Frederick van Pelt Bryan

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Frederick van Pelt Bryan (April 27, 1904 – April 17, 1978) was a United States federal judge.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bryan received an A.B. from Columbia University in 1925 and an LL.B. from Columbia University Law School in 1928. He was in private practice in New York City from 1928 to 1933. He was an assistant corporation counsel in New York City from 1933 to 1937, and a first assistant corporation counsel from 1938 to 1942. He served in the United States Army during World War II, from 1942 to 1946; thereafter returning to private practice in New York City from 1946 to 1956. He was a member of the Temporary State Commission to Study the Organizational Structure of the Government of the City of New York from 1953 to 1954, and was counsel to the Temporary Commission on the Courts of the State of New York from 1954 to 1956.

On May 18, 1956, Bryan was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by William Bondy. Bryan was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 13, 1956, and received his commission on June 19, 1956. He assumed senior status on April 1, 1972, serving in that capacity until his death, in New York, New York.

Bryan authored the opinion holding that D.H.Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover was not obscene, based on its "redeeming social or literary value", introducing a standard henceforth upheld by the Supreme Court.


Legal offices
Preceded by
William Bondy
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Robert Joseph Ward