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Arthur F. Lederle Papers

Identifier: UP000559

Scope and Content

The papers reflect Judge Lederle's position in Democratic Party affairs in the 1930's, his interest in court administration and civil procedure, the major cases over which he presided while on the Federal bench (including the Monroe Paper SEC case, and Detroit housing desegregation suits), and his educational activities.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Abolition of U. S. Commissioners, 1946-1948 Detroit public school millage campaign, 1959 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 1952-1956 Michigan Democratic Party patronage and factions, 1933-1936 "Monroe Paper" cases, 1954-1955

Important correspondents include: Florence Allen; Frank Murphy; Hugo T. Black; Frank Picard; Warren E. Burger; George Sadkowski; Tom Clark; Will Shafroth; John Dingell; Potter Stewart; Edgar Guest; Arthur Tuthill; Phil Hart; G. Mennen Williams

Series Description: Series I, Democratic Party, 1933-1936: Correspondence and newspaper clippings relating to elections, Democratic Party factions and patronage. Particularly well-documented are Mr. Lederle's nomination in March, 1935, to the Wayne County Circuit Court, his sub¬sequent unsuccessful campaign in April, and his appointment to the Federal bench the following year. A group of original election returns from Ward 8 for the April election is included.

Series II, Federal District Court, 1936-1960: Subseries A: Court appointments, 1936-1956,: Correspondence and transcripts. Transcript of swearing-in ceremony, and letters of congratulation, 1936; correspondence on possible appointment to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1938, 1941, 1956.

Subseries B: Cases and court administration, 1936-1960: Correspondence, transcripts, clippings and court decisions. Corres¬pondence and transcripts of meetings regarding the abolition of U. S. Commissioners, pre-trial procedure and docket control. The clippings and decisions document major cases handled by Judge Lederle, partic¬ularly the "Monroe Paper Cases" (Knapp v. Kinsey, In re Timbers), and Detroit public housing desegregation.

Subseries C: Judge Lederle's writings, 1946-1959: Drafts and printed copies of articles, speeches and conference papers, primarily on court administration and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Series III, Personal Files, 1914-1967: Newspaper clippings, correspondence, transcripts, financial records. Much of the material relates to the Citizens for Schools millage campaign and Judge Lederle's other educational activities. The clippings document his career as Detroit Assistant Corporation Counsel, and his retirement in 1960. Transcripts of ceremonies honoring Judge Lederle and personal correspondence are also included. After 1960 most of the correspondence is from family members.

Series IV: Scrapbooks, 1932-1945: Newspaper clippings documenting Mr. Lederle's campaigns for Probate Court in 1932 and Wayne County Circuit Court in 1935, his appointment to the Federal District court in 1936, Democratic Party factions, the liquor-fraud conspiracy trial of Frank McKay in 1941 and other matters.


  • 1914 - 1967
  • Majority of material found within 1933 - 1960


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Arthur J. Lederle was born in Leland, Michigan on November 25, 1887. He graduated from Michigan State Normal School (now Eastern Michigan University) in 1909, and taught in the Detroit area public schools from 1912 to 1923. He received an LL.B. degree from Detroit College of Law in 1915, and an LL.M. from the University of Detroit in 1924. From 1923 to 1936 Mr. Lederle was Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit, working on education and highway matters. He also served as Chairman of the Wayne County Demo-cratic Party from 1933-1935. In 1936 Mr. Lederle was appointed to the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served until his retirement in 1960. He was Chief Judge of the Federal District court for ten of those years, beginning in 1949.

Judge Lederle retained an interest in education throughout his life. He taught from 1936 to 1946 at Wayne State University Law, served as Chairman of the 1959 Citizens for Schools millage campaign, and endowed scholarships at Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State Law School.


3 Linear Feet (6 MB)


Arthur Lederle taught in Detroit Public Schools before entering a legal career, culminating in his tenure as Judge of the Federal District Court for Eastern Michigan. He continued to be involved with education throughout his career. His papers reflect his position in Democratic Party affairs, his interest in court administration and civil procedure, the major case over which he presided and his educational activities.


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-3), Series 3 (Boxes 3-5), and Series 4 (Box 6). Folders are arranged chronologically.


The papers of Arthur J. Lederle were deposited in the Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs in June of 1972.


Memorabilia and photographs of Judge Lederle, including group photographs of courts, political groups and the 1959 millage campaign, have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. The judge's personal library of legal periodicals and autographed fiction is available in the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in August 1985.
Guide to the Arthur F. Lederle Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA