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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS009000799

Abram Chayes papers

This collection documents the professional career of Abram Chayes, including his time in the private sector, government, international law and, education. Professor Chayes successfully argued on the behalf of Nicaragua against the United States of America and notably served as the Legal Advisor for the State Department during the Kennedy Administration. The collection includes: correspondence; casework, publications, research notes, drafts, speeches, and teaching materials.

Dates

  • 1939 - 2000

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 Historical and 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 Historical and 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

180 linear feet (294 boxes)

The Abram Chayes Papers cover the entirety of his professional career as professor, lawyer, and public servant. The collection spans the 1930s up to his death in 2000, and contains correspondence, casework, teaching materials, publications, and research materials. The majority of the collection is of a professional nature, though there are some personal materials, as well. His academic career is represented by a large amount of administrative and teaching materials, including memoranda, meeting minutes, exams, and course distributions. His work as an international lawyer is documented through a copious amount of court documents and correspondence. Meeting minutes, speech drafts, mementos from work-related events and trips document Chayes's time as the Legal Advisor for the State Department. In addition to his various roles, Chayes published articles and books frequently. Manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, reserach material and off prints respresent his publication efforts.

Due to the nature of Chayes's work at Harvard Law School as professor of law, there is some of sensitive material in the collection. Restrictions on personal student information and official university administration records are noted in the container list below.

Biographical Information

  • 1922Born in Chicago, IL.
  • 1943Received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard
  • 1943-1946Served as captain with the field artillery in France, Holland, Germany, and Japan
  • 1949Received his LL.B. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
  • 1949-1951Served as legal advisor to Governor Chester Bowles of Connecticut.
  • 1951-1952Clerked for Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1952-1955Associate with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C..
  • 1955Joined the faculty at Harvard Law School as an assistant professor, eventually became a professor.
  • 1961Appointed Legal Advisor to the State Department.
  • 1965Resigned from his position and returned to Harvard Law School.
  • 1972Served as foreign policy adviser for Senator George McGovern, the Democratic presidential nominee.
  • 1976Appointed the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law.
  • 1980-1986Represented Nicaragua in its case against the United States of America.
  • 1993Retired and became the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus.
  • 1999Received the Harvard Law School Association Award (HLSA).
  • April 16, 2000Died in Boston, MA.
1922
Born in Chicago, IL.
1943
Received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard
1943-1946
Served as captain with the field artillery in France, Holland, Germany, and Japan
1949
Received his LL.B. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
1949-1951
Served as legal advisor to Governor Chester Bowles of Connecticut.
1951-1952
Clerked for Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court.
1952-1955
Associate with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C..
1955
Joined the faculty at Harvard Law School as an assistant professor, eventually became a professor.
1961
Appointed Legal Advisor to the State Department.
1965
Resigned from his position and returned to Harvard Law School.
1972
Served as foreign policy adviser for Senator George McGovern, the Democratic presidential nominee.
1976
Appointed the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law.
1980-1986
Represented Nicaragua in its case against the United States of America.
1993
Retired and became the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus.
1999
Received the Harvard Law School Association Award (HLSA).
April 16, 2000
Died in Boston, MA.

Series List/Description

  1. Series I. Harvard, 1961-2000 1961-2000 ProfessorChayes began teaching at Harvard Law School in 1955. He left the LawSchool in 1960 to serve as the Legal Advisor for the State Departmentduring the Kennedy Administration. In 1965 he returned to Harvard,where he taught law until his retirement in 1993. There are twosubseries: administrative material and teaching material. The firstsubseries is arranged chronologically while the second is arrangedalphabetically.
  2. ___ Subseries A. Administrative Material, 1961-20001961-2000
  3. ___Subseries B. Teaching Material, 1961-20001961-2000
  4. Series II. Correspondence, 1939-1999 1939-1999 This series contains the correspondence of ProfessorChayes, from his time at Harvard as an undergraduate in the 1930suntil his death. It is mostly professional in nature. The series issplit into two subseries, one being chronologically ordered while theother is arranged alphabetically.
  5. ___ Subseries A. Alphabetical Correspondence, 1939-19991939-1999
  6. ___Subseries B. Chronological Correspondence, 1945-19991945-1999
  7. Series III. Outside Cases and Consultations, 1922-1999 1922-1999 In addition to his responsibilities as a professor,Chayes's also had a long career practicing international law. Theseries documents the many roles he filled, including lawyer,arbitrator, and consultant. The larger cases he worked on, such asthe Nicaragua v. U.S.A. case, are separated into their ownsubseries.
  8. ___ Subseries A. Nicaragua V. USA, 1980-19881980-1988
  9. ___Subseries B. Kasikili Island Dispute, Botswana v. Namibia, 1971-19991971-1999
  10. ___ Subseries C. Venezuelan Maritime Border, 1938-19991938-1999
  11. ___ Subseries D. Marshall Islands, datesdates
  12. ___ Subseries E. Esefka v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, datesdates
  13. ___ Subseries F. Other Cases and Consultations, 1953-19991953-1999
  14. Series IV. Writings, Speeches, and Appearances, 1943-1999 1943-1999 This series contains material related to Chayes'swritings including books and articles. Folders can contain drafts,research materials and notes, and correspondence. Material pertainingto Chayes's speaking engagements can also be found in the secondsubseries, including speech drafts, programs, and correspondence.Works sent to Chayes by former students and colleagues can be foundin the last subseries. The series is split into three subseries, thefirst and third being alphabetically ordered while the second isarranged chronologically.
  15. ___ Subseries A. Writings and Publications, 1943-19991943-1999
  16. ___Subseries B. Speaking Engagements and Appearances, 1961-19991961-1999
  17. ___Subseries C. Writings and Publications of Others, 1955-19991955-1999
  18. Series V. Research, 1957-19971957-1997

    Material in this series was used by Professor Chayesfor teaching or writing purposes. Since the use of the material isunkown, unlike the research material found in Series 4, it was put inits own series. The material covers a wide variety of topics,including feminism in law, class action, individual rights, andsocial work.

  19. Series VI. Professional Affiliations, 1960-1999 1960-1999 Chayes was involved in a wide plethora of professionalaffiliations. This series reflects his involvement, and includesmaterials such as correspondence, reports, and meeting minutes. Theaffliations that he was most involved in are housed in their ownsubseries.
  20. ___ Subseries A. Ford Foundation, 1965-19941965-1994
  21. ___Subseries B. ASIL, 1961-19991961-1999
  22. ___ Subseries C. LANAC, 1981-19911981-1991
  23. ___ Subseries D. Other Affiliations, 1960-19981960-1998
  24. Series VII. Political Work, 1952-1997 1952-1997 In addition to his teaching, Chayes was also involvedin the political world. This series documents Chayes's time servingas the Legal Advisor of the State Department and his roles variouspolitical campaigns, including Senator McGovern's and RobertKennedy's. Chayes also served on many government panels andcommittees before and after his time as Legal Advisor.
  25. ___ Subseries A. Legal Advisor of the State Department, 1960-19681960-1968
  26. ___Subseries B. Political Campaigns, 1964-19971964-1997
  27. ___Subseries C. Government Work, 1952-19961952-1996
  28. Series VIII. Biographical Material, 1955-20001955-2000

    This series contains material related to ProfessorChayes's personal life. It consists mostly of information pertainingto his admission to the bars of various states andhousing.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Harvard Law School Library by Antonia Handler Chayes, 2010.

Related Materials

  1. See Papers of Felix Frankfurter, 1900-1965 at HLSL for correspondence between Frankfurter andChayes.
  2. See Abram Chayes Personal Papers at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library andMuseum.

Processing Information

Processed by Jamie Brinkman, February 2015
Link to catalog
Title
Chayes, Abram. Papers: Finding Aid
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00273

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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