Oliver Wendell Holmes: Sage of the Supreme Court

By G. Edward White | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

In December 1927, when Holmes was 86 years old, in his 25th year as a justice of the Supreme Court, and in his 45th year as a judge, he received a letter from Felix Frankfurter, who was 46 at the time and a member of the faculty at Harvard Law School. Frankfurter had, ever since 1912, made it a habit of writing to Holmes on his birthday and other celebratory moments. His letter read as follows:

On Thursday the Court and you are celebrat-
ing your silver wedding anniversary—the date of
taking your seat being the effective date. And what
a quarter of a century it has been. Its achievement
will remain golden as long as the history of your
court and of our country will endure.

And now for the beginning of the second
quarter century.

The letter was characteristic of the tone Frankfurter adopted in letters to Holmes, a tone that had been established when Frankfurter had first sought out Holmes’s company as a 31-year-old lawyer in Washington in 1912. It was a tone of effusive flattery, of grandiose claims for

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Oliver Wendell Holmes: Sage of the Supreme Court
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Prologue- the 90Th-Birthday Address 7
  • Chapter 1 - The Family Legacy 13
  • Chapter 2 - Our Hearts Were Touched with Fire- The Civil War Years 25
  • Chapter 3 - The Practical Struggle of Life- Becoming a Lawyer and a Judge 35
  • Chapter 4 - The Quiet Years 57
  • Chapter 5 - A More Important and More Visible Court 69
  • Chapter 6 - A New and Solemn Volume Opens 79
  • Chapter 7 - An Unlikely Reformer 94
  • Chapter 8 - The Yankee from Olympus 106
  • Chapter 9 - Toward Melancholy- The Retirement Years 126
  • Epilogue 138
  • Chronology 143
  • Further Reading 145
  • Index 147
  • Acknowledgments 151
  • Picture Credits 153
  • Text Credits 155
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