The public papers of Attorney General Homer Cummings, together with those of the President and of other officers in policy-making positions in the federal government, will be necessary to the presentation of an accurate picture of the development of governmental agencies to deal both with the depression which began in 1929 and with permanent reforms for which there was a crying need. We have been negligent in the preservation and publication of such records in times past. Even in the case of Presidents, only formal records have been consistently preserved, save as selected papers have been chosen and published from collections remaining after a lapse of years. The plan for the immediate publication of a number of the important papers of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is unique, and is not likely to be extended to the officers of the cabinet. Nothing like a complete collection of the papers of any cabinet member, at least in recent years, is available. This volume of selected papers of the man who was Attorney General from 1933 to 1939 is chosen from a number of sources and types of materials as described in the Introduction. It suggests the value of a more extended collection if such were possible, and the value of similar collections of the papers of other statesmen of the period.
Many persons have aided in the selection and preparation of materials for this publication. To all of them the gratitude of the editor is expressed. Attorney General Cummings has taken no part in the selection or arrangement of materials or in the drafting of editorial notes to explain their significance. The preparation of the book indeed has been arranged entirely without his knowledge, though some months ago he permitted the editor to have free use of all files for the study of current legal development and administration.
CARL BRENT SWISHER
Baltimore, Maryland January 3, 1939