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This guide covers: accessing and using the collection, containing manuscripts, printed materials, visual materials, interviews, materials relating to civil rights litigation and legislation, and Howard University School of Law history.

The Archives' goal is to acquire, and make available for public use, manuscripts, printed materials, and visual materials that document the history of the law in general and that of the Howard University School of Law in particular. Specifically, the Archives collect materials relating to civil rights litigation and legislation.

Phineas Indritz Papers
The Archives' most utilized collection is the Phineas Indritz Papers. Mr. Indritz was a Washington area lawyer, who dedicated a good deal of his time to civil rights causes. Much of his papers relate to civil rights cases in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County from the 1940s through the 1990s. This Indritz Papers were processed with the aid of a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.  

The Thomas "Fats" Waller Papers
Thomas "Fats" Waller (1904-1943) was a well known jazz pianist and composer. This small (three cubic feet) collection of Fats Waller materials relate primarily to issues of copyright, royalties and inheritance. Not digitized, future project under review.

Collections in Processing

The Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Collection 

Vernon E. Jordan Jr. , a Howard University School of Law alum, became a leader in the Civil Rights Movements by aiding in the desegregation of the University of Georgia. 

The J. Clay Smith, Jr. Collection
J. Clay Smith is a former dean and professor at the Howard University School of Law, and is one of the foremost scholars on African Americans in the law. This collection largely consists of Smith's vertical file on African Americans in the law. It also contains copies of many of Smith's public speeches, and a small amount of ephemera. This collection is still in processing, and is not yet available for use.

The Allen Mercer Daniel Collection 

Allen Mercer Daniel was the first law librarian at Howard University School of Law.  He served as a law librarian and professor for decades.  Under his leadership, the Law Library developed into a robust institution providing research to Howard University faculty, staff, and students. 

The Archives also houses several other manuscript collections, including the papers of former faculty, EEOC materials, and an extensive historic law book collection.

For more information about using the Archives, or making a donation to the Archives, please contact



© Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Esq. Law Library, Howard University School of Law. 

Requests to republish or adapt this guide should be directed to

Updated: January 2023.