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COLLECTION Identifier: LAW-MMC-292

Charles Fried papers

Scope and Contents

The Charles Fried papers primarily represent Fried's work as a professor at Harvard Law School from 1961-1992, and his service as the United States Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan from 1985-1989. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1980s, but spans from 1951 through 1993. The majority of the collection contains professional documents, though there are some notable personal and scholarly materials, particularly opinion editorials. The collection also includes course material, correspondence, clippings, Supreme Court case files, and both handwritten and typewritten lecture and research notes. The topics represented throughout the collection mainly relate to Fried's professional and scholarly expertise in legal ethics, criminal law, tort law, and constitutional law.


  • Creation: 1951-1993


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is minimally arranged and described, and may require review prior to 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 the Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Some material in this collection is closed for up to 80 years due to the presence of restricted student information and materials covered by attorney client privilege. Consult Historical & 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.


29 linear feet (60 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

  • 1935 Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
  • 1939 The Fried family relocated to England to escape the Nazis' persecution of Jews.
  • 1941 The Fried family moved to the United States.
  • 1948 The Fried family became United States citizens.
  • 1952 Charles Fried graduated from the Lawrenceville School.
  • 1956 Earned Bachelor of Arts degree and earns Phi Beta Kappa designation from Princeton University.
  • 1958 Earned Bachelor of Arts in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford.
  • 1960Earned J.D. from Columbia University School of Law
  • Earned Ordronnaux Prize in Law.
  • 1960-1961 Acted as law clerk for John Marshall Harlan II.
  • 1961 Joined faculty at Harvard Law School.
  • 1971-1972 Received the Guggenheim Fellowship.
  • 1974-1975 Acted as Harris Lecturer on Medical Ethics at the Harvard Medical School.
  • 1981 Served as Tanner Lecturer on Human Values at Stanford University.
  • 1981-1983 Acted as adviser to the Department of Transportation.
  • 1982 Acted as adviser to President Ronald Reagan.
  • Served as Orgain Lecturer at the University of Texas.
  • 1983-1984 Became Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States.
  • 1985-1989 Appointed as Solicitor General of the United States.
  • 1995-1999 Served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
  • Taught as Distinguished Lecturer at Harvard Law School.

Biographical / Historical

Educated at Princeton, Oxford and Columbia Law School, Charles Fried, the Beneficial Professor of Law, has been teaching at Harvard Law School since 1961. He was Solicitor General of the United States, 1985-89, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1995-99. His scholarly and teaching interests have been moved by the connection between normative theory and the concrete institutions of public and private law. During his career at Harvard he has taught Criminal Law, Commercial Law, Roman Law, Torts, Contracts, Labor Law, Constitutional Law and Federal Courts, Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy. In recent years Fried has taught Constitutional Law and Contracts. During his time as a teacher he has also argued a number of major cases in state and federal courts, most notably Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, in which the Supreme Court established the standards for the use of expert and scientific evidence in federal courts.

Series List / Description

  1. Series I: Course Materials, 1958-1992
  2. Series II: Office Solicitor General - Administrative Files, 1960-1988
  3. Series III: Personal Files, 1961-1990
  4. Series IV: Office Solicitor General - Case Files, 1979-1993
  5. Series V: USA v. Bilzerian, 1988-1991
  6. Series VI: Supreme Court Briefs, 1951-1992

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Charles Fried in January, 2017.

Processing Information

This collection was minimally arranged and described by Harvard Law School Library staff. All of the material was re-boxed due to the condition of the original containers, with original order maintained as closely as possible. Select material was re-foldered due to concerns over condition.

Processed by Ayoola White, 2019, and Natalie Sinclair, 2022.




Charles Fried papers, 1951-1993: Finding Aid.
Harvard Law School Library
Description rules
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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