The Ravi D. Goel Collection of correspondence related to a memorial for Justice Louis D. Brandeis and the United States Supreme Court, 1942-1960 is now open for research at Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library.
This post includes a collection overview, inventory, and finding aid.
I collect historical documents as a hobby. Since 2008, I have donated manuscripts, rare books, archival materials, and collections to Amherst College, Dickinson College, Forest History Society, Harvard Law School, Minnesota Historical Society, Princeton University, and Yale University. The Goel collections are described here.
In January 2017, I purchased a collection of letters related to memorial resolutions in honor of US Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941). Also included are fascinating correspondence regarding the attacks on the US Supreme Court in the mid-1950s. The collection spans the years 1942-1960.
Justice Brandeis was an 1877 graduate of Harvard Law School (he entered in 1875 at the age of 18). Despite poor eyesight, he graduated as valedictorian and held the highest GPA in Harvard Law School history for more than eight decades. Brandeis said of that period: “Those years were among the happiest of my life. I worked! For me, the world’s center was Cambridge.” (Mason, Thomas A. Brandeis: A Free Man’s Life, Viking Press (1946))
The papers include correspondence from Justice Brandeis’ former law clerk Judge Calvert Magruder (Harvard Law 1916, Harvard Law Professor and Vice-Dean). Judge Magruder chaired the 40+ member committee which created the memorial resolution for the December 21, 1942 service at the US Supreme Court. (See New York Times, December 22, 1942 and “Proceedings of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and Meeting of the Court in Memory of Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis,” (1942 USSC publication).)
Also included are correspondence from Mendon Morrill (Harvard Law 1926), Judge John Biggs, Jr. (Harvard Law 1922), civil rights lawyer Bernard G. Segal (Penn Law 1931), and Penn Law Dean Jefferson B. Fordham (Yale Law 1930).
These items complement the Louis Dembitz Brandeis papers (18,000 items, Harvard catalog HOLLIS 601607). Harvard Law School Library Curator Ed Moloy emailed, “Of course, Justice Brandeis is revered at the Law School and by many outside of Harvard. Research interest in his work remains strong to this day.”
The collection also complements the Calvert Magruder papers (12,000 items, HOLLIS 601609). Magruder spoke at the December 1942 memorial service and his 1968 NYTimes obit outlines his extraordinary legal career.
The collection includes documents which address the 1950s attacks on the US Supreme Court. Judge Mendon Morrill writes, “The recent attacks from high places on the U.S. Supreme Court should not, in my opinion, go unchallenged. Particularly lawyers, I believe, should express their distaste for such demagoguery.”
Below is an item level inventory which I prepared during the process of donation to Historical & Special Collections, Harvard Law School Library. The item numbers below may differ with the final collection accession numbers.
Item #1. 11/13/1942 – From Calvert Magruder, US Court of Appeals (St Johns BA, Harvard Law 1916). Law clerk for Justice Brandeis 1916-1917. Harvard Law faculty 1920-1939 and 1947-1959 to George E. Farrand.
“The Solicitor General informs me that you are one of the members of the committee on resolutions for the memorial to Mr. Justice Brandeis to be held at the Supreme Court building December 21, 1942. As chairman of this committee I have drafted the enclosed resolutions for that occasion. Any comments on the draft will be gratefully received.”
Includes 9-page draft resolution in honor of Justice Brandeis.
Item #2. 11/19/1942 – From George E. Farrand (Head of law department of California Fruit Growers Exchange) to Hon. Calvert Magruder, US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Mentions Brandeis work on Federal Farm Board, Muller v. Oregon (1907), Ritchie v. Wayman (S.C. Ill. 1909).
“If I were to make a suggestion it would be to add a phrase which would touch briefly upon his outstanding interest and accomplishment in the field of the farmers’ cooperative endeavors.”
Item #3. 12/3/1942 – From Calvert Magruder, Chairman of Resolutions Committee to Members of Resolution Committee (40+ members). Brandeis resolutions (revised draft).
Item #4. 12/8/1942 – From George E. Farrand to Hon. Calvert Magruder, US Circuit Court of Appeals
“The revised draft of the Brandeis resolutions is received.” Both versions are “entirely satisfactory.”
Item #5. 12/21/1942 – From George E. Farrand.
“My dear Mrs. Brandeis.” “I did make suggestions, telling, what is not known to many, of his great knowledge of and devotion to problems of the farmer and of cooperative and other farmer organizations. His work there was of equal or as I believe greater national importance than was his activity in connection with the Massachusetts Savings Banks.”
Farrand’s sons completed preliminary officers’ training.
Item #6. 4/20/1955 – From Mendon Morrill (Harvard BA 1923, Harvard Law 1926. Later US District Judge Newark 1958-1961) to Miss Ida Creskoff, Clerk, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.
Re: Judicial Conference of the Third Circuit and resolution from 1954 meeting
Item #7. 4/21/1955 – From Miss Ida Creskoff, Clerk, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia to Mendon Morrill.
Re: Judicial Conference of the Third Circuit and resolution from 1954 meeting
Item #8 – 4/29/1955 – From Hon. John Biggs, Jr., Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia (Princeton 1918 and Harvard Law 1922) (** Biggs was a Princeton classmate, lifelong friend and executor of the estate of F. Scott Fitzgerald.) to Mendon Morrill
Re: 18th Annual Judicial Conference of the Third Circuit
Item #9 – 8/31/1955 – From Mendon Morrill to Hon. Reynier J. Wortendyke, Jr., US Court House, Newark Judicial Conference 1956.
Item #10 – 6/29/1956 – From Hon. John Biggs, Jr., Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia (Princeton 1918 and Harvard Law 1922) (** Biggs was a Princeton classmate, lifelong friend and executor of the estate of F. Scott Fitzgerald.) to Mendon Morrill.
Re: 19th Annual Judicial Conference of the Third Circuit
Item #11 – 7/2/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Miss Ida Creskoff, Clerk, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.
Regarding a previous resolution, he submitted “deploring the attacks on certain Federal judges.”
“I may want to do something like it again in connection with the recent attacks on the Supreme Court.”
Item #12 – 7/10/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Hon. John Biggs, Jr., Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.
“The recent attacks from high places on the U.S. Supreme Court should not, in my opinion, go unchallenged. Particularly lawyers, I believe, should express their distaste for such demagoguery.”
Item #13 – 7/11/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Dr. Emma E. Dillon, NJ State Bar Association.
“You undoubtedly have read of the various attacks on the United States Supreme Court as being pro-communist, etc. I do think that some resolution condemning such vitriolic attacks might well be a matter for the mid-winter meeting.”
Item #14 – 7/13/1956 – From Hon. John Biggs, Jr., Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia to Mendon Morrill.
“Though I agree with you in all respects concerning demagoguery, I do not think the judges should pass such a resolution or join in passing such a resolution as you have in mind.”
Item #15 – 7/16/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Hon. John Biggs, Jr., Chief Judge, US Court of Appeals, Philadelphia.
“Rather than have the matter considered at what we deem to be an inopportune time; we feel it would be better to forego (sic) the whole matter altogether.”
Item #16 – 8/21/1956 – From Bernard G. Segal (Penn Wharton BA 1928 and Penn Law 1931) to Mendon Morrill. (**Bernard G. Segal is a giant in Philadelphia and American law, “known for his advocacy for the poor and his work in the civil rights movement.” Segal argued nearly 50 cases at US Supreme Court)
“Dear Mendy, It seems to me that we cannot too often reiterate the importance of an independent judiciary and our confidence in the Supreme Court of the United States.
I do feel that at a time when the greatest and most unjustified criticism of the Court is in connection with its segregation decision, your last paragraph is too narrow.”
Suggestions adding “without courageous judges, who decide cases on their merits and in accordance with the Constitution of the United States without fear of criticism there can be no independent judiciary.”
Item #17 – 9/4/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Bernard G. Segal.
(“Dear Bernie”). Makes slight revision to resolution. Allows 3 minutes to present at the meeting.
Item #18 – 9/13/1956 – From Mendon Morrill to Dean Jefferson B. Fordham (Penn Law) – sends copy of resolution
Item #19 – 1956 – 4 copies of the resolution submitted. Addresses independent judiciary, suppression, censorship, responsible criticism and attacks, faith and integrity of Court, irresponsible attacks.
“Be it further resolved, that we emphatically reject the suggestion that the Court, its Chief Justice, or any Associate Justice thereof is pro- communist.”
Item #20 – 9/17/1956 – From Penn Law Dean Jefferson B. Fordham (Yale Law 1930) to Mendon Morrill
“I congratulate you on your leadership in connection with the action on the resolution.”
Item #21 – 9/10/1956 – 19th Annual Judicial Conference program
Item #22 – 9/8/1958 – 21st Annual Judicial Conference program
Item #23 – 9/8/1959 – 22nd Annual Judicial Conference program
Item #24 – 9/8/1960 – 23rd Annual Judicial Conference program
With special thanks
With special thanks to Edwin Moloy, Curator of Modern Manuscripts, and the Historical & Special Collections team at the Harvard Law School Library.