Professor of Law, 1946-1949, Williams R. Perkins Professor of Law, 1961-65
Brainerd Currie taught at the Duke Law School twice throughout his illustrious career as a professor of law. His first stint as a faculty member was from 1946 through 1949. He later returned to Duke in 1961 as the William R. Perkins Professor of Law, and chose to remain for the rest of his life. The innovator of the concept of governmental interest analysis in the field of conflict of laws, he rose to prominence as one of the most brilliant legal academics of his time. Duke Law has held an annual Brainerd Curry Memorial Lecture since 1967.
Currie devoted his intellect primarily in two areas: conflict of laws and admiralty. His numerous publications include a compilation of his works in the first category – Selected Essays on the Conflict of Laws – which won the first triennial Coif award, arguably the ‘Nobel Prize’ of legal scholarship. Additionally, Currie served as the Reporter for the Advisory Committee on Admiralty Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States, as the editor of Law and Contemporary Problems, and as the first Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Legal Education. He is also remembered for his poetry, especially his poem “Rose of Alberlon”.
A native of Georgia, Brainerd Currie received his A.B. and LL.B. from Mercer University in 1937 and 1935 respectively. He received his LL.M. from Columbia in 1941, and completed his J.S.D. there in 1955. Following his first teaching position at the School of Law of Mercer University in 1935, Currie taught for the majority of the subsequent thirty years of his life. His teaching career included not only seven years at Duke but also positions on the faculties of the Law Schools of Wake Forest College, the University of Georgia, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Chicago. Furthermore, during the Second World War he served in the Office of Price Administration and in the Office of Economic Stabilization. He died on September 7, 1965 at the age of 52.
Duke University, School of Law, Bulletin of Duke University School of Law [serial]
Elvin R. Latty et al., Brainerd Currie - Five Tributes [perma.cc/LKK4-QVVM], 1966 DLJ 2-18