Inventory of the Papers of Justice James Clark McReynolds 1819-1967 McReynolds, Justice James Clark, Papers, 1819-1967 Mss 85-1

Inventory of the Papers of Justice James Clark McReynolds 1819-1967

A Collection in
The Arthur J. Morris Law Library, Special Collections
Collection Number Mss 85-1


University of Virginia, Arthur J. Morris Law Library

Special Collections
Arthur J. Morris Law Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Phone: (434) 924-3023
Fax: (434) 924-7238

© 2001 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, University of Virginia Law Library
Collection number
Mss 85-1
Papers of Justice James Clark McReynolds 1819-1967
Physical Characteristics
This collection consists of about 3.1 shelf feet (ca. 2800 items) in 8 boxes.
The James Clark McReynolds collection includes his professional, personal, and family/genealogical papers. The professional documents include correspondence, opinions, memoranda, and notes from his years in the Justice Department, and from his years on the Supreme Court, a relatively small amount of correspondence. The only Supreme Court case material consists of printed matter and a few notes related to the "Gold Clause Cases."

Administrative Information


There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Inventory of the Papers of Justice James Clark Reynolds, Mss 85-1, University of Virginia Law Library, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Acquisition Information

The papers were originally given to the University of Virginia Library on October 16, 1950 by the justice's nephew, James O. McReynolds of Los Angeles, California.


The donor gave additional materials in 1950, 1951, 1967, and 1969 and continues to add to the collection when documents become available.

Processing Information

In 1985 the collection was transferred with the donor's permission to the University of Virginia Law Library.

Biographical/Historical Information

James Clark McReynolds was born on February 3, 1862, in Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University in 1882, where he was elected valedictorian and served as editor-in-chief of The Vanderbilt Observer.Upon graduation, he commenced the study of law at the University of Virginia where he obtained a law degree in 1884. His formal education completed, McReynolds embarked upon a lucrative private law practice in Nashville while teaching law at Vanderbilt University. In 1903, however, he moved to Washington, D.C. and became Assistant Attorney General, a position he held until 1912. During this period his vigorous prosecution of the "tobacco trust" bolstered his reputation among progressive reform groups. Active in Woodrow Wilson's successful presidential campaign in 1912, he was appointed Attorney General after briefly practicing law in New York City.

In 1914, Wilson appointed McReynolds to the United States Supreme Court where he served until his retirement in 1941. Justice McReynolds died in 1946.

Scope and Content Information

This collection consists of about 3.1 shelf feet (ca. 2800 items) and includes Justice McReynolds' professional, financial, personal, and genealogical papers spanning the years 1819-1967. The professional papers contain correspondence, opinions, memoranda and notes principally from McReynolds Papers McReynolds' years in the Justice Department. For the Supreme Court years there is a relatively small body of correspondence as well as the printed material and miscellaneous notes regarding the "Gold Clause Cases." In addition to the private correspondence, there are records of financial transactions, newspaper clippings, genealogical records, notebooks, election broadsides, photographs, and printed material about Justice McReynolds.


The papers have been arranged in the following order: professional correspondence and papers, including opinions and memoranda; personal correspondence and papers including speeches, business papers, newspaper clippings, photographs, guest lists, recipes, and miscellaneous papers and printed material; family correspondence and genealogical material concerning the McReynolds and Edwards families; and printed material about Justice McReynolds.

Contents List

Professional Correspondence 1905-1945, n.d.
Box: 1
3 folders

Correspondents include Theodore Roosevelt, Charles J. Bonaparte, George W. Wickersham, Frances Lynch Stetson, William R. Harr, Horace H. Lurton, J. P. Tumulty, Franklin K. Lane, and Woodrow Wilson.

JCM to Mr. S.S. Gregory 1905 April 5
Box: 1

MSS 85-1b

Opinions, Memoranda and Notes 1911-1914
Box: 1

Primarily anti-trust cases; also includes printed copies of JCM's first four Supreme Court opinions

Opinions 1935
Box: 1

Opinions concern the Gold Clause Cases

Miscellaneous Papers 1930's-1940's
Box: 1

Papers concern the Gold Clause Cases

Robert P. McReynolds Correspondence 1898, 1918-1945, n.d.
Box: 1
2 folders
Personal Correspondence 1885-1946, n.d.
Box: 2
3 folders
Letters from JCM 25 Oct., 22 Nov.
Box: 2

MSS 85-1a

Correspondence 1946
Box: 2

Concerns illness and death of JCM

Business Papers 1885-1927
Box: 2
Business Papers 1928-1945, n.d.
Box: 3
Address Book and Appointment Books 1946, n.d.
Box: 3
Speeches 1882-1889
Box: 3
College Papers 1884
Box: 3
Guest Lists 1916-1941
Box: 3
Recipes n.d.
Box: 3
Election Broadsides 1896
Box: 3
Newspaper Clippings 1900-1945
Box: 3
Memorials to JCM 1946
Box: 3
Virginia Law Reviewdedicated to JCM 1946 Aug.
Box: 3
Miscellaneous Printed Materials and Papers n.d.
Box: 4
McReynolds Family Correspondence 1830-1967
Box: 4
Transcripts and Photstats of McReynolds Family Correspondence 1819-1937
Box: 4
Correspondence 1897-1933, n.d.
Box: 4
3 folders

Concerns the McReynolds Family Genealogy.

Correspondence and Documents 1938-1940, n.d.
Box: 5

Concerns the Edwards Family

McReynolds Genealogical Papers n.d.
Box: 5
4 folders
JCM's Genealogical Notebooks n.d.
Box: 5
2 items
Correspondence and Documents 1942-1947, n.d.
Box: 5

Items concern the Pearson Memorial Tablet.

Blueprints of the Pearson Memorial Tablet 1942
Box: 5
Correspondence 1950-1951
Box: 6

Items concern the acquisition of the McReynolds Papers.

Published and unpublished material
Box: 6

Material from James Bond, Stirling Price Gilbert, Ronald F. Howell, and Calvin P. Jones

Published and unpublished material
Box: 7

Material from John B. McCraw and Donald Whisenhunt

Judicial Memoirs
Box: 7

Memoirs of JCM, Pierce Butler, John Marshall Harlan, Joseph Rucker Lamar, and Edward Terry Lamar

The Story of Todd Country, Kentucky, 1820-1970by Marion Williams
Box: 7
Who's Who in America 1911 September, 13 June
Box: 8

MSS 85-1c, Form filled out by JCM, with editor's corrections; JCM signature

James Clark McReynolds and the Judicial Process 1954
Box: 8

Unpublished dissertation by Stephen Early