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COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 8032020

Louis Jaffe papers


This collection documents the professional career of Louis Jaffe. This collection includes correspondence, arbitration work, case notes, writings, readings, and teaching and administrative materials.


  • Creation: 1928-1976

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2-day advance notice for retrieval. Files containing student information are closed for 80 years; those with Harvard Law School or Harvard University administrative records are closed for 50 years. All restrictions are noted in the container list below. Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. 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.


15 linear feet (in 37 boxes.)

The Louis Jaffe Papers cover the entirety of Jaffe's professional career as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, an attorney, a dean and as a professor at Harvard Law School. Professor Jaffe received national recognition for his arguments and positions on the scope of judicial review of agency decisions, and for his analysis of the role of courts in the review of administrative agencies. The collection spans from the 1930s up to his retirement in 1976, and contains correspondence, teaching materials, publications, case notes, writings and readings. The majority of the collection is of a professional nature, though there are some personal materials as well.

Restrictions on personal student information and official university administration records are noted in the container list below.

Biographical Information

Louis L. Jaffe was born in Seattle in 1905, and spent much of his youth in San Francisco. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1924 at the age of 19, and then entered into the Class of 1928 at Harvard Law School. As a law student he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review and ranked third in his graduating class. After he graduated, he became a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, where he worked for three years. After completing his clerkship, he tried unsuccessfully to enter the workforce during the height of the Great Depression. He went on to complete an S.J.D. degree at Harvard Law School in 1932, and two years later he became an attorney with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration—an agency of the New Deal. In 1935, he left to join the National Labor Relations Board as an attorney.

In 1936 Jaffe became a professor at the University of Buffalo School of Law, where he went on to become Dean in 1948. Jaffe joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1950, and fifteen years later he published Judicial Control of Administrative Action. His work on judicial review was widely commended and cited by other scholars and judges. He also co-authored a casebook, Administrative Law: Cases and Materials, which became a standard text for law students all over the country. Throughout his career he served as a commentator and expert adviser on issues such as regulation by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Federal Communication Commission, and the Federal Aviation Commission.

Professor Jaffe retired in 1976, and spent the next 20 years residing in Cambridge. He died at the age of 90, on December 11, 1996.

Series List/Description

  1. Series I. Harvard Law School, 1950-1976 1950-1976 Professor Jaffe began teaching at Harvard Law School in 1950where he taught until his retirement in 1976. There are foursubseries: teaching material, administrative material, writings andreadings. The teaching subseries and administrative subseries arearranged alphabetically. The writings and readings subseries wereleft in the arrangement Jaffe kept them in.
  2. ___ Subseries A. Teaching, 1950-19731950-1973
  3. ___Subseries B. Administrative, 1950-19731950-1973
  4. ___ Subseries C. Writings
  5. ___ Subseries D. Readings
  6. Series II. Correspondence, 1948-19721948-1972

    This series contains correspondence of Professor Jaffefrom his time as a clerk in 1928 through his retirement from HarvardLaw School in 1976. It is mostly professional in nature. The seriesis arranged alphabetically.

  7. Series III. Non-Harvard Professional Work This series reflects Jaffe's professional work outsideof Harvard Law School. It includes his involvement with conferencesand committees, as well as his extensive work as an arbiter. Theconferences and committees subseries and the arbitration subseriesare arranged alphabetically.
  8. ___ Subseries A. Conferences, 1928-1972 1928-1972
  9. ___ Subseries B. Arbitration

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Harvard Law School Library by Miles Jaffe, September 2013.

Processing Information

Processed by Dana Bronson April 2015.

Jaffe, Louis. Papers: 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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