Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 601599

Roscoe Pound papers

Includes material pertaining to Pound's participation in the Boston and Cleveland crime surveys (1920's), as a member of the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement or Wickersham Commission (1929-1931), as a member of the American Bar Association and with various Masonic chapters, and as advisor to the Ministry of Justice in Nanking, China (1940's). Also two typed, bound journals recounting camping trips in West Virginia and to Civil War battlefields (1898, 1912-1917).

Dates

  • 1888-1964

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 (257 Boxes, 14 Paige boxes)

The 80,000 items in the personal papers of Roscoe Pound (1870-1964) span the years 1889-1964, with the bulk of the material falling within the period 1910-1964.

The collection includes professional correspondence; teaching notes; drafts of writings, speeches, special lectures; Harvard Law School material such as committee reports and curriculum studies; reports and research on special projects and in special fields of interest outside of Law School commitments; material on special legal cases; material concerning professional and non-professional organizations with which Pound was connected as either a member or a consultant; a small amount of personal, biographical, bibliographical and family material; photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, framed pictures, and a group of miscellaneous memorabilia such as honorary medals, plaques, scrolls, academic gowns, his green eye-shades, etc.

The papers of Roscoe Pound relate to his activities as teacher, administrator, legal scholar, champion in the struggle to raise the standards of the American legal profession and American legal teaching, and high-priest of the forces concerned with the improvement of criminal justice in this country. Series of special interest are his materials on the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement of which he was a member, various other crime surveys such as the Boston and Cleveland surveys, his papers concerning his work in comparative law, and his work on the various A.B.A. committees.

Among Roscoe Pound's correspondents were U.S. Presidents, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, judges, deans and faculty members of Law schools in this country and abroad, and most of the prominent legal figures of the 1910-1940 era.

For observations on the papers in general, and individual series in particular, see the Memorandum by Stephen T. Kelly which follows, and the notes preceding each series.

Historical/Biographical Information

Pound, Roscoe, botanist, professor of law, law school dean, university professor, legal scholar.



  • 27 October, 1870b. Lincoln, Nebraska. s. Judge Stephen Bosworth and Laura P. Biddlecomb
  • 1888A.B. University of Nebraska; M.A., 1889; Ph.D., 1897
  • 1889-1890Harvard Law School
  • 1908Honorary LL.M., Northeastern University
  • 1913-1941Honorary LL.D.s: University of Michigan, 1913; University of Missouri, 1916; University of Chicago, 1916; Brown University, 1919; Harvard, 1920; Cambridge, England, 1922; Union, 1923; University of Pittsburgh, 1926; University of Colorado, 1927; George Washington University, 1928; University of California, 1929; University of Cincinnati, 1933; Rutgers University, 1941
  • 1933L.H.D., Boston University
  • 1934J.U.D., University of Berlin
  • June 17, 1899m. Grace Gerrard (died 1928)
  • June 30, 1931m. 2nd, Mrs. Lucy Miller (Dec. 1959)
  • 1890Admitted to bar
  • 1890-1901, 1903-1907Practiced, Lincoln, Nebraska
  • 1899-1903Assistant professor of law, University of Nebraska; dean law department, 1903-1907
  • 1907-1909Professor of law, Northwestern University
  • 1909-1910Professor of law, University of Chicago
  • 1910-1913Story professor of law, Harvard University; Carter professor of Jurisprudence, 1913-1937; dean Law School, 1916-1936
  • 1941Honorary fellow, Stanford University
  • 1937-1947Professor Harvard
  • 1947Retired
  • 1948-1953Visiting professor of law, University of California Law School, Los Angeles
  • 1892-1903Director, Botany Survey of Nebraska
  • 1901-1903Commissioner of appeals, Supreme Court of Nebraska
  • 1904-1907Nebraska commissioner on uniform state laws
  • 1922Director, Survey of Criminal Justice, Cleveland
  • 1938Director, National Conference of Judicial Councils
  • 1929-1931Member, National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement
  • 1952Awarded Gourgas medal, Scottish rite of Freemasonry
  • 1950Roscoe Pound Lectureship established, University of Nebraska
  • 1950Roscoe Pound Chair of Law, Harvard Law School
  • 1964died

Fellow, A.A.A.S., American Academy of Arts and Science (president 1935-1937)

Member of many professional legal associations, both national and foreign.

Author of many books since 1898 both in the field of botany and law (see bibliographies of Setaro and Strait).

27 October,1870
b. Lincoln, Nebraska. s. Judge Stephen Bosworth and Laura P. Biddlecomb
1888
A.B. University of Nebraska; M.A., 1889; Ph.D., 1897
1889-1890
Harvard Law School
1908
Honorary LL.M., Northeastern University
1913-1941
Honorary LL.D.s: University of Michigan, 1913; University of Missouri, 1916; University of Chicago, 1916; Brown University, 1919; Harvard, 1920; Cambridge, England, 1922; Union, 1923; University of Pittsburgh, 1926; University of Colorado, 1927; George Washington University, 1928; University of California, 1929; University of Cincinnati, 1933; Rutgers University, 1941
1933
L.H.D., Boston University
1934
J.U.D., University of Berlin
June 17, 1899
m. Grace Gerrard (died 1928)
June 30, 1931
m. 2nd, Mrs. Lucy Miller (Dec. 1959)
1890
Admitted to bar
1890-1901, 1903-1907
Practiced, Lincoln, Nebraska
1899-1903
Assistant professor of law, University of Nebraska; dean law department, 1903-1907
1907-1909
Professor of law, Northwestern University
1909-1910
Professor of law, University of Chicago
1910-1913
Story professor of law, Harvard University; Carter professor of Jurisprudence, 1913-1937; dean Law School, 1916-1936
1941
Honorary fellow, Stanford University
1937-1947
Professor Harvard
1947
Retired
1948-1953
Visiting professor of law, University of California Law School, Los Angeles
1892-1903
Director, Botany Survey of Nebraska
1901-1903
Commissioner of appeals, Supreme Court of Nebraska
1904-1907
Nebraska commissioner on uniform state laws
1922
Director, Survey of Criminal Justice, Cleveland
1938
Director, National Conference of Judicial Councils
1929-1931
Member, National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement
1952
Awarded Gourgas medal, Scottish rite of Freemasonry
1950
Roscoe Pound Lectureship established, University of Nebraska
1950
Roscoe Pound Chair of Law, Harvard Law School
1964
died

Series List

  1. Series I. Multiple record groups This series contains a mix of documents including correspondence,writings and teaching material. Originally housed in 54 paige boxesthis group of records was re-arranged and re-housed when the PoundPapers were microfilmed. Renamed as Series IX in the microfilmfinding aid the material was organized in numerous sub-headings andcould be found in each of the three contingents (parts) thatrepresent the top level of organization for the microfilm guide. The Subseries for Series I were organized by LawLibrary archivists and are based on the sub-headings found in SeriesIX of the microfilm guide. All sub-headings from the film guide areused in this online finding aid in an effort to minimize confusionfor researchers using both resources.
  2. ___Subseries A. Correspondence, 1917 -1953 1917 -1953
  3. ______Sub-subseries a. Correspondence, 19171917
  4. ______ Sub-subseries b. Correspondence to 1919
  5. ______Sub-subseries c. Correspondence (misc), 1920-19301920-1930
  6. ______ Sub-subseries d. Correspondence 1920-19251920-1925
  7. ______ Sub-subseries e. Correspondence (misc), ca1920-19251920-1925
  8. ______ Sub-subseries f. Correspondence, 1950-19531950-1953
  9. ______Sub-subseries g. Organizational correspondence, ca.1919-19411919-1941
  10. ______Sub-subseries h. Invitations and engagements, 1920-19371920-1937
  11. ___Subseries B. Writings
  12. ______Sub-subseries a. Writings, 1923-1964 andundated1923-1964 andundated
  13. ______ Sub-subseries b. Writings, miscellaneous (Law Review articles,addresses, lectures, reviews, introductions to books, memoranda,etc.), 1934-19631934-1963
  14. ______Sub-subseries c. Writings: lectures, speeches, greetings,introductions to books, epilogues, radio broadcasts, 1932-1960 and undated1932-1960 and undated
  15. ______ Sub-subseries d. Miscellaneous writings, 1900-1947 andundated1900-1947 andundated
  16. ______ Sub-subseries e. Writings: miscellaneous, mostly1910-1919, 1937-1938 and undated mostly1910-1919, 1937-1938 and undated
  17. ______Sub-subseries f. Unidentified writings, undatedundated
  18. ______Sub-subseries g. Miscellaneous otherwritings
  19. ___Subseries C. Course materials, lectures, miscellaneous writings,notes
  20. ______Sub-subseries a. Course materials (Harvard College and Harvard LawSchool), 1941-1947 andundated1941-1947 andundated
  21. ______ Sub-subseries b. Lecture Notes, 1914-1919 andundated1914-1919 andundated
  22. ______Sub-subseries c. Lecture outlines, 1934, 1938, andundated1934, 1938, andundated
  23. ______ Sub-subseries d. Miscellaneous lectures and writings, 1910-1924 and undated1910-1924 and undated
  24. ______ Sub-subseries e. Miscellaneous writings, lectures and books, 1928 and undated1928 and undated
  25. ______Sub-subseries f. Miscellaneous lectures and writings, 1924-1947 and undated1924-1947 and undated
  26. ______Sub-subseries g. Miscellaneous notes and material, 1938-1946 and undated1938-1946 and undated
  27. ______Sub-subseries h. Pound, Roscoe, Outline of Lectures onJurisprudence, Pound’s copy, with his penciled marginalia; also someloose penciled
  28. ___Subseries D. Materials relating to RP’s Affiliation with OutsideOrganizations
  29. ______Sub-subseries a. Twentieth Century Fund, 1925-19381925-1938
  30. ______ Sub-subseries b. National Commission on Law Observance andEnforcement, 1929-19311929-1931
  31. ______Sub-subseries c. Phi Beta Kappa, the United Chapters(correspondence, minutes of meetings, etc.), 1936-19401936-1940
  32. ______ Sub-subseries d. National Conference of Judicial Councils…, 19391939
  33. ______ Sub-subseries e. Law Reform (correspondence, minutes of meetings,bibliographys, etc.), 1909-19171909-1917
  34. ______Sub-subseries f. Activities
  35. ______Sub-subseries g. China Survey of the Administration of Justice, 1946-19481946-1948
  36. ______Sub-subseries h. American Foundation, correspondence, 1923-19381923-1938
  37. ______Sub-subseries i. Cleveland Crime Survey, 19211921
  38. ______Sub-subseries j. Boston Crime Survey, 1926-19271926-1927
  39. ______Sub-subseries k. Prohibition Survey, undatedundated
  40. ______Sub-subseries l. National Commission on Law Observance andEnforcement, 1929- 1932 1929- 1932
  41. ______Sub-subseries m. Republican Program Committee, correspondence andreports, 1938- 1939 1938- 1939
  42. ______Sub-subseries n. Correspondence concerning offer of presidency ofther University of Wisconsin, 19251925
  43. ______Sub-subseries o. Legal cases, undatedundated
  44. Series II. Correspondence, 1920-1950.

    In this and other chronologically defined series, the span ofdates is approximate. In some cases a particular correspondence willoverlap into a preceding or succeeding period. The bulk of eachcorrespondence will, however, tend to be within the period in whichit was placed.

    The multiplicity of series is due in part tothe successive filing systems employed by Dean Pound's secretary, MayMcCarthy, over her half-century of association with him, and in partto the acquisition and discovery of additional material whilecataloguing was in progress.

    In contrast with Series III, IV,and VII, no attempt has been made here to remove purely personalcorrespondence from this long series. The bulk of the material is ofa professional nature, with personal-business letters figuring as asubstantial minority. Here and elsewhere, in the case of unsortedmiscellanies, the more important or interesting items have sometimesbeen placed toward the front of the folder. A flood in the Langdellbasement destroyed the correspondence from Pound's years in China, aswell as a large number of early letters from Omer F. Hershey, Pound'slifelong friend.

  45. Series III. Correspondence, 1951-1964

    All purely personal correspondence has been removed from thisseries. The bulk of this material is of a professional nature.

    For more general notes, please consult the introduction to SeriesII.

  46. Series IV. Additional Correspondence

    This series contains material mainly from the years 1919-1955, andspans nearly every facet of Roscoe Pound's field of interests. Thereare letters to children, legal and governmental material,manuscripts, publishing matters, and correspondence with students,Masons, botanists, friends, and persons with every other conceivableconnection to Pound.

    The series includes letters from suchgovernmental figures as Bowles, Herter, Humphrey, Root, Stimson,Coolidge, Hoover, F.D. Roosevelt, Robert Wagner, Taft, andSaltonstall, and such legal figures as Holmes, Brandeis, Frankfurter,Hand, Stone, and Woolsey. There are also letters from such diversepublic figures as John D. Rockefeller, Kingman Brewster, RobertOppenheimer, and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.

  47. Series V. Personal, Biographical andBibliographical

    The principal subdivisionsof this series are as follows:

    Pound family (biographical dataand correspondence)

    General Personal Correspondence

    Correspondence during last illness; Pound's estate

    Miscellany: personal activities and addenda (clubs, lodges,financial matters, travel, etc.)

    The arrangement, then, islogical rather than strictly alphabetical. Some of the more extensiveor less fascinating folders are not dated.

  48. Series VI. Writings, Lectures, Addresses, Teaching Notes, andMiscellaneous Manuscripts: Addenda

    Material in this series consists of items which had not originallybeen interfiled with the bulk of Dean Pound's papers. This materialwas discovered in miscellaneous boxes in various parts of LangdellHall. Many of Roscoe Pound's teaching notes of course formed thebasis of his later books. No attempt has been made at this time toidentify or rearrange some of these items. This series also containsa small number of manuscripts in mimeographed form which weresubmitted to Dean Pound by friends, former students, members of lawfaculties other than Harvard, etc.

  49. Series VII. Miscellany

    Thematerial in this series consists of files that were discovered whilecataloguing was in progress. Most personal correspondence has beenremoved.

    For more general notes, please consult theintroduction to Series II.

  50. Series VIII. Addenda , 1907-19251907-1925

    The recordgroup consists of correspondence from 1907-1926. It includes bothletters to and by Pound. Arrangement is roughly chronological andthen alphabetical within each date range.

    Nodocumentation exists concerning the accessioning of thismaterial.

  51. Series IX. Addenda

    This seriescontains a variety of material including: diaries; Pound's personal financial records; scrapbooks; honorary degrees; legal briefs;and various forms of correspondence.

    This materialappears to have been collected by library staff after Pound's death.Similar material was combined into one paige box when possible, butotherwise material was left as is during the 2010 re-organization ofthe collection.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Roscoe Pound were transferred to the Harvard Law School upon the death of Dean Pound in 1964. Under the terms of his will, he left his "tangible property in the nature of personal effects" the President and Fellows of Harvard University to "dispose of in such manner as they deem advisable and appropriate".

Existence and Location of Copies

The Roscoe Pound Papers is available on microfilm; see the HOLLIS record for more information.

Researchers are required to use the microfilm copy of the collection.

OVER-SIZE ITEMS

  1. aone package of photographs, awards, honorary degrees, etc.
  2. b one walking cane with gold knob, inscribed "Judge S. B. Poundfrom members of the Bar, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 1882"
  3. cone Chinese scroll with notation attached to it: "A gift for Dr.Roscoe Pound. This picture by K'o Huang. September 1946.Chungking"

Processing Information

Prepared by Stephen T. Kelly, Charles Harrison, and Randall Packard, September 1969.

Material from Series I and IX was re-organized in 2010. The rationale for this decision can be traced to 1986, the year when the Pound Papers were microfilmed. At the time a decision was made to transfer documents from the 54 paige boxes then comprising Series I to the a new series, Series IX. Series I, therefore, in effect, ceased to exist. This change was only described in the microfilm finding aid. The online finding guide was subsequently incomplete and not fully accurate. With this in mind, a decision was made to return the material from Series IX back to Series I. This would serve to present a complete online finding aid and that would present accurate box and folder information.

Link to catalog
Title
Pound, Roscoe. Papers, 1888-1964: Finding Aid.
Author
Harvard Law School LibraryCambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00087

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.

Contact:
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Langdell Hall
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-4550