About the Harry A. Blackmun Papers
Harry A. Blackmun was appointed to the Supreme Court
in 1970 by Richard Nixon. In May 1997, Justice Blackmun gave his
papers to the Library of Congress, where they joined the papers of
thirty-eight other justices and chief justices in the Library of
Congress. Because an individual's papers can best yield their riches
when studied in conjunction with other related collections, Justice
Blackmun's decision to place his papers in the Library of Congress
should greatly facilitate historical research. At the time of the
gift, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington stated, "The
papers of the justices are among our most treasured collections.
Our holdings will be considerably enhanced by the Blackmun papers.
We are honored that Justice Blackmun has placed his trust in the
The papers of Harry Andrew Blackmun (1908-1999),
lawyer, judge, and associate justice of the United States Supreme
Court, are housed in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress.
The collection spans the years 1913-2001 with the bulk concentrated
from 1959 to 1994. Although the papers chronicle almost every phase
of Blackmun's judicial career, the bulk of the material highlights
his service as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for
the Eighth Circuit, 1959-1970, and as an associate justice of the
Supreme Court, 1970-1994. There are also a few items documenting
Blackmun's early life as a student at Mechanic Arts High School
in St. Paul, Minnesota, his undergraduate and law school studies
at Harvard University, and his career as a lawyer in private practice
and as resident counsel for the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Association.
The Supreme Court File, 1970-1994, comprising over ninety-five percent
of the collection, documents Blackmun's twenty-four years of
service as an associate justice.
The Blackmun Papers may be viewed in the Manuscript
Reading Room at the Library of Congress. In anticipation of high
research demand, selected materials from the collection have been
digitized and made available at appointed computer workstations within
the Library only. A detailed description of the Blackmun Papers is
available in a finding aid prepared by the Manuscript Division and
can be accessed from the Library’s web site at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/eadmss.ms003030.