Summary Information
Title: Dick Thornburgh Papers, Series I. Youth and Education
Collection Number: AIS.1998.30.01
Creator: Thornburgh, Dick, 1932-

Collection Dates: 1932-1957
Extent: 8.75 linear feet

Language: English

The first series of the Thornburgh Papers includes materials from his earliest days, growing up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, and continuing through his years of education, graduating in 1957 from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law. The files are arranged in four sections that reflect Thornburgh's academic progression: "Youth," "Mercersburg Academy," "Yale University," and "University of Pittsburgh School of Law." Included are personal items such as a childhood diary, photographs, school newspaper "Sportorials," college term papers and examinations, and all class notes and annotated texts from law school. Digital reproductions of portions of the collection are available online.

This finding aid is available on line as result of a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania grant to the University of Pittsburgh and with collaboration of the Archives Service Center and the Digital Research Library.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

June 30, 2004

Finding aid prepared by Nancy Watson.
Subject Terms

Corporate Names
  • Mercersburg Academy.
  • Rossyln Farms Elementary School (Rossyln Farms, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. School of Law.
  • Yale University.

Personal Names
  • Thornburgh, Dick, 1932-
  • Thornburgh, Dick, 1932- -- Childhood and youth
  • Thornburgh, Dick, 1932- -- Knowledge and learning

  • Rosslyn Farms (Pa.)

  • Education
  • Government
  • Personal papers
  • Politics
  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Dick Thornburgh, February 27, 1998.

Preferred Citation:

Dick Thornburgh Papers, 1932- , AIS.1998.30, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Nancy Watson, Curator of the Thornburgh Papers, Holly Mengel, Project Archivist, and a team of graduate students. Processing was made possible by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2002.

Processing Information:

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Holly Mengel in 2004. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 3608599


Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Collection Inventory

Series I. Youth and Education, 1932-1957

Scope and Content Notes:

Dick Thornburgh grew up in Rosslyn Farms, Pennsylvania, an upper middle-class suburb of Pittsburgh. He attended Rosslyn Farms Elementary School (1937-1945), a four-room schoolhouse for kindergarten through eighth grade and where eight to ten students to a class was the norm. In 1945, Thornburgh graduated from elementary school and subsequently enjoyed only one year at Carnegie High School. Thornburgh's parents recognized that he was not being challenged academically, thus he continued his high school education at Mercersburg Academy ('50).

Thornburgh subsequently attended Yale University ('54), majoring in engineering, although admittedly not suited to the math and science required. However, he did develop a love for writing, politics and law, and went on to earn a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law ('57). Academically Thornburgh lived up to his potential there and was soon second in his class. He earned a place on the law review, and was selected for the moot court team ( Evidence, p. 11).

These earliest files in the Thornburgh archive are remarkable in several respects. Firstly they are surprising. How many of us have saved a diary from age thirteen, "Sportorials" for the school paper, or college term papers and examinations, or class notes from graduate school? These items can be found here. Secondly, the class notes and annotated texts from law school set the stage for what became a brilliant law career, ultimately as the seventy sixth Attorney General of the United States.

The "Youth and Education" files are in four sections: "Youth," "Mercersburg Academy," "Yale University," and "University of Pittsburgh School of Law."

Subseries 1. Youth, 1932-1946

Scope and Content Notes:

These files are arranged chronologically and include Thornburgh's birth certificate, elementary school test scores and childhood memorabilia.

Box 1
Folder 1 Birth Certificate, Baptism, Confirmation and Inoculation Records, Rosslyn Farms, PA, 1932-1945
Folder 2 Metropolitan Achievement Test Results (1939), "Public School Diploma, Allegheny County" (May 29, 1946), graduation 8th grade, 1939, 1946
Folder 3 Carnegie High School, 1945-1946
Folder 4 Personal Diary, aged 13, 1946
Folder 5 Family Prayer Books, 1889, 1893, 1944, 1952
Folder 6 Sports team pin collection and Airplane Packet Cards, undated

Subseries 2. Mercersburg Academy, 1946-1950

Scope and Content Notes:

The files are arranged chronologically. Materials include composition books, memorabilia and "Sportorials." The "Sportorials" were written by Thornburgh for the Academy newspaper and are described by him as his "most fulfilling activity" while at Mercersburg ( Evidence, p. 6).

Folder 7 Modern Language Course, Graduation Certificate and Memorabilia, 1947-1950
Folder 8 "Sportorials" by Dick Thornburgh and articles about him, 1947-1950
Folder 9 Handwritten "English Composition Book " with essays, including "The Story of my Life", 1948-1949

Subseries 3. Yale University, 1950-1954

Scope and Content Notes:

Among the items here will be found: Thornburgh's acceptance of admission letter from Yale, class notebooks, research papers, copies of The Yale Record, sports and theatre programs, memorabilia and diary from Thornburgh's 1953 trip to Europe. Some post-graduation alumni items have also been included here.

Folder 10 Memorabilia including Yale acceptance letter and transcript of all four years, 1950-1954
Folder 11 Playbills and Programs, 1950-1954
Folder 12 Drama productions, 1950-1951
Folder 13 "Promenades", 1952, 1954
Folder 14-15 Football programs, 1950-1951, 1953, 1959
Folder 16 Basketball and swimming programs, 1950-1952
Folder 17 " '54 ": a Yale Banner Publication, 1950-1951
Folder 18-19 "The Yale Record", September, 1950-October, 1952
Folder 20 Papers and research: Flood Control, Pittsburgh and History of Pennsylvania Turnpike, 1954
Folder 21 Paper: "Surgoinsville Hydro-Electric Project, Holston River, TN", 1954
Folder 22 Baccalaureate and Commencement Programs, June 6-7, 1954

Box 2
Folder 1 Papers and exams: Structural Engineering, 1954
Folder 2 The Robert A. Taft Memorial Lecture Series, Watertown, CT, February 24, 1954
Folder 3 Notebook: Yale Engineering Camp, East Lyme, CT, 1952
Folder 4-6 Class Notebooks, 1952-1954
Folder 7 Class Notes and Textbook: "History of Art", 1954
Folder 8 Class Notebook: Civil Engineering "Water Supply", January, 1954-June, 1954
Folder 9 Quizzes, 1953-1954
Folder 10 "The Yankanuck Song Book", ca. 1954
Folder 11 Trip to Europe Memorabilia, 1953
Folder 12 Trip to Europe Memorabilia and trip diary, 1953
Folder 13 Post Graduation; 25th Reunion 1979, articles, 1979

Subseries 4. University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1954-1957

Scope and Content Notes:

The papers are arranged chronologically and consist of four sections: 1) notes, reports and memorabilia; 2) Law Reviews and anniversary publication; 3) handwritten class notebooks; and 4) Thornburgh's annotated textbooks. Publications in the second section consist of The University of Pittsburgh Law Review (1954-1957) as well as Pitt Magazine's coverage of the seventy fifth anniversary of the Law School (1970). The Class notebooks section rather remarkably consists of twenty-two handwritten notebooks from each law school class, every semester. Of particular interest, too, are textbooks with his annotations, and one with a fetching pin-up picture inside the cover.

Section: Notes, Reports and Memorabilia

Box 3
Folder 1 Memorabilia especially including "Recollections About Ginny" (2004 bio of Thornburgh's first wife, Virginia Hooton Thornburgh), 1954-1957, 2004
Folder 2 School transcript, 1954-1957
Folder 3 Moot Law Court: notes and research, Fall, 1954
Folder 5 Common Pleas case: Ralph Wilson vs. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., Thornburgh et al attorneys, 1956
Folder 4 Supreme Court Case: Leopard Oil Co. Inc. vs. Superoil Corp., 1955
Folder 6 Federal Case: DeEugenio vs. Allis Chalmers, pre-trial notes, 1956
Folder 7 Federal Case: DeEugenio vs. Allis Chalmers, Thornburgh et al attorneys, 1956
Folder 8 Non Law Review Award, 1957
Folder 9 Class of 1957 parody photographs, 1957
Folder 10 Secretary, Class of 1957: Alumni Funds, 1962
Folder 11 1967 "Who's Who" Class of 1957 and notes, October, 1967
Folder 12 1972 and 1997 "Who's Who" Class of 1957, October 21, 1972, September 12-14, 1997
Folder 13 Lawyer's Register, no. 151 first edition, July, 1962
Folder 14 Exams, 1954-1957
Folder 15 Correspondence regarding Board of Law Examiners and 1957 passage of bar exam, 1955-1958
Folder 16 Selective Service Form and Letter to the Draft Board, April 29, 1957, October 4, 1957

Section: School of Law Publications

Folder 17 University of Pittsburgh Law Review, v. 16 nos. 1-4, 1954-1955
Folder 18 University of Pittsburgh Law Review, v. 17 nos. 1, 2, and 3, 1955-1956
Folder 19 University of Pittsburgh Law Review, v. 18 nos. 2 and 4, 1957
Folder 20 Pitt Magazine: The School of Law's 75th Anniversary, v. 26, no. 2, Summer, 1970

Section: Class Notebooks

Box 4
Folder 1 Torts, Fall, 1954
Folder 2 Property, Fall, 1954
Folder 3 Contracts, Fall, 1954
Folder 4 Legislative Process, Fall, 1954
Folder 5 Criminal Law, Spring, 1955
Folder 6 Constitutional Law, Fall, 1955
Folder 7 Equity, Fall, 1955
Folder 8 Property II, Fall, 1955
Folder 9 Evidence, Fall, 1955
Folder 10 Negotiable Instruments, Fall, 1955
Folder 11 Corporations, Fall, 1955
Folder 12 Suretyship, Spring, 1956
Folder 13 Descendant's Estates, Spring, 1956
Folder 14 Property II, Spring, 1956
Folder 15 Trusts, Fall, 1956
Folder 16 Taxation, Fall, 1956
Folder 17 Future Interests, Fall, 1956
Folder 18 Common Pleas, Fall, 1956
Folder 19 Conflicts, Spring, 1957
Folder 20 Taxation II, Spring, 1957
Folder 21 Labor, Spring, 1957
Folder 22 Sales, Spring, 1957

Section: Thornburgh's Annotated Textbooks

Folder 23 Fraser's Cases and Readings on Property: Introduction (pinup picture), 1954-1957
Folder 24 Cases and Materials on Criminal Law and Procedure, 1954-1957

Box 5
Folder 1 Cases and Materials on Real Property and Conveyancing, 1954-1957
Folder 2 Cases and Materials on the Law of Sales and Sales Financing, 1954-1957
Folder 3 Fraser's Case and Readings on Personal Property, 1954-1957
Folder 4 Cases on Labor Law, 1954-1957
Folder 5 Case Materials on Future Interests, 1954-1957
Folder 6 Cases on Equity, 1954-1957
Folder 7 Cases on Wills and Administration, 1954-1957

Box 6
Folder 1 A Selection of Cases on the Law of Contracts, 1954-1957
Folder 2 Cases and Materials on Legislation, 1954-1957
Folder 3 Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated, Permanent Edition: Title 12A Uniform Commercial Code 1-101 to 3-806, 1954-1957
Folder 4 Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes Annotated, Permanent Edition: Title 12A Uniform Commercial Code 4-101 to End, 1954-1957
Folder 5 Cases on the Law of Bills and Notes, 1954-1957
Folder 6 Cases and Materials on the Law of Corporations, 1954-1957
Folder 7 Cases and Materials on the Law of Credit Transactions, 1954-1957
Folder 8 Cases and Other Materials on the Law of Taxation, 1954-1957
Folder 9 Notes found inside Cases on Agency, 1954-1957
Folder 10 Cases on Agency, 1954-1957
Folder 11 A Preliminary Survey of the Law of Real Property, 1954-1957

Box 7
Folder 1 Cases and Materials on Constitutional Law, 1954-1957
Folder 2 Cases on Torts, 1954-1957
Folder 3 Inserts and notes found in Cases and Other Materials on Civil Procedure, 1954-1957
Folder 4 Cases and Other Materials on Civil Procedure, 1954-1957
Folder 5 Pennsylvania Common Pleas Practice: Statutes, Rules, Forms and Cases, 1954-1957
Folder 6 Cases and Materials on the Law of Evidence, 1954-1957
Folder 7 Report of the Joint State Government Commission of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Relating to the Following: Descendants' Estates Laws Fiduciaries Act of 1949 Fiduciaries Investment Act of 1949, 1954-1957
Folder 8 Report of the Joint State Government Commission of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Relating to the Following: Descendants' Estates Laws Interstate Act of 1947, Wills Act of 1947, Principal and Income Act of 1947, dated 1951, 1954-1957
Folder 9 Select Cases and Other Authorities on the Law of Trusts, 1954-1957
Folder 10 Conflict of Laws: Cases and Materials, 1954-1957
Folder 11 Statutory Supplement to Cases on Labor Law, 1954-1957