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Jerome New Frank papers

Call Number: MS 222
Scope and Contents

The Jerome N. Frank Papers are divided into eight series:


The material in these papers reflects Jerome Frank's wide range of interests. Subjects that were of special interest to Frank include: psychoanalysis, legal realism, stare decisis, the jury system, the reform of legal education, the protection of the criminally accused, the protection of civil liberties, the preservation of democratic government in the United States, the refutation of deterministic philosophies, especially those of Hegel and Marx, fact-finding, isolationism, Zionizm and the role of the Jew in America.

The bulk of Jerome Frank's correspondence is divided into four series, each representing a period in Frank's life dominated by his job. Besides correspondence, each of these series includes a subjects file which contains such materials as legal documents, memoranda, legal opinions and printed material, including newspaper clippings and pamphlets related to Frank's work for that specific period. The correspondence in all four series covers a wide variety of topics, including those mentioned above. Frank's correspondents included lawyers, philosophers, teachers, politicians, economists, government administrators, writers and judges. (Consult the folder title listings for names.) There is also some correspondence, including Frank's family correspondence in the last series, in the four remaining series.

CORRESPONDENCE & SUBJECTS FILE PRE-1933 covers Frank's early career as a corporation lawyer, first in Chicago, and then in New York. Most of this correspondence is dated between 1929 and 1933. There is almost no correspondence prior to 1925 when Frank was involved in Chicago politics. Of particular interest is the correspondence in response to the publication of Law and the Modern Mind and the correspondence with philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen.

CORRESPONDENCE & SUBJECTS FILE 1933-1937 covers the period in which Frank served in various capacities in the early New Deal, first with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and then with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and the Power Division of the Public Works Administration. It also includes the period in which Frank returned to private practice in New York. There is correspondence with a number of administrators in the Department of Agriculture in this series, including Paul H. Appleby, Chester C. Davis, George N. Peek, Rexford Guy Tugwell and Henry A. Wallace, most of whom were connected with the purge in AAA in 1935. There are also folders of correspondence and memoranda under subject headings such as "AAA: General Operating Policies," "Marketing Agreements Memoranda," "Codes," "Railroad Reconstruction" and "Public Works Administration." At the end of this series there are copies of Frank's outgoing personal and official correspondence for the period he served as general counsel for AAA. Throughout the series there are memoranda from Frank's subordinates, including John Abt, Abe Fortas, Alger Hiss and Lee Pressman.

CORRESPONDENCE & SUBJECTS FILE 1937-1941 incorporates material covering the period Frank served as commissioner of and as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Together with the correspondence with other SEC commissioners and various government officials, there is correspondence with businessmen and economic writers concerning the economic affairs of the nation.

CORRESPONDENCE & SUBJECTS FILE 1941-1957 covers the final period of Frank's life When he served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (CA II). This correspondence is mainly of a personal nature since the correspondence and memoranda dealing with the operations of CA II are filed in a separate series.


  1. Opinions
  2. Conference Memoranda
  3. Other Circuit Courts Decisions
  4. Statutory Court Decisions
  5. Correspondence
  6. Calendars
  7. JNF's Docket Books
  8. Miscellaneous Court Business

"Opinions" consists of Frank's written opinions on cases that came before him as a judge on CA II. "Conference Memoranda" is composed of material for cases on which Frank sat, including memoranda circulated among the participating judges, some correspondence and miscellaneous material concerning specific cases. "Other Circuit Courts Decisions" and "Statutory Court Decisions" consist of similar material on cases outside of CA II in which Frank participated. The "Correspondence" in this series is either with other CA II judges or is administrative in nature and does not refer to specific cases. The remainder of the material in this series relates to the administrative business of CA II.

The WRITINGS, SPEECHES & PANEL DISCUSSIONS series is divided into seven sections:

  1. Books
  2. Proposed Books
  3. Articles
  4. Book Reviews
  5. Speeches
  6. Panel Discussions
  7. Manuscript Fragments

The material in this series, which dates from about 1927 to 1957, is indicative of Frank's varied interests. In the first section, there is extensive draft material for all of Frank's books except Law and the Modern Mind and Not Guilty. The "Proposed Books" section contains material for books that were planned but never completed, including a novel and biographies of Charles Evans Hughes, Theodore Roosevelt and Julius Rosenwald. The "Articles" section contains both published and unpublished material and the "Speeches" section contains drafts of lectures as well as drafts of speeches. Many of the speeches date from the period when Frank served on the Securities and Exchange Commission. The series includes research materials and reviews of Frank's writing.

The YALE COURSE MATERIAL series consists mainly of administrative material, including correspondence, class lists and students' grades for the courses Frank taught at Yale Law School from 1946 to 1956. There are also copies of the unpublished book Frank wrote for his course in fact-finding and a few lecture notes.

The PERSONAL & FINANCIAL PAPERS OF JNF & FAMILY series is divided into ten sections:

  1. Charlotte Frank & Max Bernard
  2. Clara New Frank
  3. Florence Kiper Frank
  4. Jerome New Frank
  5. Charles Kiper Estate
  6. Gertrude Wise Kiper
  7. Barbara Frank Kristein
  8. Erik Johan Smith
  9. Miriam Kiper Smith
  10. Photographs

In each section, with the exception of "Photographs," there is personal material relating to the person named. These sections may contain such materials as information and correspondence concerning financial affairs, personal correspondence, writings, biographical information, memorabilia and art work. Letters of condolence on the death of Jerome Frank are filed under "Florence Kiper Frank."

At the end of the papers there are twenty-four linear feet (nineteen cartons) of research material. This unarranged material consists of Frank's handwritten notes and miscellaneous printed and mimeographed pages, as well as annotated pamphlets, newspaper clippings and magazine articles. The material covers innumerable topics and was used by Frank as research sources for his writings, lectures and court work.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Box 212 is restricted until January 1, 2032 due to privacy concerns.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by Jerome New Frank has been transferred to Yale University. 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.

Permission to publish from the transcripts of the oral history interview in Box 181 must be obtained from the Oral History Research Office at Columbia University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Yale Law School and Mrs. Jerome Frank, 1964; gift of Boris I. Bittker, 1981; and transfer from the Yale Law School, 1986.


Arranged in eight series and one addition: I. Correspondence and Subject File, Pre-1933. II. Correspondence and Subject File, 1933-1937. III. Correspondence and Subject File, 1937-1941. IV. Correspondence and Subject File, 1941-1957. V. United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (CA II). VI. Writings, Speeches, and Panel Discussions. VII. Yale Course Material. VIII. Personal and Financial Papers.

Majority of material found within 1929 - 1957
105.25 Linear Feet
Related Names
Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957
Language of Materials