Shea, Francis Michael, 1905-1989

Shea, Francis Michael, 1905-1989



  • Existence: 1905 - 1989


Francis Michael Shea was born on June 16, 1905 in Manchester, New Hampshire. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1925 and Harvard Law School in 1928. From 1929-1933, Shea lived in Buffalo and practiced with the law firm of Slee, O'Brian, Hellings and Ulsh.In 1933, Shea moved to Washington to join the New Deal. He became a lawyer in the Agriculture Adjustment Administration. During 1935-1936, he was general counsel to the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. n 1936, Shea returned to Buffalo and became dean of the University of Buffalo School of Law. In 1939, Shea was recruited by Robert H. Jackson, to join the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Shea was nominated by Roosevelt and confirmed by the Senate to serve as Assistant Attorney General heading the Claims Division (today the Civil Division) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). He served for six years, running the Division and personally arguing over 50 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. In spring 1945, Shea joined the staff of Justice Robert H. Jackson to prosecute captured Nazi leaders for committing war crimes. During summer 1945, Shea worked as one of Justice Jackson's chief assistants in Washington and then in London, where the U.S. and allied nations negotiated the creation of the International Military Tribunal (IMT). That fall, Shea and all of the Jackson staff relocated to Nuremberg in the U.S. military occupation zone of the surrendered former Nazi Germany. Shea and staff assembled evidence and prepared cases, primarily regarding Nazi economic measures that had supported the Nazi Party and state, for trial before the IMT. In October, Shea was the United States representative who presented to the IMT in Berlin the indictment of the defendants who then were prosecuted in Nuremberg. Shea left Jackson's staff before the international Nuremberg trial began in November 1945. In fall 1946, Shea returned to Nuremberg and was present with Jackson when the IMT rendered its judgments on September 30 and October 1. In 1947, Shea and Warner W. Gardner, a fellow lawyer in DOJ during the 1930s and early 1940s, founded the law firm of Shea and Gardner In Washington, DC. Shea had an active litigation and regulatory practice there until his death in 1989.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Frances Shea letters

Identifier: MS-386
Date(s): 1942 to 1947

Francis Michael Shea (1905-1989, Assistant Attorney General. Dartmouth College Class of 1925. The collection contains letters written to his wife while he was Assistant Attorney General (1942-1945) and during his tenure as associate counsel prosecuting the Nuremberg war crimes trials.