Max Lowenthal. Papers, 1929-1931: Finding AidHarvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Law School
© 2006 The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard
Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: HOLLIS 9853863
Creator: Max Lowenthal
Quantity: 4 boxes
Abstract: Correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings
and other items related to Max Lowenthal's participation on the Commission on
Law Observance and Enforcement (Wickersham Commission). Lowenthal served as
secretary of the Commission from 1929 until his resignation in 1930.
Rebecca Fenning, February 2006.
Acquired in January 2006.
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
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.
This collection contains papers of
Max Lowenthal from
1929-1931 concerned with his activity as secretary of the
Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (Wickersham Commission.) The papers consist of
extensive correspondence with
Felix Frankfurter,George W. Wickersham and
Monte Lemann and others, in addition to memoranda,
reports and news clippings.
[Note: Another collection of Max Lowenthal Papers, 1910-1971, is held in
the collections of the
University Archives, University of Minnesota.]
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.
Max Lowenthal was born in 1888 in
Minneapolis, and after his graduation from
Harvard Law School in 1912, spent much of his career
in public service. In 1929, when President
Herbert Hoover called for the formation of
The National Commission on Law Observance and
Enforcement (later called the
Wickersham Commission ) to look into the problem of
gang related crime and Prohibition enforcement, Lowenthal volunteered his
services (pro-bono) as secretary. The Commission, chaired by former Attorney
George W. Wickersham, included other prominent
individuals, such as
Ada Comstock, President of
Radcliffe College, HLS Dean
Roscoe Pound, judge and former U.S. Senator
William S. Kenyon, and former Secretary of War
Newton W. Baker. After working with the Commission
for over a year, Lowenthal resigned in
July 1930. At the time, his reasons for doing so were not
publicized, but in a formal statement to members of the Commission, he cited
partisanship as well as the failure of the Commission to adhere to its original
ideal, of addressing the entire problem of criminal law, not just Prohibition.
Lowenthal was replaced as secretary by
In 1950, Lowenthal wrote an expose of the FBI,
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was later labeled a
Communist by the
House Un-American Activities Committee. He died in New
York City in 1971.
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.
Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965.
Lemann, Monte M., 1884-1965.
United States. Wickersham Commission.
National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement.
Wickersham, George W., 1958-1936.
- Series I: Correspondence,
- 1-4 Lemann, Monte,15 June 1929.
- 1-5 to 1-6 Wickersham, George W.,May - August 1929.
- 1-8 HLS Affairs,January - February 1930.
These notes to ML about HLS news are probably by
Felix Frankfurter, and discuss acting dean
Edward Morgan,Roscoe Pound, budget and curriculum, among other
- Barry, W.F., July - December 1930.
- Salet, L.,December 1930.
- 2-5 Lemann, Monte,July - November 1930.
- 2-7 Newspaper and magazine editors,
July - December 1930.
Correspondents include editors of the
Boston Herald,New Republic,Current History,Jewish Telegraph Agency and
Scripps Howard newspapers.
- 2-8 to 2-9 various commissioners,
September 1930 - January 1931.
Ada Comstock,Henry W. Anderson,William Grubb,Newton Baker and
- Series II:Memoranda and Reports,
- 3-1 to 3-2 Memoranda from outside sources, 1929-1930.
These research memoranda are from the
Automobile Association, the
U.S. Attorney General, and the
FBI, on issues such as car theft, the Dyer Act,
juvenile offenders and the white slave trade.
- 3-3 "Compilation of Offenses and Sentences Made by the Department
of Justice for R. Walton Moore,"
2 August 1929.
- 3-4 to 3-6 Memoranda prepared by
Charles Willard, 1929-1930.
Topics include court congestion, state and federal policing, law
schools, and Prohibition cases in federal courts.
- 3-9 to 3-10 Memoranda and notes,
Includes proposals on appointing subcommittees, suggested studies and
notes on Commission agendas, written by ML, GWW, and
- 3-11 Memoranda on jury-less trials,
- 4-1 Miscellaneous Congressional bills with which the Commission
- 4-2 to 4-3 Financial reports of the Commission,
March 1929 - March 1930.
- 4-4 ML's personal appointment book,
August - December 1929.
- Series III:Press Clippings,
- 4-5 Clippings on ML's resignation,
- 4-6 Clippings on Commission,
- 4-7 Clippings on Commission,
- 4-8 Clippings on Commission,
- 4-9 Newspaper extras, reprinting complete Commission report on
21 January 1931.
- 4-10 Clippings on Commission,
- 4-11 to 4-12 Clippings on aftermath of
7 January 1931 report,