The Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth
What are judges' papers?
Judges’ papers are an invaluable primary source of information on judicial biography and court
history. They consist of the materials generated by a judge in the course of personal life,
in work on other professional activities, and during the execution of office. These are apart
from the documents comprising the official court record, which are filed with the clerk's office and eventually deposited in the National Archives. Examples of materials are correspondence,
notes, photos, scrapbooks, speeches, etc. Among the most valuable of a judge’s papers are
the chambers papers, which are the case-related documents, correspondence, and records of
court governance that complement and rather than duplicate the official record of the court. Judges’ papers are the
personal property of the judge, so it is up to the judge to donate the papers to an archival
repository of his or her choosing. Finding them preserved for history is a gold mine.
Federal Judicial History Office website
offers biographical sketches of Article III judges. Once in a biographical entry, look at the bottom
of the judge's profile for a link to manuscript sources. This site updates information found in
Directory of Manuscript Collections Related to Federal Judges, 1789-1997, published in 1998.
The Federal Judicial History Office book and website list both:
Papers collections containing materials generated and/or collected by the judge, and
Papers collections containing materials generated and/or collected by other persons, when those collections contain materials by or about the judge in question.
The lists on this website only contain collections generated or collected by the judge in question.