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Series VII: Statements and Testimonies before Local, State and National Governmental Bodies, 1944-2019
Series VIII: Diaries and Telephone Logs, 1975-2018
At a Glance
Robert M. Morgenthau (1919-2019) served as the District Attorney for New York County (the borough of Manhattan) for 35 years (1974-2009) and made a reputation for prosecuting white-collar crime. In this regard, the Papers hold many research files covering such aspects of white-collar crime as money laundering, offshore banking and tax havens. Morgenthau rarely handled a case himself. He delegated prosecutions to key aides in his office of 500 lawyers. Although not comprehensive, the Papers do contain a few files of assignment sheets covering the period (1938-2008). These sheets indicate which bureau each Assistant District Attorney was assigned to each month. The Papers, in turn, do not have any employment information about individual lawyers or the specific cases they worked on while employed in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office under Morgenthau. However, researchers should review "Series VI: Press Releases" and "Series VIII: Statements and Testimonies before Local, State and National Governmental Bodies," in order to gain an understanding of the issues handled by the Manhattan DA office during Robert Morgenthau's tenure.
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 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.
Collection is open. All materials listed in the finding aid can be requested. More material is in process and will be added over the following months.
Conditions Governing Use
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); Robert M. Morgenthau papers; Box and Folder; 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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Lucinda Franks Morgenthau, 2019.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
2022-10-31 Part 1 of 3 of the papers processed and detailed box and folder listed uploaded to ArchivesSpace. cml
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Robert M. Morgenthau (1919-2019) served as the District Attorney for New York County (the borough of Manhattan) for 35 years (1974-2009). Morgenthau's father, Henry Jr., served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt's secretary of the treasury (1934-1945). He tried but failed to persuade the U.S. government to take a more active role in rescuing European Jews from Hitler's Germany. In 1941, Morgenthau graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War II, rising to lieutenant commander. In 1944, the Germans sank his ship, the USS Lansdale, and he floated hours in the Mediterranean before being rescued.
After the war, Morgenthau studied law, graduating from Yale Law School in 1948. He joined the New York law firm of Patterson, Belknap and Webb, becoming a partner in 1954. In 1961, Morgenthau accepted an appointment from President John F. Kennedy as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 1962, he was the Democratic nominee for Governor of New York, and resigned his federal office. After his defeat by the incumbent Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Morgenthau was reappointed U.S. Attorney and served in that position for the remainder of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
Morgenthau remained in private life until 1974, when he was elected to the office of District Attorney of New York County. This was a special election caused by the death of Frank Hogan, who had served as DA for more than 30 years. Morgenthau defeated Hogan's interim successor, Richard Kuh. He was elected to a full term in 1977, and was re-elected seven times. He was not opposed in a general election from 1985 to 2005. Morgenthau retained a national profile while serving in what was technically a local office, in part because of his dogged pursuit of white-collar crime. On February 27, 2009, Morgenthau announced that he would not seek re-election in 2009. He was succeeded in office by Cyrus Vance, Jr., a prosecutor under Morgenthau.