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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS601658

Superior Court of the Pow Wow briefs


Legal briefs and administrative records of the Superior Court of the Pow Wow, a Harvard Law School student organization, dating from its inception in 1870 to 1898. There are also a few records from 1934-1969.


  • Creation: 1871 - 1969

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.


1 collection (13 manuscript boxes, 2 Paige boxes of bound volumes)

The bulk of this collection falls in the late 19th century, spanning the years 1870-1898. However, there are a few records from the 20th century, spanning the years 1934-1969. Documentation includes: administrative records; legal briefs of defendants and plaintiffs; case files; and reports of cases. There is also an index of the trials heard in the years 1871-1885. The index lists the case title, number, date, court and counsel.

Historical/Biographical Information

The Superior Court of the Pow Wow was a student law club organized in 1870. As a Superior Court it consisted only of first-year students who participated in moot courts.

During much of the nineteenth century, moot court exercises were an integral part of the Harvard Law School curriculum. The intention was to acquaint students with court room practice and to give them experience in the arguing of cases in a clinical setting. When interest in these school-sponsored moot courts began to wan in the 1870s, it was due in part to the rise in popularity of various law clubs, which held moot courts of their own. In the mid-1800s the prominent clubs were Coke, Kent, Bracton, Fleta, and Marshall. The Marshall Club was the oldest, having been founded in 1825. The clubs were made up of students elected from each class based on their social prominence and legal ability, and were often organized according to previous affiliation. For exampleThe Kent Club was made up of students who attended Yale. When it was first organized, members of the Pow Wow Club conducted these arguments among themselves, whereas, in later years one club argued against another.

Series List/Description

  1. Series I: Loose briefs 1871-1898. 1871-1898.

    Folders are arrangedchronologically. They are described with the terms "Michaelmas Term"and "Hilary Term," which are part of the Britsh terminology fordescibing the legal year. The Michaelmas Term runs from October to December, and the Hilary Term runs January to April.

  2. Series II: Bound volumes 1870-1969. 1870-1969.

    Within each series and/or subseriesindividual 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

The records of the Superior Court of the Pow Wow were given to Harvard Law School in 1911. Contact Curator of Modern Manuscipts and Archives for further information.

Processing Information

Processed by Margaret Peachy, March 2008

Superior Court of the Pow Wow Briefs, 1871-1969: 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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