Wiley W. Manuel Papers MSS.1102

Finding aid prepared by Martha Noble and Noah Pollaczek, California Judicial Center Library, Special Collections and Archives
California Judicial Center Library, Special Collections and Archives
455 Golden Gate Avenue
Room 4617
San Francisco, CA, 94102-7013
April 2013

Title: Wiley W. Manuel papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1102
Contributing Institution: California Judicial Center Library, Special Collections and Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 13.12 Cubic feet (2 cartons, 8 flat storage boxes, plus personal effects)
Date (inclusive): 1939-2010, bulk 1939-1981
Abstract: Personal and professional papers of the Honorable Wiley W. Manuel, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court from 1977 to 1981. Materials date from 1939 through 2010.
creator: Manuel, Wiley W.


The Wiley W. Manuel papers are open to researchers upon approval of written request. Requests should be submitted to: California Judicial Center Library, Special Collections and Archives, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, Room 4617, San Francisco, CA, 94102-7013, or by e-mail to archives@jud.ca.gov.

Conditions Governing Use

Use must comply with all applicable California and federal statutes and regulations, and with such rules and procedures as the California Judicial Center Library may adopt and promulgate. The security and safety of material in the collections must be assured at all times. Any use of materials or other behavior that creates risk of damage or loss to materials in the collections is prohibited and will result in immediate withdrawal of permission to use the collections. Permission to copy materials in Special Collections and Archives must be requested in advance and in writing.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Wiley W. Manuel papers, MSS.1102, California Judicial Center Library, Special Collections and Archives.

Acquisition Information

Received from Alameda County Commissioner Charles Smiley on November 16, 2011 and December 19, 2011.

Biographical Note

Born on August 28, 1927 in Oakland, California, Justice Wiley William Manuel was the first African American appointed to the California Supreme Court. He received his early education in Berkeley, California and served in the U.S. Army from February 1946 to May 1947. In 1951 he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in economics. In 1953 he graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where he served as editor-in-chief of the Hastings Law Journal. Following graduation, he served for 23 years with the California Department of Justice as a deputy attorney general, assistant attorney general and chief assistant attorney general in the San Francisco Office.
Justice Manuel was appointed to the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda in 1976. In February 1977 he was appointed to the California Supreme Court by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and was elected by the voters to a twelve-year term in November 1978. His death from cancer came in January 1981.
To honor his life of dedication to public service, hard work and equal justice for all, African-American lawyers in Sacramento County renamed their association as the Wiley W. Manuel Bar Association. The Wiley W. Manuel Law Foundation, established in 1982, provides scholarships and career motivation for students in Northern California interested in pursuing a legal career. The Wiley W. Manuel Certificate, established in 1989 by the State Bar of California, is awarded to lawyers, law students, paralegals, and secretaries who volunteer their time and expertise on behalf of low-income clients.
The Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland is headquarters for Departments 101-115 of the Superior Court in Alameda County.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Wiley W. Manuel papers consist of 12 cubic feet of materials documenting the personal, academic, and professional life of the California Supreme Court’s first African-American Justice. Materials date from 1939 through 2010. Awards, certificates, citations, memorials and resolutions honoring Justice Manuel comprise the bulk of the collection. His accomplishments and life of service are also reflected in writings by family members. The collection contains diplomas and other materials documenting his academic history, including a series of lecture notes, briefs, and summaries he created while he was a student at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. A smaller portion of the collection consists of photographs, correspondence, notes and other materials produced during his tenure in the Office of the California Attorney General, from 1953 through 1976, and his service on the California Supreme Court, from 1977 to 1981. Justice Manuel’s robe and gavel are among the non-textual materials included in the collection.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

California. Supreme Court.
Justice, Administration of--California