Jerome J. Shestack papers, 1944-2011 and undated, bulk 1965-2000 128 Linear Feet — 86 boxes — Approximately 57,000 items — Approximately 57,000 items
The papers of Jerome Shestack span the years of 1944 to 2011, and document the leadership roles he undertook for legal and social justice organizations such as the American Bar Association, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the International League for Human Rights, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the American Jewish Committee, the International Criminal Court, and many others, and the histories of those entities. Series include extensive correspondence and subject files; organization files; writings by Shestack and others, such as reports, editorials, articles, and speeches; publications and clippings; trial testimonies and proceedings; as well as a small collection of personal files, photographs, and Shestack's World War II diary.
The materials provide insights into Shestack's many professional achievements and how his work in the legal profession intersected his passion for human rights. Shestack held leadership roles in many law and human rights organizations, often simultaneously; therefore, the materials also reveal how organizations often collaborated with one another to address human rights from a legal standpoint. A large portion of the material focuses on Shestack's dedication to the law profession through his active roles in the American Bar Association, which includes his position on the 1987 judicial committee against the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, as well as his role as American Bar Association President from 1997 to 1998.
Other materials in the collection demonstrate Shestack's work to promote and defend human rights on a broad international scale. Significant file groups for countries and their associated human rights cases include Argentina, China, Israel, Russia, and South Africa. His particular interests pertaining to human rights include but are not limited to: law and legislation related to international and domestic human and civil rights; American government policies on human rights; Jewish human rights issues; the defense of political dissidents such as Andrei Sakharov; disappeared persons in Argentina and other human rights abuses; the rights of the mentally disabled; and the history of human rights advocacy.
The worldwide respect Shestack gained for his advocacy work is represented in the collection through extensive correspondence and subject files documenting his connections to notable human rights activists and prominent political leaders, including President Jimmy Carter, President George Bush, René Cassin, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Some audiovisual materials are scattered throughout the collection: a CNBC interview of Shestack as ABA President, International League for Human Rights Awards Dinner cassettes, Wingspread Interview cassettes, a Court TV Bosnia Trial VHS recording, and a recording of the Independent Counsel Symposium. Original media are closed to use; listening or viewing copies must be made for access.
Acquired as part of the Human Rights Archive at Duke University.