Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Legal Aid Society, 1900-1918

5 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series consists of seven types of material arranged alphabetically which together reveal the Legal Aid Society as it functioned during the last ten years of von Briesen's Presidency. Von Briesen became its President in 1890, although the earlier years of his term are not represented in this collection. The papers in this series are from the office of the President (von Briesen) and therefore should not be considered the complete files of the Legal Aid Society. Von Briesen was, however, interested and dedicated to all aspects of the Society, the welfare of its directors and attorneys in its branch offices, as well as the people it served throughout New York City and beyond.

The Administrative Files hold the papers and correspondence of the Legal Aid Society officers and directors, arranged alphabetically, as well as committee activities and papers, correspondence from the branch offices, and official bulletins and reports. Within these areas, the files are arranged chronologically. The bulk dates of these papers are 1905-1914. The following is important to note: Arthur von Briesen, as President, corresponded with all members of the Society as well as many of its clients. His papers in this series detail everything from committee appointments to resignations, and include individual case work, his work to allay tensions among the Society's other administrators, and public relations work.

The papers of the various officers throughout the years warrant brief description. Some folders list both the name and position held by the person while others are headed with just a name. In most cases this is due to an overlapping of responsibilities and functions. Most of the officers and directors of the Legal Aid Society served on one or more committees and their correspondence with von Briesen demonstrate a large breadth of information.

The Press Agent folder (the press agent was affiliated with the Main Office which was maintained by the Attorney-in-Chief) consists of interesting discussion of Legal Aid issues and the importance of their publication. The folders regarding committee work and branch offices require little explanation. The work done by Johnson and the Immigration Committee is noteworthy, however, and at the time greatly appreciated by von Briesen and the New York community at large and especially its immigrants. Johnson wrote a number of articles about "The Problem of Immigration," in which he stressed the importance of the "distribution of these immigrants for the good of the state." The committee (led by Johnson) did extensive work with the railroad systems in the East, making transportation more comfortable, easier and safer for immigrants travelling westward. The Bulletins and Reports folder holds only a few of those that must have circulated during von Briesen's administration.

Materials relating to the Alliance of Legal Aid Societies of America consist of correspondence between Arthur von Briesen and other lawyers and academics across the United States interested in Legal Aid work and the formation of a national alliance of Legal Aid Societies. Through close work with the Legal Aid Society of Chicago, von Briesen became the President of the Alliance of Legal Aid Society's of America, though his date of election is unclear.

The Benefit Events file consists of letters concerning the concerts and performances sponsored by the Legal Aid Society in order to raise money. The Cases file is arranged chronologically. The Financial Files consist of correspondence between the Treasurer (Windmüller) and Arthur von Briesen, financial reports and the fund raising activities of von Briesen. The Printed Material files contain both articles and press releases written by von Briesen and others.


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 photocopies may be made for research purposes. For quotations that are fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For those few instances beyond fair use, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold the copyright and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from the Mudd Library to move forward with their use.

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 2: Legal Aid Society; 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 3-7