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HOLLIS 12681713

Kaplan, Benjamin. Papers, 1939-2010: 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 12681713
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Benjamin Kaplan
Title: Benjamin Kaplan papers
Date(s): 1939-2010
Quantity: 1 collection (55 linear feet in 132 boxes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Papers related to Benjamin Kaplan's careers as a professor, writer, and judge.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

These papers were a gift of Nancy Mansbach, daughter of Benjamin Kaplan.

Processing Information:

The Benjamin Kaplan Papers, consist of material retrieved from a basement where they had been stored for many years. This led to considerable loss due to water and mold damage. This collection represents what was salvaged from the basement.
In addition to the loss of documents, most of the original order to the collection was lost. This finding aid represents the archivists best effort to organize the material in a reasonable way.

Processing Information:

Processed by Katherine Proctor July 2011. Additional processing by Edwin Moloy in July 2014.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. Access to unpublished Harvard administrative records is restricted for 50 years from the date of creation of the record. Access to student and personnel records is restricted for 80 years. 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 Historical & 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

Benjamin Kaplan was born in New York City on April 9, 1911. He graduated from Clinton DeWitt High School in 1925, from City College of New York in 1929, and from Columbia Law School in 1933. After completing his law degree, he entered private practice with the firm Greenbaum, Wolff & Earnst, where he remained until 1942, when he joined the army, drafting procurement contracts.
In 1943, Kaplan became part of the group of military lawyers (headed by Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson) who drafted the indictments at Nuremberg. He arrived at Harvard in 1947 as a visiting professor and remained at the school for twenty five years, until being appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1972. After reaching the mandatory age of retirement from the bench in 1983, Kaplan served as a recall judge for the Massachusetts Court of Appeals. In addition to his work as a professor and a judge, Kaplan also published numerous works, both individually and in collaboration with others. He is best known for his casebook on civil procedure, published with Professor Robert H. Field in 1953, and for An Unhurried View of Copyright (1967) , which grew out of a series of eponymous lectures he delivered at Columbia University the previous year. Kaplan died in Cambridge, Mass., on August 18, 2010.

Series List/Description

Scope and Contents

The Benjamin Kaplan Papers span the years 1939-2010, with the bulk of the material falling between 1942 and 1972.
The collection includes the following: personal and professional correspondence, military documents, memoranda, teaching notes, sample assignments, syllabi, articles, drafts, galleys, speeches, notes, research materials, clippings, reviews, trial materials, opinions, decisions, collaborative writings, published materials, off-prints, photographs, lectures, books, and notebooks.
Kaplan's papers reflect his careers as a military and civilian lawyer, a professor of law, and a judge. Series I contains information related to Kaplan's work crafting the indictments at Nuremberg. Also of interest are papers that document his work on the Committee for Practice and Procedure, Advisory Committee on Civil Rules, for which he served as reporter. Additionally, there are extensive writings and a wide range of research material on copyright and comparative or international civil procedure, as well as Kaplan's notes and writings from his time with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Court of Appeals.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

United States. Supreme Court. Advisory Committee on Rules for Civil Procedure
Copyright -- United States
Civil Procedure -- Germany
Civil Procedure -- United States
Nuremberg War Crime Trials, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946-1949.
Unites States -- Armed Forces -- Procurement
Law -- Study and teaching