Access and Provenance

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing


A Finding Aid to the

Theodore Tannenwald. Jr. Papers

Manuscript Collection No. 640

1953-1998. 4.5 Linear ft.


The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Papers were donated to the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives by Selma Peterfreund Tannenwald in April, 1999. Property rights are assigned to the Archives. All literary rights to materials authored by Judge Tannenwald are held by the Tannenwald heirs. Literary rights to materials authored by others are held by the individual author or his/her heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Executive Director of the American Jewish Archives. The papers are available to researchers in the reading room of the Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.


Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. was born in Valatie, New York, in 1916. After attending public schools in Valatie and Albany, New York, he graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. in political science and mathematics from Brown University in 1936, and magna cum laude with an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1939.

Admitted to the bar in 1939, he joined the New York law firm of Weil, Gotshal and Manges as an associate in 1939. He became a full partner in 1947 and practiced law in New York and Washington until he was appointed a judge on the United States Tax Court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965.

Tannenwald's private law practice was interspersed with several leaves of absence for government service. During World War II, he served in the Department of State overseas as a special consultant to the Secretary of war; from 1946 to 1949, he was a part-time consultant to Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal; from 1950 to 1953, he was closely associated with W. Averell Harriman, serving first as counsel when Harriman was special assistant for foreign affairs to President Truman and as chief of staff when Harriman became Director for Mutual Security in 1951. His relationship with Harriman continued on an informal, consultant basis from 1954 to 1958, when Harriman was Governor of New York. Also during the 1950's, Tannenwald served in an advisory capacity to the Government of Israel.

Appointed to President Kennedy's Task Force on Foreign Assistance in 1961, he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of State where he represented the administration in guiding the foreign aid program through Congress.

In 1981, Tannenwald was elected to a two-year term as chief judge for the United States Tax Court, having served on the court since 1965. In 1983 he retired and took senior status, but continued to keep a substantial docket and fill in as chief judge.

Beginning in 1958 until his death, Tannenwald served in many capacities, including chairman, on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He also chaired the Israel Committee of the American Jewish Committee and served on the organization's National Executive Board and Board of Governors.

Tannenwald's academic accomplishments included lecturing at George Washington University, the University of Miami Law School, and the University of San Diego Law School where he was Distinguished Adjunct Professor. He held honorary degrees from the University of Cincinnati and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. was married to Selma (Pete) Peterfreund Tannenwald and they had two sons, Peter and Robert. He died on January 20, 1999.


The Theodore Tannenwald Jr. Papers consist of correspondence, memos, reports, committee records, articles and addresses, nearprint, and clippings reflecting Tannenwald's service as a consultant and advisor to the Israeli government, his involvement with the Israel Committee of the American Jewish Committee, and his service on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. There is also a small amount of material dealing with his work as a judge on the US Tax Court. Span dates for the collection are 1953-1998 and it is arranged into four series as follows:

  • SERIES A: Government of Israel
  • SERIES B: American Jewish Committee
  • SERIES C: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
  • SERIES D: United States Tax Court
  • Series A consists of correspondence and subject files pertaining to Judge Tannenwald's service as a consultant and advisor to the Government of Israel in the 1950's in matters dealing with economic development and U.S. foreign aid. The material in this series is substantiative and includes correspondence with the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Abba Eban, as well as officials in the Eisenhower administration, the Congress, and the corporate world. Span dates for the series are 1953- 1962.

    The materials in Series B relate to Tannenwald's work with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) where he served on the Board of Governors and as chair of the Israel Committee. The series consists mostly of correspondence but also includes reports, subject files, and nearprint covering such subjects as the Arab Boycott, the American Jewish community and Israel, the 1967 War, economic ties between Israel and the U.S., U.S. relations in the Middle East, the AJC delegations to South America and Israel, and refugees. Span dates are 1963-1969.

    Series C contains correspondence, nearprint, clippings, addresses, and committee files pertaining to Tannenwald's activities on the Board of Governors of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion for nearly 40 years. Included is material on long-range and strategic planning, the HUC Cultural Center, the establishment of the Jerusalem campus, honorary degrees, and fund-raising. Span dates for the series are 1957-1998.

    Series D pertains to Tannenwald's work as a judge on the United States Tax Court and includes a small amount of correspondence and nearprint as well as a selection of his articles and addresses on tax law. Span dates are 1973-1990.


    Box  Folder    Contents
    1    1         1953
         2         1954
         3         1955
         4         1956
         5         1957-1958
         6         1959-1962
    2    1    Trip to Israel.                              1954
         2    Israel housing project.                      1957
         3    Development loan fund agreement.             1959      
         4    Surplus commodities.                         1953-1958
         5    Hadasseh food program.                       n.d.
         6    Fiscal 1955 request for aid.                 1954-1955
         7    Middle East.                                 1953-1955
         8    Oil.                                         1954-1955
         9    Governor Harriman's address.                 1956
         10   Statement: Amb. Abba Eban                    1955
         11   Loan agreement.                              1954
         12   Agreement: ARAMCO and Saudi Arabian
                Government.                                1950
         13   Agreement: Research Council of Israel
                and American Machine & Foundry Co.         1956-1957
         14   Foreign registration.                        1953-1956
    3    1    Border incidents.                            1956
              Near East Reports.
         2         1959-1960
         3         1961-1962
         4         1963-1964
    4    1         Jan. - Apr.    1963
         2         May - Dec.     1963
         3         1964
         4         1965
         5         1968
         6         Jan. - Apr.    1969
    5    1         May - Aug. 1969
         2         Sept. - Dec. 1969
         3         1970-1971
         4         1978-1997
         5    German scientists to Egypt.                  1962-1963
         6    Statement on the Middle East.                1963
         7    State Department & Israel.                   1966-1969
    6    1    Arab boycott.                                1964-1965
         2    Reports.                                     1958-1962
         3         1964-1968
         4         1969-1973
         5    Nearprint.                                   1961-1966
    7    1         1957-1979
         2         1979-1985
         3         1886-1988
         4         1989-1993
         5         1994-1998
         6    By-laws Committee.                           1981-1994
              Executive Committee.
         7         1990-1995
         8         1996-1998
    8    1    HUC Cultural Center.                         1994
         2    Communications Audit & Public Relations
                Recommendations.                           1988
         3    Honorary Degrees Committee.                  1986-1996
         4    Long-range Planning Committee.               1977-1993
         5    Strategic Planning Commmittee.               1994
         6    Miscellaneous.                               1973
    9    1    Report on Cincinnati Land.                   1962, 1989
         2    Study of HUC by Academy of Educational
                Development.                               1983
         3    Speech materials.                            1973-1990
              UAHC Taskforce on HUC Campuses.
         4              1990
         5              1991
         6    Miscellaneous HUC nearprint.                 1971-1988
         7    Miscellaneous HUC clippings.                 1971-1988
    10   1   Correspondence                                1979-1990
         2   American Bar Association Distinguished
             Service Award.                                1998
         3   Articles & addresses.                         1964-1979
         4   Articles & addresses.                         1980-1995
         5   Misc. nearprint & clippings.                  1973-1986
         6   Mutual Security Program address               1952
         7   Griswold Lecture                              1998
         8   Addresses to Jewish audiences                 1964-1990
    Copyright © 2000 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives