In early September, the University received a major gift from Louis Brandeis’ great-granddaughters Susan Popkin Cahn, Anne Brandeis Popkin, and Louisa Brandeis Popkin. These donations — which include family photographs, historical documents and even a letter from former President Franklin Roosevelt — not only contribute to the commemoration of the University's 75th anniversary, but also help enlighten the community about Louis Brandeis’ impact and influence. 

Brandeis served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States during World War I and other historical events, such as the formation of the New Deal and the Great Depression. Brandeis also changed the direction of the Supreme Court and of U.S. law by combining legal argument with scientific evidence, which was later used in Brown v. Board of Education

One of the most important documents is Roosevelt’s telegram to Louis Brandeis’ widow Alice upon his death in 1941. In it, Roosevelt not only expresses his condolences to the family, but reflects on Brandeis’ nationwide influence, stating that “the whole nation will bow in reverence to the memory of one whose life in the law — both as advocate and as judge — was guided by the finest attributes of mind and heart and soul.” He also referred to Brandeis as a “tower of strength,” especially in his contributions to American jurisprudence which were always based on “wisdom” and a “broad spirit of humanism.” 

According to the Robert D. Farber University Archives and Special Collections, the gift of 12 pieces of furniture, eight personal artifacts, and 220 books are now being processed within the Goldfarb Library and will soon be available to University students as well as to the general public. Additionally, the Brandeis National Committee just announced a new campaign, “The Legacy of Louis: Inspiring Inquiry.” This fundraising campaign will further enhance the community’s access to these important documents by building two immersive and interactive additions to the library. Soon these documents will be exhibited as examples of Brandeis’ commitment to social justice as well as his love for family and Jewish values, core values that were instrumental in shaping the University during its founding. 

The second addition to the library will be a new Judaica Reading Room, which will serve as a place and way for students to engage with Jewish texts outside of their communities and courses. By introducing these texts with other religious and cultural works from all around the world, the reading room will serve the students and scholars from a wide range of subjects. 

By working with the University’s Archives and Special Collections, the Brandeis National Committee, first founded as the Brandeis University’s Women Committee, is keeping the legacy and work of Louis Brandeis alive.