National Bankruptcy Archives

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In October 2000 the Biddle Law Library and the American College of Bankruptcy collaborated to create a special collection entitled the National Bankruptcy Archives (NBA), a national repository of materials relating to the history of debtor-creditor relations, bankruptcy and the reorganization of debt. The NBA collects records from the American College of Bankruptcy as well as from other organizations whose activities have been relevant to the history of bankruptcy and insolvency legislation, regulation, and administrative and judicial determination. The NBA also houses papers of individuals who have influenced the field, and other collections documenting the history of bankruptcy law.


Address and Contact Info

Address: Biddle Law Library, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 3460 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104

Telephone & fax: (215) 898-5011. Fax: (215) 898-6619.

Web site:

Principal contacts for the collection: C. Jordon Steele, Archivist: 215-898-5011

Hours and Usage Restrictions

Online Catalogs and Finding Aids

Collection Summary

The National Bankruptcy Archives collects organizational records, personal papers, and other collections relevant to the history of bankruptcy and insolvency legislation, regulation, and administrative and judicial determination. Significant collections in the National Bankruptcy Archives include:

The Lawrence P. King Papers. New York University Law School Professor Larry King served on a number of congressional commissions that were convened to analyze and reform bankruptcy law. He served in important leadership roles in the National Bankruptcy Conference, an association of bankruptcy professionals that left an indelible impact on bankruptcy law. King also edited Collier on Bankruptcy, a reference series that became the leading treatise on bankruptcy law during King’s 40-year tenure as Editor.

The Kenneth N. Klee Papers. As Associate Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the late 1970s, UCLA Professor Ken Klee played a crucial role in drafting what became the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, the most dramatic revision of bankruptcy law since the 1930s. The Klee papers include drafts of bankruptcy legislation, handwritten notes, and letters from members of congress who were central to the revision of bankruptcy laws.

The National Bankruptcy Conference Proceedings. The National Bankruptcy Conference was perhaps the most important interest group advocating on behalf of bankruptcy reform in the 20th century. Many of its members, including Larry King, Vern Countryman, and Ken Klee, played a crucial role in shaping the Bankruptcy Code as we know it today.

The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Records. The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges was created in 1926 to provide continuing legal education for bankruptcy judges and to advise Congress on pending bankruptcy legislation. This collection contains records that reflect the judges’ success in professionalizing and mobilizing the bankruptcy bench, including their efforts to gain federal judicial status.

The Randall J. Newsome Oral History Collection. During the 1990s, Judge Randall J. Newsome conducted oral histories with some of the most important figures in the field of bankruptcy law, including Harvard Law Professor Vern Countryman, Lawrence P. King, Asa Herzog, and George Treister. This collection includes taped oral histories and transcripts of Newsome’s interviews. It’s a great collection for anyone who wants to gain a basic understanding of the major issues surrounding bankruptcy law.

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Major Topic Areas

bankruptcy, law

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