Milton Konvitz Personal Correspondence

Collection Number: /4241

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Milton Konvitz Personal Correspondence, 1941-2003
Collection Number:
/4241
Creator:
Konvitz, Milton
Quantity:
2.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Correspondence.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
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
New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Form and Genre Terms:
Correspondence.


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 Konvitz Personal Correspondence #/4241. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
/4261m: "Some Aspects of Negro-Jewish Relationships in Detroit, Michigan" Manuscript
/4085: Milton R. Konvitz Additional Papers
/4039 AV: Milton R. Konvitz American Ideals Lectures Audio-Visual Materials
/4039 L: Milton R. Konvitz Liberian Codification Project
/3033: Milton R. Konvitz Liberian Project Files
/4039: Milton R. Konvitz Papers
/4039 B: Milton R. Konvitz Additional Papers
/4220m: Milton Konvitz Additional Papers
/4242 AV: Milton Konvitz Memorial Service Audio-Visual Materials
/4039 AV: Milton R. Konvitz American Ideals Lectures Audio-Visual Materials
/4315 G: ILR School Milton Konvitz Memorial Lecture Posters
SERIES LIST

Series I. Personal Correspondence
Series II. Publications

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1973-1975
Box 1 Folder 2 1989
11/7/1989
Box 1 Folder 3
Box 1 Folder 4
Box 1 Folder 5 1971-1974
Box 1 Folder 6 1997-1998
7/21/97 - 9/23/98
Box 1 Folder 7 1998
April - May 1998
Box 1 Folder 8 1997-1998
Box 1 Folder 9 1946-2003
6/24/46 - 4/15/03
Box 1 Folder 10 1998
5/18/1998
Box 1 Folder 11 1996
11/4/1996
Box 1 Folder 12 2001-2002
7/12/01 - 9/17/02
Box 1 Folder 13 1990-2003
8/14/1990 - 3/20/03
Box 1 Folder 14 2003
Box 1 Folder 15 1991-1998
Box 1 Folder 16 1989
1/30/1989
Box 1 Folder 17 1993-2001
1/12/1993 - 3/12/2001
Box 1 Folder 18 1999-2002
August 1999 - January 2002
Box 1 Folder 19 1997-2002
Box 1 Folder 20 1989-2001
10/11/1989 - 6/18/2001
Box 1 Folder 21 1966
Box 1 Folder 22 1998
5/9/1998 - 5/18/1998
Box 1 Folder 23 1988-1996
3/24/1988 - 5/30/1996
Box 1 Folder 24 1987-2001
October 1987 - April 2001
Box 1 Folder 25 1989-1997
6/89 - 4 /97
Box 1 Folder 26 1990-2001
11/6/1990 - 4/10/2001
Box 1 Folder 27 1984-1998
10/22/1984 - 4/21/1998
Box 1 Folder 28 1999
March - July 1999
Box 1 Folder 29 1989-1991
October 1989 - October 1991
Box 1 Folder 30 1941-2000
9/12/41 - 8/7/00
Box 1 Folder 31 1996-1998
4/3/1996 - 10/5/1998
Box 1 Folder 32 1999-2000
Box 1 Folder 33 1999-2001
Box 1 Folder 34 1990-2001
May 1990 - April 2001
Box 1 Folder 35 1993-1995
Box 1 Folder 36 1990-2000
Box 1 Folder 37 1997-2002
5/1/1997 - 12/3/2002
Box 2 Folder 1 1972-1993
1/10/1972 - 5/28/1993
Box 2 Folder 2 1991-2001
9/29/1991 - 11/25/2001
Box 2 Folder 3 1987-1998
12/10/1987 - 11/5/1998
Box 2 Folder 4 1990-2003
9/28/1990 - 4/22/2003
Box 2 Folder 5
Box 2 Folder 6 2001-2002
10/8/01 - 8/12/02
Box 2 Folder 7 1990-2001
1/12/1990 - 6/3/2001
Box 2 Folder 8 1997
Box 2 Folder 9 1980-1995
1/7/1980 - 12/15/1995
Box 2 Folder 10 1993-1998
4/93 - 5/98
Box 2 Folder 11 1987-1995
5/22/1987 - 6/13/1995
Box 2 Folder 12 1970-1990
12/31/1970 - 4/23/1990
Box 2 Folder 13 2003
January - April 2003
Box 2 Folder 14
Box 2 Folder 15 2001
3/21/2001
Box 2 Folder 16 1999-2001
8/7/99 - 1/17/2001
Box 2 Folder 17 1991-1996
1/30/1991 - 2/11/1996
Box 2 Folder 18 1989-2002
11/26/1989 - 5/31/2002
Box 2 Folder 19
Box 2 Folder 20 1983-1990
9/12/1983 - 3/25/1990
Box 2 Folder 21 1987-1993
8/6/1987 - 7/8/1993
Box 2 Folder 22 1966-2000
2/28/1966 - 2/9/2000
Box 2 Folder 23
Box 2 Folder 24 1945-1990
3/10/1945 - 9/24/1990
Box 2 Folder 25 1990-1998
Box 2 Folder 26 1999-2003
1/22/99 - 4/9/03
Box 2 Folder 27 1999-2003
6/12/99 - 4/30/03
Box 2 Folder 28 1950-1999
11/9/50 - 8/8/99
Box 2 Folder 29 1990-2003
7/3/90 - 6/11/03
Box 2 Folder 30 1986
May-86
Box 2 Folder 31 1980-1986
7/17/80 - 7/30/86
Box 2 Folder 32 1995-2003
5/12/95 - 3/5/03
Box 2 Folder 33 1990-2002
6/30/90 - 10/16/02
Box 2 Folder 34 1989-2001
9/6/89 - 3/28/01
Box 2 Folder 35 1991-2003
1/9/91 - 6/4/03
Box 2 Folder 36 1992-1997
Box 2 Folder 37 1988-2003
Box 3 Folder 1 1954
One publication with notes to Prof. Konvitz
Box 3 Folder 2 1964
Two publications with notes to Prof. Konvitz
Box 3 Folder 3 1968-1969
Four publications with notes to Prof. Konvitz
Box 3 Folder 4 1973-1978
Four publications with notes to Prof. Konvitz
Box 3 Folder 5 1981
One publication with notes to Prof. Konvitz
Box 3 Folder 6 1990-1995
Six publications with notes to Prof. Konvitz. One is in Hebrew.
Box 3 Folder 7
Two publications with notes to Prof. Konvitz, both are from the Berman Memorial Lecture Series, Queens College, by Emanuel Rackman. Also includes a greeting card and circular letter.