The Wilfred Feinberg papers consist of over 200 linear feet of material,
primarily dating from his fifty years as a judge on the United States District Court
for the Southern District of New York and United States Court of Appeals for the
Second Circuit. Some highlights of the collection include rulings and case files
from precedent-setting cases, Feinberg's committee work drafting the 1995 Long Range
Plan for the Federal Courts, and a detailed oral history.
At a Glance
|Bib ID:||8928418 View CLIO record|
[Bulk Dates: 1960-2011].
|Physical description:||222.71 linear ft. (220 record cartons, 1 half-width
document case, 2 small artifact boxes, and 1 flat box)
|Language(s):|| Materials are in English.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least
two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript
Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
More information »|
This collection is arranged in nine series
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Scope and Content
The Wilfred Feinberg papers consist of over 200 linear feet of material, primarily
dating from his fifty years as a judge on the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York and United States Court of Appeals for the Second
Circuit. Some highlights of the collection include rulings and case files from
precedent-setting cases, Feinberg's committee work drafting the 1995 Long Range Plan
for the Federal Courts, and a detailed oral history.
Series I: Private Practice, 1948-1963
Prior to Feinberg's appointment as a federal judge in 1961, he was an
attorney in private practice in New York. This series includes his official
bar admissions; case files, office memoranda, and pleadings from both firms
where he worked; and the substantive files of pleadings and research related
to the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company bankruptcy and reorganization.
Within each file, materials are arranged by date.
Series II: United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York, 1961-1966
This series consists of records from Feinberg's service as a district judge,
before being elevated to the Second Circuit in 1966. Materials relating to
his recess nomination in 1961 and official confirmation in 1962, including
correspondence and photographs, are represented. One of his most notable
contributions as a district judge was on the electrical equipment antitrust
cases, which make up a sizable portion of the series. Also included are the
court's sitting schedules and trial calendars, Feinberg's chamber case
files, draft and pattern jury charges, motions heard, and rulings. This
series is divided into seven subseries.
Subseries II.1: Calendars Reassigned After Court of Appeals
In preparation for his departure from the district court, Feinberg wrote
notes and case conference summaries for the district judges scheduled to
replace him on ongoing cases. This subseries also includes copies of
scheduling calendars, and is arranged by date.
Subseries II.2: Case Files, 1961-1966
Feinberg kept his district case files separated into civil and criminal
arrangements, and his original order has been maintained. Each case
consists of a folder (or folders) and includes some combination of
pre-trial and research notes, amicus curiae from interested agencies and
parties, clippings related to the case, correspondence from the parties
and the public, inter-judge memoranda, legal precedent research,
opinions (both draft and published), other court pleadings, and
pre-trial and trial transcripts. Two of Feinberg's noteworthy cases
Davis v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and
249 F.Supp. 329 (SDNY 1966) and
Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Rogers Imports,
216 F.Supp. 670 (SDNY 1963).
dealt with a question of copyright
infringement, but its enduring relevance has to do with Feinberg's
decision that consumer surveys are admissible as evidence.
Davis v DuPont
is another copyright
infringement case regarding a 1960 telecast of
The bound docket books are chronological, and include an alphabetical
index and a brief summary of each case and its final dispensation. Case
files, divided into civil and criminal, are arranged alphabetically by
Subseries II.3: Electrical Cases, 1962-1966
The electrical equipment antitrust cases of the 1960s prompted major
developments in judicial policy for complex multidistrict litigation.
Grand jury indictments against electrical equipment manufacturers led to
criminal convictions for price-fixing in 1961, which prompted more than
2000 private antitrust suits in 35 districts. In response, the Judicial
Conference created the nine-member Co-Ordinating Committee for Multiple
Litigation, and Feinberg assisted fellow SDNY District Judge Sylvester
Ryan with the committee. It was a multiyear administrative undertaking,
and this subseries includes substantial correspondence, research
material and committee discussions and memoranda, as well as a record of
the sizable pleadings and complex scheduling overseen by the
Subseries II.4: Judicial Appointment, 1961-1962
This subseries relates to Feinberg's October 1961 recess appointment by
President Kennedy and his formal nomination and Senate confirmation the
following spring. Materials include clippings, letters of
congratulations, photographs, and programs. Each file is arranged
Subseries II.5: Jury Charges, 1961-1966
Jury charges are the instructions a judge delivers to a jury prior to
deliberation regarding the questions of fact at issue. This subseries is
divided into civil and criminal jury charges and includes both official
New York Pattern Jury Instructions and Feinberg's drafts of
case-specific jury instructions. Materials are arranged alphabetically
Subseries II.6: Motions, 1961-1965
Motions ruled on by Feinberg are divided by type and filed
chronologically by court term. This subseries also includes court
calendars and hearing schedules.
Subseries II.7: Opinions, 1961-1966
This subseries includes final versions of all filed legal memoranda and
opinions written by Feinberg. The subseries begins with an alphabetical
index by case citation. The opinions and memoranda are filed
chronologically by court term.
Series III: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit,
This series is the largest in the collection, comprising more than half of
the Feinberg material. Feinberg served on the Second Circuit from 1966
through 2011, one of the longest tenures in circuit history, including a
term as Chief Judge from 1980 through 1988. He took senior status (a form of
semi-retirement) in 1991 and maintained an active hearing schedule until his
retirement in 2011. The heart of this series is his case files, which
include a number of precedent-setting and noteworthy rulings. A list of
cases of particular interest can be found in the note to Subseries
This series is divided into nine subseries.
Subseries III.1: Administrative Materials, 1961-2011
This subseries consists of records relating to the administrative
functioning of the Second Circuit. Much of the material dates from
Feinberg's tenure as Chief Judge (1980-1988), a position with
significant administrative responsibility and chairmanship of the
Circuit Judicial Council. Administrative reports and memoranda were
written and received throughout Feinberg's tenure on the court, however.
The subseries is divided alphabetically by subject and includes 17 files.
Official reports from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (the
administrative agency for the federal judiciary as a whole) and the
Circuit Court Executive (the administrator responsible for the Second
Circuit) make up the bulk of this subseries. Materials in this subseries
include administrative notices, budget reports, calendars, clippings,
inter-judge memoranda on a wide variety of subjects, meeting minutes,
records of disciplinary proceedings and disqualifications, statistics,
and visiting judge appointments.
Also present are programs and correspondence related to official court
ceremonies, including memorials, inductions, and retirements. Judges'
salaries were an ongoing concern throughout the judiciary, with judges
occasionally returning to private practice in order to secure greater
compensation, and the correspondence and clippings related to this issue
is valuable. Vacancies on the district level are a frequent concern, and
senior judges were particularly valuable for their availability to sit
as visiting judges on the Circuit's district courts, as well as other
Within each subject, materials are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries III.2: Case Files, 1966-2011
This subseries makes up the bulk of the collection, consisting of more
than seventy-five record cartons. Feinberg's chambers case files vary in
size and detail, but include some combination of the following:
annotations, copies of the decision or offprints from the
, drafts of opinions and
rulings, motions filed in the case, inter-judge and inter-court
case-related memoranda, newsclippings, notes, relevant district court
rulings, and research material.
Regular Argument Calendar files are foldered alphabetically by appellant
last name. There are three boxes of Non-Argument Calendar files (a
separate calendar exclusively for petitions for review of a denial of
asylum), arranged chronologically by review panel week, maintaining
Feinberg's original order. Docket sheets include an alphabetical index,
a brief summary of each of Feinberg's cases, and their final
dispensation. From 1965 through 1984 the docket sheets were bound
volumes, subsequently they are foldered chronologically.
Some noteworthy cases, as highlighted by Feinberg in his oral history in
Subseries IX.4 are listed below, with a very brief summary. The final
two parts of the oral history discuss these cases, and a few dozen more,
in much greater detail. More extensive lists of noteworthy rulings can
be found in Subseries IX.1. Unless otherwise noted, Feinberg wrote the
United States v. Miller
367 F.2d 72
(2d. Cir. 1966), which held that the prosecution of a protestor who
burned his draft card to show his opposition to the Vietnam War was
Torrington Co. v. Metal Products Workers Union
1645 362 F.2d 677 (2d Cir. 1966), a labor arbitration
case where the district decision against the union was upheld 2-1.
Feinberg's first dissent.
J.P. Stevens & Co. v. National Labor
380 F.2d 292 (2d Cir. 1967), the first of a
series of cases against J.P. Stevens for violating national labor law.
The case inspired the 1979 movie
Kelly v. Wyman
294 F.Supp. 893 (SDNY
1968), Feinberg was the Circuit Judge on this three-judge court and
ruled that welfare recipients were entitled to a hearing before any of
their benefits could be terminated. Feinberg's opinion was upheld by the
Supreme Court in
Goldberg v. Kelly
U.S. 254 (1970) and the decision is considered a landmark in the welfare
Goetz v. Ansell
477 F.2d 636 (2d. Cir.
1973), upholding a high school student's right to refuse to participate
in the Pledge of Allegiance.
In the Matter of Andros Compania
579 F.2d 691 (2d Cir. 1978), a frequently-cited
arbitration case that limits when courts can interfere with arbitrators.
Subseries III.3: En Banc Files, 1966-2011
En banc cases require a majority vote of the judges in favor of hearing
an appeal before the full court, instead of the traditional three judge
panel. Although en banc power was granted to the appellate courts in
1948, each circuit court has its own traditions and rules governing en
banc procedures. The Second Circuit has been one of the most hesitant to
hear a case en banc, so this subseries is substantially smaller than the
Subseries III.2, and it has been arranged and described separately to
preserve Feinberg's original order. Noteworthy case files include:
Sostre v. McGinnis
442 F.2d 178 (2d
Cir. 1971), an en banc hearing to determine the extent (and any
violation) of federal constitutional rights of state prisoners. Feinberg
wrote a partial dissent in which he argued that there must be a definite
limit to solitary confinement, and that Sostre's extended "punitive
segregation" violated the Eighth Amendment.
New York Times Company v. United States
44 F.2d 544 (2d Cir. 1971), the Pentagon Papers case. The ruling itself
was not especially noteworthy: with Feinberg and two other judges
dissenting, the Second Circuit en banc affirmed the Nixon
Administration's restraining order against the continued publication of
the Papers. After an emergency appeal by the
to the Supreme Court, the Second Circuit's ruling was
reversed four days later.
In addition to cases that were approved and heard en banc, this subseries
includes discussions of en banc protocol and judges' poll responses to
petitions for review and hearing en banc.
Subseries III.4: Judges' Meetings, 1955-2011
This subseries includes agendas, correspondence, minutes, and programs
from a number of formal and informal groups of the judges of the Second
Open to all judges, the Circuit Court Agenda Luncheons were an informal
judicial journal club, the quarterly Court Meetings served a more
official administrative purpose, and the annual court retreats combined
administrative business and social time for the judges. The Judicial
Conference of the Second Judicial Circuit is the largest of the circuit
meetings, a formal annual meeting that includes all of the appellate
judges of the Second Circuit, as well as administrators and the
district, bankruptcy, and magistrate judges within the Second Circuit.
The Judicial Council of the Second Circuit is the official governing
body of the circuit, comprised of the Chief Judge, a panel of appellate
judges, and a representative from each of the district courts.
Within the subseries, each file's folders are arranged
reverse-chronologically to maintain Feinberg's original order.
Subseries III.5: Motions, 1993-2011
Motions ruled on by Feinberg are divided by type and filed
reverse-chronologically by calendar week. Materials do not always
include the motion itself, but each motion folder includes any
recommendations submitted by the Staff Attorneys' Office, inter-judge
memoranda, and copies of filed orders.
Subseries III.6: Opinions, 1965-2009
Although this subseries deals with Feinberg's opinions, it includes very
few reprints or drafts of his published opinions. Materials include
administrative files regarding opinion composition, limited memoranda
regarding opinion protocol, statistics of both Feinberg's opinions and
the rulings of the Court as a whole, and drafts of his unpublished
opinions. Also included in this subseries are lists of Feinberg's
significant opinions, as suggested by his law clerks. Further lists of
noteworthy rulings can be found in Subseries IX.1, and discussions of
them can be found in his oral history in Subseries IX.4.
Materials are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries III.7: Pro Se, 1966-2008
This subseries includes materials relating to those litigants who
represented (or wished to represent) themselves without an attorney. Pro
Se hearings were held on a separate calendar and administered by the Pro
Se Clerk. Records include correspondence, memoranda, reports,
scheduling, and statistics from the Clerk's office, as well as pro se
applications and litigant correspondence misdirected to Judge Feinberg's
chambers instead of the Clerk of Court.
Materials are filed reverse-chronologically except for Litigant
Correspondence, which is filed alphabetically by correspondent name.
Subseries III.8: Second Circuit Appointment, 1965-1966
This subseries includes official correspondence related to Judge
Feinberg's nomination to the Court of Appeals, congratulations from
Feinberg's friends and colleagues, and induction programs from the
ceremony. Materials are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries III.9: Sitting Schedules and Calendars, 1966-2011
The bulk of materials relating to the court calendar and scheduling is in
this subseries and includes calendars, memoranda, minutes, procedural
and protocol information, reports and statistics. Calendars include
information for weeks where Feinberg was not sitting. Each file is
Series IV: Subject Files, 1961-2010
This series consists of topical material related to the functioning of the
court, the court's official rules, and Feinberg's research files. It
includes materials from both his district court service and his time on the
appellate bench. This series includes four subseries: General; Advisory
Committee Service; Points of Law; and Rules of Practice and Procedure.
Subseries IV.1: General, 1962-2010
This subseries includes subject files related to the court's functioning.
The bulk of the materials are memoranda between the judges and the Clerk
and Circuit Executive, as well as reports and statistics. There are
thirteen topical files in this subseries, and material within each file
is arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries IV.2: Advisory Committee Service, 1968-2001
This subseries includes Feinberg's official committee service, excepting
his work on the Judicial Conference's Long Range Planning Committee,
which can be found in Subseries V.3. Committee reports from informal
committees, Second Circuit standing committees, and committees where
Feinberg was not a member can be found in Subseries IV.1.
The Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and Federal Courts Study Committee
were under the aegis of the Judicial Conference. The Advisory Committee
on Experimentation in the Law, Advisory Council for Appellate Justice,
and Committee on Future Needs and Practices were sponsored by the
Federal Judicial Center. Materials in this subseries include clippings,
correspondence and memoranda, drafts, meeting minutes, programs,
reports, and statistics. Within each file, materials are arranged
Subseries IV.3: Points of Law, 1961-2010
Feinberg maintained a subject file for points of law, arranged
alphabetically by topic, where he filed offprints of case rulings
responsive to the topic. The bulk of the offprints come from Second
Circuit decisions, but other courts are represented. Many of the labeled
folders are empty but have been retained to maintain Feinberg's research
system. In addition to offprints, folders occasionally include carbons
of Feinberg's opinions and notes.
Subseries IV.4: Rules of Practice and Procedure, 1961-2010
This subseries includes copies of rules and amendments that govern the
functioning of the court system as a whole, the Second Circuit
specifically, and the Circuit's bankruptcy and district courts. The
subseries is divided into nine files, one for each set of rules (five
federal, three circuit, and one local by district) and within each file
folders are arranged numerically by rule number.
Series V: Judicial Conference of the United States, 1974-2007
The Judicial Conference of the United States is charged by Congress to "serve
as the principal policy-making body concerned with the administration of the
U.S. Courts." Although the court system is largely decentralized, with each
circuit and district having unique customs, practices, and rules, the
Judicial Conference is the formal center for procedural recommendations. The
Chief Justice of the United States presides over the Conference; other
members include the Chief Judges of each circuit and a representative from
each district and trade court. Feinberg was Chief Judge of the Second
Circuit, and therefore a member of the Judicial Conference, from 1980
Traditionally, each new Chief Justice begins his tenure with a study of the
Judicial Conference and the court system. Upon William Rehnquist's
confirmation as Chief Justice, he created the Committee to Study the
Judicial Conference, which lasted for a year. Prompted by the reports of the
Rehnquist Committee and the Federal Courts Study Committee, Rehnquist
created the Long Range Planning Committee as the anticipated first phase in
a permanent planning effort. Having served eight years as a member of the
Judicial Conference, Feinberg was appointed to the Long Range Planning
This series includes comprehensive agendas (including lengthy appendices of
supplementary reports), correspondence, drafts, minutes, reports, and
research. It is divided into three subseries derived from Feinberg's
original filing system: Committee to Study the Judicial Conference; Judicial
Conference; and Long Range Planning Committee.
Subseries V.1: Committee to Study the Judicial Conference,
The Committee to Study the Judicial Conference was created shortly after
William Rehnquist was confirmed as Chief Justice. Materials in this
subseries include correspondence, drafts, meeting agendas, meeting
programs, and reports. This subseries is arranged
Subseries V.2: Judicial Conference, 1974-2007
The Judicial Conference is made up of the Chief Justice, the Chief Judges
of each circuit, and representatives from the district and trade courts.
The Conference meets twice a year to discuss procedure and policy within
the court system, and following the full conference the Chief Judges of
the circuits have a separate meeting. Feinberg served as Chief Judge
from 1980 through 1988 and therefore was a member of the Conference for
that period. He also received courtesy copies of reports and
correspondence both before and after his tenure as Chief Judge.
This subseries includes correspondence, meeting agendas (each with
sizable appendices containing reports from court committees and
administrative offices), meeting minutes, reports, and research
materials. Within each file, materials are arranged
Subseries V.3: Long Range Planning Committee, 1989-2007
The Long Range Planning Committee was created by the Judicial Conference
in response to the recommendations of the Federal Courts Study
Committee. In addition to Judge Feinberg, the committee consisted of
three other appellate judges, three district judges, a bankruptcy judge,
and a magistrate. Created in 1990 the committee published its formally
approved plan in December 1995 after a multi-phase process of meetings,
research, reports, and requests for comment. There now exists within the
Administrative Office of the United States Courts a permanent Long-Range
Planning Office that accounts for subseries correspondence between 1996
This subseries includes correspondence (both between committee members
and among the wider judicial system and affiliated groups and
professions), meeting agendas, research materials, subcommittee reports,
and the proposed Long Range Plan for the Federal Courts that was
submitted for public comment and Judicial Conference approval. The
approved Long Range Plan for the Federal Courts is not included, but a
PDF is available here
on the United States Court website.
Within each file, materials are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Series VI: Professional Development, 1961-2011
This series includes materials relating to Feinberg's participation in
professional organizations and continuing education. Records consist of
conference materials, correspondence, directories, educational materials,
official membership documents, reports, and workshop materials. This series
is divided into three subseries: Bar Associations, Federal Judicial Center,
and Legal Societies and Professional Organizations.
Subseries VI.1: Bar Associations, 1961-2010
Feinberg was a member of the New York City Bar Association, the New York
State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association, and all three
groups are represented in this subseries. Maintaining his original
order, the subseries is divided by document type, and each section
includes items from all of the bar organizations. Records in this
subseries include admissions and membership records (although his first
admissions are in Series I), correspondence, programs, reports, and
workshop and educational materials.
Within each file, records are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries VI.2: Federal Judicial Center, 1976-2008
The Federal Judicial Center, formed in 1967, is the official educational
organization for the federal courts. While materials from Feinberg's
service on Federal Judicial Center committees is in Subseries IV.2, this
subseries includes educational and research material from FJC
conferences and workshops. Records consist of agendas, correspondence,
manuals, programs, research publication, and reports. Records are
divided into three files by document type, maintaining Feinberg's
original order, and arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries VI.3: Legal Societies and Professional Organizations,
This subseries collects records from a number of lesser professional
groups and organizations. It consists of various biographical
directories and judicial almanacs that included entries on Feinberg,
along with twelve non-profit and continuing education groups that
Feinberg occasionally participated in. Materials are primarily
correspondence (including form renewals and questionnaires) and meeting
and conference programs. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by
organization name, then reverse-chronologically.
Series VII: Articles and Speeches, 1961-2011
This series includes Feinberg's articles and speeches, as well as
correspondence and research material relating to them. In addition to
correspondence, offprints, reprints, and typescripts, materials include
clippings, drafts, and notes. The files of research material collect ideas
for potential future topics.
Feinberg was a prolific writer, particularly in the 1980s, and some of the
topics he wrote on frequently include diversity jurisdiction, senior judges,
and the history of the Second Circuit. He was also a vigorous opponent of
the National Court of Appeals, a proposed restructuring of the federal
judiciary that caused substantial controversy in the 1970s. Feinberg's full
publications list can be found in his CV in Subseries IX.1.
Feinberg maintained a "Jokes and Parodies" folder where he would file
countless lawyer jokes clipped from
or sent to him by colleagues. Also in the "Jokes and
Parodies" file are the song parodies that Feinberg wrote for anniversaries,
birthdays, and retirements.
Although some of Feinberg's speeches were subsequently published in law
journals and magazines, this series is particularly useful for its full
record of fifty years of speech transcripts. Maintaining Feinberg's original
order, the transcripts of both eulogies and speeches are arranged
reverse-chronologically and include yearly indexes to speeches with
locations and occasions. Many of the typescripts were Feinberg's podium copy
and include his notes on delivery.
Series VIII: Columbia University Alumni Activity, 1959-2010
Feinberg spent his postsecondary education at Columbia University, attending
Columbia College and Columbia Law School. He is an active alumnus and this
series includes more than fifty years of his involvement with Columbia
University. Feinberg kept separate records of his alumni activity for the
college and the law school, and that arrangement has been maintained. A
third subseries consists of records relating to Columbia University more
generally, including the umbrella alumni group for all Columbia schools, and
material related to President Lee Bollinger and long-time law school
professor Maurice Rosenberg.
Subseries VIII.1: Columbia College, 1959-2008
Columbia College is one of the two undergraduate schools at Columbia
University. Feinberg graduated from Columbia College in 1940 and
remained active in the alumni association, serving on the Board of
Directors. Records in this subseries include clippings, correspondence,
meeting agendas, memoranda, minutes, reports, reunion programs, and
statistics. Materials are arranged reverse-chronologically.
Subseries VIII.2: Columbia Law School, 1962-2010
Feinberg enrolled in Columbia Law School in 1940 and, after a three year
break for his Army service, graduated in 1946. While at Columbia Law
School he was the editor-in-chief of the Law Review and after graduating
became active in the alumni association. Throughout his career, he made
sure that one of his two law clerks was a Columbia Law School graduate.
He served on the Columbia Law School Alumni Association Board of
Directors and was a member of the nomination committee for the Medal for
Excellence. Of particular note is the file on the Feinberg Prize and
Scholarship, which includes material on the Wilfred Feinberg Prize
(established 1998) and Wilfred Feinberg Scholarship in Law (established
2010), both created by some of Feinberg's former law clerks.
Records include agendas, clippings, correspondence, memoranda, programs,
and reports. Within each file, materials are arranged
Subseries VIII.3: Columbia University, 1970-2008
This subseries includes Columbia-related material that is not specific to
Columbia College or Columbia Law School. The subseries is divided into
three sections: Alumni Federation; Correspondence with President Lee
Bollinger; and Maurice Rosenberg. Within each section materials are
The Alumni Federation (superseded by the Columbia Alumni Association in 2005) is the
umbrella alumni group responsible for Columbia University as a whole and
materials in this file include clippings, correspondence, and meeting
Lee Bollinger, the 19th President of Columbia University, is a fellow
Columbia Law School alumnus, and one of Feinberg's law clerks
(1971-1972). Although Feinberg and Bollinger kept in touch throughout
the years, Feinberg's dedicated correspondence file was created in 2002,
after Bollinger's inauguration as President of Columbia University.
Maurice Rosenberg was a classmate of Feinberg's at Columbia Law School
and then a professor there for almost forty years. He and Feinberg were
close (Rosenberg wrote "Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg: A Twenty-Fifth
Year Tribute" for the
Columbia Law Review
in 1986), although the bulk of their personal correspondence can be
found in Subseries IX.3. The Rosenberg materials include letters of
nomination and recommendation from Feinberg regarding Rosenberg's
consideration for a variety of awards, correspondence and programs from
Rosenberg's memorial service in 1995, and records relating to the
Maurice Rosenberg Memorial Lecture established at Columbia in 1996.
Series IX: Personal, 1936-2011
This series includes a variety of unofficial and personal records. The bulk
of the series is Feinberg's correspondence files, which he maintained
separately from the correspondence filed elsewhere in the collection.
Similarly, Feinberg maintained a general clippings file separate from the
clippings filed by topic found elsewhere in the collection. Also in this
series is biographical information maintained and updated by Feinberg's
secretary, including publications lists. Personal material includes business
records from Feinberg's charity and investment activities outside his job,
an oral history of Feinberg conducted in the late 1990s, and photographs.
The series is arranged in six subseries.
Subseries IX.1: Biographical Materials, 1936-2010
This subseries consists of biographical and autobiographical information
collected by Feinberg. The subseries includes four sections.
Bibliographies and CVs include autobiographical blurbs, biographical
directory forms, publication lists, and resumes from throughout
Feinberg's career. The section also includes Feinberg's high school
diploma, Columbia transcripts, and government disclosure forms from his
tenure as New York State Deputy Superintendent of Banks. The day
planners date from the last few years of Feinberg's judicial service,
but primarily detail outside appointments. There is a substantive file
for honors, which include Feinberg's high school diploma along with
professional recognitions like the Devitt Award, the Learned Hand Medal,
and honorary doctorates from Columbia and Syracuse. The lists of
noteworthy rulings, arranged by year and compiled by his law clerks, is
of particular note. Within each file, materials are arranged
Subseries IX.2: Business and Investment Activities, 1950-1992
This subseries includes Feinberg's records of his extracurricular
business activities. Much of it is related to tax rules and suburban
property investments from the 1950s, but the subseries also includes
information on Feinberg's political activity as a Democratic booster in
Westchester in the 1950s and 1960s. Also in this subseries are catalogs,
correspondence, and programs from the Feinberg Graduate School, part of
the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and established by
Feinberg's brother Abraham. Although the Feinberg Graduate School was
Abraham Feinberg's project, Wilfred Feinberg did visit Israel for the
dedication and received material from the school throughout the
Subseries IX.3: Correspondence, 1952-2011
This subseries makes up the bulk of Series IX. Although there is
correspondence represented in almost every subseries in the collection,
Subseries IX.3 collects a number of correspondence files that Feinberg
maintained separately. The largest is Feinberg's file of Personal
Correspondence, which includes correspondence from classmates,
colleagues, family, friends, and law clerks. Although correspondence
from fellow judges is interfiled in Personal Correspondence, Feinberg
also created a file for Unofficial Correspondence with Judges that has
been kept separate to maintain his original arrangement. Of particular
note is the file for Judge Henry Friendly Biographies, which includes
interview transcripts from two book projects on Feinberg's former
colleague. Other files in Subseries IX.3 are Invitations; Law Clerks;
Letters of Reference; and Mayor's Office. This subseries is arranged
Subseries IX.4: Oral History, 1993-2005
In late 1996 and early 1997, the law professor and legal historian
Jeffrey Morris met with Feinberg to complete a detailed oral history.
The six meetings were divided roughly by topic, and dealt with
Feinberg's biography, his former colleagues on the bench, his work in
judicial administration, the history of the circuit, and important cases
he decided. The subseries includes approved final copies of the
interview transcripts as well as drafts and annotated and corrected
transcript copies. There is also correspondence between Morris and
Feinberg's chambers. The recordings of the interviews themselves are
available on thirteen audiocassettes.
Subseries IX.5: Photographs, 1946-2009
This subseries includes most of the photographs in the collection,
although a few photographs from Feinberg's judicial appointment in 1961
can be found in Subseries II.4. There is a small collection of
correspondence related to the photographs, primarily letters of
enclosure and court announcements of official portraits. The subseries
also includes negatives and a CD with snapshots in .jpeg format
(although the photos are also represented in the subseries as
The photographs include official portraits of Feinberg and the court and
informal snapshots of Feinberg and his wife and colleagues at a variety
of events, including a number of photographs from Columbia reunions.
Aside from the folder of related correspondence, the photographs are
arranged by event (if known) and filed chronologically.
Subseries IX.6: Clippings and Public Relations, 1956-2004
Although files of clippings can be found throughout the collection, this
subseries consists of the separate clippings file that Feinberg
maintained. All clippings have been preservation photocopied and
arranged chronologically. The subseries also includes Feinberg's lists
of newspaper and press contacts for his personal use and public
relations material produced by the Second Circuit, primarily press
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Using the Collection
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least
two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript
Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Restrictions on 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 heirs. The
responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Wilfred Feinberg Papers, 1936-2011;
Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Collection is processed to folder level. Finding aid available in repository and
Selected Related Material at Other Repositories
Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
Irving R. Kaufman Papers,
Manuscript Division, Library of
Papers of the Honorable Judge James L. Oakes,
Julien and Virginia
Cornell Library, Vermont Law School.
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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and
Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University
Libraries Digital Library Program Division
Papers processed by Caitlin Goodman in 2012.
Finding aid written by Caitlin Goodman in 12/2012.
The processing of the Wilfred Feinberg Papers was made possible through the generous
support of the Office of the President, Columbia University in the City of New
Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT
conversion December 13, 2012.
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by
Archives: A Content Standard
xml document instance created by Caitlin Goodman.
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The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.
All links open new windows.
|Nat'l / Int'l Archives:|
|Altimari, Frank X. (Frank Xavier), 1928-1998.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Alumni Federation of Columbia University.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Anderson, Robert Palmer--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Appellate procedure--United States.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Burger, Warren E., 1907-1995||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Cabranes, Jose A.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Calabresi, Guido, 1932-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Cardamone, Richard J., 1925-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Columbia Law School Alumni Association.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Columbia University.--School of Law.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Federal Judicial Center.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Feinberg, Wilfred, 1920-.--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Frankel, Marvin E., 1920-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Friendly, Henry J.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Hays, Paul R. (Paul Raymond), 1903-1980.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Jacobs, Dennis G., 1944-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Judicial Conference of the United States.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Judicial Conference of the United States.--Committee on
Long Range Planning.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Katzmann, Robert A.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Kaufman, Irving Robert, 1910-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Leval, Pierre N. (Pierre Nelson), 1936-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Lumbard, J. Edward (Joseph Edward), 1901-1999.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Mahoney, John Daniel.--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Mansfield, Walter Roe, 1911-1987.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|McLaughlin, Joseph M.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Medina, Harold R. (Harold Raymond), 1888-1900.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Meskill, Thomas J., 1928-2007.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Miner, Roger J.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Moore, Leonard P.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Mulligan, William Hughes, 1918-1996.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Newman, Jon O. (Jon Ormond)||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Oakes, James L. (James Lowell), 1924-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Parker, Barrington D. (Barrington Daniels),
|Parker, Fred I. (Fred Irving), 1938-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Pierce, Lawrence W. (Lawrence Warren), 1924-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Pooler, Rosemary S. (Rosemary Shankman), 1938-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Pratt, George C. (George Cheny), 1928-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Raggi, Reena, 1951-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Rehnquist, William H., 1924-2005.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Rosenberg, Maurice, 1919-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Sack, Robert D.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Smith, John Joseph.--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Sotomayor, Sonia, 1954-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Straub, Chester John, 1937-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Timbers, William Homer.--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|United States.--Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|United States.--District Court (New York : Southern
|United States.--Supreme Court.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Van Graafeiland, Ellsworth.--local||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Walker, John M., 1940-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Warren, Earl, 1891-1974.||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
|Winter, Ralph K., 1935-||Portal||CLIO||ArchiveGRID|
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History / Biographical Note
Wilfred Feinberg was born on June 22, 1920 in New York
City. His family soon moved to Mount Vernon, NY, where he has remained for much of
his life. After graduating from high school, Feinberg attended Columbia College
(class of 1940) and enrolled in Columbia Law School before enlisting in the Army
during World War II.
During his three years of service in the Signal Corps, Feinberg wrote for
magazine and a Signal Corps newsletter, and later
wrote a (never published) novel based on his wartime experiences. He reenrolled at
Columbia Law School after his Army service and served as editor-in-chief of the
Columbia Law Review
. Upon graduation in 1946,
Feinberg married Shirley Marcus and moved to Philadelphia to clerk for District
Judge James P. McGranery, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In 1949, after his clerkship, Feinberg returned with his family to New York and
joined the firm Kaye Scholer as an associate. After four years, he was offered a
junior partner position at McGoldrick, Dannett, Horowitz and Golub, a smaller firm
with Columbia Law School connections. Feinberg and his wife became involved in
Westchester Democratic politics, leading to his 1958 appointment by Governor W.
Averell Harriman as Deputy Superintendent of Banks. As Deputy Superintendent,
Feinberg was responsible for regulating union welfare and retail installment credit.
After Harriman was defeated by Nelson Rockefeller, Feinberg returned to private
practice at McGoldrick, where he remained until his appointment as District Judge in
In October 1961, Feinberg received a recess appointment from President Kennedy to the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He was
officially confirmed in March 1962. One of Feinberg's first experiences on the bench
was with the electrical equipment antitrust cases, which were thousands of private
suits that were filed after a 1961 grand jury indictment in Philadelphia against
equipment manufacturers for price-fixing. The Co-Ordinating Committee for Multiple
Litigation, formed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, was formed to unify the pre-trial
process and SDNY Chief Judge Sylvester Ryan was appointed to the committee. Ryan, in
turn, asked Feinberg to attend the meetings as his proxy, and Feinberg became deeply
involved in the procedural aspects of multidistrict litigation.
His work on judicial procedural improvements continued when Chief Justice Warren
appointed him to the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in 1965.
It was Feinberg's first official involvement in judicial administration, and
throughout his career he remained active in issues of judicial administration and
procedure, most notably on the Advisory Council for Appellate Justice (1970-1975)
and the Long Range Planning Committee (1991-1995), both under the aegis of the
Judicial Conference of the United States.
In 1966, President Johnson nominated Feinberg to a seat on the United States Court of
Appeals for the Second Circuit, and he became one of the youngest judges on the
Court of Appeals. As junior judge, Feinberg was responsible for many of the
administrative tasks that would become the job of the Circuit Executive upon the
position's creation in 1971. He remained interested in court administration, and
wrote numerous articles and speeches on the subject.
Feinberg was Chief Judge of the Second Circuit from 1980 through 1988. He assumed
senior status in 1991 but remained active on the bench and on a number of judicial
committees until his retirement in 2011. In his career on the bench, Feinberg wrote
over 1000 opinions. Citations for some of the historically and legally important
cases can be found in the notes to Subseries II.2 and Subseries III.2, along with
very brief summaries.
Feinberg was an active presence in the Alumni Associations of both Columbia College
and Columbia Law School, and includes among his former clerks countless Columbia Law
School alumni, including Columbia University President Lee Bollinger. Judge Feinberg
retired from the bench in 2011 after fifty years of service. He lives with Shirley
in Mount Vernon, New York.
Federal Judicial Center, History of the Federal Judiciary. "Wilfred Feinberg."
Biographical Directory of Federal Judges.
Interviews of Wilfred Feinberg by Jeffrey Morris, 1996-1997.
Rosenberg, Maurice. "Chief Judge Wilfred Feinberg: A Twenty-Fifth Year Tribute.
Columbia Law Review
86 (1986): 1505-1514.
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