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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601607

Louis Dembitz Brandeis papers


This is a collection of the Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court, Louis Dembitz Brandeis. It consists of chiefly working papers (1916-1939) for cases in which Brandeis wrote an opinion.


  • Creation: 1881 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. The collection is open to the public, but due to the fragile nature of the originals access to the collection must be through the microfilm copy. USE OF THE ORIGINALS IS NOT PERMITTED. 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 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.


119 boxes

The 18,000 items in the Papers of Louis Dembitz Brandeis, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, span the years 1881 to 1966, with the bulk of the collection falling into the period of his Court years, namely 1916 to 1939. The following types of materials are included in these Papers: drafts, both holography and typed; correspondence; lists; tabulations; memoranda; legal documents; research notes; bibliographies; notebooks; printed materials; Xerox and Photostat copies; photos and microfilm.

The Papers consist of Justice Brandeis' working papers for all the cases in which he wrote, including his holograph drafts; the printed opinions as they were returned by the printer and corrected and/or expanded by Brandeis; the final circulations to his "brethren" with their penciled comments on the back; the law clerks' memos and research notes; some correspondence with the other Justices, especially Justice Holmes, and outsiders relating to specific cases. There are only a few items of other correspondence, and some of these copies from collections other than the Harvard Law School's. Some of these correspondents are: James Barr Ames, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Augustus N. Hand, Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Manley O. Hudson, Ezra Ripley Thayer, James Bradley Thayer.

Of special interest in the Brandeis Papers are two note- books which contain Felix Frankfurter's holograph notes on conversations he had with Brandeis between 1922 and 1926, at Brandeis' summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts. A Xerox set of the typescript of these notes, from the Library of Congress, accompanies the holograph notebooks.

The Brandeis Papers also include Brandeis' bound set of his opinions, his bound index volume to his opinions and his bound digest volume of his opinions, and bound collections of pamphlets on the police power of the National Government. There are two short filmstrips, one of a meeting in St Louis in 1966 commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brandeis appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Historical/Biographical Information

  • 1856 Born, Louisville, Ky., November 13.
  • 1874-1875 Student, Annen-Realschule, Dresden.
  • 1875-1878 Harvard Law School (LL.B. in 1877)
  • 1878 Admitted to the St. Louis Bar, November.
  • 1879-1897 Lawyer, Warren & Brandeis, Boston.
  • 1882-1883 Taught course in Evidence at Harvard Law School
  • 1889 Admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.
  • 1891 Married Alice G. Goldmark of New York, March 23.
  • 1897-1916 Senior, Brandeis, Dunbar & Nutter, Boston.
  • 1897-1911 "People's Attorney" for Public Franchise League and Massachusetts State Board of Trade.
  • 1905 Unpaid Counsel for the New England Policy-Holders' Protective Committee.
  • 1907-1913 Unpaid Counsel for William B. Lawrence in New Haven merger controversies.
  • 1907-1914 Unpaid Counsel for the State in defending hours of labor and minimum wage statutes of Oregon, Illinois, Ohio, and California.
  • 1910 Counsel for Collier's Weekly in Ballinger-Pinchot dispute.
  • 1910-1911 Unpaid Counsel for Commercial Organizations in I.C.C. Advance Railroad Rate Case.
  • 1910-1916 Unpaid Chairman, Arbitration Board, New York Garment Workers' strike, and under subsequent protocols.
  • 1911-1915 Worker and adviser in Progressive Politics.
  • 1912 Joined Zionist Movement.
  • 1913-1914 Special I.C.C. Counsel in Five Per Cent Rate Case.
  • 1916 Nominated for Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, January 28.
  • 1916 Confirmed by Senate, 47 to 22, June 1.
  • 1916 Took Oath of Office from Chief Justice Edward D. White, June 5.
  • 1939 Retired, February 13.
  • 1941 Died, Washington, D.C., October 5.
Selected Writings:

  1. Business law, 1892-1896 (Boston: MIT, 1896)
  2. Life insurance: the abuses and the remedies (Boston: Policy-holders Protective Committee, 1905)
  3. The New England transportation monopoly (Boston: Massachusetts Anti-merger League, 1908)
  4. Scientific management and railroads (New York: Engineering Magazine, 1912)
  5. Other people's money, and how the bankers use it (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1934)
  6. The social and economic views of Mr. Justice Brandeis (New York: Vanguard Press, 1930), ed. By Alfred Lief.
  7. Business: a profession (Boston: Hale, Cushman & Flint, 1933)
  8. The Curse of bigness: miscellaneous papers (New York: Viking Press, 1935), ed. by Osmond K.Fraenkel.
  9. Brandeis on Zionism (Washington, DC: Zionist Organization of America,1942)
  10. The Unpublished opinions of Mr. Justice Brandeis (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1957), ed. By AlexanderBickel.

Series List

  1. October Terms 1916, 1918 Box 1
  2. October Term 1919 Boxes 1 to 4
  3. October Term 1920 Boxes 5 to 8
  4. October Term 1921 Boxes 9 to 12
  5. October Term 1922 Boxes 12 to 20
  6. October Term 1923 Boxes 20 to 26
  7. October Term 1924 Boxes 27 to 30
  8. October Term 1925 Boxes 31 to 35
  9. October Term 1926 Boxes 35 to 44
  10. October Term 1927 Boxes 45 to 52
  11. October Term 1928 Boxes 53 to 59
  12. October Term 1929 Boxes 59 to 65
  13. October Term 1930 Boxes 66 to 70
  14. October Term 1931 Boxes 70 to 77
  15. October Term 1932 Boxes 78 to 84
  16. October Term 1933 Boxes 84 to 89
  17. October Term 1934 Boxes 90 to 95
  18. October Term 1935 Boxes 96 to 103
  19. October Term 1936 Boxes 104 to 106
  20. October Term 1937 Boxes 107 to 110
  21. October Term 1938 Boxes 110 to 113
  22. Court Miscellany Boxes 113 to 114
  23. Personal Miscellany Box 114
  24. Addenda Box 114
  25. Microfilms and Other Miscellany Paige Boxes 1 and 2

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.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Papers of Louis Dembitz Brandeis, attorney, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and public servant, were presented to the Harvard Law School as a gift by Justice Brandeis through the intercession of Justice Felix Frankfurter. The exact date of the physical transfer of these papers has not been ascertained; it is possible that they were in the physical custody of Justice Frankfurter until the late 1950s (see copy of his letter to Elsie Douglas of 19 February 1959 in Curator's Case File under Brandeis).

Existence and Location of Copies

  1. Collection isavailable on microfilm. For more information on accessing themincrofilm, consult the HOLLIS record.
  2. A portion of the Brandeis Papers have beendigitized. His opinion, and the many drafts of it, for Ruthenberg v.Michigan is available here.

Processing Information

Processed by Erika Chadbourn, 1976.

Brandeis, Louis Dembitz. Papers, 1881-1966: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

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