John Finerty papers, 1910-1961

Overview of the Collection

Finerty, John Frederick, 1885-1967
John Finerty papers
1910-1961 (inclusive)
18.75 linear feet, (17 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 525
John Finerty (1885-1967) was an attorney who worked for railroad companies before becoming involved with civil rights cases. The collection consists of case files, general files and personal records.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

UNARRANGED COLLECTION. UNAVAILABLE FOR USE. For more information, please submit a Notice of Interest in Unprocessed Collections

Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical NoteReturn to Top

John Finerty (1885-1967) was born in Chicago and educated at Northwestern University. He was an attorney for railroad companies in the Midwest, and assistant general counsel and special counsel for the U. S. Railroad Administration. After 1927, and beginning with the Sacco-Vanzetti case, he was involved in many civil liberties cases. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union and of the Workers Defense League.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers consist of case files, general files, and a few personal papers.

Case files include Farnsworth (John S.) vs. Sanford, 1940; Mooney (Thomas J.) vs. Holohan, 1937; Rosenberg (Julius and Ethel) vs. United States of America, 1952; Sacco and Vanzetti vs. Hendry, 1927; and Waller (Odell) vs. Youell, 1941.

The Thomas J. Mooney case file includes a full set of motions, briefs, and petitions before the Supreme Court, a transcript of record (13,414 pages) taken in the matter of Mooney's application for a writ of habeas corpus before the California Supreme Court, 1935-1936, and correspondence, 1932-1939, with Mooney, Frank P. Walsh, Roger Baldwin, Murray C. Bernays, George T. Davis, Arthur Garfield Hays, Henry W. Bikle, and Warren K. Billings.

Files on the Rosenberg case include petitions and briefs, transcript of record, affidavit of Harold C. Urey, and a transcript of a meeting of the grievance committee of the Bar Association of New York City in the matter of Emanuel Bloch, attorney for the Rosenbergs. Other cases involve Selena Royle, Kenneth W. Colegrove, and William W. Remington.

General files consist of documents and correspondence, most concerned with civil liberties cases. There is a file of American Civil Liberties Union material on the exclusion of minority parties from the ballot in certain states, 1940-1942. Finerty was special counsel to the Commission of Inquiry into the charges made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, 1937. The papers include transcripts and statements of this commission.

Other files concern Lawrence Dennis, the Dies Committee (House Un-American Activities Committee), the Georgia county unit system, Carlo Tresca, and the Workers Defense League. One file contains minutes, press releases, and correspondence of the Keep America Out of War Congress, Inc., 1941-1942. There is a collection of briefs relating to the railroad cases argued by Finerty before the Interstate Commerce Commission or the Supreme Court.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Finerty Papers, Ax 525, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Civil rights--Cases
  • Civil rights--United States
  • Lawyers--United States

Personal Names

  • Finerty, John Frederick, 1885-1967
  • Rosenberg, Ethel, 1915-1953
  • Rosenberg, Julius, 1918-1953
  • Sacco, Nicola, 1891-1927
  • Vanzetti, Bartolomeo, 1888-1927

Corporate Names

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made Against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, New York, 1937

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Legal documents
  • Legal files
  • Transcripts