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Manley O. Hudson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSC-014

Content Description

The Manley O. Hudson Papers document the professional activities and interests of a prominent international lawyer during the last ten years of his career. The papers include background materials on several important legal cases with which he was involved as a consultant. They also contain materials relating to his tenure as a professor of international law at the Naval War College.

The collection falls naturally into three well-defined series: Legal Case Files, Subject Files and Miscellany. The Legal Case Files consist of correspondence, briefs, motions, reports, compilations of laws and published articles regarding the California Tidelands Case (1941-1952), which was argued before the Supreme Court, the formulation of a United States Oil Policy during World War II, and the Anglo-Egyptian dispute (1947) concerning the purported violation of Egypt's sovereignty by Great Britain, which ultimately went before the United Nations Security Council. The Subject Files portion of the collection contains correspondence, memoranda, notes and official organizational reports regarding the publication of the seventh volume of International Legislation and the study of international law at the Naval War College. The third series, Miscellany, consists of career-related ephemera, including newspaper clippings, programs and photocopies of articles.


  • 1923 - 1954


Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to all researchers, unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain, unless otherwise noted.

Biographical Note

Manley O. Hudson's career as a scholar and jurist in international law spanned over four decades. He developed an interest in international law while serving as technical adviser to the American Commission at the Paris Peace Conference in 1918. He had worked previously with the House Commission, gathering data for the Peace Conference and attempting to win support for President Wilson's peace objectives. In Paris he was tasked with drafting articles bearing on arbitration. One year later, in 1919, he received a temporary appointment to the legal section of the Secretariat of the League of Nations, where he drafted plans for a Permanent Court of International Justice.

Hudson returned to the United States in 1921 and resumed his teaching duties at Harvard Law School, an appointment he had received in 1919. His scholarly interests in the field of international law were now well-established, the result of his practical experience in Europe, and in 1923 he was appointed to the prestigious Bemis Chair of International Law, a position he held until his retirement in 1954.

From 1920 through 1924, Hudson worked tirelessly to educate the American public regarding the advantages of League membership and participation. But isolationist sentiment and the nation's political climate militated against United States membership. In 1924 Hudson's activity on behalf of the League was overshadowed by his efforts to draw the United States into the newly created Permanent Court of International Justice. He pressed for United States Court membership by political means, by organizing the legal profession, by writing countless articles for professional journals and by speaking before civic organizations. His efforts, however, did not reverse anti-court sentiment, and the United States did not become a member of that body until 1935.

Hudson's greatest scholarly productivity occurred during the 1920s and 1930s. He directed the Research in International Law project at Harvard, which attempted to codify legislation on a variety of international law topics, and also held numerous international law lectureships at Cornell, Calcutta University and the Universities of Denver, Idaho and Louisiana. Finally, he produced his major scholarly works: The Permanent Court of International Justice and the Question of American Participation, the multi-volume International Legislation, World Court Reports and The World Court. In 1924, he was appointed to the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law to which he was a major contributor. He published, in toto, over 400 books and articles on legal topics.

During the nineteen forties Hudson turned his attention to the creation of an International Court of Justice as a successor to the pre-war Permanent Court of International Justice. He worked with both legalists and politicians to formulate and coalesce American legal and professional opinion in support of a World Court as a judicial arm of the newly formed United Nations. Fortunately, the experiences of a Second World War had created a burgeoning internationalist sentiment, and the United States lent its support to the creation of the court. The International Court was formally approved by the San Francisco United Nations Conference in 1945. Although Hudson was not appointed to the bench of the Court, he continued his labors as its chronicler during the post-war years.

In 1946, Hudson resigned as a member of the Permanent Court of International Justice and accepted a staff position as an associate in international law and international relations at the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He was responsible for teaching the international law course, preparing and editing the International Law Situations (Blue Books) and acting as a consultant on international law matters. His greatest contribution to the College's international law program lay in upgrading the basic course of study and in expanding the Blue Book series to include situations and problems relevant to the post-war era. Hudson's influence led to the creation of the College's first chair of international law in 1953.

During the 1940s and 1950s Judge Hudson served as a consultant in several prominent national and international law cases. He was a legal adviser in the California Tidelands Case (1941-1952), which came before the Supreme Court, and the Anglo-Egyptian Dispute of 1947 involving the purported violation of Egypt's sovereignty by Great Britain. He also worked to draft a United States foreign oil policy during World War II.

Hudson retired from the Harvard Law School faculty in 1954 due to poor health. He died in Cambridge in 1960 and was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery. Throughout his life and career Manley 0. Hudson's energies were directed toward developing a workable system of international law and organization to govern relations among nations and men. In this he achieved some success. A World Court, dedicated to resolving a multitude of complex international law situations, existed, in part, because of his public advocacy of a means of international arbitration and his publications on the issue. His legacy lay in the institution he helped to create and in his efforts to shape American attitudes on international law and organization. His contributions were duly recognized by his peers; in 1956 he was honored by the American Society of International Law as the first recipient of the Manley O. Hudson gold medal, the Society's highest award. This was a fitting capstone to a life-long career in international jurisprudence.

Career Outline

Born, May 19, St. Peters, Missouri
William Jewell College, Liberty, MO, B.A.
William Jewell College, Liberty, MO, M.A.
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, L.L.B.
Columbia Law School, Columbia, Missouri, Faculty
Missouri Peace Society, Secretary
Missouri Law Bulletin, Editor
Missouri Children's Code Commission, Member
Commission on Uniform State Laws for Missouri, Member.
Harvard Law School, S.J.D.
National Conference of Commissions on Uniform State Law, 1918-1919; American Commission to Negotiate Peace, International Law Division.
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., Assistant Professor
League of Nations, Secretariat, Legal Section, Member
Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., Bemis Professor of International Law
American Journal of International Law Editor
Permanent Court of Arbitration, Member
Permanent Court of International Justice, Judge
Naval War College, Newport, RI, Lecturer and Consultant in International Law
United Nations International Law Commission, Member
American Society of International Law, President
Retired, Harvard Law School
Died, April 13, Cambridge, Mass.


13 boxes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers comprise 13 boxes, about 5112 linear feet. They were discovered in an office on the fourth floor of Mahan Hall by the Curator of the College's Naval Historical Collection in 1969 and appear to be the office and working files left behind by Hudson when he held the lectureship in international law from 1946-1952.
Manley O. Hudson papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Naval Historical Collection Repository

US Naval War College
686 Cushing Rd
Newport RI 02841 US