Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: General Correspondence, 1895-1920

3 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The letters in this series are arranged alphabetically, and then chronologically. The bulk of this series dates from 1914 until his death in 1920 and the date span determines the correspondence's topics. It includes correspondence with friends and family in Germany which discuss his views about the war, as well as his interest in related events and political attitudes. Topics include the plight of war-embroiled Europe, treaty implications, American neutrality, the increasing discrimination against German-Americans in New York City, matters of wartime legal and trade interests, and the organization of various relief groups.

There are also letters which depict another side of von Briesen's time and person. The Turnbridge correspondence, for example, highlights von Briesen's dedication in helping the needy and presents the patient, caring and creative side of him. (Turnbridge was a "schizophrenic" elderly woman who relied on von Briesen's correspondence and support.) Among other items of this sort, there are many letters which reveal von Briesen's concern for the poor, the homeless, and orphaned children.

Also worth mentioning are some letters concerning the Legal Aid Society: In a letter to Kennedy Tod in 1916, von Briesen offers the only explanation of his resignation from the Legal Aid Society in the entire collection. In 1919, von Briesen also writes Hughes (his successor as President of the Legal Aid Society) and Leonard McGee (Attorney-in-Chief of the Legal Aid Society). In his letters to the latter, von Briesen reprimands McGee and the organization in general for abandonment of the moral pursuits of the Society.

There are a few publications about the history of Legal Aid in the United States with most of them focusing on New York City and the achievements of Arthur von Briesen. One such book, The Legal Aid Society: 1876-1951 by Harrison Tweed, the husband of von Briesen's daughter Barbara, is introduced by another, earlier author of a piece on the Legal Aid Society, Reginald Heber Smith ( Justice and the Poor).

Two folders entitled "Quirksome Arthur von Briesen" highlights the eccentric, humorous, and creative side of von Briesen. He pokes and chastises his cobbler and tailor as well as himself, orders exotic wines and animals for his lavish Staten Island estate, writes corny and touching poetry to friends and family, in addition to other amusing items.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Marta A. Hanewald in June 1993. Finding aid written by Marta A. Hanewald in June 1993.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

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:

Series 1: General Correspondence; Arthur von Briesen Papers, MC034, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 1-3