Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

(1841 - 1935)

In 1861 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. left Harvard College to enlist in a Massachusetts militia, writing that were he to survive the Civil War, he would enter law as a profession, “or at least for a starting point.” He followed through on law school after his honorable discharge in 1864—his father had “put on the screws” for him to do so—then practiced in Boston until his appointment to the state court in 1882 and, in 1902, to the U.S. Supreme Court, a position he held until right before his ninety-first birthday in 1932. In a note discovered after his death, Holmes wrote that the uniforms to be found in his closet “were worn by me in the Civil War, and the stains upon them are my blood.”

All Writing

Voices In Time

1897 | Boston

Times Change

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. tracks the arc of justice. More

Voices In Time

1895 | Allston

The Soldier’s Faith

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. brings the song of the sword to Harvard’s graduating class.More

Issues Contributed