Roscoe Pound

Roscoe Pound

Infobox Scientist
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name = Roscoe Pound

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birth_date = birth date|1870|10|27
birth_place = Lincoln, Nebraska
death_date = death date and age|1964|6|30|1870|10|27
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residence =
citizenship =
nationality = flag|United States
ethnicity =
fields = Botany
workplaces = Harvard Law School
alma_mater = University of Nebraska
doctoral_advisor =
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notable_students =
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influences =
influenced = Zechariah Chafee
awards =
religion =

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Nathan Roscoe Pound (October 27, 1870 – June 30, 1964) was a distinguished American legal scholar and educator.

Early life

Pound was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA to Stephen Bosworth Pound and Laura Pound.

Pound studied botany at the University of Nebraska (BA, 1888, & MA, 1889) in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 1889, he began the study of law; he spent one year at Harvard but never received a law degree. He received the first Ph.D., in botany, from the University of Nebraska in 1898.

Law career

In 1903, Pound became dean of the University of Nebraska College of Law. In 1910, Pound began teaching at Harvard and in 1916 became dean of Harvard Law School. He wrote "Spurious Interpretation" in 1907, "Outlines of Lectures on Jurisprudence" in 1914, "The Spirit of the Common Law" [] in 1921, "Law and Morals" in 1924, and "Criminal Justice in America" in 1930. He was the founder of the movement for "sociological jurisprudence," an influential critic of the U.S. Supreme Court's "liberty of contract" line of cases, symbolized by "Lochner v. New York" (1905), and one of the early leaders of the movement for American Legal Realism, which argued for a more pragmatic and public-interested interpretation of law and a focus on how the legal process actually occurred, as opposed to the arid legal formalism which prevailed in American jurisprudence at the time. Pound would later turn against the movement and became a leading critic of the legal realists later in his life.

Criminal Justice in Cleveland

In 1922, Roscoe Pound and Felix Frankfurter undertook a detailed quantitative study of crime reporting in Cleveland newspapers for the month of January 1919, using column inch counts. They found that, whereas, in the first half of the month, the total amount of space given over to crime was 925 inches, in the second half it leapt to 6642 inches. This was in spite the fact that the number of crimes reported had only increased from 345 to 363. They concluded that although the city's much publicized "crime wave" was largely fictitious and manufactured by the press, the coverage had a very real consequence for the administration of criminal justice. Because the public believed they were in the middle of a crime epidemic, they demanded an immediate response from the police and the city authorities. These agencies wishing to retain public support, complied, caring "more to satisfy popular demand than to be observant of the tried process of law" The result was a greatly increased likelihood of miscarriages of justice and sentences more severe than the offenses warranted.cite book
last =Jensen
first =Klaus Bruhn
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =May 10, 2002
title =A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
publisher =Routledge
location =UK
id =ISBN 0-415-22588-4
p. 45-46 ] cite book
last = Pound
first =Roscoe
authorlink =
coauthors =Felix Frankfurter
year =1922
title =Criminal Justice in Cleveland
publisher =The Cleveland Foundation
location =Cleveland, OH
id =
p. 546]


One of his most oft-quoted views was on professionalism: The term [professionalism] refers to a group pursuing a learned art as a common calling in the spirit of public service - no less a public service because it may incidentally be a means of livelihood. Pursuit of the learned art in the spirit of a public service is the primary purpose. cite book
last =Pound
first =Roscoe
authorlink =
coauthors =
year =1953
title =The Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times
publisher =West Publishing Co.,
location =St. Paul, Minn.
id =
p. 5.]


*In 1903 Pound, with George Condra, founded the Society of Innocents, the preeminent senior honor society at Nebraska. It is still in existence.
*Pound is a member of the Nebraska Hall of Fame.
*Pound was a Freemason, and was a member and Past Master of Lancaster Lodge No. 54 AF & AM Lincoln, Nebraska.
*Pound helped to found The Harvard Lodge A.F. & A.M. along with Kirsopp Lake a Professor of the Divinity School, and others.
* Pound was the brother of noted folklorist and scholar Louise Pound.

ee also

*A Test of the News



*Pound, Roscoe. "American National Biography". 17:760-763. 1999.

External links

* [ Roscoe Pound papers] at Nebraska State Historical Society
* [ Justice According to Law] (1914) essay
* [ The Spirit of the Common Law] (1921) book based on Dartmouth Alumni Lectures

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  • Pound, Roscoe — born Oct. 27, 1870, Lincoln, Neb., U.S. died July 1, 1964, Cambridge, Mass. U.S. legal educator and botanist. After studying botany at the University of Nebraska and law at Harvard University (1889–90), he was admitted to the Nebraska bar, and he …   Universalium

  • roscoe — /ros koh/, n. Older Slang. a revolver or pistol. [1910 15, Amer.; of uncert. orig.] * * * (as used in expressions) Conkling Roscoe Murrow Edward Egbert Roscoe Pound Roscoe * * * …   Universalium

  • Roscoe — /ros koh/, n. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning swift and horse. * * * (as used in expressions) Conkling Roscoe Murrow Edward Egbert Roscoe Pound Roscoe * * * …   Universalium

  • Pound, Roscoe — (27 oct. 1870, Lincoln, Nebraska, EE.UU.–1 jul. 1964, Cambridge, Mass.). Educador en materias jurídicas y botánico estadounidense. Después de estudiar botánica en la Universidad de Nebraska y derecho en la de Harvard (1889–90), ingresó al colegio …   Enciclopedia Universal

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