Holmes and Frankfurter: Their Correspondence, 1912-1934
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- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Number Of Items:1
- Shipping Weight (lbs):1.6
- Dimensions (in):9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2
- Publication Date:October 15, 1996
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Nearly 400 previously unpublished letters capture the essence of an extraordinary and in some ways unlikely friendship between one of America's preeminent jurists and a younger, reform-minded colleague who would himself one day ascend to the Supreme Court. Oliver Wendell Holmes was 71 when introduced to fiery, effervescent Felix Frankfurter, who'd come to Washington at age 30 to serve President Taft. The two couldn't have had more different backgrounds: Holmes a Civil War hero of Boston Brahmin stock, and Frankfurter a Jewish immigrant whose reformist views would lead him to help found the American Civil Liberties Union and act as key advisor to Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal. With an introduction providing historical background and annotations that supply context for cases mentioned, this unique collection illuminates a strong and mutually satisfying personal and professional relationship between two men whose exchanges on the meaning of law in general and American law in particular, the editors write, "found expression in their work and influenced legal and political change in their own lifetimes and in ours as well."
The place of Oliver Wendell Holmes in American legal history has long been assured. Few Supreme Court justices have approached the position occupied by Holmes, his decisions and dissents even passing (albeit often inaccurately) into common discourse: "you can't yell fire in a theatre." His legal decisions and dissents possess a literary tone that sets them apart from other jurists': "Every idea is an incitement.... Eloquence may set fire to reason." (Gitlow v. N.Y.) It should be no surprise then to find Holmes's letters to Felix Frankfurter a pleasure to read. The editors' introduction, annotations, and references make the correspondence of these two great minds accessible to readers and browsers of all sorts.
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