Saturday, November 12, 2022

Vale Paper Chase John Jay Osborn - Ernie Lazar, FOIA Expert and Prolific Government Document Researcher, Dies


Peter Reith ‘wrote the playbook’ on the brutal game of politics

The New York Times: “Ernie Lazar, an unheralded hero of researchers who mined his vast digital and documentary archive of government records on political extremists to invigorate their books, articles and arguments and to warn against “it can’t happen here” complacency, died on Nov. 1 at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 77…

Mr. Lazar estimated that more than three million people around the world had accessed his encyclopedic digital libraryfound in the Internet Archive, Wikipedia and other sites while pursuing their independent investigations into political organizations ranging from the Communist Party USA to the virulently anti-communist John Birch Society. He culled those records after submitting what he said were some 10,000 Freedom of Information Act requests to the F.B.I. and other sources and made them available at no cost to historians, authors, journalists, doctoral students, debaters and the incurably curious, either online or through a hard-copy paper library…”

Palm Springs, California, United Statesretiredretired

New York Times, John Jay Osborn Jr., Author of ‘The Paper Chase,’ Dies at 77:

Paper Chase 2John Jay Osborn Jr., who while attending Harvard Law School wrote “The Paper Chase,” a 1971 novel following the tense relationship between an earnest student and his imperious contract law professor that was made into a feature film and then a television series, died on Oct. 19 at his home in San Francisco. He was 77. ...

“The Paper Chase,” Mr. Osborn’s best-known book, tells the story of two antagonists: Kingsfield, an austere, curmudgeonly Harvard elder, and Hart, an industrious first-year student from the Midwest who is trying to survive the cutthroat intellectual world of an elite law school. ...

Although Mr. Osborn said that Kingsfield was a composite of several of his law professors, Martha Minow, a former dean of the law school, said in an email, “I do know that some now long-gone law professors here vied over who was the real model for Kingsfield.”

When “The Paper Chase” was made into a film in 1973, Kingsfield was played by John Houseman, who was a longtime theater, film and television producer and a former colleague of Orson Welles’s but had only occasionally acted, and Hart was portrayed by Timothy Bottoms. Mr. Houseman won the Academy Award for best supporting actor.