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RG3106.AM:  Wendell Berge, 1903-1955

Papers:  1924-1954

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.; Washington, D.C.:  U.S. Assistant Attorney General

Size:  2.5 cu.ft.; 5 boxes


Wendell Berge was born at Lincoln, Nebraska, on April 24, 1903, the son of George W. and Cora Ott Berge. His father, George W. Berge, was a lawyer and one-time Democratic nominee for governor of Nebraska. Wendell Berge received his early education in Lincoln, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Nebraska in 1925. Following his graduation from the University, Berge married Laura E. Whepley of Fremont on August 18, 1926. They had two sons, John Wendell and Douglas James. Berge subsequently enrolled in the University of Michigan Law College from which he received his Bachelor of Law Degree in 1927, and his doctorate in 1930.

Following a brief period of private practice in New York, Berge received an appointment as Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General and was assigned to the Anti-trust division of the Department of Justice in May of 1930. He continued to hold various positions in the Anti-trust Division until December of 1940. In 1941, Berge was appointed Assistant Attorney General by President Roosevelt and served as head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department until 1943. He then went on to head the Anti-trust Division of the Justice Department, where he advocated strict enforcement of the anti-trust laws. In 1947 Berge retired as Assistant Attorney General and entered the firm of Posner, Berge, Fox, and Arent.

Berge was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Federal, American, and District of Columbia Bar Associations, the Americans for Democratic Action, and the American Judicature Society. He wrote numerous articles and was also the author of two books, Cartels: Challenge to a Free World (1944), and Economic Freedom for the West (1946). Berge served as a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation, receiving the University’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1942. Berge continued his private legal practice until his death at his home in Washington on September 24, 1955.


This collection consists of five manuscript boxes of materials arranged in six series: (1) Correspondence, 1925-1954; 92) Manuscripts, addresses and legal materials, 1924-1951; (3) Press releases, 1934-1954; (4) Printed material, 1931-1955; (5) Legal data; and (6) Miscellany. The bulk of this collection consists of speeches and manuscripts relating to Berge’s activities in the Department of Justice from 1930 until his retirement in 1947. This material deals primarily with anti-trust legislation, international cartels, and the American economy. The correspondence is primarily concerned with legal and governmental activities. Correspondents include: Tom C. Clark, 1943-1945; Felix Frankfurter, 1925-1943; and Harry S. Truman, 1951.

Note:  See the photo component [RG3106.PH] for related images. See the NSHS Library catalog for various published materials by/about Wendell Berge. The NSHS also holds the papers of Wendell Berge’s father, George W. Berge [RG3105]. Additional Wendell Berge papers are held by the Library of Congress.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1925-1954

Box 1


  1. 1925-1954

Series 2 – Manuscripts and Addresses, 1924-1951, undated

  1. Manuscripts and Addresses, 1924-1934

  2. Manuscripts and Addresses, 1935-1951

  3. Manuscripts and Addresses, undated

Series 3 – Press Releases, 1934-1954

Box 2


  1. Press Releases, 1934-1942

  2. Press Releases, 1943-1944

Box 3


  1. Press Releases, 1945-1946

  2. Press Releases, 1947-1954

Series 4 – Printed Materials, 1931-1954

  1. Biographical notes, Reports, Pamphlets and Periodicals, 1931-1954

Box 4


  1. Pamphlets and Periodicals, 1931-1954

  2. Newspapers and Clippings

  3. Newspapers and Clippings

Box 5


  1. Newspaper and Clippings

  2. Newspaper and Clippings

Series 5 – Legal Data

  1. Legal Briefs and Transcripts: includes Viereck vs. United States (1943)

Series 6 – Miscellany, 1924-1954

  1. Includes: banquet programs, book reviews, convention programs, miscellaneous legal data, etc.



Berge, Wendell, 1903-1955

Economic policy


U.S. Department of Justice


DJR/JEP/ab   10-16-1967

02-22-2010   Revised TMM