Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

John W. Wade


John P. Frank

First Page



John Wade's most distinguishing quality was his capacity for friendship. He was a great scholar; his bibliography runs for pages. He was a great teacher and law school administrator; he took over the Vanderbilt Law School when it had a hundred students and no physical home of its own and built it into a great regional institution with an admirable building. He was a great reporter for the American Law Institute. He was a war hero.

But memory dwells especially on that capacity for friendship. I have read some of the memorial letters: Our colleague, Lawrence Walsh, in a handwritten letter to Mary Moody, spoke of John "as a lawyer, teacher, an exemplary gentleman, and a friend." "He was a friend to everyone he met," says someone else. A distinguished alumnus thought of him as "our professional father. He intimidated us first, inspired us next, and won our everlasting affection finally."

It is a long and awkward business to get from Phoenix, Arizona, to Nashville. For three years I served on the visitors committee for the Vanderbilt Law School and made that trip, spending a couple of days on the campus. I have no connection with Vanderbilt other than this. I regarded it as an annual tour to be in the company of John Wade and to have dinner in his gracious home with him and his wife, Mary Moody Wade, whose companionship and high humor made every moment with her a joy. Two other members of the ALI council were on that same committee, Judge Charles Wyzanski and Dean Erwin Griswold; and I always assumed that, like me, they made the trip to share time with John.