Guide to the Robert C. Finley Papers 1951-1976
Cage 176

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Finley, Robert C.
Robert C. Finley Papers
Cage 176
Date [inclusive]
3 containers., 1.5 linear feet of shelf space., 440 items.
Collection materials are in English.
Speeches, publications, newspaper clippings, biographical material and some photographs.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]. Cage 176, Robert C. Finley Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Robert Corpening Finley was born in Marion, North Carolina on November 7, 1905. He attended public schools in Asheville, North Carolina and graduated from high school in 1923. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke University in 1930 and his law degree from the same school in 1934. While working for the federal government in Washington, D.C., he attended Georgetown University and received his Master of Laws degree in 1936. Finley worked for a number of federal agencies in the Roosevelt "New Deal" administration: Federal Housing Administration, 1934-1935; Alcohol Control Administration, 1935-1937; Department of Justice, probation officer for U. S. District Court, Bureau of Prisons, Western District of North Carolina, 1937-1938; and, Department of Justice, Alien Property, Custodian and Claims Division, 1938-1940. In 1940 Finley moved to Olympia to take a position as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington. He served in that position until 1942. He continued to serve the state of Washington in various capacities until 1945 when he entered private law practice in Seattle and Renton. In the fall of 1950 Finley was elected to the Washington State Supreme Court. While on the Court he served as Chief Justice from 1961 to 1962 and again from 1967 to 1968. He was a possible nominee to the U. S. Supreme Court in 1963 and from 1967 to 1970. Judge Finley served on the high court of Washington until his death on March 23, 1976.

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Scope and Content

The papers of Robert C. Finley include speeches, publications, newspaper clippings, biographical material, photographs, and correspondence. The biographical information contained in the first folder includes a life history in the form of the Judge's personal resume as well as a complete listing of publications, awards, and organizations through 1973.

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The bulk of the collection consists of speeches made by Judge Finley between 1951 and 1973. These speeches are arranged chronologically. Some of the speeches were published and also appear among the journal, magazine and newspaper articles. Public documents include material relating to the public disclosure law and also to the Judge's testimony in April of 1967 before a Senate sub-committee on improvements in the judicial machinery. The corespondence in this collection concerns Finley's possible appointment to the U. S. Supreme Court.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2012

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Acquisition Information

The papers of Robert C. Finley were donated to the Washington State University Libraries in January 1977 by Mrs. Robert C. Finley (MS77-2) and an additional accession was received in September 1978 (MS78-39).

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Names and Subjects

Corporate Name(s)

Subject(s) :
  • Washington (State). Supreme Court


  • Judges--Washington (State)--Biography

Personal Name(s)

Creator(s) :
  • Finley, Robert Corpening --Archives
Donor(s) :
  • Finley, Robert Corpening Mrs. waps


  • Government and Politics
  • Washington (State)

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Detailed Description of Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

box folder

Biographical Information  13 items.

1 1

Correspondence  7 items.

1 2

Public Official Disclosure Act, Draft Material 1973  35 items.

1 3

Public Disclosure Initiative 276, Copies of Filings  9 items.

1 4

Journal Publications  10 items.

1 5

Testimony and Statement Before Senate Sub-committee on Improvements in Judicial Machinery April 21, 1967  2 items.

1 6

Magazine Articles 1969  3 items.

1 7

The North Carolina Bar Magazine 1959  4 items.

1 8

Newspaper Clippings  48 items.

1 9

Pamphlets and Congressional Record (Senate) February 20, 1967  3 items.

1 10

Photographs: Washington State Supreme Court Justices  4 items.

1 11

Photographs: Tokyo Judicial Building  10 items.

1 12

Speeches 1950  6 items.

2 13

Speeches 1960-1962  8 items.

2 14

Speeches 1964-1966  7 items.

2 15

Speeches 1967-1968  7 items.

2 16

Speeches 1970-1973  3 items.

2 17

Speeches undated  12 items.

2 18

U. S. Supreme Court 1963-1964  150 items.

3 19

U. S. Supreme Court 1967  100 items.

3 20

U. S. Supreme Court (Fortas Vacancy) 1962-1970  100 items.

3 21