Harvard Law School faculty and graduates are no strangers to elected office on both the state and federal level. President Obama graduated in 1991 and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was class of ’82. Yesterday we learned that Professor Elizabeth Warren is throwing her hat in the ring for the Massachusetts Senate seat currently held by Scott Brown. In light of her announcement, I thought it would be fun to explore our Modern Manuscript collections for evidence of other HLS affiliates’ activities relating to political campaigns, and found two opposing forces among our long-term faculty members.
Lon Fuller, who taught here from 1939-1978, stumped for Richard Nixon in his 1960 presidential bid. As part of this effort, Fuller was a member of the Scholars for Nixon group. His personal papers contain a folder of correspondence with Nixon, three folders of material related to the presidential campaign, and a draft of a speech Fuller wrote for Nixon as the head of Scholars for Nixon titled “The Meaning of Communism to Americans.”
On the other side of the same presidential election was another long-time HLS professor (1945-1967) – Mark DeWolfe Howe. Howe was active in the civil rights movement and his work on the Kennedy-Johnson presidential campaign is evidence of this commitment. Included in his papers are several folders of correspondence with Kennedy that span the years 1957-1963.
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence of correspondence between Fuller and Howe in either collection, but I’m sure having both professors on campus planted seeds for great political debate at HLS, a tradition that is still carried on today.