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86 Harv. L. Rev. 1377 (1972-1973)
Erwin N. Griswold, As Seen by His Staff

handle is hein.journals/hlr86 and id is 1395 raw text is: ERWIN    N. GRISWOLD, AS SEEN          BY HIS STAFF
All great men have certain eccentricities which add color and
warmth to their characters, and Erwin Griswold is no exception.
To the staff which manned his office during his term as Dean, he
was teacher, boss, and friend simultaneously, and so he has con-
tinued to this day. And that staff knew best and understood well
his lovable idiosyncrasies.
As is well known, the Dean is a philatelist of some renown,
with an important collection that was begun in his boyhood. This
interest does not encompass only rare and unusual stamps and
covers, but includes almost all domestic and foreign stamps as
well. To open the mail was to become an on-the-spot collector,
and only the most common types were relegated to the waste-
basket. The Dean's interest worked in reverse, too; the postage
drawer held dozens of neat little boxes of stamps in all denomina-
tions, including a large selection of the most recent commemora-
tive stamps. These were always very carefully separated into in-
dividual stamps by tearing, never by cutting. (Taking the scis-
sors to stamp perforations was the ultimate sin.) Letters requir-
ing extra postage were decorated like Christmas trees (often
personally by the Dean) and each stamp was set precisely straight
on its envelope.
But Mr. Griswold's devotion to the postal system went beyond
mere postage stamps. He always riffled through the out box,
and in the space of seconds could unearth a misspelled name or
address, a Mr. that should have been an Esq., an Esq.
that should have been an Hon., or an Edward that should
have been an Edmund. (Not only does he know the correct
spelling of the name of every alumnus of the Harvard Law School,
but he knows the proper class as well.) He could heft an envelope
and know immediately if it had too much or too little postage
affixed. This led the staff to weigh letters with extra care and to
seek the support of a colleague when calculating the amount of
extra postage. Furthermore, he kept track of the time it took a
letter to get to Cambridge from its mailing point, and he knew
better than the postal department just when any letter of his could
be expected to arrive at its destination.
The volume of the Dean's correspondence is legendary. He
dictated by machine and for shorthand-taking, and he wrote by
hand, as he still does. The flow never stopped, even when he
traveled or was on vacation, but it reached a splendid peak dur-
ing office hours. When he came to Langdell in the morning, he
almost always detoured by the mail room to pick up the morning
mail, which he immediately dumped on the desk of a secretary

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