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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601717

Simon Greenleaf papers

Contains Greenleaf's professional and personal correspondence, notes for moot court, material relating to Christ Church, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Bible Society, and miscellaneous legal materials. Papers concern temperance, Harvard Law School, and the colonization of Liberia. Correspondents include Joseph Story, Lemuel Shaw, Charles Sumner, and Willard Witte.

Dates

  • 1792 - 1853

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

26 boxes (24000 items)

The papers of Simon Greenleaf (1783-1853) span the years 1792-1853, with the bulk of the material falling in the 1820-1850 period. The collection includes correspondence (both letters received and drafts of letters sent); legislative and legal documents such as drafts of briefs, contracts, agreements, depositions, wills and deeds, commonplace books, manuscripts, reports, speeches, sermons, and printed materials including pamphlets, brochures, circulars, and clippings.

Simon Greenleaf's papers relate to the various aspects of his professional life, with little reflecting his public activities or personal matters. An interesting segment of his papers titled, Greenleaf Reports, focus on his work as a practicing attorney in Maine. These eight manuscript boxes include a variety of materials regarding cases he litigated. A majority of cases relate to probation of wills and property conflicts involving deeds and titles. Another interesting group are the three manuscript boxes Greenleaf accumulated while a professor of law at Harvard Law School (1833-1848). This group includes Greenleaf's extensive notes on the Moot Court, as well as correspondence from his pupils. Greenleaf's involvement with Christ Church of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and other religious topics are documented in Series IV. Religious Matters. This group includes a manuscript box of correspondence and other documents touching on such issues as the Western Baptist Theological Institute and the Tract Society of Massachusetts.

A major drawback of the collection is its lack of depth into Greenleaf's personal life. Only one box covers such matters as his household expenses and house insurance. In fact, very little of the collection reflects a personality distinct from his formal dealings. In addition, due to the fact that the collection has been acquired in pieces on various occasions and has been tampered with by several individuals, the collection suffers from an inconsistency of organization and arrangement.

Simon Greenleaf papers can also be found in the following repository:

The Joseph Story Papers, 1796-1845William L. Clements LibraryUniversity of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan

Historical/Biographical Information

  • 1783 Born December 5 in Newburyport, Massachusetts
  • 1790-1799 Attended the Latin School, Newburyport
  • 1801 Entered apprenticeship in law office of Ezekiel Whitman of Gloucester, Maine
  • 1806 Admitted to the Bar of Cumberland County, Maine in June
  • 1806 Married Hannah Kingman, daughter of Capt. Ezra Kingman of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts on September 18
  • 1807-1817 Practiced law in Gray, Maine
  • 1818 Moved law practice to Portland, Maine
  • 1820-1832 Reporter for the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
  • 1821 Published, Cases Overruled
  • 1833 Appointed to Royall Professorship of Law at Harvard Law School
  • 1842 Published, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence
  • 1845 Appointed Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
  • 1848 Resigned teaching position at Harvard Law School
  • 1849 Appointed judge to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, but declined
  • 1853 Died, October 6 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1783
Born December 5 in Newburyport, Massachusetts
1790-1799
Attended the Latin School, Newburyport
1801
Entered apprenticeship in law office of Ezekiel Whitman of Gloucester, Maine
1806
Admitted to the Bar of Cumberland County, Maine in June
1806
Married Hannah Kingman, daughter of Capt. Ezra Kingman of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts on September 18
1807-1817
Practiced law in Gray, Maine
1818
Moved law practice to Portland, Maine
1820-1832
Reporter for the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
1821
Published, Cases Overruled
1833
Appointed to Royall Professorship of Law at Harvard Law School
1842
Published, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence
1845
Appointed Dane Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
1848
Resigned teaching position at Harvard Law School
1849
Appointed judge to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, but declined
1853
Died, October 6 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Series List

  1. Series I. Correspondence, 1820-1853. Boxes 1-4. This Series, arranged alphabetically by name,covers a variety of topics from his involvement in the American Colonization Society to his work at Harvard. This Series is divided into two (2) Subseries:
  2. ___ Subseries A. Major Correspondence
  3. ___ Subseries B. Miscellaneous Correspondence
  4. Series II. Legal Materials, 1792-1852. Boxes 5-18.This Series, divided into three Subseries, includes materials related to Greenleaf's work in the field of law, both as a practicing attorney and as a legal scholar.
  5. ___Subseries A. Cases and Opinions Contains, in an alphabetical arrangement, briefs of cases which he authored, notes on cases which set precedents in various areas of the law, and hand-written opinions regarding cases he was asked to consult on.
  6. ___Subseries B. Greenleaf Reports Also arranged alphabetically, is titled, "Greenleaf Reports," and essentially contains what were bound materials that Greenleaf kept relating to cases he litigated.
  7. ___Subseries C. Treatise on Evidence Manuscript copy of his work titled, "A Treatise on the Law of Evidence." Much of the arrangement and folder titles in this Series is derived, due in part to the chaotic state the papers were found.
  8. Series III. Harvard Law School, 1833-1851. Boxes 19-23.This Series, divided into two Subseries,contains papers relating to Greenleaf's activities as a member of thefaculty of Harvard Law School.
  9. ___ Subseries A. Moot Court Cases Relates to the Moot Court held by the law students.
  10. ___ Subseries B. Academic Miscellani Alphabetically arranged and contains a variety of topics relating to Greenleaf's academic involvements.
  11. Series IV. Religious Matters, 1826-1850. 1826-1850.

    Boxes 24-25.

    Greenleaf's extensive involvement with ChristChurch in Cambridge, as well as, other religious matters is welldocumented in this Series. The Series, arranged alphabetically anddivided into two Subseries, also includes his correspondence with avariety of individuals discussing church activities as well as hisactivities and involvement with other local protestant denominationsand religious organizations.

  12. Series V. Personal Papers, 1787-1853. 1787-1853.

    Box 26.

    This Series is arranged alphabetically and includessome peripheral activities Greenleaf was involved with such as, theMutual Protection Society, Bowdoin College, and the American PeaceSociety. Also included are household related documents and severalessays in tribute to Joseph Story, his friend and colleague.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Simon Greenleaf Papers were acquired through donation in 1975.

Existence and Location of Copies

Nearly the entirety of the Simon Greenleaf Papers, 1792-1853 has been digitized. To access individual folders, please click the appropriate link in the container list below.

Processing Information

Processed by David de Lorenzo, December 1988.

Finding aid updated by Margaret Peachy, 2012.
Link to catalog
Title
Greenleaf, Simon. Papers, 1792-1853: Finding Aid.
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00056

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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