Collection Summary

Creator: Priest, A. J. Gustin
Title: The Papers of A. J. Gustin Priest (1919-1977)
Accession: MSS 79-5
Description: 26 boxes; 1 carton of printed + near - print?
Location: Special Collections
Photograph Collection: View 0 digitized photographs
Digitized Content: 0 objects
Use Restrictions: There are no restrictions.

Collection Description & Arrangement

The Papers of A. J. Gustin Priest span the years 1919-1977, the concentration of material falling roughly within the period 1950-1970. There are seven series or subject categories:

I. Law practice, primarily in the field of public utilities;
II. Beta Theta Pi;
III. United World Federalists and related organizations;
IV. Activities at the University of Virginia, principally teaching;
V. American Bar Association and other organizations;
VI. Drafts and correspondence regarding Priest's books, articles and speeches;
VII. Personal correspondence and records.

Within the series, the correspondence has been filed and labeled as Priest had it, i.e., alphabetically by subject and then chronologically. Items obviously misfiled have been put where they belong. Ambiguities and inconsistencies in the filing system were a result of Priest's having had many secretaries, particularly after he began teaching. Consequently, the researcher is advised to examine the whole series in areas of interests or the entire collection, if time permits.

Almost half of these records contain the correspondence relating to the consulting work Priest did in public utilities law after he began teaching at Virginia. (He brought virtually none of his files from Reid and Priest with him.) Within this series the case most heavily documented by correspondence and working papers is Southwestern Electric Power v. Federal Power Commission, usually referred to as the ECAP case.

Priest's University of Virginia records contain almost nothing about his teaching; the whereabouts of his lecture materials is unknown. Instead, these files contain correspondence regarding his employment, recommendations of students he taught, guest speakers for his classes, courses and lectures he gave at other institutions, and the settlement of the estates of Roy and Vernah Moyston, generous benefactors of the University of Virginia.

In addition to the consulting and teaching files are those relating to the organizations and causes Priest supported. Of research value to those interested in social fraternities are the files of correspondence and speeches relating to the national organization of Beta Theta Pi. These files span 1926 to 1973, with heavy concentration in the early fifties when Priest was national president. Priest, who deplored the "abysmal" state of fraternities in Virginia, was successful in the early seventies in getting the local Beta disbanded. The United World Federalist files cover 1953-1973, in spite of the fact that Priest was involved in the movement a decade earlier. The correspondence concerns everything from statements before Congressional committees to the editing of articles for publication. Over these two decades Priest corresponded with a great variety of people involved in the movement. Documented slightly are Priest's association with the ABA, Phi Beta Kappa and the United Negro College Fund.

There are drafts of Priest's books, Old Hilarity and Principles of Public Utility Regulation, together with correspondence about those books and about The Great Ones as well. Priest also saved most of the texts of his speeches and articles, with related correspondence.

Finally, there is a good deal of personal material. He wrote regularly to his family and saved carbon copies of those letters (1931 to 1973). Mrs. Priest allowed us to make copies of the carbons. The family letters reveal Priest's personality, his strong political opinions, and his enormous range of activities, but he wrote very little about his work. Understandably, he usually reported where a case had taken him -to Washington, D.C. or San Francisco or Canada- but he seldom mentioned any details of the case or what parties were involved. There are several folders of general personal correspondence, as well as financial records and correspondence about medical and insurance problems, the two houses he and Mrs. Priest owned, his church, etc. Hartwell Priest lived and studied art in Paris for six or eight months before she married A. J. and he saved all the letters she sent him; these letters have also been copied.

Biographical & Historical Information

A native of Nebraska, A.J. Gustin Priest served as a sergeant of infantry during World War I. He earned his B.A. from the University of Idaho, as well as a law degree there in 1921. He practiced law for five years in Boise before moving to New York City for a position with a public utility holding company. After leaving for private practice in 1935, he gained a national reputation representing public utility corporations while a partner in the firm of Reid and Priest. He joined the Virginia law faculty in 1953 and retired from full-time teaching in 1966, continuing as a lecturer & scholar in residence until 1978.

With characteristic vigor Priest threw himself into teaching, eager to impart his knowledge and expertise in corporate practice to his students. He taught Public Utility Regulations, Corporations, Corporate Finance, Parliamentary Law and Corporate Securities. A lawyer with deep integrity, Priest emphasized to his students the significance of high moral standards in the legal profession. Priest devoted his considerable energy to a number of organizations and causes outside the legal professions, including the world peace movement. He was the first chairman of the national executive council of the United World Federalists. He also served as chairman of the Section of Public Utility Law of the American Bar Association, as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni in New York, and as national president of the Beta Theta Pi college fraternity. He received the Man of the Year award from the United World Federalists and was a life member of the American Bar Foundation. He died in 1978.

Acquisition Information

Date Received 1979
Donor Information Hartwell W. Priest donated these files to the Law School in May of 1979.

Content List

Box 1:   

  • 1970-72; American Hospital Association [2 folders]
  • 1966, 1970; American Telephone and Telegraph
  • 1958; Appalachian Power Company
  • 1958; Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad
  • 1952, 1953; Awalt, Clark and Sparks
  • 1958-1963; N. W. Ayer and Son
  • 1953, 19954; Canadian Pacific Railway Co.
  • 1956; Chander, Arizona Speech before Southwest Electric Conference
  • 1972-1973; Columbia Gas of West Virginia
  • 1951, 1965; L. J. Darrah
  • 1966-1969; Edison Electric Institute
  • 1969; A. C. Epps and N & W Railway Case [2 folders]

Box 2:

  • 1953-1955; Federal Power Act [3 folders]
  • 1970; Federal Power Bar Association

Box 3:

  • 1953-1958; Federal Power Commission
  • 1953, 1954; Federal Power Commission Rule Change
  • 1962-1964; Handbook Committee - Recommended Procedures for Protracted Hearing before Administrative Agencies
  • 1952; Hollinger Consolidated Gold Mines Limited
  • 1961-1970; Sidney Inch Tribute
  • 1953-1956; Kansas Well
  • 1956, 1965; Mississippi Power and Light Company
  • 1956; Missoula, Montana Speech and Correspondence
  • 1930-1977; Montana Power Company

Box 4:

  • 1958-1959, 1062; Ben Moreell
  • 1961; Moreell Donations
  • 1953-1955, 1960, 1966; National Association of Electric Companies (2 folders)
  • 1964-1969; National Water Company Conference (Milligan)
  • 1968-1970; New Mexico Electric Service
  • 1970, 1971; Pacific Northwest Bell
  • 1957, 1958; Pacific Northwest Power Study
  • 1954, 1960-1964; Pacific Power and Light Co.
  • 1954-1956; Penn Water
  • 1954; Portland Gas and Coke Co.
  • 1966; Potomac Edison Co.
  • 1953, 1955; Power Marketing Policy Committee
  • 1954; Preference Clauses and TVA

Box 5:

  • 1963; Public Land Regulations
  • 1959-1970; Public Utilities Fort-nightly
  • 1933-1971; Reid and Priest [3 folders]

Boxes 6-7:          

  • 1952; Reid and Priest : AJGP's Remarks at 40th Anniversary Celebration
  • 1958; Securities and Exchange Commission
  • 1957-1958; Southwestern Electric Power Co. v. Federal Power Commission: Correspondence [4 folders]
  • ca. 1958-1961; Southwestern Electric Power Co. v. Federal Power Commission: documents [6 folders]

Box 7:   

  • 1956; Tennessee Valley Authority
  • 1954-1955; Texas Electric Service Company

Box 8:   

  • 1953-1954; Texas Utilities
  • 1969; U. S. Independent Telephone Association

Boxes 8-11:        

  • 1927-1972; General Correspondence A-Z [26 folders]
  • 1953-, 1958; Board of Transport Commissioners for Canada: 2 vols.

Box 12:

  • 1952-1972; University of Virginia Law Professorship
  • 1952-1966; UVA - Class Materials
  • 1966-1970; UVA - Graduate School of Business Administration
  • 1961-1965; UVA - Guest Speakers for Classes (Primarily Professional Ethics Seminar)
  • 1957; UVA - Inter-fraternity Council - D.K.E. Committee
  • 1968, 1970; UVA - Judge Advocate General's School
  • 1953; UVA - Order of the Coif
  • 1956-1971; UVA - Student Recommendations [2 folders]
  • 1960-1970; UVA - University Affairs

Box 13:                

  • 1964-1972; UVA and the Roy C. and Vernah Scott Moyston Estate: Correspondence [2 folders]
  • 1962-1964; UVA and the Moyston [Estate] v. New Mexico Public Service Commission Case: Records and Briefs
  • ca. 1964-1970; UVA and the Moyston Estate: Miscellaneous Documents
  • 1953-1969; Georgia Tech Course
  • 1967; Michigan Lecture

Box 14:

  • 1926, 1950-1973; Beta Theta Pi General Correspondence [4 folders]
  • 1967-1972; William A. Boekel Correspondence
  • 1953-1954, 1960; Sherwood Bonney Correspondence
  • 1931-1966; Seth Brooks Correspondence
  • 1936-1940; George Howard Bruce Correspondence
  • 1950-1953; George Chandler Correspondence
  • 1930-1948; William W. Dawson Correspondence
  • 1953-1956, 1966; Ralph Fey Correspondence
  • 1945-1949; Frank S. Hogan Correspondence

Box 15:                

  • 1955-1956; Robert Howard Correspondence
  • 1930-1951; Clarence L. Newton Correspondence
  • 1928-1933; Willis O. Robb Correspondence
  • 1928-1937; Francis W. Shepardson Correspondence [2 folders]
  • 1931-1945, 1960; G. Herbert Smith Correspondence [2 folders]
  • 1937-1965; Gordon Smyth Correspondence [2 folders]

Box 16:                

  • 1953-1954; Ralph Wilson Correspondence
  • 1950-1951; Correspondence re William Raimond Baird
  • 1953-1955; Beta Theta Pi (BTP) Alumni
  • 1953-1954; BTP Alumni Gatherings
  • 1953-1954; BTP Alumni Gatherings - Chicago, Cincinnati
  • 1953-1955; BTP Chapters by College A - K
  • 1953-1955; BTP Chapters by College M - T
  • 1953-1955; BTP Chapters by College U - Z
  • 1953-1954; BTP Conventions
  • 1953-1954; BTP Expense Account
  • 1953-1954; BTP district Chiefs

Box 17:                

  • 1954; BTP Integration at Kenyon College Chapter
  • 1953-1954; BTP "Inter Fratres"
  • 1953-1955; BTP Officers and Trustees
  • 1953; BTP Publications
  • 1953; BTP Taxes
  • 1948; The Wooglin Ceremony of BTP --Notebook

Boxes 17-18:     

  • 1953-1972; United World Federalists (UWF) Correspondence [5 folders]
  • 1953, 1963-1966; UWF Miscellaneous Documents
  • 1955-1956; UWF Publications
  • 1955; UWF - Gary, Indiana Trip
  • 1954; UWF - "The Myth that Threatens the World" (Production arranged and directed by Oscar Hammerstein
  • 1953-1972; Correspondence re World Government, the UN and World Peace
  • 1966-1970; Kurtz - War Control Planners, Inc.
  • 1954-1956; Institute for International Order

Box 19:                

  • 1953-1971; American Bar Association (ABA) [2 folders]
  • 1953-1956, 1964; ABA Section of Public Utility Law
  • 1953-1954; ABA - Vincent McDevitt
  • 1953-1954; ABA - Jonathan Gibson
  • 1953-1954; ABA - William Jameson
  • 1953-1954, 1956; Phi Beta Kappa
  • 1953-1956, 1972; Phi Beta Kappa Associates
  • 1955-1963; United Negro College Fund
  • 1953; "Corporate Democracy" - Dicta Article and Correspondence
  • 1956; The Great Ones: Correspondence
  • 1957, 1958, 1965; "Those Dividends Were Not Paid Out of Capital:" Partial Draft and Correspondence
  • 1963-1970; Old Hilarity: Typescripts and Correspondence

Box 20:                

  • 1953; Correspondence with Matthew Bender & Co. re Textbook on Public Utility Law
  • 1957-1968; Public Utilities and the Law (later called Principles of Public Utility Regulation) - Correspondence [3 folders]
  • 1960s; Principle of Public Utility Regulation: Drafts [3 folders]

Box 21:                

  • ca. 1964-1974; Sermons and Speeches
  • ca. 1945-1965; Sermons and Speeches re World Government
  • 1906-1970; Speeches re Public Utilities
  • 1975, n.d.; BTP Speeches and Articles [2 folders]

Box 22:                

  • 1952-1975; Articles by AJGP: Printed Copy
  • 1931-1973; Priest Family Letters [4 folders]

Box 23:                

  • 1951-1965; Priest Family Correspondence re Joel L. Priest, Sr.
  • 1926-1927; Letters from Hartwell Wyse (later Mrs. Priest) to AJGP
  • 1919-1972; General Personal Correspondence [3 folders]

Box 24:

  • 1927; Personal Correspondence re Admission to the State Bar of New York
  • 1952-1969; Personal Correspondence re Bellair Home
  • 1954-1975; Personal Correspondence re Book Reviews
  • 1961-1970; Personal Correspondence re CARE Contributions
  • 1953-1970; Personal Correspondence re Contributions and Bequests
  • 1955-1956; Personal Correspondence re Gulf Oil Stock
  • 1952-1956; Personal Correspondence re Health Problems
  • 1954-1956; Personal Correspondence re Humor
  • 1952; Personal Correspondence re Idaho Institute for Children Education, Inc.
  • 1963-1964; Personal Correspondence re Injury in Florida
  • 1953-1972; Personal Correspondence re Medicare and Insurance
  • 1952-1970; Personal Correspondence re Miscellaneous Financial Matters
  • 1968; Personal Correspondence - New York Bar Lecture
  • 1952; Personal Correspondence - New York Herald Tribune
  • 1952-1953; Personal Correspondence - Kansas Well
  • 1966-1968; Personal Correspondence re Promotions, Placements, etc.

Box 25:                

  • 1954-1955; Personal Correspondence re Reservations
  • 1963-1971; Personal Correspondence re Subscriptions and Publications
  • 1955-1956; Personal Correspondence re Summer Home in Canada
  • 1951-1956, 1962-1966; Personal Correspondence re Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Church
  • 1959-1972; Personal Correspondence re University of Idaho
  • 1970; Personal Correspondence - University of Idaho - Honorary Degree
  • 1966; Personal Correspondence for May
  • 1949-1966; Personal Records and Correspondence - Investment Accounts [4 folders]
  • 1953-1970; Personal Records and Correspondence - Investment Information
  • 1938-1972; Personal Records and Correspondence - Letters and Manuscripts for Periodicals
  • 1938-1952, 1962; Personal Records and Correspondence - Priest's Will (Obsolete)
  • 1945-1949; Personal records and Correspondence - Tax Information

Box 26:

  • 1945-1971; Personal Records and Correspondence - Taxes
  • 1952, 1962-1970; Personal Records - Addresses
  • 1948-1970; Personal Records: Newspaper Clippings re A. J. Priest
  • 1960-1968; Personal Records - Miscellaneous Newsclippings
  • ca. 1940-1952; Notes and 1952 Appointment Book

Associated People

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Preferred Citation

Papers of A. J. Gustin Priest, 1919 - 1977, MSS-79-5, Box Number, University of Virginia School of Law Library Special Collections.

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