Special Collections and Preservation Division
Neighborhood Research History Collection
Clarence S. Darrow Papers, 1912-1956
1 linear foot, 1 photograph, 2 oversize folders
Call number: Archives_PCD
Clarence Seward Darrow, prominent Chicago trial lawyer, was born in Kinsman, Ohio on April 18, 1857. He attended Allegheny College, after which he studied one year at the University of Michigan Law School. He then worked as a lawyer in Youngstown, and was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1878. He practiced in Ohio for nine years, before moving to Chicago, where he practiced privately before being appointed assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago. For four years he served as Chief Counsel. In 1894 Darrow became the counsel for the Chicago and North Western Railway. He left this job, however, after siding with Unionists who called a strike of the American Railway Union. Darrow defended Eugene V. Debs on a charge of contempt of a federal injunction, and although he lost the case, he went on to become one of the nation’s leading labor advocates. In 1907 he secured the acquittal of labor leader Bill Haywood for the murder of former Governor Frank Steuneberg of Idaho.
Darrow defended many others accused of murder, including Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in 1924 for the murder of Bobby Franks. In 1925 he defended John Scopes in a case involving the teaching of evolution and the constitutionality of a Tennessee anti-evolution statute. Darrow’s opposition in that case was great trial lawyer William Jennings Bryan.
Darrow had a long affiliation with the Woodlawn neighborhood, residing at 1537 E. Sixtieth Street for a large portion of his adult life. When he died, March 13, 1938, at the age of eighty, his ashes were scattered into the waters of the Jackson Park Lagoon.
The papers of Clarence S. Darrow (PCD) consist mostly of his published works, either in pamphlet or in journal form. Included among Darrow’s works are numbers within the "Big Blue Book" and "Little Blue Book" series. Darrow’s papers also include personal papers, photographs, newsclippings and a report by the National Recovery Review Board. Oversized materials have been separated and are listed below the Series Descriptions.
Series I: Personal Papers, 1891, 1938
This small series contains some of Darrow’s personal papers. Included among these papers are correspondence, property deeds and warranties.
Series II: Big Blue Book Series, Ca. 1920s
The Big Blue Book Series, edited and published by E. Haldeman-Julius of Girad, Kansas consists of essays, exegeses and arguments on a variety of subjects. Arrangement of titles in this series is numerical by each issue’s number.
Series III: Little Blue Book Series, Ca. 1920s.
Edited and published by E. Haldeman-Julius of Girad, Kansas, this series consists of essays, exegeses and arguments by Darrow on a variety of subjects. Arrangement in this series is numerical by each issue’s number.
Series IV: Journal Publications, 1912 - 1938
This series contains journal articles written by Darrow on a variety of subjects ranging from agricultural policy to capital punishment. Darrow’s articles appear in The Rotarion, Plain Talk, Unity, and The Modern World. Arrangement of materials in this series is alphabetical by title of journal article.
Series V: Newsclippings, 1937, 1956, N/D
This series contains newsclippings concerning Darrow’s activities in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood.
Series VI: Reports, 1935
This series contains a three volume report to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, issued by the National Recovery Board.
Photographs are listed at the end of the Box and Folder Inventory.
Separation Record: Oversized Materials
The following items have been removed to the locations given:
Father.’" Newsclipping, Chicago Tribune
Magazine, 1956 May 6.
"Darrow—A Pessimist with Hop—Is Eighty." Oversize—PCD 2
Unidentified newspaper clipping
Given Darrow’s prominence and his long affiliation with the Woodlawn neighborhood, the Historical Society of Woodlawn and the library made an effort to collect a portion of his published works and other relevant materials. With a grant from the Scholl Foundation, the Special Collections Division of the Chicago Public Library transferred and processed the material in July of 1989.
The Clarence S. Darrow Papers are available to the public for research in the Special Collections and Preservation Division Reading Room on the 9th floor of the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center, 400 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60605. The collection does not circulate, although photocopy and photoreproduction services are available depending upon the condition of the original materials. First time patrons to Special Collections must present photo identification and complete a Reader Registration Form. Telephone inquiries on this collection and other Special Collections holdings can be directed to 312-747-4875.
Some duplicate material and photocopied material is available at the Woodlawn Branch of the Chicago Public Library.
BOX 1Series I: Personal Papers
1. Correspondence, deeds, warranties; 1891, 1938Series II: Big Blue Book Series 2. B-18 Resist not evil
3. B-20 Clarence Darrow’s plea in defense. . .Loeb & Leopold
4. B-24 An eye for an eye
5. B-29 Clarence Darrow’s two great trials
Series III: Little Blue Book Series
6. # 53 Insects and men: instinct and reason
7. # 829 Voltaire: a lecture
8. # 883 Debate on capital punishment
9. # 884 Debate on prohibition
10. # 910 Is life worth living?
11. # 911 Is the human race getting anywhere?
12. # 933 The skeleton in the closet
13. # 934 Realism in literature
14. # 974 The ordeal of Prohibition
Series IV: Journal Publications
15. "Capital punishment? No it fails to get a crime’s causes," The Rotarion (XLIII:5, 1933 Nov, pp. 14-16).
16. "The Lord’s Day Alliance," Plain Talk (II:3, 1928 Mar).
17. Plea of Clarence Darrow in his own defense (1912)
18. Plea of Clarence Darrow in defense of. . .Loeb & Leopold (Chicago: Ralph Fletcher Seymour, ).
19. Resolved: That the human will is free (Debate: George Foster vs. Clarence Darrow, 1918 Apr 7).
20. Unity (CII:1, 1928 Sep. 10, pp. 16-17).
21. Unity (CXXI:6, 1938 May 16).
22. "Who is the farmer’s friend?" Plain Talk (V:5, 1929 Nov).
23. "The war on modern science," The Modern World (I:10, 1927 July, pp. 301-3).
Series V: Newsclippings
1. Newsclippings; 1937, 1956, n.d.
See also Oversize 1 and Oversize 2
Series VI: Reports
National Recovery Review Board: Reports to the President of the United States
2. First report; 1935
3. Second report; 1935
4. Third report; 1935
Portrait & Family Photographs
1.1 Clarence Darrow, portrait [See also: Photographs of Darrow’s home in Lawndale: LCCC 1.397, 1.398]