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Cornelius W. Wickersham Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wickersham, Cornelius W. (Cornelius Wendell), 1884-
Title: Cornelius W. Wickersham Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1912-1969
Quantity: 15.5 linear feet
Abstract: Papers of the military officer and lawyer. Collection contains legal material (includes papers concerning Interstate Commerce Commission, 1931; various cases involving commerce and transportation including railroads, 1929-39), military files (photographs and papers), and public service material (topics include education and Nassau County Bridge Authority).
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Brigadier General Cornelius Wendell Wickersham (1884-1968) was an American lawyer and military officer; he practiced law for more than forty years, and his military career stretched from the Mexicon Border skirmish of 1916 to World War II and after.

Wickersham graduated from Harvard University in 1906 and received his law degree, also from Harvard, in 1909. In 1914 he joined the firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, founded in 1792 and today the oldest continuously-operating law firm in New York City (his father George Woodward Wickersham, an anti-trust attorney, had also been with the firm). Apart from absences for military duty, Wickersham continued to practice law for more than sixty years, eventually rising to the position of senior partner. His work included trusts, estates, and corporate reorganization and recapitalization. He was president of the Joint Conference on Legal Education in New York (1932-1940 and 1954-1958) and counsel for the Grand Jury Association of New York County. He also served on the Board of Regents for the state of New York (1953-1955).

Wickersham's military career began in 1915 when he enlisted in the New York Cavalry. From 1916-1918 he served on the U.S.-Mexican border with the 12th New York Infantry. During World War I he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and during World War II to Brigadier General. Among his many appointments, he was the first commandant and director of the School of Military Government, established in 1942 at the University of Virginia; Chief of the European Allied Contact Section, serving at Eisenhower's headquarters; and head of U.S. Group Control Council, Germany (USGCC). He served with distinction, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal (twice), the Legion of Merit, the Legion of Honor, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and the Medal of Verdun, among other honors.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Cornelius W. Wickersham Papers consist of legal, military, public service, education, and personal papers.

Legal material consists of books, briefs, articles, material about specific cases, and other documents relating to Wickersham's lengthy legal career.

Military material subject files span more than three decades, ranging from the Mexican Border incident of 1916 and World War I to World War II and the Army School of Military Government.

The majority of Public service material relates to Wickersham's involvement with the Nassau County Bridge Authority; other topics include civil defense and the American Legion, of which Wickersham was a founding member.

Wickersham's Service to education primarily involves Nassau Community College and his term on the New York Board of Regents. Included here are minutes, a yearbook, policy and procedures manuals, annual reports, budgets, among other things.

Personal papers contains awards, certificates, degrees, honors, medals, photographs, and other types of memorabilia. Of note here are letters from General John J. Pershing and correspondence with Harry Truman and Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material within each series is in no particular order.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Wickersham, Cornelius W. (Cornelius Wendell), 1884-

Corporate Bodies

Interstate Commerce Commission.
Nassau Community College.
Nassau County Bridge Authority.
University of the State of New York. -- Board of Regents.


Actions and defenses -- Cases.
Lawyers -- United States.
Military history, Modern -- 20th century.
Railroad law -- United States.
Railroads -- Finance -- Law and legislation.
Stamp collecting.
Transportation -- Law and legislation -- United States.
United States -- Armed Forces -- Officers.

Genres and Forms

Briefs (legal documents)
Decorations (honor)
School yearbooks.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Cornelius W. Wickersham Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: circa 1969
Revision history: 3 Dec 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Legal material
Box 1 Interstate Commerce Commission 1931
Box 1 Clark Tread vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue 1937
Box 1 United States vs. the Sugar Institute 1932
Box 1 Empre State Inc. 1950 - brief
Box 1 Vermont stockholder resolutions 1930
Box 1 Legal Book, Wickersham undated
Box 1 Stock Without Par Value, Wickersham undated
Box 1 Central Vermont reorganization 1930
Box 1 Records 1932
Box 1 Plaque, regarding the Constitution 1959
Box 2 Canadian National Railway vs. Central Vermont Railway undated (8 volumes)
Box 2 Goodyear Tire and Rubber 1927 - papers re: shareholder litigation
Box 3 Conveyance distribution and accounting 1930 (2 volumes)
Box 3 New company 1929-1930 (2 volumes)
Box 3 Foreclosure and sale, Vermont 1929 (2 volumes)
Box 3 Reorganization, stockholders 1929
Box 3 Old mortgage 1930
Box 3 Organization directors 1929
Box 4 Movie cases 1930 (2 volumes)
Box 4 Goodyear case 1927 (3 volumes)
Box 4 Records 1936 (4 volumes)
Box 4 Suit in Southern District of New York 1929
Box 4 Pleading in Vermont 1928
Box 4 Suit in Massachusetts 1930
Box 4 Suit in Connecticut 1929
Box 5 New York State Bar Association - portfolio
Box 5 The International Bar 1966
Box 5 Briefs, Wickersham 1929
Box 5 Czarnikow-Rionda Company vs. Federal Sugar Refining Company 1925 - brief
Box 5 Central Vermont Railway, Inc. undated (2 volumes)
Box 5 Grand Trunk Railway vs. H.W. Nelson, Inc. 1939 - brief summary
Box 5 Grand Trunk Railway vs. H.W. Nelson, Inc. 1939 - brief testimony
Box 6 Bar Association (3 folders)
Box 6 American Law Institute undated
Box 6 Books, articles, broadcasts undated (3 folders)
Box 6 Select Committee, U.S. Senate undated
Military material
Box 7 Photo album undated (3 volumes)
Box 7 Roster of retired officers of 1st Army undated
Box 7 Mexican Border War and World War I undated
Box 7 Three-Star General's flag undated
Box 8 World War II and thereafter 1940-1948 (3 folders)
Box 8 World War II and thereafter 1948-1968 (3 folders)
Box 8 Army School of Military Government undated (2 folders)
Public service
Box 8 Civil defense undated
Box 8 American Legion undated
Box 8 Grant Monument Association undated
Box 8 Miscellaneous - correspondence, printed material
Box 9 Nassau County Bridge Authority undated (4 portfolios, 1 envelope)
Box 10 Regents Minutes, Wickersham undated (2 volumes)
Box 10 Nassau Community College minutes 1960-1964 (8 volumes)
Box 11 Nassau College Yearbook 1964
Box 11 Methods and procedures manuals 1963-1965 (3 volumes)
Box 11 Budget estimates, Nassau Community College 1963, 1965 (2 volumes)
Box 11 Annual reports 1959-1963 (3 volumes)
Box 11 Nassau Community College undated (5 folders)
Box 11 Board of Regents undated (3 folders)
Box 12 College pamphlets undated (3 folders)
Committees and associations
Box 12 Reserve Officers Association undated
Box 12 Miscellaneous undated
Social life
Box 12 Family undated
Box 12 Outdoors, natural history, ornithology, music undated
Box 12 Philately (6 folders)
Box 12 Literature and music undated
Box 12 The Early Stamps of Venezuela, Wickersham undated
Oversize 1 Photographs 1954, 1960, undated - includes Wickersham with Dewey (1954) and President Lyndon Johnson (1964)
Oversize 1 Certificate of Regents undated
Oversize 1 Telegrams, miscellaneous undated
Oversize 2 U.S. Customs appeals certificates 1914
Oversize 2 Attorney certificates 1912, 1927
Oversize 2 Appellate Division certificate 1922
Oversize 2 Avril Paulson, autograph undated
Oversize 2 Reserves certificate 1948
Oversize 2 Army certficates 1916, 1923, 1928
Oversize 2 Pershing, J. J. 1923 - letter from
Oversize 2 French Army award 1918
Oversize 2 Veterans award 1922
Oversize 2 National Guard certificate 1916
Oversize 2 Farrington, P. 1964 - letter from
Oversize 2 Bachelor's degree (B.A.) from Massachusetts undated
Oversize 2 Cum Laude award undated
Oversize 2 District Court certificate 1911
Oversize 2 New Jersey Attorney certificate 1913
Oversize 2 Legion of Honor 1919
Oversize 2 Army Citation 1918
Oversize 2 British Army Award 1946
Oversize 2 Distinguished Service Medal 1945
Oversize 2 Certificate elections 1953
Oversize 2 Citation from Britain 1945
Oversize 2 New York State Award 1948
Oversize 2 Photographs, black and white 1960 (2 items)
Oversize 2 Awards to Mr. Taft, from Japan 1929
Oversize 2 Distinguished Service Medal 1918
Oversize 2 Order of the Legion of Honor 1929, 1946
Oversize 2 Regents Certificate 1955
Oversize 2 Law degree (J.D.) 1918

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