Milton R. Konvitz Liberian Project Files

Collection Number: /3033

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Milton R. Konvitz Liberian Project Files,
Collection Number:
/3033
Creator:
Konvitz, Milton R.
Quantity:
4 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Professor Konvitz's files regarding the drawing up of the official body of statutory laws for the Republic of Liberia.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

March 12, 1908 - September 5, 2003
Milton Konvitz, a Cornell University faculty member and authority on constitutional and labor law, and civil and human rights, died Sept. 5 at the age of 95. Konvitz was a founding faculty member in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations from 1946 until his retirement in 1973. He was also a professor in Cornell's Law School.
Konvitz is perhaps best known for his American Ideals course, which he taught to more than 8,000 students over the course of his career, never giving the same lecture twice. "I saw the U.S. Constitution as it has been interpreted as a magnificent depository of our ideals, both individual and social," he said. His course exposed students to the great intellectual thinkers and philosophers throughout history whose writings had shaped those ideals. They included Sophocles, whose play Antigone is Cornell's New Student Reading Project this year. One student he influenced was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Cornell Class of 1954, who considers him a mentor.
At Cornell Konvitz also was a founder of the university's Department of Near Eastern Studies and Program of Jewish Studies. "I felt it was essential for a college interested in the humanities not to leave out Hebrew language and literature," he said. "And the knowledge of Jewish history, which began 4,000 years ago and has contributed to civilization no less than Greek, Roman or English history, is important to today's students -Jewish and non-Jewish." He often hosted students at his Ithaca home and helped start the first Kosher dining option at Cornell, Young Israel House.
In addition, for nearly 30 years he directed the Liberian Codification Project, which drew up the official body of statutory laws that is still in force in the Republic of Liberia today, despite the current political upheaval there. Konvitz also edited the opinions of Liberia's Supreme Court and received the Grand Band of the Order of the Star of Africa, the highest award given to foreigners, as well as an honorary degree from the University of Liberia, one of seven honorary degrees he received in his lifetime.
Active as a scholar and writer until his death, he wrote books and articles on American constitutional law that won him wide recognition and were cited in U.S. Supreme Court opinions. Among his nine books is Fundamental Liberties of a Free People: Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, which was republished earlier this year with an expanded introduction by him that is strongly critical of the Rehnquist Supreme Court. Other books include A Century of Civil Rights (1983) and Judaism and Human Rights (2nd ed. 2001). He also edited a dozen volumes, including two on American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose thinking shaped his views. One Emersonian idea he absorbed was that readers give life to books, which Konvitz recast as follows: "It is in their hearing that students bring life to the words, the thoughts, the teacher."
Konvitz was born in Safed, Palestine (now Israel ), in 1908, the son of a rabbi. He immigrated to the United States in 1915 and became a naturalized citizen in 1926. He received a bachelor's degree in 1929 and a law degree in 1930, both from New York University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Cornell in 1933. Before joining Cornell's faculty, he was one of three assistant general counsels to Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for three years.
He is survived by his wife, Mary, of Oakhurst, N.J.; a brother, Phillip, of Elberon, N.J.; a son and daughter-in-law, Josef and Isa, of Paris, France; and two grandsons, Eli and Ezra. Josef Konvitz, who grew up in Ithaca, is now an official at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Konvitz, Milton R. (Milton Ridvas), 1908-2003

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
Milton R. Konvitz Liberian Project Files #/3033. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
/4039: Milton R. Konvitz Papers

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1955
Box 1 Folder 2 1953
Box 1 Folder 3 1953
Box 1 Folder 3 1954
Box 1 Folder 4 1953
Box 1 Folder 5 1953
Box 1 Folder 6
Box 1 Folder 7 1953
Box 1 Folder 8 1955
Box 1 Folder 9 1955
Box 1 Folder 10 1955
Box 1 Folder 11 1955
Box 1 Folder 12 1955
Box 1 Folder 13 1955
Box 1 Folder 14 1954
Box 1 Folder 15 1960
Box 1 Folder 16 1967
Box 1 Folder 17 1962-1963
Box 1 Folder 18
Box 1 Folder 19 1962
2 of 2
Box 2 Folder 1 1955
Box 2 Folder 2 1955
Box 2 Folder 3 1955
Box 2 Folder 4 1954
Box 2 Folder 5 1954
2 of 2
Box 2 Folder 6 1954
Box 2 Folder 7 1955
Box 2 Folder 8
Box 2 Folder 9 1955
Box 2 Folder 10 1955
2 of 2
Box 2 Folder 11 1955
Box 2 Folder 12 1955
Box 2 Folder 13 1954
Box 2 Folder 14 1954
Box 2 Folder 15 1955
Box 2 Folder 16 1954
Box 2 Folder 17 1954
2 of 2
Box 2 Folder 18 1954
Box 2 Folder 19 1953
Box 2 Folder 20 1953
Box 2 Folder 21 1954
Box 2 Folder 22 1954
Box 2 Folder 23 1955
Box 2 Folder 24 1955
Box 2 Folder 25 1954
Box 2 Folder 26 1955
Box 2 Folder 27 1954
Box 2 Folder 28 1954
Box 2 Folder 29 1955
Box 2 Folder 30 1954
Box 2 Folder 31 1955
Box 2 Folder 32 1955
Box 2 Folder 33 1955
Box 3 Folder 1
1 of 2
Box 3 Folder 2
2 of 2
Box 3 Folder 3
Box 3 Folder 4 1955
Box 3 Folder 5 1955
Box 3 Folder 6 1955
Box 3 Folder 7
Box 3 Folder 8
Box 3 Folder 9 1955
Box 3 Folder 10 1953
Box 3 Folder 11 1955
Box 3 Folder 12
volume 1
Box 3 Folder 13
Box 3 Folder 14 1954
Box 3 Folder 15 1954
Box 3 Folder 16 1955
Box 3 Folder 17 1954
Box 3 Folder 18
Box 3 Folder 19 1955
Box 3 Folder 20 1954
Box 3 Folder 21 1954
Box 3 Folder 22 1955
Box 3 Folder 23
Box 3 Folder 24 1954
Box 3 Folder 25 1954
Box 3 Folder 26 1955
Box 3 Folder 27 1954
Box 3 Folder 28 1954
Box 3 Folder 29 1954
Box 3 Folder 30 1955
Box 3 Folder 31 1955
Box 3 Folder 32 1954
Box 3 Folder 33 1954
Box 3 Folder 34 1954
Box 3 Folder 35 1955
Box 3 Folder 36 1955
Box 3 Folder 37 1955
Box 3 Folder 38 1954
Box 3 Folder 39 1954
Box 3 Folder 40 1955
Box 3 Folder 41 1955
Box 3 Folder 42 1955
Box 3 Folder 43 1955
Box 3 Folder 44 1955
Box 3 Folder 45 1955
Box 3 Folder 46
Box 3 Folder 47 1955
Box 3 Folder 48 1955
Box 3 Folder 48 1955
Box 3 Folder 49
as amended through 1951
Box 4 Folder 1
Box 4 Folder 2
Box 4 Folder 3
Box 4 Folder 4
Box 4 Folder 5
Box 4 Folder 6
Box 4 Folder 7
Box 4 Folder 8
Box 4 Folder 9
Box 4 Folder 10
Box 4 Folder 11
Box 4 Folder 12
Box 4 Folder 13
Box 4 Folder 14
Box 4 Folder 15
Box 4 Folder 16
Box 4 Folder 17
Box 4 Folder 18
Box 4 Folder 19
Box 4 Folder 20
Box 4 Folder 21
Box 4 Folder 22
Box 4 Folder 23
Box 4 Folder 24
Box 4 Folder 25
Box 4 Folder 26
Box 4 Folder 27
Box 4 Folder 28
Box 4 Folder 29
Box 4 Folder 30
Box 4 Folder 31
Box 4 Folder 32
Box 4 Folder 33
Box 4 Folder 34
Box 4 Folder 35
Box 4 Folder 36
Box 4 Folder 37
Box 4 Folder 38
Box 4 Folder 39
Box 4 Folder 40