942-1946.) He became a respected professor at the Law School and, after appointment as Carl M. Loeb University Professor in 1958, at Harvard College as well. Freund created a course for undergraduates, Social Sciences 137: "The Legal Process." It became so popular that he lectured to a packed Sanders Theater. His commitment to his role as teacher and writer was so great that when, in late 1960, a newly-elected John F. Kennedy offered him the Solicitor Generalship, Freund declined, stating his feeling that he could accomplish more for the public good from his post at Harvard.
Besides teaching, Freund’s main academic endeavor for a full 34 years of his life was as Editor of the History of the Supreme Court of the United States. This project was funded by money that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes left to the United States Government after his death, known as the Holmes Devise. Freund oversaw the production of seven volumes but was not able to see the project to its completion.
During his tenure as professor, Freund vowed not to act as attorney on any cases. However, he did lend his expertise as an academic and advisor beyond the confines of Harvard. In the 1950s he aided Thurgood Marshall and the N.A.A.C.P. legal defense team with the school desegregation cases and was one of John F. Kennedy's team of advisors during his 1960 presidential campaign. Freund also took public stances on many contemporary issues including the Equal Rights Amendment, school prayer, presidential disability, and the elimination of the Electoral College.
In the 1970s Freund led a Federal Judicial Center study that produced the Report of the Study Group on the Caseload of the Supreme Court. Also known as the Freund Report, it recommended the formation of a National Court of Appeals to alleviate some of the Supreme Court's caseload. While Congress never enacted Freund’s recommendations, the report sparked a significant national debate that continues to the present day.
As a leading authority on the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court, Freund’s name was mentioned several times as a candidate for the Supreme Court. Freund was considered a top candidate for Supreme Court vacancies during both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations but was never nominated.


Additional Index Terms

The following catalog entries represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. An entry for each appears in the Harvard On Line Library Information System (HOLLIS) and other automated bibliographic databases. THIS IS NOT AN INDEX.
[NOTE: The assistant curator or processor will assign Index terms to the finding aid once it has been processed]


Within each series and/or subseries individual items or folders are identified by box and folder number. For example, the number 5-12 corresponds to box 5, folder 12.

Index to Correspondence