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In the Clutches of the Law

In the Clutches of the Law: Clarence Darrow's Letters

EDITED AND WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY Randall Tietjen
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 622
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt32bcc3
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  • Book Info
    In the Clutches of the Law
    Book Description:

    This volume presents a selection of 500 letters by Clarence Darrow, the pre-eminent courtroom lawyer of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Randall Tietjen selected these letters from over 2,200 letters in archives around the country, as well as from one remarkable find—the kind of thing historians dream about: a cache of about 330 letters by Darrow hidden away in the basement of Darrow’s granddaughter’s house. This collection provides the first scholarly edition of Darrow’s letters, expertly annotated and including a large amount of previously unknown material and hard-to-locate letters. Because Darrow was a gifted writer and led a fascinating life, the letters are a delight to read. This volume also presents a major introduction by the editor, along with a chronology of Darrow’s life, and brief biographical sketches of the important individuals who appear in the letters.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95458-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxvii-xxxii)
  6. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xxxiii-xxxvi)
  7. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-32)

    In 1928, H. L. Mencken published an essay in theAmerican Mercuryin which he asked, “How many American lawyers are remembered,aslawyers?”¹ Thinking only of dead lawyers, Mencken offered three nominees: John Marshall, Daniel Webster, and Joseph Choate. In 1928, these three might have been the only suitable candidates. But anyone answering the same question today would have to include Clarence Darrow on the list (and remove Choate). Darrow, who died in 1938, is the most celebrated lawyer in American history, and he will likely remain so for a long time.

    The number of books and other writings...

  8. CHRONOLOGY OF DARROW’S LIFE
    (pp. 33-46)
  9. LETTERS

    • BEFORE 1890
      (pp. 49-61)

      I wrote you two weeks since and then promised to write every week until there was some marked change in your mother’s condition. I delayed in hopes from day to day that I might write something encouraging; but alas! the sad and painful duty devolves upon me to inform you that your mother has changed her state of existence.¹ She has gone; you will see her no more in the flesh; yet I think her spirit lives and she is happy. No one knows the anguish I feel, and my heart bleeds for you, my dear son, away from your...

    • 1890–1894
      (pp. 62-74)

      It seems to me very necessary that we should get up a big “citizens meeting” as you once proposed to give support to the strikers.¹ I fear that their cause will be lost unless we move at once & show that there is something back of them. I see that Franklin Head² et al. are getting up what is called a “Patriotic Club” or something of that kind & are to hold a meeting on April 30th. Do you see? This is one more evidence of the truth of Johnston’s statement that “Patriotism is the last resort of a knave.”...

    • 1895–1899
      (pp. 75-89)

      If I did not care for you and your friendship, as well as that of the other members of the “settlement,” Hull House, Chicago, I would do as you requested, not answer your letter.² I hope you know that I would understand the spirit in which you wrote. I know you know and appreciate the feeling of friendship which prompted you to write as you did.

      Although you may not think it, I am very sensitive to public opinion, even the opinion of those who are glad to criticize what I do. But when it comes to the opinion of...

    • 1900–1904
      (pp. 90-127)

      I have read your paper delivered before the American Medical Association and have considered the question whether the publishers of a medical periodical could be convicted of circulating obscene literature in case they published this paper.¹ The United States statutes govern the circulation of obscene literature and are meant to provide for cases where publishers, or purviewors, publish and sell literature which is supposed to appeal directly to the passions of the reader for the purpose of making money out of these feelings. Of course, the statute is broad and must be construed with reference to a particular case.² There...

    • 1905–1909
      (pp. 128-145)

      I want to come next summer & have planned to do so.¹ Still I don’t want to put it out of my power to go to Europe in case I have the time (which I do not now expect to have.) You may put me down if you are willing to leave me the right to notify you later of a change of my plans. I think the chances are decidedly that I will be with you.

      Ever with best wishes | C. S. Darrow.

      MS: ALS, CLU-SC, Theodore Perceval Gerson Papers (Collection 724).

      DARROW & MASTERS Mar 16

      Dear...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • 1910–1914
      (pp. 146-208)

      I am staying a few minutes after the rest & after a rush day to write you a line. I miss you all the time. No one else is so bright & clever & sympathetic to say nothing of sweet and dear & I wonder how you are & what you are doing in the big city. I don’t hear from you—please write.

      Helen¹ came in Saturday & turned the office topsy turvy telephoning to every one on earth about a Russian Meeting. They were trying to hunt up a revolutionist who was a prominent citizen andnot a...

    • 1915–1919
      (pp. 209-240)

      For some reason I am feeling in the dumps today, so I write you. I haven’t heard from you for a long time and I enjoy your letters & miss them when they don’t come. I wish I could see you and hope you are happy, but you are not. No one is happy who is built like you & me. I have been sorry about those two arrests and am doing all I can to raise some money.¹ Shall give all I can myself and send some this month. I do hope nothing very serious will happen to them....

    • 1920–1924
      (pp. 241-298)

      I am down here to see if I can do a little on this mad crusade against freedom.¹ I did not go to the Attorney General on your case. In my frame of mind I couldn’t ask him to do any thing. At the same time I felt that I had no right to talk about individuals, and I knew perfectly well that you would feel the same way. Incidentally I am lead to believe that your case & others will be disposed of when the treaty is signed by U.S. I don’t know. I hope so, but it is...

    • 1925–1929
      (pp. 299-387)

      I know a good deal about Metzen’s case.¹ I have been trying to help him. He is rather a hard man to help. He has the faculty of making enemies where he ought to make friends. If you and I had his disposition, we would be hanged long ago without any special cause, but on general principles.

      My opinion is that if he really wants to get back, instead of making his grievances public, that he had better confine his attention to his friends here.

      You know I am willing to do anything I can for him and have done...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • 1930–1934
      (pp. 388-460)

      I was very glad to get your letter and especially glad that you are connected with the Roosevelt Administration. I am hoping that he may be able to run for President. If Al Smith does not run, I see nobody else excepting Roosevelt or Jim Reed,¹ unless possibly Claude Bowers,² who I think is able and a real Democrat. Jim Reed should run for Senator this fall if they elect a senator in Missouri. Any how he should get into the campaign. Can’t you help get him in? I believe the country will repudiate prohibition before long and it is...

    • AFTER 1934
      (pp. 461-466)

      It was indeed a pleasant treat to receive your letter, to know that you are recovered,—even though disappointing that you could not come to see us on your way from Detroit, and to learn of the many really remarkable accomplishments to your credit in your present world! I appreciate the many things you say about my influence in your life, and whatever that may have to do with what you are able to now see as the right way, etc. but I don’t feel sure that you are not giving me too much praise; perhaps sometime I may climb...

  10. BIOGRAPHICAL REGISTER
    (pp. 467-520)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 521-550)