Edward Francis Carter, 1897-1981 [RG4231.AM]


RG4231.AM: Edward Francis Carter, 1897-1981

Papers: 1935-1974
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.: Judge
Size: 11 cu. ft.


Edward Francis Carter was born March 11, 1897 in O’Neill, Nebraska. He was the son of Edward Charles Carter and Alice Margaret Waring. He married Vera Marie Hofrichter at Bruning, Nebraska on June 2, 1920. His children, with their respective birth dates, are: Delores Jean, July 23, 1921; Lyle Allen, December 22, 1922; Edward Francis Jr., March 23, 1928; Robert LeRoy, March 24, 1932; Barbara Jean, August 9, 1933. Judge Carter graduated from Beaver City High School in Beaver City, Nebraska in 1915. He received his LLB (Bachelor of Law) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) College of Law in 1919. From 1923-1927 he was a City Attorney at Bayard, Nebraska. After serving as an appointed 17th District judge in Lincoln, Nebraska he was elected to serve in the same District from 1928-1932. In 1947 and 1948 he served as one of three judges at the Nuremberg Trials, Case VII. He became senior judge of the Nebraska Supreme Court in 1949 and served in this capacity until his retirement in 1971. He was a member of several legal, Masonic and other civic groups for which he delivered numerous speeches. Carter died December 22, 1981.


This collection consists of five boxes of bound trial transcripts, six manuscript boxes of records and printed materials, as well as oversize materials. It is arranged into eight Subgroups: 1) Nuremberg Trials, Case VII bound transcripts; 2) Nuremberg Trials records and papers; 3) Correspondence; 4) Writings by Carter; 5) Masonic Materials; 6) Legal Materials; 7) Edward F. Carter Biographical and Hofrichter Family History Materials; and 8) Miscellaneous.

Subgroup 1, Nuremberg Trials, Case VII bound transcripts, consists of twenty-six volumes dated beginning July 15, 1947 and ending February 19, 1948. The volumes are paginated from pages 1 to 10544. The following errors in pagination in the copies of these volumes housed at the National Archives should be noted: page 2293 is unnumbered; pages 1572-1575 are incorrectly numbered; and pages 1442-1444 are not present. The copies at NSHS in collection RG4231.AM include pages 1442-1444; pages 1572-1575 are misnumbered; and page 2293 is numbered.

Subgroup 2, Nuremberg Trials records and papers, is divided into three Series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Case VII Materials; and 3) Miscellaneous.

Series 1, correspondence, consists of letters written by Carter during his stay in Nuremberg, Germany in 1947 and 1948.

Series 2, Case VII Materials, consists of printed materials supplied to judges serving at the Nuremberg Trials, including two copies of the concluding “Opinion and Judgment.” The series also contains a file originally entitled, presumably by Carter, “Reports from Judge Burke.” These “reports” are notes, letters, legal opinions, and newspaper clippings about Case VII and were supplied to Carter by Judge George J. Burke of Michigan who served along with Carter and Judge Charles F. Wennerstrum of Chariton, Iowa at Case VII. Many of the reports relate to Wennerstrum’s public criticisms of what he perceived as a lack of fairness and impartiality at the allied war crimes trials in Nuremberg. The file gives a certain “behind the scenes” view of Nuremberg Trials Case VII and is therefore of particular interest.

Series 2 also contains four files of photographic evidentiary materials from Case VII, often with attached affidavits identifying the photo contents in the original Serbo-Croatian, and then in German and English certified translations. The user should be forewarned that the photos in the first three photo files contain images of victims of mass murder, executions in progress carried out by exceptionally brutal methods, and other explicit scenes of criminal activity perpetrated by Nazi forces and their collaborators in Yugoslavia, mostly in the region of Bosnia. researchers under the age of 18 must obtain parental permission to use these materials.

Folder 9 contains photos relating to Greek General Napoleon Zervas who during the Nuremberg trials was Greek Defense Minister. Two maps have been removed from this folder to the oversize drawer.

Series 3, Miscellaneous, consists of later speeches by Carter on the Nuremberg Trials, various published materials on the trial or on related themes of international law, a “trip file” containing correspondence relating to Carter’s appointment as a Nuremberg Trials judge, his trip to Germany and his stay there in 1947 and 1948. From this trip file [file 9], one oversize map of Germany has been removed to the oversize drawer. File 3 contains two Dachau memorial albums that were obtained by Carter during a visit to the memorial. A photo album containing photos of Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Stalin, F. D. Roosevelt, etc. has been removed to the Photo Collection. Finally, the series contains a file of newspaper clippings related to the Nuremberg Trials.

Subgroup 3, Correspondence, covers the years 1935-1974. The years 1935-1950 are most complete, comprising slightly more than two boxes. The years 1951-1974 fill almost an entire third box, with the years 1967-1972 being the most complete. The correspondence for the years 1935-1950 is arranged completely in its original order, chronologically and alphabetically. In their original order, the materials in each file are arranged from back to front rather than the more usual front to back. The correspondence for the years 1951-1974 is only partially in its original order. These later groups of correspondence had also originally been arranged back to front and therefore when the materials were processed, the original back to front arrangement was reconstructed. Because the materials from these later years were not originally arranged alphabetically but only chronologically, only the latter order was adopted when processing the collection. Subgroup 3 is divided into three series: Series 1 covering 1935-1950 arranged alphabetically and chronologically; Series 2 for 1951-1974; and Series 3, miscellaneous files of correspondence originally separated, presumably by Carter or his secretary. Among dozens of other individuals, the correspondence contains significant amounts of materials from and to the following attorneys, judges, politicians, etc. from Nebraska (unless otherwise noted):

Attorneys: Rush C. Clarke (Scotsbluff); David A. Fitch (Omaha); A. Paul Johnson (Broken Bow); Fred P. Komarek (Bruning); Murl M. Maupin (Ogalalla); Fred A. Nye (Kearney); C. G. Perry (Bridgeport); Frank L. Rain (Fairbury); “Speck” L. C. Schenck (Scottsbluff); R. O. Canady (Hastings); Robert R. Hastings (Crete); Louis Lightner (Columbus); Hadley Kelsey (Norfolk); Walter D. James (McCook); Frank M. Johnson (Lexington); Walter R. Raecke (Central City); Jay Kyle (Assistant Attorney General, State House, Topeka, Kansas); Paul E. Beck (Seward); Will M. Maupin (Clay Center).

Judges: Harry D. Landis (Seward); James H. Fitzgerald (Omaha); Virgil Falloon (Falls City); George W. Irwin (Gering); E. G. Kroger (Grand Island); Fred W. Messmore (Beatrice); E. L. Meyer (Alliance); Frank J. Munday (Red Cloud); Arthur C. Thomsen (Omaha); J. L. Tewell (Sidney); Dwight Griswold (Gordon); Mark J. Ryan (Pender); John J. Yeager (Omaha); Bayard H. Paine (McCook); John L. Polk (Lincoln); Paul E. Boslaugh (Lincoln); Richard Van Steenberg (Gering); Paul W. White (McCook); Fay H. Pollock (Stanton); S. S. Sidner (Kearney).

Politicians: Representative Henry B. Coffee; Governor R. L. Cochran; Representative Charles F. McLaughlin; Senator Edward S. Burke; Senator Amos Thomas; Senator George W. Norris; Senator Roman L. Hruska; Representative Carl T. Curtis; Governor Dwight Griswold; Harold E. Stasson (Minnesota Governor); President Harry S. Truman (dated April 30, 1945); Senator Kenneth S. Wherry; Governor Val Peterson; Governor Ralph G. Brooks; Senator Robert P. Griffin; Senator Fred W. Carstens; Governor J. James Exon; Senator Roland Luedtke; Governor Norbert T. Tiemann; Senator Jack Romans. For most of these there exists only a limited number of items. More numerous or significant items are available especially for Coffee; Burke; Hruska; Griswold; and Curtis.

Among other notable persons or personal friends who corresponded with Carter are the following: One letter to Dean C. H. Oldfather of UNL; a few letters to John J. Selleck, UNL Business Manager and later Secretary of Board of Regents; dozens of letters from Lute M. Savage of the Masonic Temple in Omaha; several from Milan Wasser (Omaha) of Milan Wasser Agency (Grain Dealers Mutual); a dozen from UNL Coach D. X. Bible; dozens from Lewis E. Smith, Grand Secretary of the Omaha Masonic Temple; one or two letters from and to Emil Kopac of Oshkosh, Nebraska; approx. a dozen from J. D. Lutton, M. D. (Sioux City, Iowa); and one brief letter from Dr. Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard (1971).

The correspondence also contains significant amounts of materials relating to Carter’s personal finances (especially with the Geneva State Bank and Gering National Bank concerning payments of household bills; taxes; rent, etc.; there are also several letters to and from Arthur A. Perry of the 1st National Bank in Lincoln); legal organizations such as the Lancaster County Bar Association (Lincoln); Nebraska State Bar Association (Omaha); Omaha Bar Association; American Bar Association; Western Nebraska Bar Association (Sidney); often entertaining letters from and to prisoners with approaching parole hearings (quite a lot of materials relating to a prisoner named William Hill are found in the collection); and informal legal groups such as the Zodiac Club and the Polemic Club which met in Lincoln. Also to be found are letters concerning football reservations and tickets; perhaps a hundred or more letters concerning invitations to address various civic organizations and churches (mostly declines); several letters of recommendations written on behalf of friends and colleagues applying for positions in the military, intelligence communities, or in government political bodies; letters from the Republican and Democratic State Committees; letters from Masonic lodges; various legal publishing houses; newspaper editorial offices (Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln); organizations such as the Nebraska State Historical Society; Daughters of the American Revolution; YMCA of Nebraska (Omaha); American Legion Posts; American Interprofessional Institute (Milwaukee, Wisconsin); Nebraska State Teachers Association; Native Sons and Daughters of Nebraska. Letters to and from family members including siblings and parents are also available, but perhaps only a dozen or two at the most. Several items are available on a widely-publicized and controversial osteopathy court case of the early to mid 1940s; letters also exist from the War Department; Army Air Corps; Department of Justice (Washington, DC); the Office of Price Administration; National Railroad Adjustment Board (Chicago, Illinois); Beaver City High School (requests for commencement addresses and attendance at reunions).

Subgroup 4, Writings by Carter, is arranged in two Series divided into speeches and publications, the bulk consisting of speeches on legal and related topics.

Series 1, Speeches, divided into four Subseries: SS1: Law, Constitution, Politics, Civic Life; SS2: Commencements, Youth Themes; SS3: Eulogies, World War II, American Legion; SS4: Source Notes for Speeches and Clippings.

Series 2, Publications, consists mainly of articles published in the journal of the Interprofessional Institute in the 1940s and 1950s.

Subgroup 5, Masonic Materials, consists of a file of correspondence with Earl Meyer dating from 1962 and 1965 and deals with amending the Bylaws of the Scottish Rite, Southern Province. The remainder of Subgroup 5 consists of two files of Masonic speeches by Carter, three ritual manuals (two published and one typed), and miscellaneous materials. Folder 5 contains one photo; two others have been transferred to the Photo Collection.

Subgroup 6, Legal Materials, is divided into two series consisting of a mixture of typed and published legal essays not by Carter, briefs, and various publications.

Series 1, Legal Cases, contains four files, the most interesting is entitled “William Niklaus.” Niklaus was a Nebraska lawyer who became disgruntled with the Nebraska Bar and courts in the 1950s, and in the 1960s he published a number of accusatory newsletters against Nebraska judges, including Carter, charging them with participating in an “international Communist conspiracy,” “tens of thousands of felonies,” possible involvement in the J. F. Kennedy assassination, and similar charges. The newsletters were published under the aegis of the “Citizens Investigation League of Nebraska,” apparently founded and named by Niklaus.

Series 2 contains miscellaneous legal and political speeches and essays by various authors and two files of In Memoriam booklets for Nebraska Supreme Court judges.

Subgroup 7, Edward F. Carter Biographical and Hofrichter Family History, contains materials on Carter and several families related to his wife’s Hofrichter line.

Series 1 contains materials relating to Carter’s education, retirement, and death. A photo has been removed from file 2. Several certificates, awards, and election materials are also included in the series, some of which are housed in oversize storage. Two files of newspaper clippings on Carter are also present.

Series 2 contains a scrapbook and other miscellaneous items relating mostly to the Hofrichter and related lines, including a photo which has been retained in a mylar sleeve in folder 3, as well as a limited amount of correspondence from Carter’s children written mostly in their childhood.

Subgroup 8, Miscellaneous, contains files relating to various military base and missile launch test sites Carter visited in 1961; a file on a 1963 memorial erected in memory of Mexican Border Service during World War I. The file contains a photocopy of a booklet probably written shortly after World War I containing various memoirs, poems, etc. written by soldiers who served at the Mexican border. The last file contains an assortment of miscellaneous materials including typed poems, witty sayings, various illustrations, etc.

Finally, several miscellaneous and loose photos were removed to the Photo Collection. These included a photo of Nebraska Governor Ralph G. Brooks; several photos of Nebraska judges; photos of the Cornhusker Boy’s State conventions (1950-1973); and other miscellaneous subjects.

Additional (unprocessed) materials were added in August of 2007 (see box 12).


Subgroup 1: U.S. v. List et.al. Official transcript of the American Military Tribunal in the United States of America against Wilhelm List, et.al., defendants sitting at Nurnberg, Germany on July 8, 1947, 0903, Justice Wennerstrum presiding. Court V, Case 7. [26 volumes]

Box 1

  1. Pages 1-413. July 15-18, 1947
  2. Pages 414-808. July 21-24, 1947
  3. Pages 809-1201. July 25-30, 1947
  4. Pages 1202-1640. July 31-August 7, 1947
  5. Pages 1641-2082. August 11-15, 1947

Box 2

  1. Pages 2083-2506. August 16-21, 1947
  2. Pages 2507-2961. August 22-28, 1947
  3. Pages 2962-3423. September 15-22, 1947
  4. Pages 3424-3865. September 23-October 7, 1947
  5. Pages 3866-4314. October 8-14, 1947

Box 3

  1. Pages 4315-4771. October 15-21, 1947
  2. Pages 4772-5180. October 22-28, 1947
  3. Pages 5181-5668. October 29-November 5, 1947
  4. Pages 5669-6130. November 6-14, 1947
  5. Pages 6131-6566. November 17-21, 1947

Box 4

  1. Pages 6567-6978. November 24-December 2, 1947
  2. Pages 6979-7426. December 3-9, 1947
  3. Pages 7427-7858. December 10-16, 1947
  4. Pages 7859-8262. December 17023, 1947
  5. Pages 8263-8669. January 5-8, 1948

Box 5

  1. Pages 8670-9090. January 9-15, 1948
  2. Pages 9091-9475. January 16-21, 1948
  3. Pages 9476-9874. January 22-February 4, 1948
  4. Pages 9875-10280. February 5-7, 1948
  5. Pages 10281-10418. February 7-9, 1948
  6. Pages 10419-10544. February 19, 1948

Subgroup 2: Nuremberg
Series 1 – Correspondence

Box 6

  1. Correspondence from Nuremberg, 1947-1948

Series 2 – Case VII materials

  1. “Basic Information” and Case VII indictment
  2. “Opinion and Judgment”
  3. “Opinion and Judgment” (copy two)
  4. “Reports from Judge Burke”
  5. Case VII notes
  6. Evidence photos with affidavits (Yugoslavia)
  7. Evidence photos with affidavits (Yugoslavia)
  8. Evidence photos with affidavits (Yugoslavia)
  9. Evidence photos (Greek General Napoleon Zervas) [Two maps removed to oversized drawer]

Series 3 – Miscellaneous

  1. Speeches about Nuremberg
  2. Indictments, Cases I-V, VII
  3. Two Dachau memorial albums [one album of photos of Hitler, Stalin, Roosevelt, etc. removed to the Photo Collection.]
  4. Typed materials
  5. Publication, “Final Report”
  6. Publications by Telford Taylor
  7. Misc. publications
  8. John Alan Appleman, “Military Tribunals and International Crimes”
  9. “Trip File” [one map removed to oversize drawer; photos of court scenes, defendants, etc. removed to the Photo Collection.]
  10. Newspaper clippings

Subgroup 3: Correspondence
Series 1 – Alpha-chronological

Box 7

  1. A-C, January 1935-January 1937
  2. C (cont.)-F, January 1935-January 1937
  3. G-K, January 1935-January 1937
  4. L-M, January 1935-January 1937
  5. M (cont.)-R, January 1935-January 1937
  6. S-U, January 1935-January 1937
  7. W-Z, January 1935-January 1937
  8. A-C, January 1937-July 1937
  9. D-L, January 1937-July 1937
  10. M-R, January 1937-July 1937
  11. S-Z, January 1937-July 1937
  12. A-C, July 1937-September 1938
  13. D-J, July 1937-September 1938
  14. K-P, July 1937-September 1938
  15. R-S, July 1937-September 1938
  16. T-Z, July 1937-September 1938
  17. A-D, September 1938-December 1940
  18. F-M, September 1938-December 1940
  19. N-S, September 1938-December 1940
  20. T-Z, September 1938-December 1940

Box 8

  1. FA-C, January 1941-August 1941
  2. C (cont.)-E, January 1941-August 1941
  3. F-H, January 1941-August 1941
  4. I-M, January 1941-August 1941
  5. M (cont.)-P, January 1941-August 1941
  6. R-S, January 1941-August 1941
  7. T-W, January 1941-August 1941
  8. A-B, September 1941-December 1945
  9. C, September 1941-December 1945
  10. C (cont.) – E-F, September 1941-December 1945
  11. E-F-G, September 1941-December 1945
  12. H – K-L, September 1941-December 1945
  13. K-L-M, September 1941-December 1945
  14. N-Q, September 1941-December 1945
  15. R-S, September 1941-December 1945
  16. T-V, September 1941-December 1945
  17. W-Z, September 1941-December 1945 [with undated materials after Z]
  18. A-B, January 1946-December 1950
  19. C, January 1946-December 1950
  20. C (cont.)-F, January 1946-December 1950
  21. G-J, January 1946-December 1950

Box 9

  1. K-L, January 1946-December 1950
  2. M – N-O, January 1946-December 1950 [Includes 1 photo]
  3. N-O (cont.) – R, January 1946-December 1950
  4. S-V, January 1946-December 1950
  5. W-Z, January 1946-December 1950 [followed by “special” undated materials]

Series 2 – Chronological

  1. June 1951-June 1959
  2. January-November, 1960 [Includes two photos]
  3. January-November 1961
  4. February 1962-July 1963
  5. February 1964-September 1965
  6. January-December 1966
  7. January-December 1967
  8. January-June 1968
  9. July-December 1968
  10. January-June 1969
  11. July-December 1969
  12. January-July 1960
  13. August-December 1970
  14. January-April 1971
  15. May-December 1971
  16. January-April 1972
  17. May 1972-March 1974 [followed by two undated items]

Series 3 – Miscellaneous Correspondence

  1. Walter James, 1941
  2. Paul M. Shuford, 1957
  3. “Habeus Corpus,” 1964

Box 10

  1. Claude Barnes, 1963-1968

Subgroup 4: Writings by Carter
Series 1 – Speeches
Subseries 1 – Law, Constitution, Politics, Civil Life

  1. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  2. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  3. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  4. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  5. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  6. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  7. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  8. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  9. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life
  10. Speeches regarding law, constitution, politics and civil life

Subseries 2 – Commencements and Youth Themes

  1. Speeches, commencements and youth themes

Subseries 3 – Eulogies, World War II, American Legion

  1. Speeches, eulogies, World War II and American Legion

Subseries 4 – Source notes for speeches and clippings

  1. Source notes for speeches
  2. Newspaper clippings about speeches

Series 2 – Publications

  1. Various publications

Subgroup 5: Masonic materials

  1. Earl Meyer correspondence, 1962, 1965 re: bylaws [Note: other Masonic correspondence in Subgroup 3]
  2. Masonic speeches
  3. Masonic speeches

Box 11

  1. Ritual manuals
  2. Miscellaneous [1 photo retained, two removed to Photo Collection]

Subgroup 6: Legal Materials
Series 1 – Legal cases

  1. William Niklaus
  2. “State Patrol Licenses”
  3. “Appellate Judges Seminars”
  4. Legal documents

Series 2 – Writings not by Carter

  1. Legal, political speeches and essays
  2. Legal, political speeches and essays
  3. Publications
  4. In Memoriam booklets for Nebraska Supreme Court judges
  5. In Memoriam booklets for Nebraska Supreme Court judges

Subgroup 7: Biographical and Family History
Series 1 – Biographical, Edward Carter

  1. Education, retirement, In memoriam [photo removed to Photo Collection]
  2. Nebraska Law Review, 1971
  3. Certificates, awards
  4. Clippings
  5. Clippings
  6. Oversize certificates, election materials (see OB005)

Series 2 – Family History, Hofrichter and Carter lines

  1. Carter family correspondence
  2. Hofrichter scrapbook
  3. Loose clippings, miscellaneous relating to Hofrichter line [Photo]

Subgroup 8: Miscellaneous

  1. Operation Understanding [photos moved to Photo Collection; one certificate moved to oversized]
  2. Fort Bliss, 1961 [one certificate moved to oversized]
  3. Mexican Border Service Memorial, 1963
  4. Miscellaneous [photos dated on the front “Feb. 1963” moved to Photo Collection.]

Box 12 (2007.0115)

Unprocessed correspondence and scrapbook

Subject headings:

Bruning (Neb.)
Carter, Edward Francis, 1897-1981
Cornhusker Boy’s State (Lincoln, Neb.)
Fraternal organizations
Freemasons — Nebraska
Freemasons — Nebraska — Lincoln
Hofrichter family
Missile test sites
Nebraska Supreme Court
Nuremberg War Crime Trials, Nuremberg, Germany, 1946-1949
United States. Army Air Defense Command
War (International law)
War crimes
War crime trials — Germany — Nuremberg
White Sands Missile Range (New Mexico)
World War, 1939-1945
Zervas, Napoleon

SDS/kfk 06-13-2001

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