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John Dickinson Notebooks


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.

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John Dickinson was born in Greensboro, Maryland in 1894. He was a descendent of John Dickinson, who drafted the Articles of Confederation.

A early student of Greek and Latin, Dickinson graduated from the Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Classics at age 19. After teaching American and Medieval history, Dickinson earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1919. That same year, he enrolled at Harvard Law School, where he received his LL.B. degree in 1921. At the time, Dickinson practiced law in New York and Los Angeles. He also was a noted writer, publishing his Administrative Law and the Supremacy of Nations in 1927. A pioneering work in administrative law, the book is widely regarded as a legal classic.

After stints teaching at Harvard and Princeton, Dickinson accepted an offer to teach at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1929, where he remained until his resignation in 1948. Dickinson taught on a range of topics, including constitutional law and medieval theory. He also continued to practice law during this time, and he also served as General Counsel to the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Dickinson also continued to write articles and books. At the time of his sudden death in 1952, he was undergoing a study of Western thought from Hellenic Greece to modern times. The project included a detailed analysis of Roman law and institutions.

Dickinson died in Baltimore in 1952.

The John Dickinson Notebooks probably date from the early to mid-1940s. The 12 notebooks include handwritten and typewritten excerpts from books related to Roman law, as well as Dickinson's own notes on the subject. Dickinson was writing a book on Roman law at this time.


Processed by Jordon Steele on October 10, 2008.


University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library
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Jordon Steele
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