Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Medina, Harold R. (Harold Raymond), 1888-1990
Harold R. Medina papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
332 boxes, 1 folder, and 2 items
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpph): Boxes 1-22; 24-94; 99-178; 181-274; 283; 288-296; 299-300; 302-353; 377


Harold Raymond Medina (1888-1990) was a noted jurist, Princeton alumnus, and creator of a New York State Bar preparation course. This collection includes legal records, personal and professional correspondence, photographs, audio recordings, and teaching materials; in aggregate, they offer a substantial record of Medina's life and work.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This collection includes legal records, personal and professional correspondence, photographs, audio recordings, and teaching materials; in aggregate, they offer a substantial record of Medina's life and work. The bulk of the records in this collection is legal records, collected by Medina at a time when such resources were not widely distributed. They provide an almost-comprehensive record of Medina's career as a lawyer and judge.

Correspondence is usually kept in chronological rather than subject order. Researchers looking for correspondence will find it in the correspondence series, as well as the subject files series and his personal files.


The box numbers assigned at the beginning of this collection's custody at Princeton have been maintained, although in some cases they have been re-ordered throughout the finding aid for intellectual coherence. Boxes 23 and 75-82 are currently missing from the collection. Boxes 95-98, 179-180, 284-287, 297-298 and 301 have been removed from the collection.

Collection Creator Biography:

Medina, Harold R. (Harold Raymond), 1888-1990

Harold Raymond Medina was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 16, 1888, the son of Joaquin A. and Elizabeth M. Medina. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated in 1909 with highest honors in French. Medina continued to be an engaged alumnus for the rest of his life; he was Princeton's oldest living alumnus for many years.

Medina earned his law degree (LL.B.) from Columbia in 1912, and was eventually awarded honorary degrees from Columbia, St. Johns, Dartmouth, Williams, Bates, Princeton, Northeastern, and many others.

After graduating Columbia, Medina was admitted to the New York bar in 1912 and was an associate with the firm Davies, Auerbach and Cornell from 1912-1918. He was a senior member of the firm Medina and Sherpick from 1918-1947, and taught law at Columbia from 1915-1940. Medina was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1947, and served until 1951, at which time he was appointed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Beginning in 1912, and throughout the course of his career as a lawyer, Medina led a New York Bar preparation course. At its peak, there were 1,600 students in the course.

Medina first gained widespread public attention (culminating with his face on the cover of Time Magazine in October 1949), when from January through October of that year, he presided over United States v. Foster (known, on appeal, as United States v. Dennis), the trial of eleven Communist Party, USA leaders under the Smith Act.

A second spike of public attention came in 1952, when he presided over United States v. Morgan et al., more commonly known as the Investment Bankers Case. In this case, the antitrust division of the Department of Justice charged 17 of the biggest U.S. investment banking firms -- and the Investment Bankers' Association of America -- with conspiracy to monopolize the securities business. The complaint said that the defendants had managed the sales of nearly 69% of some $20 billion worth of securities issued by the syndicate method (several houses working together) in the last ten years. They did so, the Government charged, by eliminating competition among themselves and preventing the use of competitive bidding for new issues. However, the Justice Department failed to make a compelling case. Medina sharply criticized Justice Department attorneys for failing to be clear in their explanation of how the defendants violated the Sherman antitrust act, and in the end, ruled in favor of the investment banking firms.

Medina was well-known for his passion for books, particularly classical languages and literatures. He was instrumental in the founding of a public library in Westhampton, New York, where he lived.

Medina died in 1990 at the age of 102.

Collection History


Gift of Harold R. Medina in October 1963 . Additional material was received between 1990 and 2007. The accession numbers associated with these subsequent gifts are ML.1990-13, ML.2001.004, ML.2001.013, and ML.2007.002.

Custodial History

Before coming to Princeton in the 1960s, this collection was divided between Medina's home and office. Parts of the collection spent time in the custody of Medina's official biographer at Johns Hopkins University during the 1970s-1990s, and limited documentation of what was sent and returned is available. A small number of boxes regarding Medina's work with the Southern District Court of New York remain unaccounted for to this day.


Documentation of Medina's memberships to professional, civic and religious organizations has been separated from the collection, as has documentation from a membership drive of the New York Bar Association. Personal financial documentation has also been destroyed. Documentation of Medina's role as a trustee and advisor to Princeton University has been separated and made into its own collection, AC392.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Maureen Callahan in summer 2011, with help from Matt Allen '12 and Alec Egan '13. At this time, materials were moved into series, file lists were created, descriptive notes were written, materials were separated from the collection, and the finding aid was updated. Finding aid written by Maureen Callahan in 2011.

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.

Series 11 is composed of audiovisual materials in various formats.

Credit this material:

Harold R. Medina papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpph): Boxes 1-22; 24-94; 99-178; 181-274; 283; 288-296; 299-300; 302-353; 377

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

A very small part of the collection is available on microfilm (1 reel, 35 mm.): (MuddF) Micro-Film 6, (FilmM) Micro-Film 5635, and (FilmP) Micro-Film 2616, from Princeton University Library, One Washington Rd., Princeton, NJ 08544. FilmM (master printing negative) and FilmP (master preservation negative) available for reproduction only.

Related Materials

Hawthorne Daniel Papers, 1951-1952

Harold R. Medina Papers regarding Service to Princeton University, 1942-1966

Reminiscences of Harold R. Medina : oral history, 1977. Produced as part of the New York Bar project, this oral history is comprised of nine reels of tape and a 686-page transcript. Its contents include discussions of Medina's legal career and private life.

Reminiscences of Harold Medina : oral history, 1970. The 39-page transcript of this interview includes discussion of Medina's role as a library benefactor.

Subject Terms:
Communist Trial, New York, N.Y., 1949
District Courts -- United States
Law -- Study and teaching -- New York (N.Y.)
Genre Terms:
Photographs, Original.
Sound recordings.
Columbia University. School of Law.
United States. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Princeton University. Class of 1909