“In law, the art is to see the balancing truths and to reach a satisfying accommodation. I think this is true in life.”
—Paul Freund in a 1975 interview.
Paul Freund spent thirty-seven years teaching both graduates at Harvard Law School and undergraduates at Harvard University. Lord Acton’s dictum, “When you perceive a truth, look for a balancing truth” was a core theme that permeated his philosophy toward both the law and life. As a legal scholar he was considered a leading authority on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. As a teacher, Freund’s wisdom—complemented by a generous, gentle spirit and selfless demeanor—was a great influence on students and colleagues alike.
Balancing the Truth: Paul Freund, 1908-1992, featured material from the Paul A. Freund Papers, which were opened to researchers in 2006. While the majority of the collection consists of Freund’s work as a professor of law, it also contained a variety of materials extending beyond his membership in the Harvard community. Examples include documents from his time spent as a government lawyer in the 1930s when he worked on New Deal legislation being brought before the Supreme Court by the Roosevelt administration. Correspondence reveals how Freund’s advice was sought on such disparate issues as medical ethics and Electoral College reform. The collection also contained a substantial amount of material reflecting his work with numerous organizations, including his alma mater, Washington University, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The broad range of subjects to which Freund contributed his balanced opinions, illustrates his great interest in areas beyond the realm of law.