Collection on Legal Change

Compiled by Andrea Benefiel


The Collection on Legal Change is a unique archive at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. The collection was established by Wesleyan in 1970 with the purpose of providing a repository for the records of various individuals and organizations whose lives and works helped to shape public policy. Like the University Archives the Collection on Legal Change is intended to provide both visiting and resident scholars with access to important information unavailable in published form. The Collection provides permanent safekeeping for a wide array of papers in the interest of future scholarship, and serves as a basis for new interpretations and understanding of the nature of social, economic, political, and legal change.

The Collection on Legal Change was originally acquired and organized in the 1970s by Professor Clement E. Vose.  He was assisted by undergraduate interns, usually involved in pre-law studies, who worked in the processing and maintenance of the holdings. Registers for the collections were printed at the time of processing, and have been revised and encoded for publication on the Web.

Clement E. Vose, 1923-1985

Professor Clement E. Vose, the John E. Andrus Professor of Government, taught at Wesleyan University from 1958-1985. He was an interpreter of constitutional government and author of Caucasians Only: The Supreme Court, the NAACP and the Restrictive Covenant Cases (1958), Constitutional Change: Amendment Politics and Supreme Court Litigation Since 1900 (1972), A Guide to Library Sources in Political Science: American Government (1975), and several articles on law and archival policy and ethics. In the 1970s and 1980s he was involved in a successful suit to the U.S. Supreme Court to compel the disclosure of President Richard Nixon's presidential papers, as well as an unsuccessful attempt to compel the disclosure of 15,000 pages of transcripts of telephone conversations from Henry Kissinger's eight-year tenure as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. As both a scholar and a historian, his interest in archives inspired him to build the Collection on Legal Change to support his own research interests and to form a body of records illustrating changes in United States legal policy.



The Collection on Legal Change is made up of distinct records groups, each of which was created by a particular individual or group. Each illustrates a particular set of political, legislative, or judicial issues. Each records group is arranged and described separately in a finding aid, which are summarized below. Links to the full finding aids are also provided.

William M. Citron Political Papers, 1918-1966

6 linear feet (14 archival boxes)

A lifelong Democrat, William M. Citron served as a member of the Connecticut State Assembly, Connecticut State Legislature, and had two terms in the United States Congress as a representative for Connecticut. He served in the Army in both World War I and World War II. Citron was an outspoken opponent of anti-semitism and, in 1935, wrote to the U.S. Olympic Committee to urge that American athletes boycott the Olympics scheduled to take place in Berlin in the summer of 1936. He also made remarks (printed in the Congressional Record), that the United States' attendance at the Olympic events would give tacit approval to the racist practices of the Nazi government. In addition, Citron introduced legislation to regulate development along the Connecticut River and to provide flood control. His career was most active during the Great Depression, and he was a participant in the New Deal.

This collection contains materials documenting the life and political career of William M. Citron, and spans the dates 1918 to 1966. The bulk of the materials concern Citron's political career, and consist of clippings, correspondence, subject files, reports, speeches, and press releases. A small amount of biographical and personal materials are also contained in the collection.


Emilio Q. Daddario Congressional Papers, 1959 - 1970

53 linear feet (53 archival boxes)

Emilio Q. Daddario was a Connecticut congressman in the United States House of Representatives from 1959 to 1970 who was active in committees on scientific research and aerospace. He was a 1939 graduate of Wesleyan University and practiced law in Connecticut prior to running for office. He served as mayor of Middletown, Conn. from 1946 to 1948.

The Emilio Q. Daddario Congressional Papers cover his six terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Member of Congress from the First District, State of Connecticut. These include papers from his Congressional office as well as documents pertaining to the work of his Subcommittee on Science, Research and Development.


Ray P. Holland Papers on Enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty, 1872-1974

11 linear feet (24 archival boxes)

Born in Atchison, Kansas, Ray P. Holland was interested in the outdoors beginning in his youth. He became a noted sportsman and writer, was dedicated to the management of wildlife and, as a United States Game Warden during World War I, became a key figure in the Supreme Court case of Missouri v. Holland, decided in 1920, a landmark case in constitutional and conservation law. Active in conservation groups such as the American Game Protective Association and the International Association of Game, Fish and Conservation Commissioners, Holland was editor of the magazine Field & Stream during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s.

The bulk of the collection contains manuscripts, field diaries, publications, reports, and silent films related to wildlife conservation and game protection in the United States, from 1903-1970. It also contains a small amount of diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence and personal family items spanning 1872 to 1970.


Philip Levy Collection on National Labor Policy, 1922 - 1970

18 linear feet (41 archival boxes)

Philip Levy (1909-1970), was a government official in several capacities, serving on the legal staff of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and as counsel to Senator Robert F. Wagner, and practiced private law during a career that spanned 1934-1970. He was directly involved with the development of national labor policy in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, and maintained a continued interest in labor policy throughout his long career.

The collection includes official documents (hearings, reports, legal briefs, orders, and rulings), pamphlets, articles, clippings, and notations, and documents national labor policy in the United States from 1922 to 1970. Materials cover the United States Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), National Industrial Relations Act of 1934, the Taft-Hartley Act, and Labor Cases in lower federal courts and the Supreme Court. There is little correspondence or other manuscript material in the collection.


Roy Lucas Abortion Litigation Papers, 1967 - 1973

14 linear feet (28 archival boxes)

Following his graduation from New York University Law School in 1967, Roy Lucas published a landmark article, "Federal Constitutional Limitations on the Enforcement and Administration of State Abortion Statutes," in the North Carolina Law Review. Soon his interest in student rights and other civil liberties issues were overwhelmed as abortion litigation came to him in ever-growing volume. In 1969 and 1970 he helped found, with Morris Dees, the James Madison Constitutional Law Institute with offices in New York City and Montgomery, Alabama.

This collection documents state and federal abortion laws and court cases in the United States, spanning 1967-1973. It contains state and federal abortion litigation case files, documents, and correspondence; materials of the James Madison Institute; research files on aspects of abortion law, including studies of the Constitution and state laws on rights of the fetus; and publications regarding abortion and abortion laws including newspaper clippings about court cases.


Gorham Munson Papers on the American Social Credit Movement and New Democracy, 1899 - 1969, bulk 1932 - 1945

38.5 linear feet (49 archival boxes)

Social Credit has been an economic theory, a social philosophy, an ideology, and a political party in England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States since it was first advanced in 1920 by Major C. H. Douglas. He believed finance capitalism deprived individuals of sufficient purchasing power to buy otherwise available products. To overcome this Douglas proposed offering to every citizen dividend payments based on the community's real wealth. As monetary reform and as social theory Social Credit attracted intellectual support in England and the United States especially during the 1930s. Gorham Munson (Wesleyan class of 1917) was the most eloquent and durable Social Credit leader in the United States. In 1932, he became American correspondent for The New English Weekly, defended Social Credit in The Nation and helped form a key Social Credit organization, the New Economics Group of New York. In 1933 he initiated a vital Social Credit journal of the arts and public affairs, New Democracy, and was its chief editor during its three-year life.

The papers of Gorham Munson (1896-1969) deal almost wholly with his support of Social Credit and are confined to the years 1932 to 1945. There is almost no information about his career as a literary critic, book editor, and teacher of writing. The material includes articles, books, correspondence, pamphlets, and scrapbooks. The collection grew out of Munson's interconnected roles as organizer, publicist, fund-raiser, editor, promoter, lobbyist, propagandist, theorist, leader, and diplomat for a succession of Social Credit organizations from 1932 to 1945. Published materials provide the best documentation of the development of the theory of Social Credit in England, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Major correspondents include Ezra Pound, his father Homer Pound, James Laughlin IV, William Carlos Williams, Major C. H. Douglas, John Hargrave, Philip Mairet, Stanley Mott, Lilly Bierne, Herbert Bruce Brougham, Allan R. Brown, Howard L. Buck, A. M. Edwards, Paul Hampden, Laurence Morris, W. A. Nyland, A. H. Spencer, Elliott Taylor, and Mrs. E. Sohier Welch. Congressional correspondents include Charles G. Binderup, Fred L. Crawford, T. Alan Goldsborough and Jerry F. Voorhis. There are also files on the New English Weekly and The Beacon of Winnipeg, which incorporated New Democracy in 1937-1939


Arthur T. Vanderbilt Political, Professional and Judicial Papers, 1902-1957

400 linear feet (381 archival boxes)

Arthur T. Vanderbilt was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1888. He was educated at Newark Public High School and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1910. While at Wesleyan he was a student leader and a member Delta Kappa Epsilon. He then attended Columbia Law School, earning an LL.B. in 1913. Vanderbilt practiced law privately from 1913 to 1947, largely representing fire insurance companies, corporations, and banks. During this period, Vanderbilt also taught law at New York University as full-time faculty, later becoming Dean of the Law School from 1943 to 1948. He also served on the Wesleyan University Board of Trustees from 1934 to 1957, and acted as President of the Board from 1946 to 1947. A leader throughout his life, he also served with the American Bar Association, and was preeminent in the movement to reform the administration of justice and chaired an advisory committee to create a uniform code of military justice. Vanderbilt became a New Jersey Circuit Court judge in November 1947, and was confirmed as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court in December 1947. He served in this capacity until his death in 1957.

This collection contains correspondence, writings, personal, and professional papers relating to the long career of Arthur T. Vanderbilt, spanning 1902 to 1957. Types of materials include photographs, scrapbooks, clippings, reports, memos, teaching notes, correspondence, books and pamphlets, and manuscripts. Also included are files related to his planned biography of Lord Mansfield.


Repeal Papers of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers Inc., 1927-1943

2.5 linear feet (5 archival boxes)

In 1927, The Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, Inc. was organized by a group of young New York lawyers who felt that the national prohibition law was both unjust and unenforceable. Its leaders were Joseph H. Choate, Jr., who served as chairman of the Executive Committee, and Harrison Tweed, Treasurer. The organization existed to organize like-minded associates, take opinion polls of lawyers across the country, issue bulletins and annual reports reciting arguments against the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and work closely with the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment. They stressed that a Repeal Amendment should provide for ratification by state convention and then proceeded to prepare and place before all state governors in February 1933 draft bills providing for election at large of all delegates. The alertness and prestige of the members of the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers contributed to the fact that most states enacted the model convention bill verbatim. When the Twenty-First Amendment was ratified on December 5, 1933, the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers disbanded.

The repeal papers of The Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, Inc. 1928-1944, were originally working files of Joseph Hodge Choate, Jr. (1876-1968) and of Harrison Tweed (1885-1969) when they were among the leaders of this single-purpose organization. The Choate materials are correspondence and publications. The Tweed records represent financial aspects of the organization, of which he was treasurer. These papers include the records of the financial transactions of the organization, all known publications, and a original correspondence.