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James V. Bennett Collection

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971 | SHSU Special Collections & University Archives

By Shaneil Snipe

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Collection Overview

Title: James V. Bennett Collection, 1905-1971Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1933-1971

Extent: 31.0 Boxes

Arrangement: The Bennett Collection contains correspondence, case histories, articles, newsletters, books, photographs, recordings and other materials, arranged by subject. The majority of the collection is itemized according to the format [J38] 31-1 (1); representing James [J__] the date [J38]=1938, the item number and page numbers.

Subjects: Prison reformers - United States - History, United States. Bureau of Prisons - History

Forms of Material: Bennett, James V. (James Van Benschoten), 1894-1978 - Correspondence, Prisoners - United States - Correspondence

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The materials that make up this collection represent the life and work of James Van Benschoten Bennett. More specifically, the materials portray his role as the second Director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and as a prolific prison reformer. The most popular theme represented in the collection is prison policy and reform – which is often discussed in articles and speeches composed by Bennett. The collection also contains numerous correspondence and case histories of prison inmates. Pictorial documentation of Bennett as well as many other important personnel is also present as are several recordings of songs reflective of the prison culture.

Collection Historical Note

James Van Benschoten Bennett was born on August 28, 1894 in Silver Creek, New York. He served as an aviation cadet in World War I. Bennett graduated from Brown University in 1918 and later received a law degree from George Washington University. In 1919 his federal government career began following his appointment as an Investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Efficiency. In 1928 Bennett penned “The Federal Penal and Correction Problem” which served as a vital catalyst for the creation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The creation of the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. in 1934 is considered as one of Bennett’s most significant achievements. He worked as Assistant Director for the Federal Bureau of Prisons up until 1937 when he was named Director following Sanford Bates’ retirement. As Director, Bennett was a very active reformer of correctional policies and an advocate for the rights of prison inmates. He was instrumental in opening special institutions for juveniles, rehabilitation centers and halfway houses. These efforts are reflected in his mantra that “We must not rob a man of all hope.” The first “open prison’ was instituted by Bennett in 1938 in Seagonville, Texas. This was a no walls, no bars and a gun free facility. He became president of the National Parole Conference in 1939 and later served as President of the Washington Council of Social Agencies. The Celler-Hennings Act was enacted in 1958 as a result of Bennett’s advocacy for more equity in the process of federal sentencing. The Act empowered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to make sentencing recommendations to the judiciary as well as recommendations relating to sentencing reform.

Much of Bennett’s work in the criminal justice system, and more specifically his work with inmates, focused on creating an environment that was best suited to the rehabilitation of prison inmates. He was also an advocate for improved communication systems within the Federal Bureau of Prisons, with the goal of creating a more cohesive and effective network. Another major contribution Bennett made during his tenure as Director was to continue the advancement of the inmate classification system that was vital in focusing on the specific needs of prisoners and attempting to satisfy those needs.

Bennett served as the head of several other organizations during his career. He was the President of the National Association for Better Broadcasting, the Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training and the American Correctional Association. Bennett was honored with The President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Eisenhower in 1959. He also received the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award and the Selective Service Medal.

Bennett retired as Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1964. However, his speaking engagements and his writings on prison related issues allowed him to remain very much a part of the criminal justice system. In 1970 he wrote I Chose Prison, which continued his focus on the well-being and proper treatment of prisoners.

James V. Bennett died in Maryland on November 19, 1978 leaving his wife, Olympia, a son, Edmund and two daughters, Ann Humbert and Brenda Bell.

Subject/Index Terms

Prison reformers - United States - History
United States. Bureau of Prisons - History

Administrative Information

Repository: SHSU Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: Some materials in this collection are restricted due the personal nature of some content. Restrictions are noted at the file level

Use Restrictions:

The materials represented in this finding aid have been made available for research, teaching and private use. For these purposes, you may reproduce (print, make photocopies, or download) these items without prior permission on the condition that you provide proper attribution of the source in all copies.

Please contact the Newton Gresham Library's Special Collections and University Archives department to request permissions to reproduce materials for any other purpose, or to obtain information regarding the copyright status of a particular digital image, text, audio or video recording.

Preferred Citation: James V. Bennett Papers. Thomason Special Collections, Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1],
[Series 2],
[Series 3],
[All]

Series 2Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Case Histories A (R), 1933-1969Add to your cart.
[J1 A] 1-1(1)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 2: Case Histories B (R), 1953-1964Add to your cart.
[J1 B] 1-1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: Case Histories C (R), 1940-1964Add to your cart.
[J1 C]1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 4: Case Histories D (R), 1940-1964Add to your cart.
[J1 D] 1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 5: Case Histories E (R)  (1 of 2), 1937-1964Add to your cart.
[J1 E]1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 6: Case Histories E (R)  (2 of 2), 1937-1964Add to your cart.
[J1 E] 27-36(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 7: Case Histories F [R]  (1 of 2), 1939-1961Add to your cart.
[J1F] 1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 8: Case Histories F (R)  ( 2 of 2), 1939-1961Add to your cart.
[J1 F] 18-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Case Histories A (R)  ( 1 of 2), 1960-1962Add to your cart.
[J2 A] 1-1(1) 1
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 2: Case Histories A (R)   ( 2 of 2), 1960-1963Add to your cart.
[J2 A] 31-1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: Case Histories B (R), 1953-1954Add to your cart.
[J2 B] 1-1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 4: Case Histories C (R), 1952Add to your cart.
[J2 C]1-1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 5: Case Histories D (R), 1947Add to your cart.
[J2D] 1 (2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 6: Case Histories E (R)  (1 of 2), 1962-1964Add to your cart.
[J2 E] 72-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 7: Case Histories E (R)  (2 of 2), 1962-1965Add to your cart.
[J2 E] 56(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 8: Case Histories F (R), 1962-1963Add to your cart.
[J2 F] 1 (27)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 9: Case Histories G (R), 1943-1964Add to your cart.
[J2G]1-2(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 10: Case Histories H (R), 1941-1961Add to your cart.
[J2 H] 1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 11: Of Prison and Justice: A Selection of the Writing of James V. Bennett, 1964Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Court Statements on Capital Punishment, 1959-1963Add to your cart.
[J3 A]1-1())
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 2: Correspondence and Papers on the Death Penalty, 1948-1971Add to your cart.
[J3B]1-1( ))
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: Papers and Articles on the Death Penalty, 1955-1968Add to your cart.
[J3C]1( ))
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 4: Newsletters about Capital Punishment, 1968-1969Add to your cart.
[J3D]1-1())
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 5: Human Interest Stories (R), 1948-1962Add to your cart.
[J4-A]12-11(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 6: Human Interest Stories-Inmate Case Histories (R), 1947-1952Add to your cart.
[J4-B]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 7: General Stories and Correspondence, 1931-1973Add to your cart.
[J4-C]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 8: General Bennett Correspondence, 1955-1963Add to your cart.
[J4-D]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 9: Correspondence regarding Inmates, 1929-1939Add to your cart.
[J5-A]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 10: Correspondence and Case Histories regarding Inmates (R), 1940-1943Add to your cart.
[J5D]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: General Bennett Correspondence, 1944-1948Add to your cart.
[J5-C] 1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 2: General Bennett Correspondence and Memoranda, 1949-1950Add to your cart.
[J5-D]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: General Correspondence, 1951-1952Add to your cart.
[J5-E]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 4: General Bennett Correspondence, 1955-1959Add to your cart.
[J5-F]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 5: Correspondence with and regarding Inmates, 1956-1957Add to your cart.
[J6-A]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 6: Correspondence with and regarding Inmates, 1958-1959Add to your cart.
[J6-B]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 7: Correspondence with and regarding Inmates, 1960-1962Add to your cart.
[J6-C] 1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 8: Correspondence with and regarding Inmates, 1963-1971Add to your cart.
[J6-D]1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence regarding juvenile offenders, 1939-1957Add to your cart.
[J6-E]1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 2: Reports on U.S. Penitentiary System, 1955-1963Add to your cart.
[J7-A]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: Sentencing Procedure Code, no dateAdd to your cart.
[J7-B]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 4: Sentencing Reform Reports, no dateAdd to your cart.
[J7-C]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 5: National Congress Reports and Stories, 1966Add to your cart.
[J7-D]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 6: General Correspondence and Notes, no dateAdd to your cart.
[J8-A]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 7: Articles and Stories on Criminal Offenders, 1955-1970Add to your cart.
[J8B]1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 8: General articles, 1932-1970Add to your cart.
[J8C] 1-1(2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 9: Newspaper articles from the Arkansas Gazette, 1963-1969Add to your cart.
[J8D](2)
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Correspondence regarding Alfred Hopkins and Associates, 1939-1943Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 2: Notes and Articles relating to "The Goals of the Criminal Law as Envisaged by a Prison Director", 1961Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 3: Correspondence and Articles regarding Russia, 1958-1963Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 4: Fundamentals of Soviet Criminal Legislation, The Judicial System and Criminal Court Procedure, 1960Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 5: The Report of the United States Public Health Mission to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1957Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 6: John Howard Association Materials, 1963-1964Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Copies and Originals
Folder 7: Harper's Magazine, 1964Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 8: Drew Pearson Correspondence, 1952-1962Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 9: West Brook Pegler Materials, 1947-1954Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 10: Correspondence with Miss. Bumgardner, 1957-1959Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 11: Correspondence with Jim, 1939-1959Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 12: Congressional Records Articles and Materials, 1905 May 17Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 13: National Conference on Social Welfare, 1965Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 14: General articles, 1955-1963Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 15: American Newspaper Alliance Inc., 1961Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Copies and Originals
Folder 16: Prisons, Parole and Corrections, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 17: Control of Juvenile Delinquency in Maryland, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 18: Report of the Commission on Administrative Organization of the State, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 19: Corrective Psychiatry in the Journal of Social Therapy, 1962Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Box 7Add to your cart.
Folder 1: A Briefing for Lawyers on Prisons, 1960Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 2: Wardens and Psychiatrists, A Partnership of Promise, 1963Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 3: Ecuador Materials, 1954-1964Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Copies and Originals
Folder 4: General Alumni Association, 1956Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 5: Accent on Youth by James V. Bennett, 1962 January 19Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 6: Report of the Commission on Administrative Organization of the State, 1952Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 7: General Correspondence, 1944-1965Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 8: Bennett Collection Index Cards, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 9: Prison Calendar by James Bennett, 1958Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 10: The Bureau of Prison by James V. Bennett, 1942Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Copies
Folder 11: Materials related to Bennett's review of The Drug Hang-Up and the publisher's press release, 1972Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 12: Fondation Internationale P, no dateAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 13: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 2nd Bulletin: Minutes of the Meeting of a Small Committee, Paris, 1953 MayAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 14: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 3rd Bulletin: Minutes of the Fourth Session, Geneva, 1954 AugustAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 15: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 4th Bulletin: Minutes of the 5th Session Geneva, 1955 AugustAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 16: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 5th Bulletin: Minutes of the 6th session, Geneva, 1956 AugustAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 17: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 6th Bulletin: Report of the 7th, 8th and 9th session, 1958-1960Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 18: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation 7th Bulletin: Report of the 10th session, Geneva, 1961 DecemberAdd to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 19: International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation, Proceedings of the sessions at Brussels (1951) and Geneva (1952), 1953Add to your cart.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 20: A Briefing for Lawyers on Prisons and Reconciling Legal and Correctional Values, 1960 February 15-16Add to your cart.
Sterling Lecture Series, Yale University Law School
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Leonard Hankins Pardon Certificate, 1933 February 6Add to your cart.
[O.V] [J2G] 2(); The State of Minnesota, Board of Pardons Certificate.
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 2: The Case Against Legalized Murder by Douglas Lyons, 1969 February 11Add to your cart.
[O.V] J3D] 9-1()
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Folder 3: Bennett Awards and Certificates, 1894-1976Add to your cart.
[O.V]
Originals or Copies Note: Originals
Item 1: James Van Benschoten Bennett Baptism Certificate, September 1894Add to your cart.
Fragment.
Item 2: Certificate announcing that Bennett is a Jet Jockey, having flown an U.S. Airforce Jet Aircraft, 1956 October 8Add to your cart.
Includes photograph of Bennett with a jet pilot.
Item 3: Edward R. Cass Annual Award for Outstanding Service Presented to James V. Bennett, 1964 September 3Add to your cart.
Item 4: George Washington University Alumni Achievement Award, 1956 June 6Add to your cart.
Item 5: Director of Selective Service Award to James V. Bennett, 1944 April 27Add to your cart.
Item 6: Primer Congreso Penitenciario Justicialista Award to James V. Bennett, 1953 OctoberAdd to your cart.
Item 7: Department of Corrections Special Citation of Appreciation to James V. Bennett, 1957 June 7Add to your cart.
Folder 4: George Washington University Bachelor of Laws Degree granted to James Van Benschoten Bennett, 1926Add to your cart.
Folder 5: National Conference on Social Welfare Award, 1965 May 24Add to your cart.
Awarded to James V. Bennett for outstanding contribution to social welfare

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