Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Meets Stafford Cripps

Reinhold Niebuhr Timeline: Meets Stafford Cripps

Correspondence with Justice Felix Frankfurter

Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, D.C.

Chambers of Justice Felix Frankfurter

February 21, 1940

Dear Dr. Niebuhr:
Many thanks for your kindness in sending me a copy of Stafford Cripps' letter. I am duly communicating it to Ted Acheson. The latter evidently had had an inquiry from Cripps some time ago as to Cripps' hostship during his Washington stay and I told him that Lord Lothian indicated to me that of course he would expect Cripps to stay with him at the Embassy. Be good enough to get word of that to Cripps.

It heartens me to have your good wishes a year after I took the veil. This is in good truth in many ways a priest-like job, and I particularly need the encouragement and confidence of hard-headed spirits like yourself. I say that because only the other day my extraordinarily discerning law clerk, who happens to be interested in theological matters, asked me who my favorite theologian was, and before I had a chance to reply, he told me with enthusiasm that his was Reinhold Niebuhr. I could give reasons for the enthusiasm that you evoke in him and me, but I shall not offend your modesty.

With all good wishes,

Sincerely yours,
Felix Frankfurter

Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr.

Reinhold Niebuhr Papers: Library of Congress, Manuscript Reading Room

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Paul Elie

is senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux and author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage.

Jean Bethke Elshtain

is an author and Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Robin Lovin

is Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, and the author of Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism.