Biography and History

Alpheus Thomas Mason (1899-1989), McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Princeton University, was born in a small farming and fishing village two miles outside of Snow Hill, Maryland. At age fifteen he gained a reputation as a speaker, and at age sixteen he entered Dickinson College and receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1920 (and a Master of Arts degree in 1921, plus a Doctor of Philosophy in 1923 from Princeton University).

In 1923 Alpheus Thomas Mason became a professor at Trinity College (now Duke University) a small Methodist coeducational institution. In 1925 he accepted a teaching position at Princeton University where he became a distinguished Constitutional scholar in the Politics Department. He remained at Princeton University for forty three years until he retired to emeritus status in 1968. After his retirement from Princeton University, Mason went on to teach at fifteen different universities in the United States, Japan and Israel.:

Alpheus Thomas Mason was the author of twenty-two books and numerous articles relating to the Supreme Court and its Justices including:

He was awarded the American Library Association's Liberty and Justice Award and the Francis Parkman Prize in history for Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law. In the 1930's, he was one of the few political scientists to hold a visiting membership at the Institute for Advanced Study. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Political Science Association.

At the time of his death on October 31, 1989, Mason was survived by his wife Christine, daughter Louise Bachelder, three granddaughters and two great-grandchildren.

Source: From the finding aid for MC177

  • Alpheus Thomas Mason Papers. circa 1925-1979 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC177

    Alpheus T. Mason taught in the Dept. of Politics at Princeton University beginning in 1925 and authored a number of legal works as well as biographies of Supreme Court justices Harlan Fiske Stone and Louis D. Brandeis. This collection consists of papers of Mason, including material relating Stone, Brandeis and Woodrow Wilson.