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Albert Joseph Engel Jr. papers, 1944-1946, 1971-2002

16 linear feet

Attorney; judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit of Michigan (1967-1970); United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan (1971-1973); judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (1974-2002). Case files, administrative files, and subject files relating to his judicial and other professional responsibilities; also memoirs of his career and letters written while serving in the military during World War II.

The Albert J. Engel papers consist of case files, miscellaneous administrative files, and subject files relating to his judicial and other professional responsibilities as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan (1971-1974) and as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (1974-2002). Case files for each court make up the bulk of the collection. The files represent a selection based largely upon the importance of the issue or issues represented within the case, the significance of the case in the judgment of Judge Engel, and whether Judge Engel wrote the opinion, dissent, or concurrence. Important to understanding the cases are individual memoranda written by Judge Engel (and included in box 15) of his assessment of the cases that he heard.

In 2006, the library received Judge Engel's memoirs of his life and career together with photocopies of the letters that he wrote home during the Second World War, 1944-1945.


Cornelia G. Kennedy papers, 1932-2012 (majority within 1970-1999)

65 linear feet — 1 oversize folder — 4.78 GB (online)

Cornelia G. Kennedy, "First Lady of the Michigan Judiciary," was the first woman appointed to the federal bench in Michigan and the first woman to become a chief judge for a United States District Court. Judge Kennedy was nominated to U.S. District Court in 1970 and to U.S. Circuit Court (Federal Appeals Court) in 1979. Although never actually nominated to the Supreme Court, she was mentioned in connection with vacancies there during the administrations of three different U.S. Presidents. In addition to her court-related duties, the collection reflects Kennedy's service to the Judicial Conference of the U.S. and the Federal Judicial Center as well as the American Bar Association and other professional organizations. The collection also contains materials from Wayne County Circuit Court. This finding aid includes a Summary Contents List and expanded Scope and Content Note to provide a brief summary of the Federal Court System's structure and history as well as notes on some of the organizations comprising the context of a legal career that spanned more than half a century.

The Cornelia G. Kennedy papers span Kennedy's career as a judge, beginning with her election to Wayne County Circuit Court (the 3rd Judicial Circuit of Michigan, which includes the City of Detroit) in 1966. The bulk of the collection documents her service as an active federal judge, from the time of her appointment to Federal District Court in 1970 through her confirmation and service in Federal Appeals Court, until she assumed senior federal judge status in 1999.

The collection is valuable not only in that it documents the professional and some of the private life of a federal judge who achieved many 'firsts' as a woman but also for the collection's contribution to an understanding of the federal court system and the evolution of judicial ethical standards and practices, especially with respect to financial disclosure, confidentiality, and conflicts of interest.

To some extent, the history of information and communications technology during the period is also represented in the collection through its examples of different correspondence media in different eras and through materials pertaining to the advent of computer-aided legal research in court libraries and the use of new technologies in federal courtrooms.

Inevitably, Judge Kennedy's long family history in the practice of law coincided with significant milestones in American history and in the development of judicial administration organizations and policy. Kennedy's father had graduated from law school and begun his legal career with World War I on the horizon. Kennedy graduated from law school as the national economy was transforming itself after World War II, and as the federal court system was beginning a new era in judicial practice and in judicial review of administration.

Description of Series Content

This collection is divided into ten series: Personal and Biographical; Correspondence; Speeches and Writings; Wayne County Circuit Court; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit; Judicial Conference of the United States; Federal Judicial Center; American Bar Association; and Other Professional Organizations and Meetings.

Of necessity, some series include materials of multiple formats, located together primarily with regard to conceptual content rather than format and some types of materials are found in multiple series. For example, correspondence can be found not only in the Correspondence series but also within court-related series to the extent that it relates to matters addressed there.

Throughout the collection, Judge Kennedy's own phrasing is used whenever possible to describe file folder contents. Some examples of her original file folders of administrative papers and office files also contain handwritten notes and have been retained in the collection to provide additional information to the researcher. These original folder labels and notations also help to illustrate the use of different terminology in different time frames.


W. Wallace Kent papers, 1954-1973 (majority within 1969-1973)

19 linear feet

Kalamazoo, Michigan, attorney; U. S. District Judge, 1954-1970, in the Western District, Michigan; judge U. S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1971-1973. Case docket sheets, judges' case files, unpublished opinions, judges' memoranda, Court of Appeals panel reports, Court of Appeals Circuit Council reports; cases relate in part to school desegregation, Indian treaty rights, labor relations, and questions of civil liberties.

Judge William Wallace Kent's papers document his activities as a Federal Judge. The legal papers in the collection cover the years 1954 to 1973 and include a wide range of documents and records including Docket sheets, Alphabetical Index Cards, Docket Number Index Cards, Judges Case Files, Unpublished Opinions, Judges Memoranda, Hearings, Memoranda, Orders, Opinions, Court of Appeals Panel Reports, and Court of Appeals Circuit Council Meeting Documents.

The collection was maintained in its original order with three series: Case and Subject Index; District Court records; and Court of Appeals records.