Roscoe Pound, 1870-1964 [RG0911.AM]


RG0911.AM:  Roscoe Pound, 1870-1964

Papers:  1880-1963, mostly 1930s-1950s
Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska; Chicago, Illinois.; and Massachusetts:  Lawyer, educator
Size:  2.5 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


Nathan Roscoe Pound was born on October 27, 1870, in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was the son of Stephen B. Pound, a lawyer and judge, and Laura Biddlecome Pound, a native of New York. Roscoe Pound earned his B.A, M.A, and Ph.D. degrees in botany at the University of Nebraska and was one of Dr. Charles E. Bessey’s first serious botany students at the university. Pound began studying law at Harvard in 1889 but stayed only a year before returning to Nebraska to begin his own practice. He was admitted to the Nebraska Bar without a law degree, and from 1899 to 1907, Pound taught law at the University of Nebraska, serving as Law School Dean during his final four years. He was also Commissioner of Appeals of the Nebraska Supreme Court from 1901 to 1903 and later taught at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago before becoming a law professor at Harvard in 1910. In 1916, Pound became Dean of the Harvard Law School, a post he held until his retirement in 1936, at which point he agreed to stay on as a professor. This appointment made him Harvard’s first professor with a license to teach any subject in the university, not only law. At the age of 76, Pound resigned from teaching to accept an invitation from Chiang Kai-Shek to codify Chinese Laws.

During his long career Pound held many posts of legal prominence, including the presidency of the Association of American Law Schools, membership in the standing advisory committee for the jurist section of the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, and membership on the Wickersham Commission which reported to President Hoover in 1931 on the prohibition law. Pound held some 200 honorary degrees from universities in this country and abroad. In 1940 he was awarded the Golden Medal of the American Bar Association for “conspicuous service to the cause of American jurisprudence.” Roscoe was a past master of Lancaster Lodge 54 AF&AM in Lincoln and grand orator of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Nebraska, of which he was an honorary past grand master. He received the 33rd degree of the Scottish Rite in 1913 in Philadelphia. Roscoe made his last appearance in Nebraska in March 1960 when he delivered a lecture at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where in 1950 the Roscoe Pound Lectureship was established.

His first wife, Grace Gerrard of Columbus, Nebraska, died in 1928. In 1931, he married Mrs. Lucy Miller of Washington, D.C. who died in 1959. Roscoe Pound died on June 30, 1964, at the age of 93, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He left no survivors.


This collection is arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence, 1889-1963; 2) Writings by Roscoe Pound, 1893-1962, n.d.; 3) Writings about Roscoe Pound, 1896-1964, n.d.; and 4) Miscellaneous.

Series 1, Correspondence, 1889-1963, consists of both incoming and outgoing letters of Roscoe Pound. A portion of the correspondence relates to major events in Roscoe’s, life, including his second marriage, resignation of the Harvard deanship, and his 75th birthday celebration. Correspondence with Paul Sayre regarding Pound’s biography is also included.

Series 2, Writings by Roscoe Pound, 1893-1962, n.d., includes various articles by Pound. The majority of the writings appeared in the Harvard Law Review and other legal publications and date from 1903-1962. Also included in this series are a few Nebraska court case briefs.

Series 3, Writings about Roscoe Pound, 1896-1964, n.d., consists of articles and biographical sketches authored by various sources. Of particular note are the items authored by Roscoe’s mother and sisters. Also included in this series is a manuscript draft for the Roscoe Pound biography authored by Paul Sayre. The remainder of this series consists of alumni magazine articles and newspaper clippings.

Series 4, Miscellaneous, includes a student essay and Roscoe’s report cards from his years as a student at the University of Nebraska, general information regarding the entire Pound family, a biographical sketch for Dr. Francis F. Tucker, and miscellaneous newspaper clippings.


RG0909: Pound Family (photos only)
RG0910: Laura Biddlecombe Pound
RG0912: Louise Pound
RG0913: Olivia Pound
RG1074: William Henry Woods
RG2239: Mamie Jane Meredith
RG2974: Samuel M. Chapman
RG3734: Hazlett and Jack


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1889-1963
Box 1

  1. Roscoe to his parents, 1889-1919
  2. Roscoe or Grace (Mrs. Roscoe) Pound to Laura Pound, 1915-1928
  3. Roscoe or Grace (Mrs. Roscoe) Pound to Olivia, 1910-1932
  4. Roscoe to Olivia or Louise, 1933-1944
  5. Roscoe to Olivia or Louise, 1945-1948
  6. Roscoe to Olivia, 1949-1959
  7. Roscoe to Olivia, 1960-1961
  8. Notable political and legal figures, 1919-1943
  9. University of Wisconsin presidency, 1925
  10. Congratulatory letters on marriage to Lucy Miller, 1931
  11. Resignation of Harvard deanship, 1935-36
  12. Resignation of Harvard deanship, 1935-36
  13. Overseas trip, 1937

Box 2

  1. Overseas trip, 1937
  2. 75th birthday, 1945
  3. Arthur D. Nock, 1942-1951
  4. Paul Sayre (regarding biography), 1944-47
  5. Miscellaneous, 1896-1963

Series 2 – Writings by Roscoe Pound, 1893-1962, n.d.

  1. Nebraska court case briefs, 1893, 1908
  2. Harvard Law Review, 1908-1915
  3. Harvard Law Review, 1917-1919
  4. Harvard Law Review, 1936, 1944
  5. Harvard Law Review, 1945, 1952
  6. Fundamental American Principles series pamphlets, 1945

Box 3

  1. Miscellaneous publications, 1903-1921
  2. Miscellaneous publications, 1924-1952
  3. Miscellaneous publications, 1954-1962, n.d.

Series 3 – Writings about Roscoe Pound, 1896-1964, n.d.

  1. Roscoe Pound biography by Paul Sayre, manuscript draft
  2. Roscoe Pound biography, book reviews
  3. Writings by Laura, Louise, and Olivia Pound
  4. Biographical sketches, various sources
  5. Harvard Law School publications, 1925-1962

Box 4

  1. Harvard Law School Yearbook (dedicated to Pound), 1945-1946
  2. University of Nebraska Alumni magazines, 1916-1960
  3. Miscellaneous publications, 1926-1950
  4. Miscellaneous publications, 1959-1960
  5. Clippings, Roscoe’s legal opinions
  6. Clippings, career at Harvard and University of Wisconsin presidency rejection
  7. Clippings, short-term position at UCLA
  8. Clippings, trip to China, 1947
  9. Clippings, trips to Nebraska

Box 5

  1. Clippings, honors and awards
  2. Clippings, biographical, etc.
  3. Scrapbook of clippings, 1896-1938
  4. Clippings, obituaries, 1964

Series 4 – Miscellaneous

  1. Event programs, etc.
  2. University of Nebraska (includes Pound’s graduation announcement, various report cards, and a student essay written by Pound)
  3. Pound family, biographical and genealogical materials
  4. Pound family, clippings
  5. Dr. Francis F. Tucker, biographical sketch, 1958
  6. Clippings, Nebraska history
  7. Clippings, misc.
  8. Misc.

Subject headings:

Constitutional law
Educators — United States
International law
Jurisprudence — United States
Law — Philosophy
Law — Study and teaching
Lawyers — United States
Pound, Laura Biddlecombe, 1841-1928
Pound, Louise, 1872-1958
Pound, Olivia, 1874-1961
Pound, Roscoe, 1870-1964

DDS/pp                  01-07-1970
ELC/kfk                   03-02-2004
Revised TMM        12-08-2006

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

State Song Sing-Along

State Song Sing-Along

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Robert Ball Anderson’s journey “from slavery to affluence”

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.