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Collection Overview

Fraenkel, Osmond K. (Osmond Kessler), 1888-1983
Osmond K. Fraenkel Diaries
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1 box
Storage Note:
Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1


This collection contains excerpts from the diaries of Osmond K. Fraenkel, a New York City lawyer who served on the ACLU's Board of Directors and as one of its general counsel. These excerpts discuss the cases in which Fraenkel was involved.

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection contains typed extracts taken from his diary that pertain to his work with the ACLU. These excerpts, arranged chronologically, consist primarily of his notes on ACLU meetings, monthly luncheons, conferences, and court cases. Fraenkel details the conversations and opinions of Roger Baldwin, Arthur Garfield Hays, Patrick Malin, and others.

All excerpts are dated and contain both factual information and editorial comments by Fraenkel. Some entries are retrospective, though most were recorded shortly after events occurred. Also included in this collection is a chronological appendix of the court cases Fraenkel handled or worked on for the ACLU. The appendix details the outcomes of each case and Fraenkel's opinion of its significance. Issues Fraenkel was involved with include post office censorship; civil liberties during World War II, including Japanese-American forced removal; anti-communism, sedition, loyalty and security issues during the McCarthy era; due process; and religious freedom. Two noteworthy events in which he participated include U.S. v. Miller, a case which went to the U.S. Supreme Court and involved freedom of expression and the burning of draft cards, and the Bertrand Russell controversy, in which Russell was dismissed from his professor's position because of ideas expressed in his publications.


The papers in this collection are arranged chronologically.

Collection Creator Biography:

Fraenkel, Osmond K. (Osmond Kessler), 1888-1983

Osmond K. Fraenkel (1888-1983) was a New York City lawyer who first became involved with the American Civil Liberties Union in 1933 and joined the board of directors in 1935. He also served as one of its general counsel from 1954 to 1977. He took on several cases for the Union during his long association with them, and also served on the New York Civil Liberties Union board.

Collection History


Fraenkel transcribed portions of his diaries that consisted of matters related to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He donated these transcripts to Princeton in 1965. The accession number associated with this material is AM 18814.

Custodial History

This collection consists of excerpts were taken from Fraenkel's full diaries which are held at Harvard University's Law School Library. The full diary is closed until 2023.


No information about appraisal is available for this collection.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dan Santamaria in March 4, 2008. A collection-level description was created at this time.

In 2022, narrative description was edited to more accurately describe the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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.

Credit this material:

Osmond K. Fraenkel Diaries; 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:
Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1