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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS601716

Charles Warren papers


The Papers of Charles Warren reflect Warren's professional work in several legal cases as well as a researcher, writer, and lecturer. Included are materials relating to Warren's work as special master in the cases of New Mexico v. Texas (State boundary dispute), Utah v. United States (re: navigability of Colorado, Green, and San Juan rivers), and Texas v. New Mexico (re: irrigation rights on the Rio Grande); research notes on the history of the Supreme Court, and on other aspects of American legal history; typescripts of short stories by Warren. Most of the correspondence in the collection consists of incoming letters written in response to a book, article, or printed lecture by Warren.


  • 1885 - 1954

Conditions Governing Access

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 Historical and 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 and 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.


36 boxes

The Charles Warren collection includes court briefs, testimony in cases on which Warren served as special master, notebooks, clippings, printed articles, autographs, and correspondence. Warren's notes, taken in the course of researching his writings, are generally fragmentary and undated. There is one folder (unboxed) of engravings of 18th and 19th century legal figures. The collection contains virtually nothing of a personal nature.

Biographical note

Charles Warren, constitutional authority and historian, was born in Boston on March 9, 1868. He received an A.B. from Harvard in 1889 and graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1892. In 1904, he married Annie Louise Bliss. They had no children.

In 1893, Warren served as private secretary to Massachusetts Governor William E. Russell, and the following year he was a founder of the Immigration Restriction League. From 1905 to 1911, he served as chairman of the Massachusetts State Civil Service Commission.

In 1914, Warren was appointed assistant attorney general of the United States. He became an expert on the problems of neutrality and international law, and argued or briefed 39 cases before the Supreme Court before resigning the post in 1918. After the war, Warren served as special master for several Supreme Court cases involving boundary lines and water rights.

A prolific and influential writer, Warren's works included The History of the Harvard Law School and Early Legal Conditions in America (1909), History of the American Bar, Colonial and Federal, to 1860 (1911), as well as numerous articles in law journals, and lighter works, including short stories. His 3-volume The Supreme Court in United States History (1922), won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1923.

During WWII, Warren served on the President's War Relief Control Board. After the war, he retired from public affairs.

-Warren died in Washington on August 16, 1954.

Series List

The order in which these papers were received has been preserved as much as possible. They have been divided into five series:

  1. SERIES 1: Materials re: cases. Boxes 1 - 11

    (Briefs, reports, etc. that pertain directly to cases inwhich CW was involved.)

  2. SERIES 2: Research materials. Boxes 12 - 23

    (Typed mss., clippings, notebooks, scattered notes)

  3. SERIES 3: Printed articles Boxes 24 - 35

    (by CW and others)

  4. SERIES 4: Correspondence Box 36

    (mostly memoirs written by HLS graduates ofthe mid-19th century, solicited by CW for his History of the HarvardLaw School. Also letters collected primarily for autograph value,many from Supreme Court Justices. For more correspondence, see seriesV.)

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift and transfer.

Processing Information

None available.

Warren, Charles. Papers, 1885-1954: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library
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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