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Professional Files

Identifier: 1182

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

From the Collection:

This collection consists of the personal papers of former U.S. attorney general Francis Biddle. It is one of three portions comprising the larger collection of the Biddle Family papers that include the papers of his wife, Katherine Biddle and a series of family correspondence (see separate finding aids).

Of interest are lengthy correspondence files relating to Biddle's appointments as judge of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1939); U.S. attorney general (1941); and member-judge of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany (1945-1946).

Notable correspondents include, among many others, Dean Acheson, Conrad Aiken, Thurman Arnold, Bernard Berenson, Henry Beston, Norman Birkett, Alain Bosquet, Van Wyck Brooks, Stimson Bullitt, Roy Basler, William Rose Benet, Richard Crowder, Agnes de Mille, Gertrude Ely, T.S. Eliot, Abe Fortas, Felix Frankfurter, Learned Hand, Oscar Hammerstein, August Heckscher, J. Edgar Hoover; Cordell Hull, Sturgis Ingersoll, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Emmet Lavery, Frieda Lawrence, Robert Lowell, Clare Boothe Luce, Henry McCarter, Archibald MacLeish, Jacques Maritain, Gian Carlo Menotti, Marion Merrell, Nancy Mitford, Henry Morgenthau, Lewis Mumford, L. Quincy Mumford, Charlton Ogburn, Boies Penrose, Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt (particularly wartime memoranda, 1944-45), A.L. Rowse, Karl Shapiro, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Lisa Sergio, Edward R. Stettinius, Adlai Stevenson, Harry L. Stimson, Leopold and Olga Stokowski, Allen Tate, Virgil Thomson, Lionel Trilling, Harry S. Truman, Robert Wagner, Henry A. Wallace, Herbert Wechsler, Owen Wister, and Mark Van Doren.

Included are correspondence files and manuscripts relating to Biddle's major works including his two-volume autobiography, "A Casual Past" (1961), and "In Brief Authority," (1962); two works on Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Mr. Justice Holmes (1942), and "Justice Holmes, Natural Law, and the Supreme Court" (a series of lectures, 1961); "The World's Best Hope" (1949); and "The Fear of Freedom" (1952). There are also typescripts and reprints of many articles by Biddle, as well as correspondence and manuscripts relating to a play about the English Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania William Penn (1644-1718), written by Biddle and adapted for the stage by Richard Waters.

Note on the index to the original printed finding aid: An effort has been made to index as many individual correspondents as possible; however time constraints have made it necessary to index selectively for some folders. For a complete listing of correspondents, it is therefore advisable to consult the folder descriptions. If the names of individuals listed in a particular folder description are marked with an asterisk (*) it can be assumed that only those are indexed. If no asterisks mark any names for a given folder, it can be assumed that ALL names listed for that folder have been indexed. Also note that names appear as given or as signed, unless further information is available.


  • From the Collection: 1912 - 1968
  • From the Collection: Majority of material found within 1940 - 1966

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Permission of the Biddle Family is required before accessing this collection. The Booth Family Center for Special Collections can provide information on the permission process.

Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.


From the Collection: 22.25 Linear Feet (14 archival boxes)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

General Note

Series No. in Collection: 4

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057