Oliver Wendell Holmes

1841- 1935

Supreme Court Justice



Henry Luce

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born on March 8, 1841 in Boston, Massachusetts. He served in the Civil War and was wounded three times: at the Battle of Ball Bluff, at Antietam and at Fredericksburg.

Holmes reached the rank of brevet colonel. In 1864, Holmes returned to Boston to study at Harvard Law School. After graduating, he practiced law in his hometown.

Holmes went on to become the co-editor of the American Law Review. In 1880, he was asked to deliver the prestigious Lowell Lectures. He transformed the lectures into the book, The Common Law, which became a classic text on jurisprudence.

Holmes became a law professor at Harvard and was subsequently appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1882, becoming the chief justice in 1899.

Theodore Roosevelt nominated Holmes to the Supreme Court in 1902, where he served until 1932 when he retired at age 91. Holmes is known for authoring some of the Court's most notable decisions.