Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. 1841-1935
Holmes was one of the most renowned and controversial justices to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Appointed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, Holmes took his seat on the bench at a crucial transition point in American judicial history, when questions of the efficacy and applicability of the Constitution arose with the rapidly changing social conditions of the time. Despite his great popularity and influence, Holmes was known as the "Great Dissenter" for his consistent refusal to support the decisions of his fellow justices.
Holmes was born in 1841 to one of Boston's most prominent families. On both sides of his family, he counted as ancestors such American luminaries as the Puritan poet Anne Bradstreet and the Quincys and Jacksons of early American politics. His grandfather, Abiel Holmes, was an admired Calvinist preacher and writer, and his father, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., was a leading physician as well as an eminent author. Family connections allowed the young Holmes contact with the New England intellectual circle that included the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1857 Holmes entered Harvard College, graduating in 1861. When the Civil War broke out, Holmes postponed his planned entrance to Harvard Law School to join the 20th Massachusetts Volunteers, in which he served until 1864. Evidence supports the claim of many biographers that Holmes placed far greater importance on his service in the war than on his academic studies in the shaping of his character; he was wounded three times, and the diary he kept during the war was later published with the title Touched with Fire. Holmes earned his law degree in 1866 and the following year cofounded the firm Shattuck, Holmes and Munroe, where he remained until 1882. During this time, Holmes also edited the United States Law Review and the American Law Review. In 1872 he married Fanny Dixwell, who later figured strongly as "the Mrs." in Holmes's popular public persona. From 1870 to 1882 Holmes was a lecturer and professor at Harvard Law School and the Lowell Institute in Massachusetts. A series of lectures he delivered at the Lowell Institute was published in 1881 as The Common Law, which brought him international renown as a great legal scholar. In 1883 Holmes became an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts; in 1899 he was promoted to chief justice. Two years later President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Holmes to the United States Supreme Court. A vigorous supporter of majority rule and free speech, Holmes used his command of language to pen his famously persuasive dissensions. Influenced personally and professionally by his friends William James and Charles Sanders Peirce, both American philosophers associated with the Pragmatist school, Holmes developed as a judge a keen ability to infuse complicated legalese with common sense and accessibility. He served on the Supreme Court until his retirement at the age of 91; he died in Washington, D.C., three years later.
Although he was voted class poet for his graduating class at Harvard, Holmes's writing did not engage public notice until the publication of his lecture series The Common Law in 1881. Therein he delineated the judicial theory that would propel his career for the next fifty years. Holmes posits in The Common Law that it is not logical abstractions upon which judicial practice is based, but varying responses to constantly evolving social issues and problems. Applied throughout his career, this theory was particularly compelling during and after the First World War, when questions of free speech and the place of democratic ideals in the United States and abroad arose with the advent of fascism and communism. Holmes expressed his beliefs regarding free speech most markedly in Schenck vs. U.S. (1919), in which he argued that only speech that represents a "clear and present danger" should meet with legal recourse; otherwise, Holmes wrote in Abrams vs. U.S., a "free trade in ideas" was integral to the flourishing of truth and justice. Legal historians have since noted the later distortion of Holmes's intent in Schenck vs. U.S. by subsequent United States justices. Most notably, the phrase "clear and present danger" was liberally and widely perverted in the Cold War of the 1950s to suit conservative political leanings. Nevertheless, Holmes was known during his lifetime for his support of civil liberties, as voiced in his strong dissent in cases approving the use of wiretapping and the conviction of a conscientious objector. In addition to his legal writings, Holmes wrote essays, letters, "wit and wisdom" works, and speeches, most of which were published after his death. The diary he kept as a young soldier in the Civil War and the letters he wrote during that period were published in 1946 as Touched with Fire: Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1861-64.
Reception of Holmes's body of work has varied widely. Hailed by many as a liberal renegade, relying on American pragmatism and upholding civil liberties with a healthy skepticism, Holmes was nonetheless at times sharply criticized by others as a proto-fascist. H. L. Mencken, in his review of The Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes, found Holmes's dissension amusing, but maintained that the Justice was anything but liberal in his social and political beliefs. Others accused Holmes of undiscriminating and dangerous utilitarianism. Regardless of such censure, Holmes, along with his fellow Justices Louis Brandeis and Roscoe Pound, is remembered for his fairness and integrity as well as for his progressive ideas regarding the application of the principles of the American Constitution to social issues in a turbulent era.
The Common Law (nonfiction) 1881
Speeches by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Junior (speeches) 1891; enlarged edition, 1896-1934
The Soldier's Faith: An Address by Oliver Wendell Holmes (lecture) 1895
Collected Legal Papers (nonfiction) 1920
The Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes (nonfiction) 1929
Representative Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes (nonfiction) 1931
Justice Holmes to Doctor Wu: An Intimate Correspondence (letters) 1935
Some Table Talk of Mr. Justice Holmes and "the Mrs. " (nonfiction) 1935
The Black Book of Oliver Wendell Holmes (nonfiction) 1936
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: His Book Notices and Uncollected Letters and Papers [edited by Harry C. Shriver] (nonfiction, letters, and essays) 1936
The Judicial Opinions of Oliver Wendell Holmes: Constitutional Opinions, Selected Excerpts, and Epigrams (nonfiction) 1940
Holmes-Pollock Letters: The Correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Sir Frederick Pollock, 1874-1932. 2 vols. (letters) 1941; published as The Pollock Holmes Letters: Correspondence of Sir Frederick Pollock and Mr. Justice Holmes, 1874-1932, 1942
The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes: His Speeches, Essays, Letters and Judicial...
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SOURCE: "The Path of the Law," in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.,—What Manner of Liberal?, edited by David H. Burton, Robert E. Kreiger Publishing Company, 1979, pp. 21-37.
[In the following essay, originally published in 1896 in the Harvard Law Review, Holmes details his belief that legal considerations should rely on empiricism and reason rather than traditional absolutes.]
When we study law we are not studying a mystery but a well known profession. We are studying what we shall want in order to appear before judges, or to advise people in such a way as to keep them out of court. The reason why it is a profession, why people will pay lawyers to argue for them or to advise them, is that in societies like ours the command of the public force is intrusted to the judges in certain cases, and the whole power of the state will be put forth, if necessary, to carry out their judgments and decrees. People want to know under what circumstances and how far they will run the risk of coming against what is so much stronger than themselves, and hence it becomes a business to find out when this danger is to be feared. The object of our study, then, is prediction, the prediction of the incidence of the public force through the instrumentality of the courts.
The means of the study are a body of reports, of treatises, and of statutes, in this country and in England, extending back for six hundred...
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SOURCE: "Mr. Justice Holmes," in A Mencken Chrestomathy, edited by H. L. Mencken, Alfred A. Knopf, 1942, pp. 258-65.
[In the following review of The Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes, originally published in the American Mercury in May 1930, Mencken pronounces Holmes's decisions "interesting as literature" because of his "easy-going cynicism, " but argues against the widely-held notion that Holmes was a political liberal defending freedom.]
Mr. Justice Holmes's dissenting opinions [presented in The Dissenting Opinions of Mr. Justice Holmes] have got so much fawning praise from Liberals that it is somewhat surprising to discover that Mr. Lief is able to muster but fifty-five of them, and even more surprising to hear from Dr. Kirchwey that in only one case did the learned justice stand quite alone, and that the cases "in which he has given expression to the judgment of the court, or in which he has concurred in its judgment, far out-number, in the ratio of eight or ten to one, those in which he felt it necessary to record his dissent."
There is even more surprising stuff in the opinions themselves. In three Espionage Act cases, including the Debs case, one finds a clear statement of the doctrine that, in war time, the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment cease to have any substance, and may be set aside summarily by any jury that has been sufficiently...
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SOURCE: "Property and Society," in Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1938, pp. 13-45.
[In the following essay, Frankfurter discusses Holmes's views on constitutional property rights issues.]
The United States got under way nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, and only seventy-seven men have shaped its destiny, in so far as law has shaped it. To understand what manner of men they were who have sat on the Supreme Bench is vital for an understanding of the Court and its work. Yet how meager is our insight into all but a very few. A lawyer's life before he becomes a judge, like that of an actor, is largely writ in water unless he has had a rich political career. And legal opinions are not conducive to biographical revelation. On the whole, we have a pitifully inadequate basis for understanding the psychological and cultural influences which may be the roots of judicial opinions. The obvious map to the minds of the justices—the opinions of the Court—is deceptive precisely because they are the opinions of the Court. They are symphonies, not solos. Inferences from opinions to the distinctive characteristics of individual justices are treacherous, except in so far as a man's genius breaks through a collective judgment, or his vivid life before he went on the bench serves as commentary, or as he expresses individual views in dissent or through personal...
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SOURCE: "The Elusiveness of Mr. Justice Holmes," in The New England Quarterly, Vol. XIV, No. 3, September, 1941, pp. 478-87.
[In the following essay, Boorstin examines Holmes's social philosophy outside of the constitutional issues he decided professionally.]
The thought and personality of Mr. Justice Holmes have suffered from affectionate neglect. In proportion to his stature he has received less adequate interpretation than any other American of his generation. He has become the victim of his acolytes, who, in heaping sacrifices at his altar, have obscured the image of their idol. A survey of the literature about the great Justice shows numerous collections of dedicatory essays, giving him deserved adulation and the homage which men can understandably feel compelled to give to such a rare spirit among lawyers. The principal biography is written in a similar vein. But these works have not greatly helped to reveal in the character of Mr. Justice Holmes the great significance which his life holds for the student of American thought. The best statement of his elusive philosophy is still made in his own words. And for this reason several recently published volumes are of especial interest. Mr. Harry C. Shriver has edited a selection of the judicial opinions of the Justice during the nineteen years while he sat on the bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.1 He has done a service in...
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SOURCE: "Holmes's Appointment to the U. S. Supreme Court," in The New England Quarterly, Vol. XXII, No. 3, September, 1949, pp. 291-303.
[In the following essay, Garraty traces the personal and political considerations of Holmes's appointment to the Supreme Court.]
Early in July, 1902, Associate Justice Horace Gray, troubled by failing health, responded to the urgings of his family and his physician and wrote a letter to President Theodore Roosevelt. Further service might seriously endanger his health, he told the President, and therefore he must resign immediately or upon the appointment of his successor, whichever the President wished.1
His replacement, of course, was a matter for the determination of the Chief Executive subject to the approval of the Senate, but custom imposed certain limitations on the field of choice. In the first place, Judge Gray was a Massachusetts man. His successor, therefore, almost certainly would come from New England, probably from the Bay State itself. In 1902 the Supreme Court was one hundred and thirteen years old; for eighty-two of these years its Bench had been graced by a Massachusetts citizen. The rest of New England might not think so highly of this record. "There are judges in these outlying districts," the Hartford Courant pointed out, "quite as eminent for learning and well-dowered with all the judicial virtues as the...
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SOURCE: "The Conservative Mr. Justice Holmes," in The New England Quarterly, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, December, 1950, pp. 435-52.
[In the following essay, Bernstein argues that Holmes's social and political philosophy were not ideologically liberal, but that Holmes was actually a classical conservative.]
A cherished American myth is that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was a liberal. This notion, as baseless as the tale of Washington and the cherry tree, was born during the great jurist's life and persists in the national folklore since his death. Walton Hamilton wrote in 1941, "It has taken a decade to elevate . . . Holmes from deity to mortality."1 The time has come to lay the ghost of "Holmes and Brandeis dissenting."
Holmes, in fact, was as profound, as civilized, and as articulate a conservative as the United States has produced. Although he eludes the neatly wrapped and labelled package, his views speak for themselves.
As a young officer during the Civil War, Holmes wrote his sister, "I loathe the thick-fingered clowns we call the people—. . . vulgar, selfish and base. . . . " Age produced no sea-change. When Carl Becker visited Holmes late in life, he was asked,
"Becker, do you love the human race?"
"I've never discovered anything within myself which you, Mr. Justice, would define as a heart overflowing with human kindness,...
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SOURCE: "The Positivism of Mr. Justice Holmes," in Harvard Law Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, February, 1951, pp. 530-46.
[In the following essay, Howe examines Holmes's posthumous reputation.]
On the occasion of the ninetieth birthday of Mr. Justice Holmes, his successor on the Supreme Court of the United States said that Holmes was "for all students of the law and for all students of human society the philosopher and the seer, the greatest of our age in the domain of jurisprudence, and one of the greatest of the ages."1 At the conclusion of his essay, Mr. Justice Cardozo quoted from a letter which he had received from Holmes saying that he had always believed that neither place, nor power, nor popularity "makes the success that one desires, but the trembling hope that one has come near to an ideal."2 Mr. Justice Cardozo was reminded by these words of the wistful confidence of Keats: "I think I shall be among the English poets after my death." And Cardozo went on to say that "there was no 'fool's paradise' for Keats" and to predict that there would be none for Holmes.3
Nearly twenty years have passed since Cardozo predicted that Holmes' trembling hope would be realized, and it is time to inquire whether the prediction has been fulfilled. Though many would think it obvious that time has done nothing to diminish the stature of Holmes, in recent years there have...
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SOURCE: "The American as Skeptic: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935)," in The Genius of America: Men Whose Ideas Shaped Our Civilization, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1960, pp. 249-70.
[In the following essay, Padover discusses Holmes's role on the Supreme Court as a pragmatic dissenter.]
When twentieth-century Americans speak of judges, they are likely to think first of Oliver Wendell Holmes. He had the superb qualities that symbolize greatness in a jurist—striving for truth, tolerance of ideas, skepticism in the face of dogma, urbanity of manner, grace of expression, philosophic balance and, in the words of Judge Learned Hand, "above all, humility before the vast unknown." There has never been another American judge quite like Holmes, the Boston Brahmin who graced the United States Supreme Court for nearly a third of this century. His impact on America, particularly in the crucial area of judicial thought and posture, has been pervasive and lingering.
Holmes was not merely a justice of the Supreme Court; he was a special kind of justice. His uncommonness derived not from any originality of particular juridical theories or precedent-shattering judicial decisions—he was often a dissenter from the majority on the Court—but from his personality. The Holmes character and style had a distinct flavor, as unique as a work of art. Peculiarly American in one sense—in his...
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SOURCE: "The Attacks on Justice Holmes," in Justice Holmes, Natural Law, and the Supreme Court, The Macmillan Company, 1961, pp. 27-49.
[In the following essay, Biddle discusses the reaction of many priests at Jesuit law schools against Holmes after Holmes's letters were published posthumously.]
The attacks on Justice Holmes were stirred into life by the publication of his letters a few years after his death—there was hardly enough in the opinions and speeches to shock the well-bred ear of the average man; and the priests, who wrote most of the criticism, must have spent many hours combing the letters to sustain their view that here was a modern antichrist worthy of their mettle. The Justice's admirers came to his defense, but only here and there, and with dignity and caution, as if the charges were not worth answering, and it was simply a matter of misunderstanding their hero. It would be pointless, however, to get into this battle of words in the law journals, in itself hardly an engrossing subject, were it not for the fact that it represents not merely misunderstanding, but two points of view about the law and the proper approach to its application that are fundamentally opposed, and touch the roots of its life.
The first letters published (in 1936) were to John C. H. Wu, a young Chinese student with a solemn philosophic bent, who would later be a judge of the Shanghai Provisional...
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SOURCE: "Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes," in Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War, 1962. Reprint by Northeastern University Press, 1984, pp. 743-96.
[In the following essay, Wilson provides a biographical sketch of Holmes.]
With the Oliver Wendell Holmeses, father and son, the theology of Calvinism has faded, but its habits of mind persist. The father of Dr. Holmes was Abiel Holmes, a Connecticut preacher, who came to occupy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the pulpit of the First Congregational Church. He had been educated at the Yale Divinity School, which at that time stood somewhat to the left of the fundamentalist Princeton Theological Seminary but still kept closer to Calvinist orthodoxy than the Harvard Divinity School, already infected in the twenties with the fashionable Unitarianism. Abiel Holmes was himself not severe in the matter of doctrine: he appears in the novels of his son in the characters of the Congregational ministers who are surreptitiously humanizing their creed. But he found himself, in his Cambridge church, between a new liberalizing party and the still powerful old orthodox Calvinists. Under pressure of an orthodox newspaper and especially, among the clergy, of Lyman Beecher, the father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, he abandoned the now common practice of exchanging Sunday pulpits with other Congregationalist ministers, regardless of their theological...
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SOURCE: "The Rise and Fall of Justice Holmes," in The University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 1, Fall, 1971, pp. 51-77.
[In the following essay, White follows Holmes's image in America, from his extreme popularity to the later disillusionment about his ideals widely adopted after his death.]
Occasionally the American nation sees itself in the life of one of its citizens. Something about the experiences, background, attitudes, or accomplishments of an individual seems particularly evocative of American culture, or at least a vision thereof. Such a life was that of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. In addition to being a man of great popular appeal,1 Holmes has held considerable interest for the intellectual community. From the publication of Holmes's The Common Law in 1881 until the present day, legal scholars, philosophers, political scientists, historians, literary critics, and journalists2 have attempted to understand and articulate the qualities that have made Holmes, in their eyes, an especially noteworthy representative of American civilization. This article traces the changing image of one man in the eyes of American intellectuals through the years—the "rise and fall" of Justice Holmes.
American intellectuals have focused on Holmes in three capacities: as Brahmin, as ideologue, and as stylist. The shifting...
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SOURCE: "The Integrity of Holmes' Jurisprudence," in Intervention and Detachment: Essays in Legal History and Jurisprudence, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 75-99.
[In the following essay, White traces the concurrence of the tenures of Justices Holmes and Louis Brandeis with the rise of modern judicial liberalism. ]
A sharp distinction between "nineteenth-century" and "twentieth-century" phases of the American judicial tradition has some artificial features. Older jurisprudential attitudes and theories of judging persisted after 1900; their persistence, in fact, is one of the features of American judicial history in the twentieth century. The striking twentieth-century changes in the intellectual climate in which judicial decisions were made, discussed in this [essay], . . . should not create an inference that the nineteenth century, by contrast, was static in its jurisprudence; the difference is one of degree. Finally, the prominence given in this [essay] to modern liberalism as a force helping to redefine judicial attitudes cannot. . . be read as suggesting that an ideological dimension to judging in America is peculiar to the twentieth century.
Nonetheless, a major reorientation of the American judicial tradition did occur sometime shortly after 1900. The oracular theory of judging ceased to be regarded as a universal principle, eventually became a minority view-point, and...
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SOURCE: "The Long Life and Broad Mind of Mr. Justice Holmes," in Life, Law and Letters: Essays and Sketches, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1979, pp. 1-19.
[In the following essay, Auchincloss provides an overview of Holmes's life and career.]
Few men have seen as much of our history, and from such advantageous viewpoints, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. As a boy in Massachusetts he met veterans of the Revolution. He went to school in a Boston shaken by abolition. He fought through the Civil War, and it is said to have been his voice that shouted the rough warning to Lincoln when the President exposed his high hat above the ramparts at Fort Stevens. With peace Holmes became a lawyer and a great scholar. He served as a judge for half a century, first on the high bench of Massachusetts and then on the United States Supreme Court. And at the age of ninety-two, just retired, he received an early official visit from the newly elected Franklin D. Roosevelt. ("Why are you reading Plato, Mr. Justice?" was the President's genial opening.) That such a span of life should have been granted to a man so competent to use it is a rare event in the history of any nation.
Holmes was born in 1841 in Boston, into a world that regarded itself as the intellectual and commercial center of the nation. His father, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, was not only one of America's favorite poets and novelists; he was also a...
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SOURCE: "Understanding The Common Law," in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.—What Manner of Liberal?, edited by David H. Burton, Robert E. Krieger Publishing Company, 1979, pp. 13-20.
[In the following essay, Burton outlines Holmes's major points in The Common Law.]
In the opening sentence of the great book Holmes spoke his objective: "to present a general view of the Common Law." He proposed a methodology: "We must alternately consult history and existing theories of legislation." And finally he stated his purpose: To understand the law, for while today "there are a great many rules which are quite sufficiently accounted for by their manifest good sense, . . . there are some which can only be understood by reference to the infancy of procedure among the German tribes, or to the social condition of Rome under the Decemvirs." In laying down these general propositions Holmes offered two caveats. "One, is that of supposing because an idea seems very familiar and natural to us, that it has always been so." The other is "the opposite of asking too much of history. We start with the man full grown. It may be assumed that the earliest barbarians whose practices are to be considered, had a good many of the feelings and passions as ourselves." Asking his listeners—and later on his readers—to bear in mind such principles Holmes proceeded to expound the common law with boldness and originality.
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SOURCE: "The Shaping of Wendell Holmes," in Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Twayne Publishers, 1980, pp. 13-35.
[In the following essay, Burton recounts major influences on Holmes's thinking and surveys his early writings.]
The law was part of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s, natural inheritance. Lawyers had been in the family at least from the time of the sixteenth century—Thomas Holmes of Gray's Inn—and judges, too, a maternal grandfather, Charles Jackson, having been a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. For his part, immediately upon completion of Civil War service, Holmes commenced his legal studies at Harvard and for the next seventy years, down to his death in 1935, his career never deviated from his commitment to understanding the meaning and usage of law. As a student, attorney, scholar, judge, Supreme Court justice, and elder legal statesman, Holmes came to value the law not as an abstruse exercise but as a living, vital aspect of American society. But Holmes, who was born in Boston on March 8, 1841, had a wider birthright than the law itself, however much in after years he was drawn to it. A world of thought, a native city of intellectual and moral preoccupation, a family diverse in learning and accomplishment, a father of wisdom widely proclaimed, all this and the total of its implications passed on to Wendell Holmes. By the time he had reached the age of twenty he had come...
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SOURCE: "The Integrity of Holmes' Jurisprudence," in Intervention and Detachment: Essays in Legal History and Jurisprudence, Oxford University Press, 1994, pp. 75-99.
[In the following essay, White addresses apparent contradictions in Holmes's judicial actions and writings.]
Writing about Oliver Wendell Holmes can be likened to playing Hamlet in the theatre: it is a kind of apprenticeship that legal scholars undertake as a way of measuring their fitness to endure the academic travails ahead. Holmes himself engaged in a similar rite of passage when he wrote an essay on Plato as a Harvard undergraduate. Plato's thought, Holmes claimed, "needed a complete remodeling"; Holmes' generation "start[ed] far beyond the place where Plato rested."1 Ralph Waldo Emerson, to whom Holmes showed a draft of his essay, suggested that "[w]hen you strike at a king, you must kill him."2 The urge to strike at Holmes has been recurrent, and the man, as a jurist, is far from dead.
Ten years ago I suggested that Holmes' reputation was on the decline, and complained about his "articulated refusal to take pride in being human."3 In an intellectual culture dominated by liberal humanism, I surmised, Holmes would not be likely to fare well: he was not much of a liberal and certainly not a humanist. Once again Holmes seems to have triumphed over his critics. His thought has had a...
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Aichele, Gary J. "Bibliographic Essay." In Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: Soldier, Scholar, Judge, pp. 197-205. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1989.
Lists primary and secondary sources on Holmes's work and life.
Bowen, Catherine Drinker. Yankee from Olympus: Justice Holmes and His Family. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1944, 473 p.
Traces Holmes's family History from his grandparents' marriage in 1800 until his death in 1935.
Novick, Sheldon M. Honorable Justice: The Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1989, 522 p.
Biography that attempts to tell Holmes's life story "with sympathy, but without apology," including some of the less well-understood aspects of Holmes's opinions and character.
Commager, Henry Steele. "Masters of the New Jurisprudence: Pound and Holmes." In The American Mind: An Interpretation of American Thought and Character since the 1880s, pp. 374-90. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1950.
Examines the advent of the theory of natural law in the American judicial system with the appointment of Justices Holmes, Pound, and Brandeis.
Dewey, John. "Oliver Wendell Holmes." In Characters and Events: Popular Essays in Social and Political...
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