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Inventory of the Walter R. Ely Jr. Papers
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Walter R. Ely Jr. Papers
    Extent: 68 cartons and transfer cases
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Acquired in 1990 from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Pasadena Office.


    Uncatalogued. Generally in good condition.


    Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL. 

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Walter R. Ely Jr. Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Scope and Content

    The Ely Collection consists of the papers (68 cartons and transfer cases) of United States Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Walter R. Ely, past President of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and prominent Los Angeles attorney. Roughly one-third of the collection consists of over 2000 U.S. Circuit Court case files for the period 1971-1984, including private internal memoranda between Ely and such prominent fellow justices as Arthur Kennedy (now on the Supreme Court) and Shirley Hufstedler. Included are many cases with both local significance and larger regional or national impact, with a random check finding topics such as offshore drilling, censorship ("The Beard"), race relations and education (Los Angeles NAACP vs. California Department of Education), immigration (numerous INS cases), labor relations (Teamsters; NLRB cases), feminism (NOW), and financial fraud (Equity Funding; Bernard Cornfeld), with private comments by the justices not only on the cases but also on Supreme Court behavior, personnel, etc. In addition, there is material on the Committee on Standards of Judicial Administration, the Criminal Justice Act of 1964, and the Bankruptcy Appeals Panel in the early 1980s. Before being appointed to the bench, Walter Ely was a prominent and politically active lawyer in Los Angeles. There is extensive documentation of his involvement with the Los Angeles County Bar Association, of which he was president in 1962, the California Conference of State Bar Delegates, and the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, not to mention his own personal practice. He was also an active Democrat, and there is material on California politics for 1956-1964, especially the election campaigns of Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, Attorney General Stanley Mosk, Richard Richards, and others in 1962.
    Also included are the professional and personal papers of W.R. Ely Sr., a prominent lawyer in Abilene, Texas, and a member of the Texas State Highway Commission in the early 1930s. The bulk of the extensive documentation is from the 1940s to the 1970s, and deals with his diverse legal practice, oil and gas leases, and his own personal finances. There is some correspondence dealing with political affairs in Texas.