Alan Dershowitz Donates His Papers to Brooklyn College

Dershowitz (from the 1959 Brooklyn College yearbook) was president of Executive Council, the Forensic Society, and captain of the debate team.

Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, will return to Brooklyn College on September 23 to donate his papers to the Brooklyn College Library. Dershowitz, a 1959 graduate of Brooklyn College and a recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the College in 2001, is America's best-known civil rights attorney and one of the most outspoken legal thinkers of our time.

   At 12:30 pm, in the Woody Tanger Auditorium of the Brooklyn College Library, Professor Dershowitz will join Brooklyn College President Christoph M. Kimmich and Chief Librarian Barbra Higginbotham to hold a press conference formally announcing this prestigious donation.

   "I often wonder what my life would have been like had I not been admitted to Brooklyn College," Dershowitz said. "It offered me the only opportunity to get an excellent education at no cost, laying the foundation for my entire professional career. I am pleased to be able to give my papers to Brooklyn College in recognition of all that the institution has done for me."

   The collected papers comprise over a thousand boxes of memos, manuscripts, letters, legal documents, clippings and artifacts that chronicle the life of a man who has rarely been at loss for an opinion or shied away from controversy. From his early days at Harvard Law School, where he was appointed full professor at age 28 (the youngest in the school's history), Dershowitz has engaged the great issues of our time. His archives contain the history of hundreds of legal, political, and social debates, including his work on the O.J. Simpson murder trial, the 2 Live Crew obscenity case, and the appeal of Claus von Bulow's attempted murder conviction—a high-profile case that became the basis of the movie Reversal of Fortune, with actor Ron Silver playing the part of the tenacious professor. A significant amount of material in the collection deals with Jewish-American issues—Dershowitz's nineteenth and most recent book, The Case For Israel, is a vigorous defense in classic legal fashion of Israel's right to exist.

Dershowitz and Brooklyn College Archivist Tony Cucchiara in one of the two rooms in the library containing forty years of the Harvard professor's papers.

   "The Dershowitz papers are a tremendous addition to the Brooklyn College Library and will attract researchers and scholars for years to come," said President Kimmich. "This is also a very special honor for the College, coming as it does from one of our most distinguished alumni."

   According to the Brooklyn College Archivist Professor Tony Cucchiara, the bulk of the collection—currently filling two rooms in the Library—will take approximately three years to be processed before it is available to researchers. Additional material from Professor Dershowitz will be forwarded to the library in the coming years.



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