United States Wickersham Commission records
- 1928 - 1931
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
19 linear feet (38 boxes, 3 Paige boxes)
The papers in the collection relate to the activities of the United States Wickersham Commission. Appointed by President Herbert Hoover in May, 1929, pursuant to an act of Congress, the members of the Commission were charged with the responsibility of "studying exhaustively the entire problem of the enforcement of our laws and the improvement of our judicial system, including the special problem and abuses growing out of the prohibition laws". The Commission was chaired by George W. Wickersham and included among its members Henry W. Anderson, Newton D. Baker, Ada L. Comstock, William I. Grubb, William S. Kenyon, Monte M. Lehman, Frank J. Loesch, Kenneth Mackintosh, Paul J. McCormick and Dean Roscoe Pound of the Harvard Law School. Under Wickersham's leadership the Commission pursued its studies under eleven headings: namely, Prohibition, Delinquency, Criminal Justice and the Foreign Born, Lawlessness in Law Enforcement, Penal Institutions, Probations, and Parole. By June 26, 1931, the date of the Commission's last meeting, it had completed and signed reports on all of the subjects undertaken.
While the papers in this collection cover the entire scope of the Commission's investigation, the bulk of the material deals with its work in the area of Prohibition law enforcement and the cost of the administration of criminal justice. For a detailed description of the content of these papers, see the Series Description.
Important segments of papers relating to the work of the Wickersham Commission may also be found in the following collections in the Manuscript Division of the Harvard Law School Library: Roscoe Pound Papers, Miriam Van Waters Papers.
- Series I. Correspondence, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 7 boxes.
The bulk of the correspondence in this series pertains to prohibition and the cost of the administration of criminal justice while a small portion of its deals with the Commission's work on narcotic law enforcement. The principal correspondent on prohibition matters was Dean Roscoe Pound, who was directly involved in the Commission's study of prohibition law enforcement, while the principal correspondent on the cost of the administration of criminal justice was Sidney P. Simpson, chairman of the subcommittee that dealt directly with this subject. Other important correspondents include J. Edgar Hoover, George Wickersham, George W. Norris, Newton D. Baker, Henry W. Anderson, Ada Comstock, and Kenneth Macintosh. The material in the series covers the years 1929-1931.
- Series II. Reports and Drafts of the Commission, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 6 boxes
The material in this series consists of reports prepared by the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement on such topics as juvenile delinquency, organized crime, prohibition, federal and state law enforcement and the enforcement of deportations. The material in this series consists of holographic drafts and typescripts of reports, minutes of meetings, memoranda, printed matter, press releases and typescripts of statements and interviews.
- Series III. Circulars to the Commissioners, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 9 boxes.
The material in this series consists of evidence and source material submitted to the Commission in order to enable it to study various aspects of law enforcement in the United States. The circulars are numbered from 1-344 and deal with all of the aspects of the Commission's investigation. The material consists of reports, memoranda, lists of suggestions, and books received by the commissioners, congressional bills, statistical surveys, statements made by various individuals, briefs, presidential messages, stenographic transcripts of meetings and conferences of experts.
- Series IV. Prohibition and Narcotics materials, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 5 boxes.
The material in this series consists of the data and findings of the Commission's subcommittee on prohibition and narcotic law enforcement. It includes clippings, reports, circulars, memoranda, outlines, drafts of reports, charts, graphs, statistical information, printed matter and galley proofs, and handwritten notes.
- Series V. Cost of Crime Materials, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 13 boxes.
The material in this series deals with the Commission's study of the cost of crime and the administration of criminal justice. It includes memoranda, printed matter, typescripts, reports, holographic drafts, statistical data and clippings relating to the cost of crime and the administration of criminal justice.
- Series VI. Fiscal and Miscellaneous papers, 1929-1931, 1929-1931, 1 box.
The material in this series relates to the expenditures and financial mechanics of the Commission's operation. It consists primarily in vouchers and records of income and disbursements.
- Series VII. Paige Boxes 3 Paige boxes.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- United States. Wickersham Commission. Records, 1928-1931: Finding Aid.
- Harvard Law School Library Cambridge, MA 02138
- EAD ID
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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