Letters of Louis D. Brandeis: Volume I, 1870-1907

Urban Reformer

By Louis D. Brandeis
Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky & David W. Levy

Hardcover : 9780873950787, 610 pages, June 1971

Table of contents


Editorial Foreword and Acknowledgments


Note on Volume I

Chronology, 1856-1907

Key to Letter Source Citations

Editorial Markings

Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, 1870-1907



During his long career of public service, first as a reform-minded lawyer and later as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941) had a profound influence upon American life in this century.

In the words of Max Lerner: "Years from now, when historians can look back and put our time into perspective, they will say that one of its towering figures—more truly great than generals and diplomats, business giants and labor giants, bigger than most of our presidents—was a man called Brandeis. " Other respected authorities have asserted that, except for John Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes, no jurist has exerted so broad and enduring influence upon American jurisprudence as Brandeis.

Now assembled for the first time and planned for publication in a five-volume series are the Brandeis letters. In Vol. 1, (1870-1907): Urban Reformer, are letters written by Brandeis during his first years as a lawyer and social activist. They illuminate, in a day to day way, seemingly small areas of social action which are rarely documented and are so often lost in historical haze. They show what liberal reformers were thinking and doing in the Progressive Era and reveal the techniques, tactics, and strategies they employed in working within the system to find solutions to the human and urban problems of their day. In the process, they focus on many problems of contemporary concern and furnish insights into ways of organizing citizen pressure to effect social change.

Melvin I. Urofsky is Assistant Dean of Innovative Education at the State University of New York at Albany. David W. Levy is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma.