A Guide to the John R. Kramer Papers, [ca. 1938-2006]
Born in New York City, John R. Kramer (1937-2006) graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958 before earning a law degree from the same institution in 1962. After law school, Kramer went to work on Capital Hill, as Assistant United States Attorney (1963-1965); a legal commentator for PBS on the Watergate hearings (1973-1974); and special counsel to Representatives Adam Clayton Powell on the House Committee on Education and Labor and Thomas Foley on the House Committee on Agriculture (1975-1986). As Executive Director for the National Council on Hunger and Nutrition (1968-1982), Kramer drafted major food stamp and school lunch legislation.
In 1971, Kramer joined the faculty of Georgetown University law school as an Associate Professor and was named Associate Dean for education five years later. From 1986 to 1996, Kramer was Dean of Tulane University law school. At both universities, he pioneered the establishment of legal clinics, giving law students practical experience while providing legal representation to underprivileged individuals and organizations in their communities. Throughout his career in education and legislation, Kramer represented private clients, including Federal Employees Against the War in Vietnam, the Mattachine Scoiety, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Pork Producers, and the United Gamefowl Breeders of America. He also served as president of the Field Foundation (1981-1991) and founding chair of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (1981-2002) and was an active member of the American Bar Association.
Holly, Joe. “Law Professor John R. Kramer; Led GU's Legal Clinic Program.” Washington Post. March 10, 2006.
Comprising photographs, correspondence, notes, research files, and legal documents, the John R. Kramer Papers, [ca. 1938-2006], document Kramer’s life and career in legislation, legal education, social action, and private legal practice. Photographs and papers concern Kramer’s family history and his father Milton R. Kramer’s diary of his legal career representing such companies as David O. Selznick’s Vanguard Films, the National Department Stores Corporation, and the Cuba Railroad Company. The collection chronicles Kramer’s education from elementary school through his undergraduate and legal studies at Harvard as well as his tenure as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University. Kramer’s early career as a law clerk for Thurgood Marshall, legal consult for U. S. Representatives Adam Clayton Powell and Thomas Foley, and a partner at the Washington, D. C., law firm Shea and Gardner are documented in the papers, along with his research and writing on specific “War On Poverty” legislation, including the Food Nutrition Act of 1970, the Food Distribution Act of 1972, and the Bureaucratic Accountability Act of 1973. The collection also concerns Kramer’s later career in private practice and as a law professor and dean at Georgetown University and Tulane University. Additionally, his leadership as president of the Field Foundation, member of the American Bar Association, and founding chair of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as well as his philanthropic projects in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina are discussed in the papers.
This collection is open for research use.
John R. Kramer Papers, [ca. 1938-2006], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
This collection contains unprocessed materials.
Detailed Description of the Papers