Collection Summary

Creator: Skerritt, James L.
Title: The Papers of James L. Skerritt, 1910 - 1978
Accession: MSS 80-3
Description: Professional legal files; Approximately 6 linear feet
Location: This collection is stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections before your visit to ensure your papers are available.
Photograph Collection: View 1 digitized photographs
Digitized Content: 1 objects

Collection Description & Arrangement

The papers of New York attorney James L. Skerritt contain the cases of Thomas Smidt and Richard H. Strongman, U.S. nationals with assets and property in Germany at the time of their deaths in 1940. Skerritt, acting as executor for both clients, dealt with the problems the settlements presented because of World War II. The majority of the documents consist of executor accounts and correspondence with the heirs. There is some correspondence with German lawyers and petitions with the War Claims Settlement Commission. Both cases were not completed until the 1960s.

The Strongman case is of particular interest. He worked for the Woolworth Company from 1901 to 1939 and owned 3% of the shares of the German Woolworth Parent Company. The vast majority of this case file documents Skerritt's research and efforts to recuperate the value of those shares for the heirs. There is some correspondence between Woolworth officials and Skerritt. Though Skerritt represented Strongman most of his life, these files relate solely to the German property.

Other files added to the collection are of clients: H. P. James, John J. Slater and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Mr. Skerritt acted as executor and administrator of their estates. The Whitney Vanderbilt file reflects Skerritt's work as part of a larger team in the accounting of the estate.

Biographical & Historical Information

James Lewis Skerritt was born in Kentucky in 1898, and attended the University of Louisville prior to receiving his law degree from the New York University School of Law. He practiced in New York, specializing in estate and trust matters. He was associated with the firm of Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller for a time, but subsequently established a solo practice. He served on the Committee on the Surrogates' Courts of the Bar Association of the City of New York. He resided for a number of years in Mount Vernon, New York. At the time of his death in 1974, he was 76 years old.. He was survived by his son, James L. Skerritt, Jr., and his daughter, Elizabeth Skerritt.

Acquisition Information

Date Received 1980
Donor Information This collection was donated to the library in 1980 by Richard Lillich who was given them by a Skerritt relative. An addition to these papers was donated to the Law Library by his daughter Elizabeth Skerritt in 2004.  It consists of 15 boxes (6 linear ft.).

Content List

Box 1

  • Folder 1:
    • Skerritt - Time sheets 1941-1942
  • Folder 2:  
    • Skerritt-Correspondence and memoranda re clients and Skerritt's health while in hospital 1944, Apr. - May
  • Folders 3-5:
    • Skerritt - Bank accounts 1963-1977

Box 2:

  • Folder 1:
    • James, H. P. and James, Arthur Curtis Estates. Memoranda, draft of litigation history, will of William DeForest Manice, and some Skerritt's notes. 1944, 1964, 1966
  • Folder 2:
    • Slater, Cecelia. Deed of Woodlawn Cemetery plot. 1910
  • Folder 3:
    • Slater, John J. Estate. Legal documents.[Wills, deeds, indentures, account of proceedings]; Skerritt's memoranda and some correspondence 1932-1979
  • Folder 4:
    • Slater, John J. Estate. Annual Reports of Citizens & Southern National Bank. 1935, 1957, 1960, 1962
  • Folder 5:
    • Slater, John J. Estate. [Appraisals, court documents re Elliott R. May; some correspondence]. Adjustment of Skerritt fees for legal services. 1939-1967
  • Folder 6:
    • Slater, John J. Estate - Printed materials and newspaper clippings. 1957-1958, 1966
  • Folder 7:
    • Slater, John J. Estate re: May, Robert M. Guardian of Elliot R. May. Legal documents: letter of guardianship, agreements, deed, affidavit, summons. 1960-1963
  • Folder 8:
    • Slater, John J. and Cecelia Estate re Division of fees and bills of services between Gabriel E. Torre and Mr. Skerritt. 1964-1966

Box 3:

  • Folder 1:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. - Will of 1937 and 1940 English translation of will; German inventory of property. 1937, 1940
  • Folder 2:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - Record Roll. Executors Account(1st)documents. 1937-1952
  • Folder 3:
    • Smidt Thomas L. Estate - Correspondence between Thomas L. Smidt and Skerritt; German claim of John A. Smidt and Thomas R. Smidt; power of attorney for German lawyer; distribution of property from German estate; Skerritt's notes; printed materials. 1937-1967
  • Folder 4:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate re: Helene Smidt Trust schedules. Skerritt's notes. 1937-1974
  • Folder 5:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate re: German assets. Approval of beneficiaries accounts; German statements of accounts and English translations; distributions of assets plans; printed copies of treaties between the United States and Germany: Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights , 1935, 1953, 1954; Instructions for preparing claims for World War losses , 1962. 1942-1956
  • Folder 6:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - Statements of German accounts 1942-1956, 1964
  • Folder 7:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - German accounts [of John A, Smidt; Thomas R. Smidt; Helene Smidt-Rockwell; Julies Smidt-Marshall; Bertha Smidt; Frieda Smidt-Bliss; Marie Smidt; Ethel Darley]. 1945-1956

Box 4:

  • Folders 1 - 3
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - German property. Correspondence with German attorneys Hermann Janssen and Johann G. Lohmann. 1949-1954
  • Folder 4:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate. Statements of stocks dividends, sales of securities, account of proceedings. 1952-1963
  • Folder 5:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - Accounting schedules. 1952-1963
  • Folder 6:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate newspaper clippings. 1953-1955
  • Folder 7:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - Magazine articles [copies]; State Department Press Release No. 122 (March 3, 1955); Skerritt's notes 1953-1956
  • Folder 8:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate. [Wills of Helene Smidt, Bertha Smidt, Friede Smith, Marie Smidt, Thomas R. Smidt.] Skerritt's work schedule from 3/10/1954 - 12/1954. 1954 (1935-1945)
  • Folder 9:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate. Income tax on German property. [Correspondence, memoranda]. 1954-1957

Box 5:

  • Folder 1:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate - Market value and annual income of trust estate. [Skerrit's notes] 1962-1964
  • Folders 2-3:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate Trust - Final Accounting 1962-1965
  • Folder 4:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate Trust. 1963 income taxes, accounts. [Some correspondence, Skerritt's notes] 1963-1964
  • Folder 5:
    • Smidt, Thomas L. Estate Trust - Trustees Second and Final Account of Proceedings (1952-1963) 1963-1965
  • Folder 6:
    • Smidt Thomas L Estate Trust - Attorneys fees. [Skerritt's attorney fees, notes, some memoranda, drafts, newspaper clippings] 1964-1974

Box 6:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. - Personal legal documents. [Certificate of marriage, U. S. passport, will, certificate of death]; some correspondence with State Department and The Grand Lodge of Masons of Illinois. 1921-1962
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. - German inventories and German appraisal of property in Germany. Divorce action 1930, 1940-1941
  • Folders 3-4:
    • Strongman Richard H. - Miscellaneous documents: translations of German documents, memoranda, copies of correspondence with German officials and heirs, notes. 1934-1966
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. - Woolworth Co. [Memoranda, copies of correspondence, and notes re reorganization of Woolworth in Germany, and German assets]. 1932-1968

Box 7:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. - Woolworth Co. G. M. B. H. of Berlin documents. 1938-1951
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Executors First Intermediate Account. 1940-1943
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt's time report 1940-1944
  • Folders 4-5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence. Domestic and foreign. 1940-1951

Box 8:

  • Folders 1-3
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence. Domestic and foreign. 1940-1951
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Power of attorneys copies and draft of Skerritt's Compensation explanation 1940-1950, 1972
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German inventory. Petition for discovery of property. 1940-1968
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. - Newspaper clippings. 1941-1942

Box 9:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. Newspaper clippings re German property. 1941-1945
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German estate. Memoranda and related miscellaneous documents 1941-1945
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Federal Estate Tax [documents]. 1941-1946
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman Richard H. - German Woolworth. Balance sheets and printed materials. 1941, 1948, 1952, 1974
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Biography and background. [Skerritt's notes]. 1941, 1950-1973
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - New York State Taxes Record. 1948. Executors accounts. 1942-1948
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - New York State Tax returns. 1942, 1957-1968
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Miller, Hortense S. legal documents: birth certificate, wills, death certificate, newspaper clippings 1942-1972
  • Folder 9:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Executors accounts. Second intermediate account. 1943-1944

Box 10:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman, Richard H. Estate re War Claims. [Miscellaneous copies of documents related to Strongman's claims; printed materials, handwritten notes]. 1944-1973
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Executors accounts. Third intermediate account. 1948-1964
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - War Claims Act and International Law. [Printed materials, newspapers clippings, Skerritt's notes] 1948-1972
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Woolworth Co. Annual Report and Extract of Woolworth German Co. Correspondence. [Skerritt's notes] 1948-1973
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate Germany - N. Y. Woolworth Officers re German Woolworth. 1949-1958
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German estate inventory; powers of attorney; Assignment of Right to Purchase. 1950
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German Woolworth stock transfer and Gift Tax return. 1950-1951
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence primarily between Skerritt and German notary Heinrich F. Albert, Woolworth officials and German representatives. 1950-1964

Box 11:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Heinrich F. Albert,[German notary], fees 1950-1964
  • Folder 2:
    • Skerritt's notes re Strongman Estate. 1950,1968, 1971, 1973
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence. Copies of correspondence with Woolworth representatives and Strongman heirs; [Skerritt's notes]. 1951-1967
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Miscellaneous copies of documents 1951-1972
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Research materials and notes. 1959-1973
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Woolworth Co. Annual Reports, [Skerritt's notes]. 1960-1973
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - War Claims. Copies of legislative documents 1961-1965
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German documentation of Strongman's property in Berlin 1961-1967

Box 12:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt's legal fees 1961-1976
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Claim No. W-13008 1962-1966
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Chapple, Charlotte S. and Linda Miller Bain and Byron Strongman Miller Claims. [Copies of documents] 1962-1972
  • Folder 4:
    • German War Claims - New York Law. [Skerritt's notes] 1962-1973
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Correspondence, awards and related documents re Strongman, Chapple, and Miller estates. 1962-1976
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt account 1963-1974
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German claims. Copies of translations of German documents. 1965
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Proof of American citizenship. War Claim - NY Woolworth. 1965

Box 13:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate- Congressional Petition re Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Claims No. W-13008; W-7116; W- 7122 1966-1967
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Hortense S. Miller War claims awards 1966-1968
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Linda Hart Miller, Byron Strongman and Gail Hart claims. 1966-1973
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Memoranda in connection with additional fee claim. 1966-1972
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Fees, correspondence with Dr. Koch-Weser 1966-1972
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Congressman Ogden R. Reid letter. 1968
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Administrative Procedure Act. [Annotated copies of treatises and Skerritt's notes] 1968-1972
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Law Reports (copies). Skerritt's notes. 1972
  • Folder 9:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Mistake of Law and Fact of Commission. [Skerritt's notes] 1972

Box 14:

  • Folder 1:
    • Strongman, Richard H. Estate - [Annotated printed materials, Skerritt's notes]. 1972
  • Folder 2:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Congressional Staff Directory. [Copy] 1972
  • Folder 3:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - German laws of inheritance and conflict of laws. [Skerritt's notes and clippings] 1972
  • Folder 4:
    • Strongman, Richard H. Estate - Modern Constitutional Laws. Federal laws, [Skerritt's notes] 1972
  • Folder 5:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Violation of JLS [Skerritt] constitutional right of due process of law. [Newspaper clippings and copies of Skerritt's notes] 1972
  • Folder 6:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Law dictionaries. Interpretation of terms. [Skerritt's notes] 1972-1973
  • Folder 7:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt's correspondence with Zvonko R. Rode re Claims W-7116 and W-7122 of Byron S. Miller, et al. 1972-1973
  • Folder 8:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence with G. Kirby Munson, Esq. 1972-1974
  • Folder 9:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt's drafts as executor of Strongman Estate. 1972-1974
  • Folder 10:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - [Skerritt's notes and reflections re compensation for attorney fees]. 1972-11974
  • Folder 11:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Correspondence re Woolworth Claims. 1973
  • Folder 12:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. Skerritt letter to Wayland McCleland, General Counsel of the FCSC. 1973, June 11
  • Folder 13:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - Skerritt's correspondence, memoranda and notes re Strongman's German war claims. 1973-1974
  • Folder 14:
    • Strongman Richard H. Estate - [Correspondence between Elizabeth Skerritt and Clyde R. Armstrong re Richard H. Strongman estate accounts] 1975-1978

Box 15

  • Folder 1:
    • Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt. Judicial Settlement of the Third Intermediate Account of Proceedings of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Frank L. Crocker as Executors..... of Harry Payne Whitney. P2717-1930. Intermediate Account of Proceedings of the Executors and of the Trustees from Nov.1, 1936 to March 31, 1941. 1941
  • Folder 2:
    • Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt. Decree on accounting (Executors) 1943
  • Folder 3:
    • Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt. Newspaper clippings. 1972-1973
  • Folder 4:
    • Bibliographic materials.
      Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States. Decisions and Annotations. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, [1968].
      Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States. Annual Report to the Congress for the Period January 1-December 31, 1967.
      Foreing Claims Settlement Commission of the United States. Annual Report to the Congress for the Period January 1-December 31, 1968.
      Lilich, Richard B. and Gordon A. Christenson: International Claims: Their Preparation and Presentation. Syracuse, N. Y., Syracuse University Press, 1962.
      1962-1968

Box-folder: Law Special Collections photographs cabinet

  • Strongman, Richard H. Portrait ca. 1930-1931

 

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