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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 5999978

Paul A. Freund papers

The Papers of Paul Freund consist of materials related to his work as government lawyer, author, teacher, authority on Constitutional Law, and as a member of numerous organizations, such as the American Association of Arts and Sciences.

Dates

  • 1918 - 1993

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.

Extent

1 collection (242 boxes and 17 Paige boxes)

The material in this collection reflects both Paul Freund’s career and personal life, which were inextricably entwined. The bulk of the material reflects his work as a professor of law and as a member of the Harvard community. There is also substantial material from his time as a government lawyer. His work with numerous organizations, including his alma mater Washington University and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is also well represented. A small portion of the collection stems from his college and graduate years.

The Paul A. Freund Papers include both institutional and personal correspondence, memoranda, speeches, articles, publications, court opinions, clippings, briefs, drafts, research notes, copies of bills, and some ephemera.

Biography and Chronology

Paul Abraham Freund, 1908-1992, was a preeminent legal scholar. Under the guidance of Professor Thomas Reed Powell, Felix Frankfurter and others, Freund became a standout student at Harvard Law School, and was elected as President of the Harvard Law Review from 1930-1931.

After receiving his S.J.D. magna cum laude in 1932, Freund spent a year as clerk to Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis. He remained in Washington for the rest of the decade, working as a government lawyer in the Treasury Department (under Thomas Corcoran and Dean Acheson), Reconstruction Finance Corporation (under Stanley Reed), and finally in the Solicitor Generals Office (again with Stanley Reed, followed by Robert Jackson). In Washington, Freund argued before the United States Supreme Court and wrote briefs for New Deal cases such as gold clause and Tennessee Valley Authority.

Freund returned to Harvard in the fall of 1939 and began an academic career that would take up the rest of his life. (The only interruption was a return to the Department of Justice from 1942-1946.) He became a respected professor at the Law School and, after appointment as Carl M. Loeb University Professor in 1958, at Harvard College as well. Freund created a course for undergraduates, Social Sciences 137: "The Legal Process." It became so popular that he lectured to a packed Sanders Theater. His commitment to his role as teacher and writer was so great that when, in late 1960, a newly-elected John F. Kennedy offered him the Solicitor Generalship, Freund declined, stating his feeling that he could accomplish more for the public good from his post at Harvard.

Besides teaching, Freund’s main academic endeavor for a full 34 years of his life was as Editor of the History of the Supreme Court of the United States. This project was funded by money that Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes left to the United States Government after his death, known as the Holmes Devise. Freund oversaw the production of seven volumes but was not able to see the project to its completion.

During his tenure as professor, Freund vowed not to act as attorney on any cases. However, he did lend his expertise as an academic and advisor beyond the confines of Harvard. In the 1950s he aided Thurgood Marshall and the N.A.A.C.P. legal defense team with the school desegregation cases and was one of John F. Kennedy's team of advisors during his 1960 presidential campaign. Freund also took public stances on many contemporary issues including the Equal Rights Amendment, school prayer, presidential disability, and the elimination of the Electoral College.

In the 1970s Freund led a Federal Judicial Center study that produced the Report of the Study Group on the Caseload of the Supreme Court. Also known as the Freund Report, it recommended the formation of a National Court of Appeals to alleviate some of the Supreme Court's caseload. While Congress never enacted Freund’s recommendations, the report sparked a significant national debate that continues to the present day.

As a leading authority on the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court, Freund’s name was mentioned several times as a candidate for the Supreme Court. Freund was considered a top candidate for Supreme Court vacancies during both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations but was never nominated.

  • 16 February 1908 Paul Abraham Freund (PAF) born to Charles J. and Hulda (Arenson) Freund
  • 1919 PAF graduates from Wyman School in St. Louis at age 11
  • 1923 Graduates from McKinley High School in St. Louis at age 15, ranking second in his class
  • 1928 A.B. from Washington University
  • 1928 Enters Harvard Law School
  • 1930 -1931 Editor of Harvard Law Review
  • 1931 LL.B. HLS
  • 1932 S.J.D from HLS
  • 1932 -1933 PAF clerks for United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis
  • June 1933 Takes position in the U.S. Treasury as an attorney in the office of Mr. Corcoran, Special Assistant to the Secretary (Dean Acheson, Undersecretary)
  • December 1933 PAF moved to legal team of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
  • 1934 PAF helps to write briefs for gold clause cases
  • 18 February 1935 Government won private gold clause cases
  • March 1935 Stanley Reed asks PAF to join him in the Solicitor General’s office
  • 17 July 1936 Promoted from Attorney to Principal Attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General
  • 15 February 1937 Appointed Special Assistant to the Attorney General [Homer S. Cummings], assigned to the Office of the Solicitor General
  • November 1937 Argues his first case, White v. Aronson, before the United States Supreme Court. “Puzzle case” in which PAF makes a much-publicized quip about the U.S. Supreme Court being a puzzle. PAF loses the case.
  • 1939 Appointed Lecturer in Law, Harvard Law School
  • 1940 Appointed Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • 3 October1941 Louis Dembitz Brandeis dies, PAF speaks at his memorial
  • 1942 PAF returns to Washington D.C.; becomes Special Assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle
  • 28 December 1945 Resigns as Special Assistant to the Attorney General
  • Fall 1945 Resumes teaching at Harvard Law School
  • 1 July 1950 Appointed Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law
  • 2 April 1951 PAF’s mother dies
  • 1953-1954 PAF part of group of legal advisors who advised Thurgood Marshall and the N.A.A.C.P. during school segregation cases
  • 1954 LLD (honorary degree), Columbia University
  • 9 March 1955 Elected to serve as a member of the N.A.A.C.P. National Legal Committee
  • September 1956 PAF named Editor-in-Chief of Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • 1956 LLD (honorary degree), University of Louisville, delivered lecture on Brandeis
  • 1957 Appointed Royall Professor of Law
  • September 1957-March 1958 PAF appointed Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, Cambridge University, receives honorary M.A. from Cambridge
  • February 1958 PAF appointed Carl M. Loeb University Professor
  • November 1960 Kennedy offers PAF Solicitor Generalship, PAF declines
  • 1961 LLD (honorary degree), University of Chicago and LHD (honorary degree), Hebrew Union College
  • October 1962 Elected to membership on the Board of Directors for Washington University
  • 1964 Elected President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1964-1967
  • April 1964 PAF’s sister, Virginia dies
  • 1964 LLD (honorary degree), Boston University
  • 1964 Teaches at summer session, University of Colorado Boulder
  • 1968 LittD (honorary degree), Cornell College
  • 1968 DCL (honorary degree), Union College
  • 1969 Teaches for year at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences
  • 1969 Appointed chair of the Committee of Five formed in response to possible misconduct by Harvard teaching staff during student occupation of University Hall
  • June 1969 Receives honorary Doctor of Laws from Tufts and delivers commencement address
  • 1970 LLD (honorary degree), Queens University, Ontario
  • 1971 Elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine
  • 1972 Report of the Study Group on the Caseload of the Supreme Court, i.e. Freund Commission released
  • 1972 LLD (honorary degree), Brown University
  • 1972 LLD (honorary degree), Yale
  • 1973 LittD (honorary degree), Bates College
  • 1973 LittD (honorary degree), Temple University
  • 1974 LLD (honorary degree), Brandeis University
  • 1974 LLD (honorary degree), Williams College
  • 1975 LittD (honorary degree), Yeshiva University
  • 1976 Retires—becomes emeritus
  • 1977 LLD (honorary degree), Clark University
  • 1977 LLD (honorary degree), Harvard University
  • 1978 Awarded Learned Hand Medal for excellence in Federal Jurisprudence by Federal Bar Council
  • 1978 HHD (honorary degree), Stonehill College
  • 1978 Stanley Katz becomes co-editor of Supreme Court History
  • December 1978 Attends International Congress of Jewish Lawyers in Jerusalem
  • 1981 LLD (honorary degree), University of Bologna
  • 1982 LLD (honorary degree), Georgetown University
  • 1986 Receives Harvard Medal at 350th Celebration
  • 1989 Awarded the Henry J. Friendly Award by ALI for distinguished achievement in the law
  • 1990 “Quits” as Supreme Court History editor
  • 1990 Honorary member of Order of the Coif
  • February 5 1992 PAF dies of cancer
16 February 1908
Paul Abraham Freund (PAF) born to Charles J. and Hulda (Arenson) Freund
1919
PAF graduates from Wyman School in St. Louis at age 11
1923
Graduates from McKinley High School in St. Louis at age 15, ranking second in his class
1928
A.B. from Washington University
1928
Enters Harvard Law School
1930 -1931
Editor of Harvard Law Review
1931
LL.B. HLS
1932
S.J.D from HLS
1932 -1933
PAF clerks for United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis
June 1933
Takes position in the U.S. Treasury as an attorney in the office of Mr. Corcoran, Special Assistant to the Secretary (Dean Acheson, Undersecretary)
December 1933
PAF moved to legal team of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
1934
PAF helps to write briefs for gold clause cases
18 February 1935
Government won private gold clause cases
March 1935
Stanley Reed asks PAF to join him in the Solicitor General’s office
17 July 1936
Promoted from Attorney to Principal Attorney in the Office of the Solicitor General
15 February 1937
Appointed Special Assistant to the Attorney General [Homer S. Cummings], assigned to the Office of the Solicitor General
November1937
Argues his first case, White v. Aronson, before the United States Supreme Court. “Puzzle case” in which PAF makes a much-publicized quip about the U.S. Supreme Court being a puzzle. PAF loses the case.
1939
Appointed Lecturer in Law, Harvard Law School
1940
Appointed Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
3 October1941
Louis Dembitz Brandeis dies, PAF speaks at his memorial
1942
PAF returns to Washington D.C.; becomes Special Assistant to Attorney General Francis Biddle
28December 1945
Resigns as Special Assistant to the Attorney General
Fall 1945
Resumes teaching at Harvard Law School
1 July 1950
Appointed Charles Stebbins Fairchild Professor of Law
2 April1951
PAF’s mother dies
1953-1954
PAF part of group of legal advisors who advised Thurgood Marshall and the N.A.A.C.P. during school segregation cases
1954
LLD (honorary degree), Columbia University
9 March1955
Elected to serve as a member of the N.A.A.C.P. National Legal Committee
September 1956
PAF named Editor-in-Chief of Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States
1956
LLD (honorary degree), University of Louisville, delivered lecture on Brandeis
1957
Appointed Royall Professor of Law
September 1957-March 1958
PAF appointed Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions, Cambridge University, receives honorary M.A. from Cambridge
February 1958
PAF appointed Carl M. Loeb University Professor
November 1960
Kennedy offers PAF Solicitor Generalship, PAF declines
1961
LLD (honorary degree), University of Chicago and LHD (honorary degree), Hebrew Union College
October1962
Elected to membership on the Board of Directors for Washington University
1964
Elected President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1964-1967
April 1964
PAF’s sister, Virginia dies
1964
LLD (honorary degree), Boston University
1964
Teaches at summer session, University of Colorado Boulder
1968
LittD (honorary degree), Cornell College
1968
DCL (honorary degree), Union College
1969
Teaches for year at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences
1969
Appointed chair of the Committee of Five formed in response to possible misconduct by Harvard teaching staff during student occupation of University Hall
June 1969
Receives honorary Doctor of Laws from Tufts and delivers commencement address
1970
LLD (honorary degree), Queens University, Ontario
1971
Elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine
1972
Report of the Study Group on the Caseload of the Supreme Court, i.e. Freund Commission released
1972
LLD (honorary degree), Brown University
1972
LLD (honorary degree), Yale
1973
LittD (honorary degree), Bates College
1973
LittD (honorary degree), Temple University
1974
LLD (honorary degree), Brandeis University
1974
LLD (honorary degree), Williams College
1975
LittD (honorary degree), Yeshiva University
1976
Retires—becomes emeritus
1977
LLD (honorary degree), Clark University
1977
LLD (honorary degree), Harvard University
1978
Awarded Learned Hand Medal for excellence in Federal Jurisprudence by Federal Bar Council
1978
HHD (honorary degree), Stonehill College
1978
Stanley Katz becomes co-editor of Supreme Court History
December 1978
Attends International Congress of Jewish Lawyers in Jerusalem
1981
LLD (honorary degree), University of Bologna
1982
LLD (honorary degree), Georgetown University
1986
Receives Harvard Medal at 350th Celebration
1989
Awarded the Henry J. Friendly Award by ALI for distinguished achievement in the law
1990
“Quits” as Supreme Court History editor
1990
Honorary member of Order of the Coif
February 5 1992
PAF dies of cancer

Series List

  1. Series I. Correspondence
  2. ___ Subseries A. General Correspondence
  3. ___ Subseries B. Letters of recommendation
  4. ___ Subseries C. Declined invitations to speak
  5. Series II. Organizations
  6. Series III. Subject Files
  7. Series IV. Harvard/Harvard Law School
  8. ___ Subseries A. Freund-labelled folders
  9. ___ Subseries B. Archivist-labelled folders
  10. Series V. U.S. Government Work
  11. ___ Subseries A. Subject files
  12. ___ Subseries B. Chronological Correspondence File
  13. Series VI. Freund Writings, Notes, and Research
  14. ___ Subseries A. Drafts and Research
  15. ___ Subseries B. Published Writings
  16. Series VII. Published Materials and Writings by OtherAuthors
  17. ___ Subseries A. Drafts and Research
  18. ___ Subseries B. Publications
  19. Series VIII. Miscellany
  20. ___ Subseries A. College Years
  21. ___ Subseries B. Personal Miscellany
  22. Series IX. Addenda
  23. ___ Subseries A. Teaching Materials
  24. ___ Subseries B. Court Cases
  25. ___ Subseries C. SubjectFiles

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Papers of Paul Freund were presented to Harvard Law School as a gift under terms of his will, dated August 22, 1991. These papers were received by the Law School in February 1992. Pursuant to the provisions of Professor Freund's will, the Permanent Committee for the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise was given his notes, memoranda, drafts and other material prepared for the history of the United States Supreme Court.

Processing Information

Processed by Edwin Moloy and Sally Vermaaten, 2005-2006

Addenda processed by Margaret Peachy, December 2010
Link to catalog
Title
Paul A. Freund. Papers, 1918-1993: Finding Aid
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00164

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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