84 Am. J. Int'l L. 531 (1990 )
Notes and Comments

handle is hein.journals/ajil84 and id is 555 raw text is: NOTES AND COMMENTS

HERBERT W. BRIGGS (1900-1990)
Herbert W. Briggs was one of the leading international lawyers of a cen-
tury almost 90 years of which his life spanned. He was one of a diminishing
group of American international lawyers (Quincy Wright was another) who
held a Ph.D. from a faculty of arts and sciences rather than a law school
degree. He seemed no less the lawyer for that. And he was very much the
advocate and architect of a more effective international law.
Herbert Briggs was born in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1900. He received
an A.B. from West Virginia University in 1921 and a Ph.D. from the Johns
Hopkins University in 1925. After studies in Brussels and summers at the
Hague Academy of International Law, service as a research associate at the
Foreign Policy Association, and teaching at Johns Hopkins and Oberlin Col-
lege, he joined the faculty of Cornell University in 1929. He taught interna-
tional law, international organization and international politics at Cornell
until his retirement in 1969 from the Department of Government and Fac-
ulty of Law as Goldwin Smith Professor of International Law Emeritus.
Briggs was perhaps best known for his casebook, The Law of Nations: Cases,
Documents and Notes, first published in 1938. A work of exceptional pith and
insight, it was one of the major teaching tools of international legal educa-
tion in the United States for many years and a work that was highly regarded
abroad. He was the author of The Doctrine of Continuous Voyage (1926), The
International Law Commission (1965), two sets of lectures at the Hague Acad-
emy, and some 85 articles in legal and other journals, above all the American
Journal of International Law. His writing reflected his personality: vigorous,
open, acute, sometimes salty.
Professor Briggs was a member of the Board of Editors of theJournal from
1939 until his death. He served with distinction as Editor in Chief
(1955-1962) and as President of the American Society of International Law
(1959-1960). A major figure in the Society and on the Journal for more than
50 years, Briggs brought to these and other activities an intellectual and
personal vivacity that won universal regard and affection. His appearance
and aptitude were unchanged over the decades; his red face, white hair and
blue eyes may be said to have been the only nationalistic characteristics he
displayed.
Briggs ably served from 1962 to 1966 as a member of the UN Interna-
tional Law Commission, whose procedures and product he had been study-
ing in depth at the time of his election. The codification of international law
was a longstanding interest, to which he had contributed in the Harvard
Research in International Law, the Harvard Draft Convention on Interna-
tional Responsibility of States for Injuries to Aliens, and the work of the
Institut de Droit International. He served as counsel for Honduras, Spain
and Libya in four cases before the International Court of Justice (and con-
531

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