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Charles A. Reich papers

Call Number: MS 2118

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the professional and personal papers of attorney, law professor, and author Charles A. Reich. Writings include scholarly articles by Reich regarding legal theory; commenting on legal issues of the day; court case briefs; book reviews and proposals; and transcripts of talks and lectures given on legal topics. Also included are materials related to books authored by Reich, in particular materials on the creation, development, publishing, public responses, and critical reviews and retrospectives of The Greening of America.

The collection also contains interviews with and profiles on Reich, mostly relating to The Greening of America and the public reaction to his ideas and work; some personal and professional correspondence with friends and colleagues; notes written by Reich in preparation for his writings and lectures, in particular articles on Supreme Court Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas, and Felix Frankfurter; files relating to Reich’s early life including schoolwork; and Yale University teaching and student files.


  • Circa 1930-2019


Conditions Governing Access

Yale University related files are restricted until 2057 as established by Yale Corporation regulations. Student records are restricted until 2097 as established by Yale Corporation regulations.

Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Original computer files may not be accessed due to their fragility. Researchers must consult access copies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright and other associated proprietary rights for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Charles A. Reich were transferred to Yale University in 2020. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Alice Reich and Daniel H. Reich, 2020.


The materials are arranged in nine groupings: Writings; Interviews, profiles and talks; Correspondence; Notes; Early life and biographical; Yale University files; Photographs; Audiovisual materials; and Computer files.


32.25 Linear Feet (128 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection consists of the professional and personal papers of attorney, law professor, and author Charles A. Reich. Materials include Reich’s writings and contemporary reactions and responses to them, in particular his 1970 book The Greening of America; talks and lectures by Reich; interviews and profiles of Reich and his work; personal and professional correspondence; notes compiled by Reich relating to his writings; personal files concerning Reich’s early life; and files relating to Reich’s teaching at Yale University. The collection also contains photographs of Reich and his friends and family, as well as audiovisual material, including recorded interviews and lectures.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Alan Reich was born in New York City in 1928. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1949 and attended the Yale Law School. During his time at Yale, Reich served as the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating in 1952, Reich served as a clerk for United States Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black from 1953 to 1954; later also befriending Justice William O. Douglas. After working as a lawyer for six years, Reich accepted an offer to join the Yale Law School faculty in 1960. He served as a professor from 1960 to 1974, teaching constitutional and administrative law, as well as authoring many legal articles, including The New Property, an examination of government-created wealth and its effects on individuals. Reich left Yale in 1974 and moved to San Francisco, California, having become fascinated by the youth counterculture movement there. While in San Francisco, he continued to write and teach law at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of San Francisco. Reich returned to Yale as a visiting professor from 1991 to 1994. Reich continued to live in San Francisco and died there in 2019.

Reich authored of several books. His most well-known work was his 1970 book The Greening of America, an examination and appreciation of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. The book forecasts what Reich saw as a fundamental shift in American society away from the worldviews of the 19th and early 20th centuries and into the worldview of the 1960s counterculture. The book was a success and elevated Reich into a position as a public intellectual, while also garnering criticism for his predictions and admiration for the counterculture movement. Reich also authored Garcia: A Signpost to New Space (1972) consisting of an Rolling Stone interview with himself and musician Jerry Garcia; the autobiographical work The Sorcerer of Bolinas Reef (1976); and Opposing the System (1995), examining what he saw as a societal breakdown in the twenty-five years since the publication of The Greening of America.

Guide to the Charles A. Reich Papers
Charles (Reich) Papers
compiled by Robert Bartels
January 2022

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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