Collection Summary

Creator: Ritchie III, John
Title: The Papers of John Ritchie III
Accession: MSS 78-11
Description: 15 boxes, 9 linear feet
Location: SC - Basement
Photograph Collection: View 21 digitized photographs
Digitized Content: 21 objects
Use Restrictions: There are no restrictions.

Collection Description & Arrangement

The Papers of John Ritchie document his years at Virginia from 1972 until his death in 1988. His files reflect the range and intensity of his work after his official retirement. Predominant are the manuscripts and correspondence for Decedents' Estates and Trusts, Editions Five, Six and Seven, and The First Hundred Years, as well as correspondence files concerning publications of The Foundation Press and committee activities of the Virginia Bar Association. The largest group of files is comprised of miscellaneous professional correspondence. There are no restrictions on the use of these papers.

Biographical & Historical Information

After practicing law briefly in 1927 and 1928, Ritchie taught law at Furman University, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Maryland before returning to teach at his alma mater in 1937. During World War II he served as colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corp and was awarded several decorations. In 1952 he left Virginia to serve as dean at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Wisconsin. In 1957 he became dean at Northwestern University where he remained until mandatory retirement in 1972. He became the first John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law at Northwestern in 1966.

 Jack Ritchie was a well-loved dean at Northwestern. According to The Northwestern Reporter, he possessed "an unusually happy blend of wisdom, patience, and warmth." During his deanship the faculty grew in size and reputation, and new facilities were constructed. "His years at Northwestern will be remembered particularly for his devotion to students and for the strengthening of the School's relationship with alumni . . ."

 In addition to his administrative duties, Ritchie taught trusts, and along with co-authors Neill Alford and Richard Effland, wrote the casebook, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, which appeared in seven editions from 1955 until just after his death in 1988. He was president of the Association of American Law Schools, national president of the Order of the Coif, member of the American Law Institute, and life fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

 When he reached the age of 68 and had to retire from the deanship at Northwestern, Ritchie returned to the University of Virginia, taught full-time for two more years, and then became Scholar-in-Residence. An extraordinarily active man, he was not entirely "in residence," because in the next three years he visited at the University of Tennessee, the University of Oklahoma, and the College of William and Mary. In the mid-1970s he began work on a history of the University of Virginia Law School, The First Hundred Years, published in 1978. For the rest of his life Ritchie remained active in the American Bar Association and the Virginia Bar Association, worked occasionally as a consultant in trusts matters, and served on the board of The Foundation Press.


Acquisition Information

Date Received 1978
Donor Information This collection was a gift of Professor John Ritchie, III.

Content List

Box 1:

  • 1974-1977, ABA Special Committee on Code of Ethics for Commercial Arbitration; [2 folders]
  • 1978-1984, Admissions Reports to the Faculty
  • 1975-1976, Center for Advanced Studies-Appointments
  • 1981-1988, Center for Law and National Security; [3 folders]

Box 2:

  • 1976-1977, Class of 1927 Correspondence
  • 1971-1981, Consultation - Woodrow Wilson College of Law Application for ABA Approval
  • 1976, Dean Search Committee - JR, Chair (Restricted)
  • 1974-1978, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, 5th edition: Correspondence
  • 1980-1983, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, 6th edition: Correspondence; [2 folders]

 Box 3:

  • 1980-1983, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, 6th edition: Correspondence
  • 1984-1988, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, 7th edition: Correspondence
  • 1972-1973, Doris Duke Trust: Drafts of Opinion and Correspondence
  • 1978-1986, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • 1974-1977, The First Hundred Years: Correspondence and Note
  • 1976, The First Hundred Years, Draft prepared by Fred Hutchinson
  • 1976, The First Hundred Years: The Law and the Legal Education at the University of Virginia - Thesis by Holly B. Fitzsimmons

 Box 4:

  • N.D., The First Hundred Years: Working Drafts and Notes; [2 folders]
  • 1976, The First Hundred Years: Working Drafts and Correspondence
  • ca 1976-N.D., The First Hundred Years: Working Drafts; [3 folders]
  • N.D, The First Hundred Years: Corrected Draft and Correspondence
  • 51978, The First Hundred Years: Final Draft
  • Jan 79 - Mar 76, Foundation Press Correspondence; [2 folders]

 Box 6:

  • Apr 76 - Sep 80, Foundation Press Correspondence; [5 folders]

 Box 7:

  • Oct 80 - Jul 83, Foundation Press Correspondence; [6 folders]

 Box 8:

  • Aug 83 - Dec 85, Foundation Press Correspondence; [5 folders]

 Box 9:

  • Jan 86 - Feb 88, Foundation Press Correspondence; [4 folders]

 Box 10:

  • 1976-1977, HEW Office of Civil Rights Investigation of Law School
  • 1984,1987, Honor Committee Memoranda
  • 1982-1983, Humble Oil Case
  • 1977-1984, Interoffice Memoranda primarily regarding instruction; [3 folders]
  • 1985-1987, Interoffice Memoranda
  • 1972, McCoid - Washington Committee on Attracting Black Faculty

 Box 11:

  • 1972-1975, Miscellaneous Professional Correspondence; [5 folders]

 Box 12:

  • 1975-1978, Miscellaneous Professional Correspondence; [5 folders]

 Box 13:

  • 1979-1983, Miscellaneous Professional Correspondence; [6 folders]

 Box 14:

  • 1984-1987, Miscellaneous Professional Correspondence; [4 folders]
  • 1973, Stennis Chair Contributions
  • 1981-1986, Virginia Law Review - Faculty Memoranda
  • 1977 - 1979, Virginia Bar Association (VBA): Committee Activities Correspondence

 Box 15:

  • 1980, VBA: Committee Activities Correspondence
  • 1978, VBA: Committee Charges and Reports
  • 1978-1979, VBA: Galleys of the Journal and Correspondence
  • 1977, VBA: The John Marshall Project (and other matters)
  • 1979, VBA: Projects Committee
  • 1980, VBA Annual meeting


Associated People

Use Policy

Access There are no restrictions.
Use Restrictions There are no restrictions.
Preferred Citation
Unless otherwise stated, digital materials in our collections are available for use under a Creative Commons BY 4.0 License (CC-BY-4.0). For Use and Citation guidelines, see Special Collections Use Policy.