History and Name of the Charles Warren Center
Charles Warren was a legal scholar, historian, and lawyer, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1892. The bequest in his name created the Charles Warren American History Fund, whose aim was “to stimulate the interest in, promote the study of, and aid constructive scholarship in, the subject of American History.” Income from the fund supports a number of funds at the University, including this center.
Charles Warren was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College as well as Harvard Law. He worked in state politics and in private law firms in Boston, while also serving on the Massachusetts State Civil Service Commission. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Warren Assistant Attorney General, a position in which he served until 1918.
Alongside his legal work, Warren studied and wrote about history, publishing several books. Notable among them were: History of the Harvard Law School and of Early Legal Conditions in America and A History of the American Bar, Colonial and Federal to 1860. In 1922, he wrote The Supreme Court in United States History, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History.
In 1894, Warren founded the Immigration Restriction League, an organization to promote the exclusion of new immigrants because of their allegedly inferior “racial qualities.” The Warren Center is grateful to the Warren family for their support of our efforts to confront the darker aspects of our shared past, and the ways that many of our privileges grow out of past wrongs.
Walter Johnson, Director, Warren Center, 2014-2020