Berle, Adolf A., Jr., 1895-1971Alternative names
George Washington Corner worked as an anatomist, endocrinologist, and medical historian.
From the guide to the George Washington Corner papers, 1889-1981, 1903-1982, (American Philosophical Society)
Adolf Augustus Berle (1895-1971) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the second of four children of Dr. Adolf Augustus and Mary Augusta (Wright) Berle. He graduated from Harvard College in 1913, after majoring in history, and received his M.A, degree the following year. In 1916 at age twenty-one, he became the youngest man to receive an LL.B. degree from the Harvard Law School and began practicing with Louis D. Brandeis''s firm. When the United States entered World War I, he enlisted in the Army. After receiving officer training at Plattsburg, New York, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and served at the Army War College in Washington, D.C. as an intelligence officer. In 1918 the Army sent him to Santo Domingo to settle land titles for U.S. sugar companies in order to increase sugar production for the war effort. He drafted a land law that is still operative in the Dominican Republic. After the armistice he remained in the Army and served with the American Commission to Negotiate the Peace at Paris as an advisor on Russian, Polish, and Baltic affairs. He protested the Versailles settlement in May 1919, and requested to be relieved from his duties with the Commission. His request was granted the following month. After his discharge in July 1919, Berle moved to New York where he resumed law practice with the firm of Rounds, Hatch, Dillingham, & Debevoise. He became a volunteer worker with the Henry Street Settlement and, at the request of the American Indian Defense Association, helped to secure the land titles of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico and assisted in drafting the Pueblo Indian Land Law of 1924. He became a member of the firm of Lippitt & Berle in 1924, and in 1929, he organized with his brother, Rudolf, the firm of Berle & Berle. Meanwhile he had started teaching, first as a lecturer at the Harvard Business School from 1924 to 1927, and then as associate professor and professor of corporation law at Columbia University from 1927 to 1963. He was on leave of absence during World War II and became professor emeritus in 1963. He served as special counsel to a committee of the Ohio State Bar Association in revising the Ohio Corporation Law in 1926-27, and in the same capacity to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission in revising the Wisconsin Securities law in 1931-32. Berle''s association with Franklin D. Roosevelt began as a member of the Brain Trust, a group headed by Raymond Moley which advised Governor Roosevelt during his campaign for the Presidency in 1932. Although he declined a full-time position in the Roosevelt administration, he helped to write a section of the Bankruptcy Act, assisted the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in railroad reorganizations, and was a special counsel to the R.F.C. from 1933 to 1938. He also participated in the Treasury Conference during the "Bank Holiday" in March 1933, and advised the government on stock exchange legislation in 1933 and 1934. He went to Cuba in August 1933, at the request of the State Department as financial adviser to the American Embassy in Havana. In 1934, he was elected a member of the Advisory Committee of the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange. As Chamberlain of the City of New York from 1934 to 1937, Berle worked to improve the City''s finances and to acquire and unify under public ownership and control the rapid transit railroads. When the office was abolished in 1937, on his recommendation, he became temporary chairman of the Planning Commission of the City of New York, a member of the City Housing Authority, and chairman of a committee to study New York''s substitute teacher system. From 1938 to 1944, Berle was an Assistant Secretary of State. He took particular interest in Latin American affairs, serving as a U.S. delegate to inter-American conferences in Lima in 1938, and Havana in 1940. He had also been a U.S. delegate at Buenos Aires in 1936-37, and later attended the conference at Mexico City in 1945. Berle''s duties at the Department of State included postwar planning, negotiating with Allied governments in exile, coordinating U.S. and foreign intelligence activities, evaluating trends in international finance, drafting government statements on international questions, and writing speeches for the President and administration officials. He was president of the International Conference on Civil Aviation in Chicago in 1944, and chairman of the United States delegation. He served as United States ambassador to Brazil in 1945-46. After the war Berle returned to law practice and teaching in New York. He was chairman of the Liberal Party of New York State from 1947 to 1955, and assisted such foundations as The Fund for the Republic, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Committee on Human Ecology during the 1950''s and 1960''s. He also maintained an interest in Central and South American affairs and in 1956 assisted in the settlement of a dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. When John F. Kennedy was running for the presidency in 1960, he asked Berle to be chairman of a task force to study Latin American problems. On January 25, 1961, he was made Consultant to the Secretary of State and on January 31, President Kennedy set up the Interdepartmental Task Force on Latin America to coordinate "all policies and programs of concern to the Americas" with Berle as chairman. He reported to the President and Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He resigned from the State Department in July 1961, after submitting to the President the final report of the Task Force. In addition to his teaching at Columbia, Berle was a lecturer at the United States Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama from 1954 to 1965, and Chairman of the Board of the Ecole de l''Europe Libre, Strasbourg, France, from 1948 to 1959, and trustee of the University of the Andes Foundation. He was also a Trustee, 1934 to 1951, and Chairman of the Board of the Twentieth Century Fund, 1951 to 1971, as well as a Trustee of the Free Europe Committee, 1948 to 1963, and Director, Treasurer, and Chairman of the Board of the American Molasses Company from 1946 to 1971. Berle was also Director of the Savings Bank Trust Company from 1932 to 1938, and counsel its thereafter, and Director of Nationwide Corporation from 1956 to 1971.
From the description of Berle, Adolf A. (Adolf Augustus), 1895-1971 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10678043
From the description of Oral history interview with Adolf Augustus Berle, 1970. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309728818
From the description of Reminiscences of Adolf Augustus Berle, Jr. : oral history, 1969. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309728830
From the description of Reminiscences of Adolf Augustus Berle : lecture, 1960. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122528344
Lawyer, professor, member of FDR's "brain trust."
Berle served in several government positions, including Assistant Secretary of State, 1938-1944.
From the description of Papers, 1912-1974. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 155521635
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|New York (State)|
|New York (N.Y.)|
|Saint Lawrence Seaway|
|Banks and banking|
|Land tenure--Law and legislation|
|World War, 1939-1945--Finance|
|Diplomatic and consular service, American|
|Human reproduction--Endocrine aspects|
|World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history|
|Public service commission|
|New Deal, 1933-1939|
|World War, 1939-1945--Economic aspects|
|Lend-lease operations (1941-1945)|
|World War, 1939-1945--Military intelligence|
|World War, 1939-1945--Equipment and supplies|
|World War, 1939-1945--Refugees|