The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation (the “Foundation”) was established by William Nelson Cromwell by a Deed of Foundation dated as of May 26, 1930.

Since its founding, the Foundation has been primarily concerned with the publication of books in the field of American legal history, with some emphasis on legal history in the colonial period.

Digitization Projects:

The Litchfield Law School Student Notebook Project. The Foundation commissioned Whitney Bagnall to locate, describe and arrange for the digitization of the surviving manuscript notebooks of students who transcribed the lectures on Anglo-American law at the Litchfield Law School in Connecticut in the late colonial and early national period. The database to date includes all such notebooks and includes links to digitized copies of the great majority of them.  See

The Foundation has funded other digitization projects now in progress and welcomes applications for grants to support digitization. Examples of existing projects include:

  • Grants to the National Archives (U.K.) for a project to make available online court records of ships captured as prizes during the Revolutionary War from the British Vice-Admiralty Court of New York and the British High Admiralty Court in London, as well as papers seized from the prize ships including a great many letters in transit which have gone unopened for more than 200 years.
  • Grants to support a digital and hardcopy second edition of the standard reference work for researching early New York court records, Duely and Constantly Kept: A History of the New York Supreme Court, 1691-1847, and an Inventory of its Records (Albany, Utica, and Geneva Offices), 1797-1847. The work will include images of many historical documents.

Supported Published Works Include:

Judge Albert M. Rosenblatt, The Eight: The Lemmon Slave Case and the Fight for Freedom, Albany: State University of New York Press, Excelsior Editions, 2023.

Hawa Allen, Insurrection: Rebellion, Civil Rights, and the Paradoxical State of Black Citizenship, New York: WW Norton, 2022.

The Complete Writings and Selected Correspondence of John Dickinson, Jane E. Calvert, ed., Newark: University of Delaware Press, vol. 1, 2020.

Jeff Forret, Williams’ Gang: A Slave Trader, His Cargo and Justice in the Old South, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Hon. Judith S. Kaye, Judith S. Kaye In Her Own Words: Reflections on Life and the Law, with Selected Judicial Opinions and Articles, Henry M. Greenberg, Luisa M. Kaye, Marilyn Marcus & Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt, eds., Albany: State University of New York Press, 2019.

Michael A. Schoeppner, Moral Contagion: Black Atlantic Sailors, Citizenship, and Diplomacy in Antebellum America, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Kimberly K. Smith, The Conservation Constitution: The Conservation Movement and Constitutional Change, 1870 – 1930, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2019.

Lucy E. Salyer, Under the Starry Flag: How a Ban of Irish Americans Joined the Fenian Revolt and sparked a Crisis over Citizenship, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2018.

Sarah A. Seo, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018.

The Oxford Blackstone; a variorum edition of William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 4 vols (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1765-69; 2016) (Wilfrid Prest, General Editor with David Lemmings, Simon Stern, Thomas Gallanis and Ruth Paley).

Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention, Mary Sarah Bilder, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2015.

Opening Statements: Law, Jurisprudence and the Legacy of the Dutch in New York, Hon. Albert M. Rosenblatt and Julia C. Rosenblatt, eds., Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2013.

For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England, Allegra di Bonaventura, New York, New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013.

St. George Tucker’s Law Reports and Selected Papers, 1782-1825, Charles F. Hobson, ed. (3 vols.): University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, et al., eds. (26 vols. to date; 6 more anticipated): Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976-present. The Foundation has supported Volume 22 (New York, Vol. 4) and subsequent volumes.

Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, Linda Grant De Pauw, Charlene N. Bickford, et al., eds. (20 vols. to date, 2 more anticipated): Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972-present. The Foundation has supported Volume 15 and subsequent volumes.

Prigg v. Pennsylvania, Slavery, the Supreme Court, and the Ambivalent Constitution, H. Robert Baker, Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2012.

Legal Publishing in Antebellum America, Michael H. Hoeflich, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 

The History of the New York Court of Appeals: 1932-2003, Bernard S. Meyer, Burton C. Agata, and Seth H. Agata, New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800, Maeva Marcus, ed., New York: Columbia University Press, (8 Vols. in 9) 1985-2007.

CCB: The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York’s First Citizen, 1858-1959, George Martin, New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.

Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562-1995, Douglas Hay and Paul Craven, eds., Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

That Man: An Insider’s Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt, by Robert H. Jackson (John Q. Barrett and William E. Leuchtenburg, eds.): Oxford, 2003.

The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

The Papers of John Marshall, Charles F. Hobson, ed., Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, vol. VI, 1990, vol. IX, 1998.

Mobilizing America: Robert P. Patterson and the War Effort, 1940-1945, Keith E. Eiler.
Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997.

Oliver Ellsworth and the Creation of the Federal Republic, William R. Casto.
New York: Second Circuit Committee on History and Commemorative Events, 1997.

Glimpses of Walter Mansfield, New York: Federal Bar Foundation, 1995.

Learned Hand: The Man and The Judge, Gerald Gunther, with a foreword by Lewis F. Powell, Jr., New York: Knopf, 1994.

John Marshall Harlan: Great Dissenter of the Warren Court, Tinsley E. Yarbrough,
New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress 1789-1791, by Charlene Bangs Bickford and Kenneth R. Bowling: N.Y. State Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and United States Capital Historical Society, 1989.

The Papers of Daniel Webster, Charles M. Wiltse, ed., Hanover, N.H.: Published for Dartmouth College by the University Press of New England, vol. 3, 1988.

Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity, Richard Beeman, Stephen Botein, and Edward C. Carter II, eds., Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Egbert Benson, First Chief Judge of the Second Circuit (1801-1802), essays by Wythe Holt and David A. Nourse, New York: Second Circuit Committee on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution, 1987.

The Fields and the Law: Essays, Philip J. Bergan, Owen M. Fiss, and Charles W. McCurdy, San Francisco: United States District Court for the Northern District of California Historical Society; New York: Federal Bar Council, 1986.

The History of the New York Court of Appeals, 1847-1932, Francis Bergan, New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

A Visit with Whitney North Seymour, compiled and edited by Eleanor M. Fox, with the assistance of Conrad K. Harper and John V. Monckton, New York, New York: William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, 1984.

Historic Courthouses of New York State: 18th and 19th Century Halls of Justice Across the Empire State, Herbert Alan Johnson and Ralph K. Andrist, with a foreword by Charles D. Breitel, New York: Columbia University Press, 1977.

Americanization of the Common Law: The Impact of Legal Change on Massachusetts Society 1760-1830, William E. Nelson, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard University Press, 1975.

Causes and Conflicts: The Centennial History of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York 1870-1970, George W. Martin, New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1970.

The Evolution of a Judicial Philosophy: Selected Opinions and Papers of Justice John M. Harlan, David L. Shapiro, ed., Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Harvard University Press, 1969.

Mr. Justice Jackson: Four Lectures in his Honor, Robert Houghwout Jackson, ed. (Columbia Univ. Press 1969).

Emory Buckner, Martin Mayer, New York, New York: Harper & Row, 1968.

Chief Justice: The Judicial World of Charles Doe, John Phillip Reid, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1967.

Law and Authority in Colonial America: Selected Essays, George A. Billias, ed., Barre, Massachusetts: Barre Publishers, 1965.

Legal Papers of John Adams, L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, eds., Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press, The Harvard University Press, 1965.

Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton, Julius Goebel, Jr., ed. (5 vols), New York, New York: William Nelson Cromwell Foundation and Columbia University Press, 1964-1981.

The Man Who Rode the Tiger: The Life and Times of Judge Samuel Seabury, Herbert Mitgang, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1963.

Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts, 1639-1702. The Pynchon Court Record. An Original Judge’s Diary of the Administration of Justice in the Springfield Courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, By William Pynchon. Edited with a legal and historical introduction by Joseph H. Smith (Harvard Univ. Press 1961).

Opinions of the Committees on Professional Ethics of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and The New York County Lawyers Association (Columbia University Press 1956).

A History of the School of Law, Columbia University, Julius Goebel (Columbia Univ. Press 1955).

Legal Ethics, Henry S. Drinker, New York, New York: Columbia University Press, 1953.