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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

Scope and Contents

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 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:

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