Parution : 05/2020
Editeur : Harvard University Press
ISBN : 978-0-6747-3732-7
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The Intellectual Sword

Harvard Law School, the Second Century

Bruce A. Kimball, Daniel R. Coquillette

Présentation de l'éditeur

By the late nineteenth century, Harvard Law School had transformed legal education and become the preeminent professional school in the nation. But in the early 1900s, HLS came to the brink of financial failure and lagged its peers in scholarly innovation. It also honed an aggressive intellectual culture famously described by Learned Hand: “In the universe of truth, they lived by the sword. They asked no quarter of absolutes, and they gave none.” After World War II, however, HLS roared back. In this magisterial study, Bruce Kimball and Daniel Coquillette chronicle the school’s near collapse and dramatic resurgence across the twentieth century.

The school’s struggles resulted in part from a debilitating cycle of tuition dependence, which deepened through the 1940s, as well as the suicides of two deans and the dalliance of another with the Nazi regime. HLS stubbornly resisted the admission of women, Jews, and African Americans, and fell behind the trend toward legal realism. But in the postwar years, under Dean Erwin Griswold, the school’s resurgence began, and Harvard Law would produce such major political and legal figures as Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Elena Kagan, and President Barack Obama. Even so, the school faced severe crises arising from the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, Critical Legal Studies, and its failure to enroll and retain people of color and women, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Based on hitherto unavailable sources—including oral histories, personal letters, diaries, and financial records—The Intellectual Swordpaints a compelling portrait of the law school widely considered the most influential in the world.

Bruce A. Kimball is Professor in Philosophy and History of Education at The Ohio State University and a former Guggenheim Fellow. He is coauthor, with Daniel R. Coquillete, of the prize-winning On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century.

Daniel R. Coquillette is J. Donald Monan, S.J., University Professor at Boston College and Charles Warren Visiting Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School. He is coauthor, with Bruce A. Kimball, of the prize-winning On the Battlefield of Merit: Harvard Law School, the First Century.




1. The Tragedy of Ezra Thayer, 1900–1915

2. The Centennial Fundraising Fiasco, 1914–1920

3. The Perilous Trials of Roscoe Pound and the Faculty, 1916–1927

4. Desirable and “Undesirable” Students, 1916–1936

5. “The School Must Live from Hand to Mouth,” 1919–1930s

6. Legal Realism and Pound’s Decline, 1928–1931

7. New Deal, Nazis, and Faculty Revolt, 1931–1936

8. The “Meteoric” Rise and Fall of James Landis, 1937–1946

9. Harvard, Columbia, and the “Major Professional Schools,” 1890–1945

10. Griswold Brings Order to the “Madhouse,” 1946–1950s

11. McCarthyism and the Fifth Amendment, 1950s

12. The Admissions Revolution, 1946–1967

13. “The School Has Not Grown Soft,” 1946–1967

14. “A Vast Expansion” in Spending, 1946–1967

15. The Harvard–Yale Game, 1900–1970

16. Derek Bok’s Tumultuous Interlude, 1968–1970

17. “An Especially Difficult Period”: Albert Sacks, 1971–1981

18. The World of the Students, 1970s and 1980s

19. Faculty Discord, 1970s and 1980s


Appendix A. Law Schools Rejecting Case Method and the Harvard “System,” 1890–1915

Appendix B. Letter on Enrollment of Jewish Students, 1922

Appendix C. Law School Endowments at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Universities, 1910–1930

Appendix D. Enrollments, Endowments, and Expenses of Medical, Law, and Business Schools of Columbia and Harvard Universities, 1890–1945

Appendix E. Increases of Combined Endowments of Columbia and Harvard Universities and Their Medical, Law, and Business Schools, 1890–1950

Appendix F. Enrollment of College Graduates in Harvard and Yale Law Schools, 1920–1935

Appendix G. Endowments, Expenses, and Enrollment of Harvard Law School and Yale Law School, 1905–1970

Appendix H. Financial Advantage of Yale Law School over Harvard Law School, 1894–1970

Appendix I. Women with Teaching Appointments at Harvard Law School, 1968–1985

Appendix J. Student Research Reports, Memos, and Articles Cited

880 pages.  €45.00