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Sir Leon Radzinowicz Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2013-0729

Scope and Contents

Includes his original office files and post-retirement home office files; reprints, studies of textbooks, dissertations, bibliography on capital punishment; biographical work, and proceedings of criminological conferences.


  • Created: 1938-2003
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1940-1965
  • Other: Date acquired: 07/29/2013


Conditions Governing Access

The Sir Leon Radzinowicz Papers is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical or Historical Information

Sir Leon Radzinowicz was born in Lodz, Poland in 1906.  He earned a law degree at the Law School and Institute of Criminology in Rome in 1928, and later earned a doctorate from the University of Cracow and did postdoctoral work in Belgium.

He went to the University of Cambridge in England in 1938 on behalf of the Polish Ministry of Justice to study the English penal system.  Radzinowicz joined the faculty at Cambridge in 1939, and established a department of criminal science in 1941.  He was the founder and first Director (1959-1972) of the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology. Among Radzinowicz's better-known publications are Ideology and Crime, In Search of Criminology, the five-volume History of the English Criminal Law and Its Administration with Roger G. Hood, and Adventures in Criminology.

Radzinowicz died on December 29, 1999 at his home in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

"Leon Radzinowicz, 93, Leader in Criminology," New York Times, January 10, 2000. Accessed August 11, 2015. "Institute History," Cambridge University Institute of Criminology.  Accessed August 11, 2015.


65.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Sir Leon Radzinowicz Papers consists of materials created or collected by Radzinowicz from the time he immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1938 until just before his death in 1999. It principally reflects his work as a criminologist during the period and his extensive work as a legal scholar and author.

Arrangement Note

Chronological. Type of materials was indicated by code under a folder's description: b- Bibliographic material c- Correspondence, letters, postcards, greetings m- Minutes, agendas, meetings, memoranda, and programs n- Newspaper and magazine articles o- Official reports, university publications, newsletters p- Published materials in journals, publication lists, and publication announcements r- Reviews of published materials t- Teaching materials, letters and notes, grade books, rosters, etc. x- Personal (insurance, financial, etc., but not materials dealing with knighthood, retirement, etc. related to his “public” life, degrees, honors, etc., which are dealt with elsewhere)

Custodial History

The bulk of the materials in the Archive were donated to the University by Sir Leon in July 1998, with a supplemental deposit by his widow in February 2000, including materials on projects being initiated at the time of his death.

Source of Acquisition

Cathy Campanile, College of Criminology

Method of Acquisition

Transferred from College of Criminology, Hecht House.

Processing Information

The materials were transferred to the Repository in a shipment of 8 footlockers, two large suitcases, a 12-drawer 3x5” card file cabinet, and one shipping carton in 1998. A final deposit of index cards, notes, and other materials was received in February 2000. The original organization was considerably disrupted by previous transatlantic shipping from Radzinowicz’s Cambridge offices, to a storage locker in his retirement condominium in Philadelphia, where for some years he removed things for current use. Apparently these items were not returned to their original filing locations, but were simply collected and eventually transferred to the Repository. These items retained little predictable arrangement and additional disorder was created by the final shipping process in which things packed on a “space available” basis in the numerous containers. Thus, the files which had originally been kept in the quintessential British registry tradition became progressively entropic. Somewhat late in the initial reorganization process, a listing of the main sequence of office files was found. While adequate for Sir Leon’s own use, it is flawed in the numerous evidences of his then current secretary’s inability to read his handwriting. Gaps and errors are corrected in his own hand, but alas, they are often as indecipherable as his original labeling. (The difficulty of determining what his handwritten notes actually intended to convey was frequently noted by his corespondents, who sometimes replied to his handwritten notes with sets of conditional responses based on the alternate readings of his hand or diplomatically asked when it would be convenient to call him on the telephone. Over the years, he must have become legendary among his many secretaries and the curators of his archive, which includes items he wrote later in his life, have no reason to dispute this aspect of his reputation. Despite our laborious efforts, many intriguing puzzles await the users of the Archive in the future!) Duplicate items filed together have generally been removed unless copies included additional notations. Fragile materials have been placed in protective sleeves, fasteners have been removed, acid-free folders and buffered archival boxes have been used to provide long term protection for the materials. Scattered issues of journals, which have no indication of his having read them, have been removed since these are more predictably found in libraries. Items selected and cut or torn from newspapers or journals have been retained, even if lacking his typical glosses. Folders which were assigned headings or lists of contents by Sir Leon have been retained, but often have been supplemented to reflect actual contents, following detailed instructions provided in Instructions for Processing Sir Leon Radzinowicz’s Papers, which can be found in Series 7, Box 1, Folder 1.

Sir Leon Radzinowicz Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US