Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Bok, Curtis, 1897-1962
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Curtis Bok Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
3 boxes
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-3


Consists primarily of several versions, reflecting the printing stages, of Backbone of the Herring (1941), Curtis Bok's fictionalized look at courtroom justice seen through the eyes of a judge. Bok was a common pleas court judge in Pennsylavnia at the time.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection contains several versions, reflecting the printing stages, of Backbone of the Herring, Bok's fictionalized look at courtroom justice seen through the eyes of a judge: the typed manuscript (carbon) of the book under its earlier title, Midmost of the Fish; a later typed copy marked for the printer; first galleys with corrections; and partial author's proofs. Also included is a manuscript, a typescript, and printed drafts of Bok's decision involving his definition of obscenity in literature, handed down in the case of Commonwealth v. Gordon et al, tried in the Court of Quarter Sessions, Philadelphia, June, 1948.

Collection Creator Biography:

Bok, Curtis, 1897-1962

Born in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, Curtis Bok became a common pleas court judge in Pennsylvania in 1937 and was elected as a justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1958. He published a number of books dealing with aspects of law.

Collection History


Court case material was the gift of Curtis Bok on April 11, 1950 .

Custodial History

Originally, Backbone of the Herring material formed part of Princeton's Archives of American Literature.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder inventory added by Allyse Terrel '2014 in 2013.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Curtis Bok Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-3