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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601611

Henry Melvin Hart papers


Materials relating to Hart's career as a legal scholar, labor arbitrator, and as special assistant to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (1940-1941) and associate general counsel to the U.S. Office of Price Administration (1942-1945).


  • 1927 - 1969

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. Access to these papers is governed, in addition, by the terms of the Agreement between Mary W. Hart and the Harvard Corporation (see Special Collections Case Files).

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.


56 boxes

The approximately 5000 items of the Papers of Henry Melvin Hart, Jr. (1904-1969) span the years 1927 to 1969. The collection includes professional correspondence, student notebooks of Hart, teaching notes in manuscript and typed form, student papers written for Hart's courses, research notes and printed research material, manuscripts of writings and speeches in draft and in final typed form, and mimeographed material circulated by Government agencies such as memoranda, reports, tables, and circulars.

The Papers of Professor Hart relate to his activities as law teacher, legal scholar, arbitrator of labor disputes, and to his years of service with various Government agencies in Washington, especially between 1940 and 1946.

Among Professor Hart's correspondents other than faculty members of Harvard and of other law schools were: Dean G. Acheson, Francis Biddle, Chester Bowles, Charles E. Clark, Charles P. Curtis, Jr., Francis Deak, Marshall E. Dimock, William O. Douglas, Felix Frankfurter, John Kenneth Galbraith, Herbert F. Goodrich, William H. Hastie, Louis M. Lyons, Ralph Nader, Stanley Reed, David Riesman, Jr., Eugene V. Rostow, Frederick Bernays Wiener, and Willard Wirtz, Charles E. Wyzanski, Jr.

Historical/Biographical Information

Hart, Henry Melvin, Jr., lawyer, professor of law, legal scholar.

b. Butte, Montana, December 25, 1904.

s. Henry Melvin and Mary (Tyson) H.

A.B. summa cum laude, Harvard College, 1926.

LL.B. magna cum laude, 1930; S.J.D. 1931.

LL.D., Columbia, 1954.

m. Mary Jane White, December 3, 1932; 1 daughter, Elizabeth Tyson.

Admitted to the Washington, D.C. Bar, 1939.

Law clerk to Justice Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court, 1931-1932.

Assistant Professor, Harvard Law School, 1932-1937.

Professor, 1937-1969.

Dane Professor of Law, 1960-1969.

Head Attorney with Office of U.S. Solicitor General, 1937-1938.

Special Assistant to Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Attorney General's Office, 1940-1941.

Associate General Counsel to Office of Price Administration, 1942-1945.

General Counsel, Office of Economic Stabilization, 1945-1946.

Julius Stone Visiting Professor at Ohio State University, 1954-1955.

Recipient of Presidential Certificate of Merit, 1947.

Author (with Herbert Wechsler) of The Federal Courts and the Federal System, 1963.

d. March 24, 1969.

Series List

  1. Series I. Correspondence

    This Series consists almost entirely of letters dealing with the two major phases of Hart's professional career: the time he spent working in Washington, and the time in which he taught at the Harvard Law School. Beginning in about 1928, when Hart was a student at the Harvard Law School, the letters trace his activities and his friendships with the people around him. Of particular interest are the files of letters to and from Felix Frankfurter and Frederick Wiener, a friend of Harts from Law Review days onward.

    The material in this Series demonstrates in an impressive way the clarity of Hart's mind. This same quality is also manifest in the material preserved in Series IV., Writings, Speeches, etc.

    The Series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The dates following the entry for each individual correspondent indicate the inclusive dates of that particular sequence of correspondence. Folders for individuals include both incoming and outgoing mail and enclosures. Persons having a correspondence of less than five items are grouped under "Miscellany" at the end of each alphabetical letter, e.g. A Miscellany, B Miscellany, etc.

  2. Series II. Student Notes

    This Series consists of notebooks kept by Hart while a student at the Harvard Law School. There is only one notebook that is identified as a first-year course. Notes for each course are dated for month and day of each particular lecture.

    This Series was transferred to the Student Notes Collection under the title "Class Notes of Henry Melvin Hart" (HOLLIS AJS0918).

  3. Series III. Teaching Notes

    This Series includes manuscript and mimeographed notes for courses given by Professor Hart; manuscript, mimeographed, and printed research material for courses; some correspondence about obtaining printed research material; lists of citations; student papers written for Prof. Hart; printed briefs, opinions, and congressional bills, sent to Prof. Hart by friends, which they thought would be of interest to him.

  4. Series IV. Writings, Speeches, etc.

    This Series consists of notes, drafts, research material, final typewritten manuscripts, proof sheets, and reprints of some of Prof. Hart's writings and speeches, as well as correspondence about some individual pieces of writing. A substantial part of this manuscript material deals with the functioning of the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly in the 1930's.

    The material in this Series was poorly organized and poorly identified; in many cases it was not possible to establish Prof. Hart as the author, or dates or places of publication or presentation.

  5. Series V. Committees and Activities

    This Series consists of correspondence, memoranda, printed material, briefs, statistics, etc. related to Harvard committees and organizations other than official faculty committees that Prof. hart was a member of between 1933 and 1967. Material related to Prof. Hart's other activities including private legal work is also included. Examples of Prof. Hart's activities outside the Law School are the drawing up of statutes for the City of Cambridge and his serving as arbitrator in various Massachusetts labor disputes.

    Prof. Hart's official Faculty Committee files were transferred to the Harvard Archives on June 1, 1970 (see list in this inventory).

  6. Series VI. Office of Price Administration

    The material in this Series dates from the end of World War II, when Prof. Hart was active in the Office of Price Administration. The bulk of the material is from the year 1946, but there are items as early as 1941 and as late as 1951.

    Most of the items in this Series are memoranda, notes, and mimeographed material that circulated within the OPA concerning the basis for price control and the various means and agencies of its enforcement. For the most part the arrangement is as it was found in Hart's own files. For additional material, see Paige Boxes I and II.

  7. Series VII. Immigration

    Material in this Series consists of correspondence, drafts, memoranda, congressional bills, circulars, and reports. Much of the material is from the period when Hart was a Special Assistant to the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the U.S. Attorney General's Office from 1940 to 1941; Hart, however, was actively engaged in research in and improvement of immigration legislation from 1935 on.

  8. Series VIII. Massachusetts Bay Telecasters, Inc.

    Professor Hart was elected as a member of the board of directors of Massachusetts Bay Telecasters, Inc. (MBT) on February 10, 1954; he was also a stockholder. Items in this Series relate to a petition of TV Channel 5 in Boston, which was owned by MBT, to construct a television station. Folders include briefs and other legal documents relating to this case (petition), which was heard before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and from there went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Hart served as counsel in these appeals. He also served on the Education Committee of MBT, and folders include materials on a workshop on planning and designing educational programs as well as scripts for programs.

    This Series contains minutes; reports; statistical tables; correspondence; holograph, typed, and printed items; briefs; and other legal documents, covering the period between 1953 and 1960.

  9. Series IX. Addenda

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Papers of Henry M. Hart, Jr., law professor and legal scholar, were presented to the Harvard Law School as a gift on June 9, 1969, by Prof. Hart's widow, Mary W. Hart.

Official Harvard Law School Material Transferred to Harvard Archives from Henry M. Hart Jr. Papers

Appointments Committed, 1955-1959

Committee on Curriculum, 1933-1936

  1. F. 1-3: Memos, letters, comments
  2. F. 4-5: Report on admissions

Committee on Graduate Degrees, 1933-1934

Committee on Graduate Studies, 1936-1942, 1949-1952, 1955-1958

Committee on Legal Education, 1946-1961

Committee on Third Year Program, 1949-1950

  1. F. 1: Memoranda 1949
  2. F. 2-5; Drafts 1949
  3. F. 6-7: Final Report 1949
  4. F. 8-9: Memos, etc. 1950

Faculty Matters, 1935-1968

Littauer Curriculum, 1941

  1. F. 1: Correspondence
  2. F. 2; F. 3: Memos, etc.
  3. F. 4: Student reports; 1941, 1947

Special Writing Program, 1950-1951

Miscellaneous committees

  1. Brandeis Memorial
  2. Burmese Institute for Legal Studies (proposed)
  3. Library Committee

Processing Information

Prepared by Charles Harrison, 1971, and Stephen T. Kelly, 1969, June 1, 1970.

Hart, Henry Melvin. Papers, 1927-1969: 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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