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August 29, 2008

Charles Alan Wright papers unveiled: archive documents a distinguished legal career

The Tarlton Law Library at The University of Texas School of Law is pleased to announce the opening of the Charles Alan Wright Papers to researchers and scholars on September 3, 2008. The Library actively collects, preserves, and makes available unique archival materials, fulfilling its role as the premier legal research facility in Texas.

Charles Alan Wright (1927–2000) was a long time faculty member of The University of Texas School of Law, scholar, author, proceduralist, mentor, and active member of the American Law Institute. Born on September 3, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Charles Alan Wright went on to earn a B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1947 and a law degree from Yale Law School in 1949. He then spent a year as law clerk for Judge Charles E. Clark of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Following his clerkship, Wright began his teaching career: he taught at the University of Minnesota for a number of years, and then accepted a professorship at The University of Texas in 1955, teaching courses in Federal Courts, Constitutional Law, and a seminar on the Supreme Court. While at UT, Wright authored the renowned fifty-seven volume treatise Federal Practice and Procedure, establishing his reputation as an authority in the legal field. During the course of his career, Wright argued twelve cases before the United States Supreme Court, winning ten. His achievements extended beyond the classroom and courtroom: Wright led the Legal Eagles—a stunningly successful intramural football team—to 330 wins during his forty-five year involvement as coach and athletic director. He was an elected member of the American Law Institute at the age of thirty-one, serving as president from 1993 until his death, July 7, 2000.

The archive contains correspondence, minutes, memoranda, creative works, court documents, transcripts, audio/visual materials, printed materials, and artifacts measuring 486 linear feet and dating primarily from the years 1950 to 2000. A finding aid is available online through the Texas Archival Resources Online (TARO) website.

The Charles Alan Wright Papers are the bequest of Charles Alan Wright and the gift of his widow Custis Wright, deposited in 2001 and 2002. Michael Widener, former Head of Special Collections, Mark Lambert, former Rare Books Librarian and Archivist, and Adrienne Sonder, former Archives Assistant, oversaw the care of the Charles Alan Wright papers 2001–2007. Brian Boswell processed the papers and produced the online finding aid 2006–2007.

Related links:

Tarlton Law Library

Tarlton Law Library news release

Memorial Resolution

UT Rec Sports Charles Alan Wright Tribute

Memorial Philosophical Society of Texas

Program contact:
Elizabeth Haluska-Rausch, Rare Books Librarian and Archivist, Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas at Austin, (512) 232-3802,

Media contact:
Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, University of Texas School of Law, (512) 471-7330,