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.
- 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.
Extent180 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.
- 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.
- Born in Chicago, IL.
- Received his A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard
- Served as captain with the field artillery in France, Holland, Germany, and Japan
- Received his LL.B. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
- Served as legal advisor to Governor Chester Bowles of Connecticut.
- Clerked for Justice Felix Frankfurter of the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Associate with Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C..
- Joined the faculty at Harvard Law School as an assistant professor, eventually became a professor.
- Appointed Legal Advisor to the State Department.
- Resigned from his position and returned to Harvard Law School.
- Served as foreign policy adviser for Senator George McGovern, the Democratic presidential nominee.
- Appointed the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law.
- Represented Nicaragua in its case against the United States of America.
- Retired and became the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus.
- Received the Harvard Law School Association Award (HLSA).
- April 16, 2000
- Died in Boston, MA.
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Administrative Material, 1961-20001961-2000
- ___Subseries B. Teaching Material, 1961-20001961-2000
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Alphabetical Correspondence, 1939-19991939-1999
- ___Subseries B. Chronological Correspondence, 1945-19991945-1999
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Nicaragua V. USA, 1980-19881980-1988
- ___Subseries B. Kasikili Island Dispute, Botswana v. Namibia, 1971-19991971-1999
- ___ Subseries C. Venezuelan Maritime Border, 1938-19991938-1999
- ___ Subseries D. Marshall Islands, datesdates
- ___ Subseries E. Esefka v. Federal Republic of Nigeria, datesdates
- ___ Subseries F. Other Cases and Consultations, 1953-19991953-1999
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Writings and Publications, 1943-19991943-1999
- ___Subseries B. Speaking Engagements and Appearances, 1961-19991961-1999
- ___Subseries C. Writings and Publications of Others, 1955-19991955-1999
- 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.
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Ford Foundation, 1965-19941965-1994
- ___Subseries B. ASIL, 1961-19991961-1999
- ___ Subseries C. LANAC, 1981-19911981-1991
- ___ Subseries D. Other Affiliations, 1960-19981960-1998
- 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.
- ___ Subseries A. Legal Advisor of the State Department, 1960-19681960-1968
- ___Subseries B. Political Campaigns, 1964-19971964-1997
- ___Subseries C. Government Work, 1952-19961952-1996
- 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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the Harvard Law School Library by Antonia Handler Chayes, 2010.
Processed by Jamie Brinkman, February 2015
- Chayes, Abram. Papers: Finding Aid
- Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
- Language of description
- EAD ID
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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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