Arthur Lehman Goodhart

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Arthur Lehman Goodhart

Arthur Goodhart.jpg
Arthur Goodhart in the Master's Garden at University College, Oxford
Born1 March 1891
New York City, United States
Died10 November 1978(1978-11-10) (aged 87)
ResidenceLondon and Oxford, England
EducationYale University
Trinity College, Cambridge
OccupationJurist and lawyer
Known forProfessor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford
Spouse(s)Cecily Carter
ChildrenPhilip Goodhart
William Goodhart
Charles Goodhart
Parent(s)Hattie Lehman Goodhart
Philip Goodhart
FamilyMayer Lehman (grandfather)

Arthur Lehman Goodhart KBE QC FBA (1 March 1891 in New York City – 10 November 1978 in Oxford) was an American-born academic jurist and lawyer; he was Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, 1931–51, when he was also a Fellow of University College, Oxford. He was the first American to be the Master of an Oxford college, and was a significant benefactor to the College.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Arthur Goodhart was born to a Jewish family in New York City, the youngest of three children born to Harriet "Hattie" (née Lehman) and Philip Julius Goodhart.[2] His siblings were Howard Goodhart and Helen Goodhart Altschul (married to Frank Altschul). His maternal grandfather was Mayer Lehman, one of three brothers who co-founded the investment banking firm Lehman Brothers.[2] Goodhart was educated at the Hotchkiss School, Yale University and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Yale, he was an editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[3] After returning to the United States, he practised law until World War I. Following the war, he started to pursue an academic career in law, initially at Cambridge University and later at Oxford University where he became Professor of Jurisprudence and subsequently the Master of University College. He was editor of the Law Quarterly Review for fifty years.


Rejected for service with British forces in World War I, in 1914, Goodhart became a member of the U.S. forces when the U.S. joined the war in 1917; he became counsel to the U.S. mission to Poland, in 1919.

Goodhart was called to the bar by the Inner Temple 1919, and became a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and university lecturer in jurisprudence; he edited the Cambridge Law Journal, 1921–5, and the Law Quarterly Review, 1926. In 1931 he moved to Oxford to become professor of jurisprudence. He gave up that chair when he became Master of University College, Oxford, 1951–63. In 1952 he delivered the Hamlyn Lectures.

As a member of the Law Revision Committee, Goodhart helped to promote improvements in various branches of the law.

Personal life and legacy[edit]

Arthur Goodhart was married to Cecily Goodhart (née Carter) who was of English heritage.[4] They had three children: Sir Philip Goodhart; William Goodhart, Lord Goodhart of Youlbury; and Charles Goodhart[5] (after whom Goodhart's law is named).

Students during Goodhart's Mastership of University College included Bob Hawke, matriculated 1953, who was later Prime Minister of Australia.

The Goodhart Quad and the Goodhart Building (to the east, overlooking the quad and used for student accommodation) at University College, Oxford, off Logic Lane, are named in his memory. Cecily's Court, a small open area containing a fountain, located between the Goodhart Building and 83–85 High Street, is named in memory of Goodhart's wife.

Honours and titles[edit]


  1. ^ Darwall-Smith, Robin (2008). "The Great Benefactor: Arthur Goodhart". A History of University College, Oxford. Oxford University Press. pp. 485–491. ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0.
  2. ^ a b William Goodhart, QC. Retrieved 2 August 2015
  3. ^ Yale Banner and Pot Pourri. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1926. p. 238.
  4. ^ Catalogue of the papers of Arthur Lehman Goodhart (1891–1978): Biographical History" by Ruth Burchnall University of Oxford, Bodleian Library 1993 |In 1924 he married an English wife, Cecily Carter
  5. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History: "Arthur Lehman Goodhart" edited by William D. Rubinstein p. 354


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
John Wild
Master of University College, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Redcliffe-Maud