Bernard G. Segal papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library [Contact Us]3460 Chestnut Street, Biddle Law Library, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3406
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Born in New York City in 1907, Bernard G. Segal grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia. He graduated from Philadelphia's Central High School in 1924 and earned his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School in 1928. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (now known as the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School) in 1931. Segal taught law and finance at the Wharton School and the Law School for the next four years.
In 1932, at the age of 24, Segal became the youngest Deputy Attorney General in Pennsylvania's history. He drafted several pieces of legislation in this post, including the Pennsylvania Banking Code. When the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, William A. Schnader, created a law firm in 1935, Segal was asked to join as an associate. He quickly became a partner of the firm now known as Schnader, Harrison, Segal, and Lewis. Segal specialized in appellate advocacy and argued almost 50 cases before the Supreme Court. He represented clients such as the United Parcel Service where he also served as a director.
Segal was involved in local and national bar associations. He was the first Jewish lawyer elected Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1952 and served as president of the American Bar Association from 1969 to 1970. In the mid-1950s, Segal played a key role in convincing President Eisenhower to submit the names of prospective federal judicial nominees to the American Bar Association Federal Judiciary Committee for review. He chaired this committee for six years and continued to advocate for peer-reviewed judicial selection.
Throughout his career, he served other professional and community organizations. He was the President of the American College of Trial Lawyers from 1964 to 1965, President of the American Bar Foundation, Chairman of the Board of the American Judicature Society, and on the board of the Institute of Judicial Administration. Segal was also active in Jewish organizations, including serving as a life trustee of the Jewish Publication Society. Additionally, he supported several Zionist organizations including the Philadelphia Zionist Organization.
Segal remained involved with the University of Pennsylvania. He was elected a trustee of the University in 1954 and became a life trustee in 1966 which he served on until 1977. During this time, he helped form the Trustees Committee on University Responsibility. He also served as a member of the Law School Boards of Overseers. Among his gifts to the University are the Segal Moot Court and the Bernard G. Segal endowed professorship for deans of the Law School.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy formed the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. This was a group of lawyers working for civil rights by organizing civic action and providing legal services in the south. Bernard G. Segal and Harrison Tweed were the first co-chairs of the committee. Geraldine R. Segal, Bernard's wife, was a civil-rights scholar and worked closely with Bernard on how lawyers could advocate for civil rights. In 1978, Geraldine wrote her dissertation for her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania on the history of Black lawyers in Philadelphia.
Later, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Segal as the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity's Advisory Committee on Legal Services which worked to establish legal services for low-income communities.
Segal was awarded the National Civil Rights Award by the Attorney General of the United States; the first Lifetime Achievement Award of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; the National Human Relations Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews; and the Judge William H. Hastie Award of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Bernard G. Segal died in June 1997 at the age of 89.
The Bernard G. Segal Papers document all of Segal's activities outside of his work as a lawyer at Schnader, Harrison, Segal, and Lewis. This includes his Bar associations and other professional activities, his governmental appointments, and his civic, charitable, and communal work.
Series I: Correspondence, 1935-1993, contains both outgoing and incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically and then by date. The general correspondence files include personal letters with family, professional correspondence with colleagues, and letters from organizations.
Series II: Speeches and Writings, 1951-1993, consists of material written by Segal, copies of articles that he used for research, and event invitations. Included are acceptance speeches that Segal gave for awards that he received, commencement speeches, topical speeches on judicial reform, introductions of judges, and oral arguments.
Series III: Legal Associations, 1941-1997, consists of files from Segal's involvement in professional associations. This series is divided into two subseries: The American Bar Association, and Other Legal Associations and Foundations.
American Bar Association subseries, 1946-1993, contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, and statements created by the American Bar Association and its various sections, committees, and task forces. Material created during Segal's time as president of the American Bar Association is filed under "President-Elect." Segal was president during the Civil Rights Movement and this subseries includes discussions on civil rights, and a folder on the history of the ABA's relationship with the National Bar Association.
Other Legal Associations and Foundations subseries, 1941-1997, contains subject files from the other legal associations that Segal participated in, including the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar, the American College of Trial Lawyers, Bar foundations, and the American Arbitration Association.
Series IV: Colleges and Universities, 1910-1997, contains subject files on educational institutions. The files consist of correspondence, publications, minutes from committees, and donor campaign material. Segal's relationship with the University of Pennsylvania is also documented in this series, including correspondence and minutes from his time as a life trustee of the University, and Law School alumni correspondence.
Series V: Organization and Committee Subject Files, 1937-1997, contains files that Segal created during his governmental appointments, work with charitable organizations in Philadelphia, and legal organizations throughout the United States. These include files on the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Law Institute, and the Commission on Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries. The files vary, but may consist of correspondence, minutes, articles, news clippings, reports, publications, and speeches.
Series VI: Biographical Material and Scrapbooks, 1916-1986, contains biographical information on Segal including awards, tributes, and portraits. The series also contains 35 oversized scrapbooks created by Geraldine Segal throughout her husband's life. The scrapbooks include a substanial amount of biographical material including news clippings, awards, and photographs documenting both his personal and professional activities. Please note that this series is still in process and portions of the scrapbooks may be restricted due to preservation and privacy concerns. Contact the archives for more information.
The collection is arranged into the following series: Series I. Correspondence, 1935-1993; Series II. Speeches and Writings, 1951-1993; Series III. Legal Associations, 1941-1997; Series IV. Colleges and Universities, 1910-1997; Series V. Organization and Committee Subject Files, 1937-1997; Series VI. Biographical Material and Scrapbooks, 1916-1986.
Series III. Legal Associations is divided into two subseries: American Bar Association, 1946-1993, and Other Legal Associations and Foundations, 1941-1997.
The papers had been organized and maintained at Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis, by Bernard Segal's secretary Jane Traphoner, as personal (non-firm related) files. The scrapbooks were created and maintained by Geraldine R. Segal to preserve mementos from Segal's life and career.
Recieved from Geraldine R. Segal in October, 1999.
Processed by Melissa Backes in 2000 and Elizabeth Wittrig in 2022.
- University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Elizabeth Wittrig
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
The archives reserves the right to restrict access to materials of sensitive nature. Please note that Series VI: Biographical Material and Scrapbooks, 1916-1986, is still in process and portions of the scrapbooks may be restricted due to preservation and privacy concerns. Please contact the department for further information.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.