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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS601606

Lon L. Fuller papers


Collection includes correspondence (letters received and carbons of letters sent), "fan" mail, telegrams, memoranda, minutes of meetings, reports, research notes, lecture notes, examination papers, bibliographies, outlines, drafts, manuscripts of published and unpublished writings and speeches, news clippings, other printed items, "preliminary" editions of books, and association copies of books.


  • Creation: 1926 - 1977

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 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.


20 boxes

The 7,000 items in the papers of Lon Luvois Fuller (1902-1978) span the years 1926 to 1977, with the bulk of the papers falling into the post-1940 period; there is a scattering of posthumous items.

The collection includes correspondence (letters received and carbons of letters sent); "fan" mail; telegrams; memoranda; minutes of meetings; reports; research notes; lecture notes; examination papers; bibliographies; outlines; drafts; MSS of published and unpublished writings and speeches; news clippings; other printed items; "preliminary" editions of books; association copies of books.

Approximately one-half of the Fuller collection consists of correspondence (8 MSS boxes), and a little over one-half relates to his writings and teachings (11 MSS boxes).

Major correspondents in the Fuller papers are: Edmond N. Cahn; David F. Cavers; Arthur L. Corbin; Hardy C. Dillard; Felix Frankfurter; Lloyd K. Garrison; Erwin N. Griswold; Jerome Hall; Herbert L.A. Hart; Sidney Hook; Arthur H. Kent; Albert Kocourek; Edward H. Levi; Walter Lippmann; Karl N. Llewellyn; Charles T. McCormick; Mryes S. McDougal; Douglas B. Maggs; James B. Milner; Richard M. Nixon; John P. Reid; Eugene V. Rostow; Harold Shepherd; Samuel I. Shuman; and Harrison Tweed.

Historical/Biographical Information

Fuller, Lon Luvois, attorney, educator, legal scholar.

  • June 15, 1902b. Hereford, Texas. s. Francis Bartow and Mary Salome (Moore) Fuller
  • 1919-1920Student, University of California
  • 1924A.B., Stanford University; J.D., 1926
  • August 11, 1926m. Florence Gail Thompson (d. 1960); children: Francis Brock, Cornelia
  • November 5, 1960m. 2nd, Marjorie D. Chappel
  • 1926-1928Instructor of Law, University of Oregon Law School
  • 1929-1931Instructor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law
  • 1931-1940Professor of Law, Duke University
  • 1939-1940Visiting Professor of law, Harvard Law School; Professor of Law, 1940-1948; Carter Professor of Jurisprudence, 1948-1972; Carter Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, 1972-1978
  • 1930-1933Lecturer, summer schools, U. of Chicago; U. of Washington, 1931; U. of North Carolina, 1934; U. of Southern California, 1937
  • n.d.Member, Massachusetts Bar
  • 1942-1945Associate, Ropes, Gray, Best, Coolidge and Rugg, Boston
  • 1935Recipient, Phillips Award, American Philosophical Society
  • n.d.Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Delta Chi; Phi Delta Phi; Phi Beta Kappa; Order of the Coif.
  • April 8, 1978Died

  1. The Law in Quest of Itself, 1940.
  2. Basic Contract Law, 1947; 2nd rev. ed, with Robert Braucher, 1964; 3rd ed., withMelvin Eisenberg, 1972.
  3. The Problems of Jurisprudence, 1949.
  4. The Morality of Law, 1964.
  5. Legal Fictions, 1967.
  6. Anatomy of the Law, 1968.
  7. Also, entries in encyclopedias andarticles in legal and social science journals.

Series List

  1. Series I. Correspondence

    Fuller'scorrespondents were colleagues in his own and other schools,prospective students, alumni, law review editors, professionalfriends, and other acquaintances. The correspondence in this Seriesconcerns: Fuller's own writings and lecturing; invitations tocontribute articles or to speak; invitations to participate inconferences; European refugee scholars seeking positions; curriculaat Harvard and other law schools; requests for references forpositions; his role as arbitrator in or consultant on non-Harvardmatters, e.g., the Bethlehem Steel Company arbitration (1953-1958);requests by others for Fuller's comments on their writings; andinvitations to teach or to deliver lectures at law schools orinstitutions other than Harvard. Included are informal critiques ofhis writings and carbons of his responses. Fuller's correspondentsran the gamut of almost everyone who was a legal philosopher in thiscountry in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's, and a large number ofEuropeans. There is a considerable amount of correspondence with hispublishers, e.g., Harvard University Press, Foundation Press and WestPublishing Company. Three folders relate to the 1960 Richard M. Nixonpresidential campaign: Fuller was one of the group ofScholars-for-Nixon. Three other folders relate to Fuller's service asa member of the Advisory Committee of the Rockefeller Foundation(1953-1966). One folder relates to the Herbert L.A. Hart-Lon L.Fuller exchange in the Harvard Law Review (1958).

  2. Series II. Writings, Speeches, Research and Lecture Notes,Teaching Miscellany

    Lon L. Fuller wroteextensively on jurisprudence, legal ethics, contract law, and socialaspects of law. This Series represents the outpouring of his ideas inhis teaching and his prolific writing. It includes research notes;typed drafts of many of his articles, essays, speeches, informaltalks, book reviews, and special lectures, with holograph correctionsand additions; reprints of published articles; some correspondenceregarding publication matters; teaching notes; outlines andexamination questions for courses Fuller taught at the University ofIllinois, Duke and Harvard Law Schools; and student papers submittedto Fuller. Research notes represent such topics as "contracts,""freedom," "Karl Llewellyn," the "legal method," "legal rights," and"Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr." A number of hitherto unpublished essaysof Fuller were included in Kenneth I. Winston's edition of selectedwritings of Fuller, entitled The Principles of Social Order (Durham,NC: Duke University Press, 1981). This volume, in addition, includesa bibliography of all of Fuller's published writings.

    Ofpersonal but also general interest in this Series is the typed copyof an unpublished manuscript of a report which Fuller wrote andcirculated privately on a trip which he and Mrs. Fuller undertook toPoland in May 1966 that includes reflections on West Germany andBerlin, and on U.S. policy toward Communism.

    Five booksbelonging to and used by Fuller conclude the Writings Series: thefirst (1947) and second (1964) editions of his Basic Contract Law,with extensive marginalia in his hand and typed notes insertedthroughout the text of both editions; volumes I (1884) and II (1886)of Rudolph von Jhering's Der Zweck Im Recht, again with marginaliaand inserted notes; and the 1931 edition, by Northwestern UniversityPress, of Fuller's Legal Fictions.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Lon Luvois Fuller (1902-1978), attorney, educator, and legal scholar, were presented to the Harvard Law School Library as a gift on July 14, 1978 by his widow, Marjorie D. Fuller.

Processing Information

Compiled by Judith W. Mellins, Lynne Hollyer and Erika S. Chadbourn.

Fuller, Lon L. Papers, 1926-1977: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School LibraryCambridge, 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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