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COLLECTION Identifier: LAW-MMC-139

Clarence Clyde Ferguson papers


Papers include background material for Ferguson's Seminar on Human Rights; material relating to his mission to Biafra, his ambassadorship to Uganda; material relating to Overseas Development Council, U.N. Assembly.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1984


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 days' advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information. Some files in Series VIII and X are closed due to the presence of university records and student information. Additional files in Series XII and XIII are closed due to the presence of student 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.


11.68 linear feet (28 boxes)

The papers of Clarence Clyde Ferguson (1924-1983), attorney, educator, diplomat, civil servant, and humanitarian, cover the years 1955 to 1984; there is also a considerable amount of undated material.

The collection contains correspondence (both letters received and carbons of letters sent), agendas of meetings, memoranda, reports, research and lecture note, outlines, examination papers, drafts, manuscripts of unpublished writings, bibliographies, newspaper clippings, other printed items, official press releases, and telegrams.

Ambassador Ferguson's papers document his service with the U.S. Department of State and with the United Nations in the late 1960's and early 1970's, and his teaching career at the Harvard Law School, from 1975 until his death. The main theme running through all of these papers is Professor Ferguson's concern with human rights violations and his human rights advocacy. This advocacy is reflected in the international assignments that he accepted, in his writings, and in the courses he taught at the Harvard Law School.

Historical/Biographical Information

Ferguson, Clarence Clyde, Jr., diplomat, educator, humanitarian.

b. Wilmington, North Carolina, 1924.

s. Clarence Clyde and Georgeva (Owens) Ferguson.

A.B., Ohio State University, 1951.

LL.B., Harvard University, 1951.

D.I.L., Academia Interamericana de Derecho, Havana, 1952.

LL.D., Rutgers University, 1966; Williams College, 1975.

m. Delores Zimmerman, February 14, 1954; children: Claire Oberone Garcia, Hope Elizabeth, Eve Maria.

Admitted to Massachusetts Bar, 1951; New York Bar, 1953.

Teaching Fellow, Harvard Law School and Harvard College, 1951-1952.

Counsel to Firm of Baltimore, Paulson and Canudo, 1952-1954.

Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District, New York, 1954-1955.

Professor of Law, Rutgers University, 1955-1962.

General Counsel, United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1961-1963.

Dean, Howard Law School, 1963-1969.

Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers University, 1969.

Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, 1975-1977.

Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, 1977-1980; Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, 1980-1983.

President, American Society of International Law, 1978-1983.

U.S. Representative to UNESCO Meeting in Havana, 1952.

Special Legal Advisor to U.S. Mission to the United Nations, 1954.

U.S. Expert to United Nations Subcommittee on Race Discrimination, 1964.

Principal Drafter of UNESCO Statement on Race, 1967.

Special Coordinator of Relief to civilian victims of the Nigerian Civil War, 1969-1970.

United States Ambassador to Uganda, 1970-1972.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, 1972-1973.

U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, 1973-1975.

Served with AUS, 1942-1946; decorated with Bronze Star

Named Outstanding Young Man in New Jersey by New Jersey Junior Chamber of Commerce, 1956.

Accorded personal rank of Ambassador, 1973.

d. Boston, Mass., 1983.

  1. Desegregation and the Law: The Meaning and Effect of the School Segregation Cases (with Albert P. Blaustein), 1957.
  2. Materials on Trial Presentations, 1957.
  3. Enforcement and Collection of Judgments and Liens, 1961.
  4. "South Africa: What Is To Be Done," (with W.R. Cotter) Foreign Affairs, 1978.
  5. Redressing Global Injustices: The Role of Law, Rutgers Law Review, 1981.
  6. Also additional articles in legal andother professional journals.

Series List

  1. Contingent I.
  2. ___Series I. Nigeria/Biafra: This Series covers the period from January 1969 to October 1974, with major emphasis on the years 1969 to 1970 when Clarence Clyde Ferguson served as special coordinator of relief to civilian victims of the Nigerian civil war. It includes source materials, e.g., Dr. Karl A.Western's medical report on Biafra; a report by Ingvar Berg, head of the Scandinavian relief agency Nordchuchaid, of their operation in Biafra; Sate Department and White House memoranda; and a background paper on the politics of relief. The Series deals with problems of airlifting food and medical supplies into war zones, and document show much negotiation and diplomacy were required before relief efforts to the war-ravaged areas of Nigeria/Biafra could get underway. Post-1970 materials contain summary reports and papers on Nigeria and Biafra.
  3. ___Series II. Miscellaneous International Materials: This Series relates to human rights violations and economic and political problems in some of the other underdeveloped countries in Africa, Asia, and South America, and covers the years 1968 to 1983. Specific countries surveyed are South Africa, Uganda, and Chile. Other issues range from labor problems at the Bougainville copper mines to patent suits involving Burnelli Avionics Corporation to Cointelpro, a United States Government operation against Black revolutionary groups in America. Four folders include the papers presented at the "Seminar on National and Regional Arrangements for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Asian Region," held in Sri Lanka in 1982, in which Ambassador Clarence Clyde Ferguson participated. Fourteen experts representing ten countries submitted papers at this Seminar. One of Professor Ferguson's interests was the concept of the "New International Economic Order," and this Series contains his writings on the role seen for Third World countries in world economics, and his notes on United Nations resolutions concerning the New International Economic Order. Other materials deal with a UNESCO conference in 1983 on the protection of world cultural and national heritage. There is also a group of chronologically arranged press releases and statements (1973-1975) by Clarence Clyde Ferguson while he was a member of the United States Mission to the United Nations.
  4. ___Series III. Human Rights: Materials in this series span the years 1969 to 1983 and are arranged chronologically. This group of papers contains United Nations reports, agenda of conferences on human rights issues (San Juan; Nairobi), legislative documents, transcripts of interviews with leading human rights activists, drafts of proposals, manuscripts of speeches, and outlines. Clarence Clyde Ferguson also retained a considerable amount of material on the Strasbourg Conference on the Human Rights Aspects of the Helsinki Final Act, held in Strasbourg, France, in June, 1977, including press releases and correspondence predating the conference. This group of papers reflects the frustrations encountered in legislating on behalf of human rights and enforcing such legislation.
  5. ___Series IV. Teaching Notes and Materials, Course Outlines, Research Notes, Etc.: Materials in this series cover the years 1978 to 1983, for courses and seminars given by Professor Clarence Clyde Ferguson at the Harvard Law School. Subjects represented in this group are Professor Ferguson's courses in Civil Procedure and his seminars on Human Rights and on the New International Economic Order; there is a small amount of material on courses he taught occasionally, e.g., Federal Jurisdiction, and United Nations Law. Materials retained by Professor Ferguson are holograph and typed notes, outlines, class assignments, bibliographies, syllabi, examination questions, problems, and research materials, e.g. articles, observations, and other printed items. For the most part, these items are photocopies. The NIEO and Human Rights seminars draw on sources included in the Series: Miscellaneous International Materials, and Human Rights. Professor Ferguson's notes are detailed, and document how his courses evolved over the years.
  6. ___Series V. Writings, Statements, etc. of Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr.: This Series consists of unpublished writings, both titled and untitled; testimonials and statements before official bodies such as the U.S. Senate; outlines and drafts of papers; reports; and two bibliographic items. Writings document Ferguson's major interests: human rights, American diplomacy, and the demands of the changing economic conditions around the world. Human rights violations examined occurred in this country and abroad. Papers span the years 1968 to1983. Writings on human rights should be used in conjunction with the Series Human Rights, and also with Professor Ferguson's teaching notes. Writings are in handwritten and typed form.
  7. ___Series VI. Writings and Papers By Others: This Series is composed of manuscripts dealing with legal, economic, race, and human rights issues in the United States and abroad. There are seven folders of draft papers which resulted from the so-called "1980's Project of the Council on Foreign Relations." A number of the papers in this Series were written for Professor Ferguson's seminars.
  8. ___Series VII. Correspondence: This Series spans the years 1978 through 1984, including a small amount of posthumous material. This Series is arranged chronologically. The nature of the correspondence is professional, with a few personal items. Most of the correspondence is incoming mail. Some of Professor Ferguson's correspondents became his close friends, e.g., Ex-president G.L. Binaisa of Uganda, and Amadou Mahtar M'Bow, Director General of UNESCO. Ferguson also received numerous requests for assistance from Third World students wishing to come to the United States, as well as mail from others who wish to study in the Country. The Correspondence Series reflects the high esteem in which Professor Ferguson was held here and in countries around the world.
  9. ___Series VIII. Harvard and Personal Miscellany: This Series contains a small amount of semi-archival material on the College's Afro-American Studies program, the Harvard Law School Black Alumni Association, the William E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American research, and the Harvard Law Review; biographical summaries; news clippings about Ferguson; appointment books and pocket diaries; and some materials relating to his travels.
  10. Contingent II
  11. ___Series IX. Human Rights/International Materials 1969-1983: In this Series are speeches, press releases, and statements of Ambassador Ferguson when he served at the United Nations, materials for the Ambassador's course at the U.S. Naval War College on international law, and draft papers on the Uganda coup, apartheid, and the United Nations covenant.
  12. ___Series X. Harvard Teaching Materials and Research Notes 1969-1983: In this Series are minutes, memoranda, and correspondence regarding the Afro-American Studies Department at Harvard University. In addition, this Series includes Mr. Ferguson's lecture notes and course materials for the courses which he taught at Harvard Law School in civil procedure, as well as annotated materials on bankruptcy.
  13. ___Series XI. Correspondence 1973-1982: In this Series are incoming and outgoing personal and professional correspondence of Mr. Ferguson when he served at the United Nations and when he was a faculty member of the Harvard Law School. The Series also contains a typewritten draft paper on the subject of black Americans and U.S. foreign affairs dated February 12, 1980 and a typewritten draft paper on the subject of blacks in American legal history dated c. 1976. Materials are arranged chronologically.
  14. ___Series XII. Personal Miscellany 1970-1983: In this Series are personal correspondence, appointment books, and travel and expense vouchers of Ambassador Ferguson during his period of service at the United Nations. The Series also contains financial and legal records of Mr. Ferguson.
  15. ___Series XIII. Addenda 1973-1983

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Clarence Clyde Ferguson (1924-1983), attorney, educator, public servant, diplomat, and humanitarian, were presented to the Harvard Law School Library as a gift by his daughters, Claire Ferguson Garcia, Hope Ferguson, and Eve Ferguson, on February 26, 1985.

Processing Information

Contingent I prepared by Daniel Kaufman and the Staff, August 1995; Contingent II prepared by Ellen V. Delaney, December 1990.

Digitization of the collection began in the fall of 2021, and the digital material will be released on a rolling basis as the work is completed. The finding aid was also updated by Chris Spraker and Natalie Sinclair between Summer 2021 and January 2022. As part of the project, HLSL staff determined that many of the collection's existing folder titles included very limited information (e.g., simply a date, abbreviation, or other vague description). These folder titles have been updated (in the finding aid only) to more accurately describe the material within, and to hopefully provide a better experience for anyone searching or browsing the collection. Wherever applicable, the original/physical folder titles have been retained via a processing information note at the folder level.

Ferguson, Clarence Clyde. Papers, 1955-1984: 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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