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Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 8 series.
Collection contains material related primarily to Nizer's literary activities, including research material and manuscripts for his books, article drafts, and drafts of speeches and addresses. There are also scrapbooks and press clippings related to Nizer which document his public life.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection has no restrictions. This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Louis Nizer Papers; Box and Folder (if known); Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Ownership and Custodial History
Material was bequested to the Columbia University Libraries in 1995. Collection was accessioned by the law library and incorporated into their special collections. In 2013 transferred to the RBML.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2012.2013.M117: Source of acquisition--Diamond Law Library Special Collections. Method of acquisition--Transfer; Date of acquisition--03/11/2013.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed ceh 05/--/2013.
2013-06-12 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Louis Nizer was a trial lawyer and author of books including My Life in Court, Catspaw, and Implosion Conspiracy.
Nizer was born in 1902 in London, though his parents moved to Brooklyn, New York when Nizer was a young child and he spent most of his youth in the United States. Nizer attended Columbia College and earned his BA from the institution in 1922 before continuing on to earn his law degree from the Columbia University Law School in 1924.
Nizer, along with fellow attorney Louis Phillips, established a law practice in 1926, the foundations of the firm that would become Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim, and Ballon.
Much of Nizer's legal career focused on entertainment law, and in particular the film industry. In addition to representing individuals and companies involved in the film industry, he served as the lawyer for the New York Film Board of Trade. He, along with Jack Valenti, was instrumental in creating the motion picture ratings system still in use by the Motion Picture Association of America.
In addition to his trial work, Nizer was a writer who wrote popular books related to the law. His best known work is his 1962 memoir, My Life in Court which documented his experiences in the courtroom; other of his books, such as Catspaw, also documented cases that he worked on over the course of his career. He also penned a book about the Rosenberg case, Implosion Conspiracy, which resulted in its own legal action when Nizer was sued by the Rosenberg family. In addition to his books, Nizer also wrote a column for the Chicago Tribune.
Nizer died in 1994 of kidney failure at the age of 92.