These are primarily Sprecher's judicial records from his eleven year tenure on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Sprecher Papers, filling 71 boxes and spanning the period from 1971 to 1984, are arranged in eleven subseries: biographical materials, general correspondence, subject correspondence, minor judicial activities, speeches, court cases, rules, petitions, cases assigned, articles, and supplemental materials. The papers also include 43 bound volumes of briefs and articles.
The small biographical materials subseries contains two folders of personal data and clippings from newspapers and magazines.
General correspondence consists primarily of letters concerning Judge Sprecher's participation in various law school moot courts, association or public group meetings and committee activities, and his efforts to obtain legal publications, records, and other information relevant to his judicial work.
The subject correspondence, arranged alphabetically according to topical headings, includes series of letters with legal organizations, Sprecher's colleagues on the court of appeals, and other individuals and groups.
The material relating to minor judicial activities consists primarily of correspondence and related documentation concerning various conferences attended by Judge Sprecher. One folder contains the texts for several marriages that he performed.
The speeches include texts, occasionally in several drafts, of addresses given by Sprecher before meetings of judicial, legal, or academic organizations.
The records relating to court cases comprise the vast bulk of the collection (Box 2, Folder 12 - Box 63, Folder 5; see also: Box 70, Folder 7 - Box 71, Folder 47). These materials are arranged by docket number.
A brief description of court procedure will help the user locate specific information. When a case comes to the appellate court, the court assigns it a new docket number. During Sprecher's first two years on the bench five-digit numbers were being used (e.g., 17002, 18982). A new numbering system was begun in the September, 1971, term of the court. Under this system, docket numbers consisted of the last two digits of the year in which the court took the case followed by a four-digit sequential number starting at 1000. For example, the number 71-1004 would indicate the fourth case taken to docket in 1971. The bulk of Sprecher's court records are arranged in folders sequentially according to these systems. Many folders have two or more docket numbers, additional materials on a given case may be found by cross-referencing multiple docket numbers.
Original folders have been retained to take advantage of their detailed labels which usually record docket number and the names of plaintiff and defendant; additional information on the label often includes date of hearing, type of court procedure, and the names of the judges on the hearing panel.
Sprecher's original notes on each individual case, usually hand-written on one sheet of paper, have been placed with court materials on that case. A case folder will include variously some or all of the following: drafts of orders and opinions, judges ballots on these drafts, reports from the lower courts, and pertinent correspondence. Among the court cases are records of several noteworthy or landmark trials; examples include: Gautreaux, et al. v. Romney and the City of Chicago (71-1732) and Gautreaux, et al. v. City of Chicago, Richard J. Daley, etc. (72-1409), relating to the Chicago Housing Authority and public housing in Chicago; litigation arising from the December 4, 1969, Chicago Police Department raid on the Black Panther party (72-1277); U.S. v. Thomas E. Keane, concerning the mail fraud and conspirancy trial of a Chicago alderman (74-1979); Shakman, et al. v. City of Chicago and Cardilli dealing with the political patronage system in Chicago (75-1666); Roberts v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., a major patent case (77-1354); Collin and the National Socialist Party of America v. Smith, et al., pertaining to a proposed 1977 Nazi march in Skokie, Illinois (78-1381); and Lessard v. Schmidt, et al., which led to major changes in the Wisconsin state law on commitment of the insane (71-C-602).
The rules and petitions include court reports and related materials on the cases affected by these two processes. The rules materials are arranged by rule number and chronologically thereunder; the petitions materials are arranged chronologically.
The material pertaining to cases assigned documents the scheduling of hearings for various cases and includes related correspondence. These folders are arranged chronologically, first by court term and then by session. Each judicial year has three sessions: September, January, and April.
The articles, including papers published in law journals and reviews, encyclopedia entries, and book reviews, are arranged in folders alphabetically by article title. Some exist in multiple drafts. Most folders contain some related correspondence.
The supplemental materials, divided into three sections, contain Sprecher's judicial records donated to the University Archives by the Court Clerk of the Seventh Circuit. Included are Appellate Court judicial panel and opinion summary records generally in the form of lists arranged according to court term and session, and showing docket number, case title, names of judges on the panel, date argued, and date opinion issued, for the cases on which Sprecher served as a member of the panel or for which he wrote opinions, and the court case folders, arranged by docket number, for those cases on which Sprecher took some action but did not complete because of his death.
The 43 bound volumes contain Sprecher's briefs written while he was a practicing lawyer (vols. 1-41, includes vol. 2A). An unnumbered volume includes six of Sprecher's law review articles written between 1941 and 1944. A pamphlet-bound index covers the first 12 volumes of briefs alphabetically according to plaintiffs' and defendants' names and also as provides a table of contents listing for the first 15 volumes of briefs.