Collection Summary

Creator: Prof. Jack Ritchie
Title: Addendum to the Papers of John Ritchie III [a]
Accession: MSS 78-11a
Parent Collection: The Papers of John Ritchie III
Description: 5 boxes
Location: SC - Basement
Photograph Collection: View 0 digitized photographs
Digitized Content: 0 objects
Use Restrictions: There are no restrictions.

Collection Description & Arrangement

This addition to Professor Ritchie's papers concern his work from 1942 to 1972 as law school dean at Washington University, the University of Wisconsin, and Northwestern University. The vast majority of the papers are copies of the numerous speeches he gave, mostly about legal education.  There is some correspondence and memorabilia. The papers were found in the Library's basement in 1997. 

Biographical & Historical Information

John Ritchie III (Jack) was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He studied at the University of Virginia, and he earned a B.S. in 1925. In 1927, Ritchie graduated from the University of Virginia Law School with an LL.B. degree. Jack Ritchie began and ended his long, outstanding career in legal education at the University of Virginia. A member of "The Celebrated Class of '27," he was Book Review Editor of the Virginia Law Review and member of Order of the Coif, Phi Beta Kappa, the Raven Society, the Jefferson Literary Society, Alpha Kappa Psi, and Omicron Delta Kappa. In 1931, he earned a J.S.D. from Yale University. 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 Ritchie was awarded several military honor decorations.

In 1952, Ritchie left Virginia to serve as Dean at Washington University in St. Louis and later, he was Dean at the University of Wisconsin. In 1957, he became Dean at Northwestern University Law School where he remained until 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 Northwestern University 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 estates, and along with co-authors Neill Alford and Richard Effland, wrote the casebook, Decedents' Estates and Trusts, which appeared in 7 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. At the age of 68, Ritchie had to retire from the deanship at Northwestern. Ritchie returned to the UVA Law School and he taught full-time for 2 more years. Afterwards, he became the UVA Law School Scholar-in-Residence. In addition to Trusts and Estates, Ritchie’s courses included Future Interests, Wills & Administration, and Fiduciary Administration. An extraordinarily active man, Ritchie was not entirely "in residence" because in the next 3 years he visited at the University of Tennessee, the University of Oklahoma, and the College of William and Mary. In the mid-1970s, he worked on a history of the University of Virginia Law School, The First Hundred Years, which was 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 1997

Content List

Box 1

  • 1970; Certification for American Supply Corporation (AHSC) - Robert Keck, Secy.
  • 1963-1968; Clippings
  • 1942-1964; Correspondence (4 folders)
  • 1942; Correspondence re: Application for Commission in Armed Forces
  • 1967; DeTocqueville Lecture
  • 1964; John Randolph Tucker Lecture


Box 2 

  • 1951-1973; Miscellaneous Articles
  • n.d.; Miscellaneous Speeches and Papers (2 folders)
  • 1964-1967; New York Central Railroad Company
  • 1957; Northwestern University Law School - Letters of Congratulations
  • 1936-1965; Northwestern University Memorabilia
  • 1960-1961; Ritchie's Selective System Certificates

Boxes 3-5

  • n.d.; Speeches
  • 1953-1972; Speeches (10 folders)
  • 1951-1953; Trusts and Estates Casebook Correspondence
  • 1969; University of Alabama Law Center Report
  • 1965; University of Tennessee Law College 75th Anniversary
  • 1936-1937; 1955-1956; University of Virginia re: Appointment
  • 1939-1956; University of Wisconsin Annual Reports
  • 1953; University of Wisconsin - Correspondence with E. B. Fred
  • 1925-1927; Virginia Bar Exams
  • 1951-1952; Washington University Miscellaneous Correspondence
  • 1961; State of Illinois "... Special Trust and Confidence... to John Ritchie".  Governor Otto Kerner, Commission him as "A Member of the Judicial Advisory Council of the State of Illinois", December 8th, 1961
  • 1988; Resolution of Chicago City Council expressing sympathy after his death. [File transferred from RG 400 –Faculty vertical files in July of 2013]
  • 1989; Memorial by Neill H. Alford



ca. 1940s         Ritchie family in front of house.




John Ritchie, A Model Will for Moderate States, 58 Case and Comment, 1953


----, F. D. G. Ribble, 57 Va. L. Rev. 1971


John Ritchie, In Memoriam: Adlai E. Stevenson, 60 Nw. U. L. Rev. 1965


----, Il Compito Della Scuola Di Diritto Americana, JUS Rivista di Scienze Giuridiche, Marzo 1958


----, Lawlessness and the Lawyer, 49 Chicago Bar Record 1968


----, Legal Education in the United States, 2 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1964


----, Legal Education: The Past and the Future, 32 Tenn. L. Rev. 1965


----, The Propriety of the Participation by a Judge in Non-Judicial Money-Making Activities, 51 Chicago Bar Record 1969


----, What is a Will?, 49 Va. L. Rev. 1963


Northwestern University School of Law Annual Report of the Dean.  1957-1972 (15 Reports)


Report by The Supreme Commander to the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the Operations in Europe of the Allied Expedition Force, 1944-1945

Associated People

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