As part of Andrea Benefiel’s work on the Collection on Legal Change (CLC) earlier this year, she created an online finding aid for the Arthur T. Vanderbilt Political, Profession, and Judicial Papers. The papers document the illustrious career of Vanderbilt, a Wesleyan alumnus from the class of 1910. Vanderbilt had a long career in private practice and taught in New York University’s law school for many years, serving as dean from 1943 to 1948. Among other achievements, he was also president of the American Bar Association from 1937 to 1938. Vanderbilt’s correspondence from that time has already been consulted by several visiting scholars since the online finding aid appeared less than six months ago. One scholar recently mentioned the richness and depth of the papers on the Legal History Blog.
Using the Vanderbilt collection can be challenging, as many of the papers are fragile–lots of onion skin correspondence!– and the description in the finding aid is not highly detailed. It is also one of our many archival collections housed in off-site storage, so boxes must be requested ahead of time and brought to our reading room. Despite these challenges, we encourage researchers at Wesleyan and beyond to explore the collection. The possibilities for research are endless!