Avern L. Cohn Papers

Accession Number: 
201.25 linear feet

The materials in this collection represent the scope of Judge Avern Cohn's professional life and his wide-ranging interests and activities, from family matters to philanthropy to leisure travel. The collection includes correspondence, opinions and orders, speeches and writings, scrapbooks, files on a large array of subjects and some audio-visual materials. In his several decades on the federal bench, Cohn was involved in cases involving a variety of issues including tax law, civil rights, school desegregation, and patents and trademarks. Among his most notable decisions are John Doe v. University of Michigan, which held unconstitutional the university's speech code; the Kearns patent infringement suit against Ford Motor Company regarding intermittent windshield wipers; the "Jake Baker case," which involved a student dismissed from the University of Michigan for allegedly putting a pornographic story on the internet; and Bradley v. Milliken, regarding school desegregation. Cohn was a prolific writer of professional articles, as well as of opinion pieces and letters to the editor; his research materials and writings are included here. He was a frequent participant in and speaker at meetings for the legal profession and many other professional groups. His interest in legal education is evidenced from materials reflecting his participation in moot courts, new lawyer seminars and student forums at various law schools including the University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Detroit College of Law. The collection includes Cohn's wide-ranging correspondence on the local, national and international level with lawyers and judges; politicians and government officials; journalists and publishers; business leaders; religious leaders; and academics. Active participation and leadership in the Jewish community is reflected in the papers. He served in numerous organizations, notably as president of the Jewish Welfare Federation, wrote extensively on Jewish historical subjects and was awarded some of the highest honors for service to the community. Materials relevant to Cohn's research into family history and genealogy, including correspondence with relatives in France and Israel are included here. Scrapbooks included in this collection were collected and arranged by Judge Cohn and
his staff. They provide an overview of his public life from the 1960s through approximately 2014.

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UP001945_guide.pdfUP001945_guide.pdf276.29 KB