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Archive of Arthur Lehman Goodhart


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Goodhart's papers reflect the diversity of his interests, which are documented in abundance. The long run of general correspondence, arranged chronologically, includes prominent legal, academic and political names from both sides of the Atlantic. Frequently recurring correspondents have been removed from this sequence to form their own Special category. These correspondents, and others from the general sequence, also feature in the Subject Files which follow, containing both correspondence and papers. Most of these files date from Goodhart's years as Master of University College, and do not fall easily into any pattern of arrangement. They have been divided into broad general categories and arranged alphabetically within each, although in many cases a file could have been listed under more than one heading. Inverted commas round a file title denote that the file was created and named by Goodhart (or his secretary) and found intact; other titles apply to other groupings of papers found or brought together during the course of sorting the collection. Letters relating in part to subjects represented in these files are also to be found among the general correspondence.

Following these sections are Goodhart's literary and academic papers, which cover a broad range of subjects, and are by and large arranged chronologically, except for papers on the Warren Commission, the Middle East and the Watergate scandal, subjects which occupied Goodhart in his later years and which have been kept together. A set of BBC records of a lecture series 'The Migration of the Common Law', including a lecture by Goodhart, which was published under the same title in 1960 under Goodhart's editorship, has been removed from the papers and given the shelfmark Discs B 268.

The remainder of the collection consists of Press Cuttings, Personal Papers, Family Papers, Photographs and miscellaneous manuscripts of other people, including sections of Sir William Searle Holdsworth's A History of English Law, volumes 13-16 of which Goodhart edited with H.G. Hanbury after Holdsworth's death. Some family letters occur in the subject files, while a few family correspondents appear in the general correspondence rather than the family papers; Goodhart had a large extended family, and only major family correspondents have been separated into their own sequence. In this section there are also papers of Cecily Goodhart and of Goodhart's three sons, Sir Philip, Sir William and Professor Charles Goodhart, who gave the papers to the Bodleian in 1980. Two autograph letters (by Sir James Mackintosh and Sir Thomas Noon Talfourd) probably bought by Goodhart from Maggs Bros. about 1930, are now MS. Eng. c. 2819, fols. 66-71.

The cataloguing of this collection was one of the projects made possible by generous funding from the Hamlyn Foundation.


  • Creation: 1891-1978


34.54 Linear metres (314 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. b. 2040, fols. 1-2].

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Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. b. 2040, c. 2821-3113, d. 2373-2384, e. 2730-2731; Photogr. a. 3, b. 9, c. 20-23, e. 2(R)

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15057


Papers of Arthur Lehman Goodhart (1891-1978), Master of University College, Oxford, and editor of the Law Quarterly Review

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Lehman Goodhart (1891-1978) was born in New York City, the son of a prominent Wall Street stockbroker and the nephew on his mother's side of Herbert Lehman, governor of New York and later senator, and of Irving Lehman, chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals. He was educated at Hotchkiss School and Yale University, from which he graduated with distinction, and in 1912 came to England to study at Trinity College, Cambridge. His original intention was to read economics, but being advised against having J. Maynard Keynes as a tutor, he chose law instead, thereby laying the foundations of what was to be a distinguished legal career in this country. After the outbreak of the First World War, he returned to New York and practised law there until the United States entered the war, when he returned to Europe as a member of the American forces and by chance renewed his acquaintance with his former law tutor at Trinity, Henry Hollond, who encouraged him to return to Cambridge after the war. In 1919, therefore, Goodhart accepted an appointment as a fellow of Corpus Christi College and University lecturer in law. In 1921 he helped to found the Cambridge Law Journal.His skilled editorship of the Journalled to his replacing Sir Frederick Pollock, at the latter's behest, as editor of the prestigious Law Quarterly Reviewin 1926, a position he held for fifty years. His main interest lay in the common law, but at Cambridge he found himself lecturing in jurisprudence, and thus was led to Oxford in 1931 when the Chair of Jurisprudence (attached to University College) became vacant. He gave up the Chair in 1951 on his appointment as Master of University College, serving, as the first American to head an Oxbridge college, until 1963, but even after his retirement he maintained firm links with the college, which he and his family endowed handsomely. He also continued to write about the law, and was much in demand as a lecturer on both sides of the Atlantic.

Goodhart also made a reputation as a great exponent of Anglo-American friendship and co-operation, which was reflected in his own life and career. In 1924 he married an English wife, Cecily Carter, and although he made regular and frequent visits to the United States and maintained firm links with his American contacts, England provided the main arena for his activities. He spent the war years largely in England, where he worked hard promoting the British cause among his countrymen, and in 1948 he was made an honorary KBE in recognition of 'outstanding services in the common interests of our two countries' (MS. Eng. c. 2836, fol. 2), services which continued throughout his life. He always remained an American citizen, but this did not prevent him from serving from 1940 to 1951 as Chairman of the Southern Region Local Price Regulation Committee and on many other important committees on this side of the Atlantic during his career, among them the Royal Commission on the Police and innumerable legal committees. In 1938 he was made an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln's Inn and in 1943 a King's Counsel, only the second American ever to be so distinguished, and he was honoured by a great number of universities in the English-speaking world.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were given to the Bodleian Library in 1980.

Catalogue of the archive of Arthur Lehman Goodhart (1891-1978)
Ruth Burchnall
Original catalogue 1993, EAD version 2000
Language of description
Script of description
The cataloguing of this collection was one of the projects made possible by generous funding from the Hamlyn Foundation. Conversion to EAD was supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom