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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 9853863

Max Lowenthal papers


Correspondence, memoranda, newspaper clippings and other items related to Max Lowenthal's participation on the Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (Wickersham Commission). Lowenthal served as secretary of the Commission from 1929 until his resignation in 1930.


  • 1929-1931

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.


4 boxes

This collection contains papers of Max Lowenthal from 1929-1931 concerned with his activity as secretary of the Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (Wickersham Commission.) The papers consist of extensive correspondence with Felix Frankfurter, George W. Wickersham and Monte Lemann and others, in addition to memoranda, reports and news clippings.

[Note: Another collection of Max Lowenthal Papers, 1910-1971, is held in the collections of the University Archives, University of Minnesota.]

Historical/Biographical Information

Max Lowenthal was born in 1888 in Minneapolis, and after his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1912, spent much of his career in public service. In 1929, when President Herbert Hoover called for the formation of The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (later called the Wickersham Commission ) to look into the problem of gang related crime and Prohibition enforcement, Lowenthal volunteered his services (pro-bono) as secretary. The Commission, chaired by former Attorney General George W. Wickersham, included other prominent individuals, such as Ada Comstock, President of Radcliffe College, HLS Dean Roscoe Pound, judge and former U.S. Senator William S. Kenyon, and former Secretary of War Newton W. Baker. After working with the Commission for over a year, Lowenthal resigned in July 1930. At the time, his reasons for doing so were not publicized, but in a formal statement to members of the Commission, he cited partisanship as well as the failure of the Commission to adhere to its original ideal, of addressing the entire problem of criminal law, not just Prohibition. Lowenthal was replaced as secretary by W.F. Barry.

Series List

  1. Series I: Correspondence, 1929-1931 1929-1931
  2. Series II: Memoranda and Reports, 1929-1931. 1929-1931.
  3. Series III: Press Clippings, 1929-1931. 1929-1931.

Within each series and/or subseries individual items or folders are identified by box and folder number. For example, the number 5-12 corresponds to box 5, folder 12.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired in January 2006.

Processing Information

Processed by Rebecca Fenning, February 2006.

Max Lowenthal. Papers, 1929-1931: Finding Aid
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, 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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