Skip to main content

Karl Fenning Papers

Identifier: 074
The collection consists of personal and professional correspondence, professional publications, clippings, genealogical and biographical information, memorabilia and family photographs. The materials are divided into four series: Professional Papers, Personal Papers, Photographs, and Ephemera.


  • 1881-1962

Language of Materials



4.5 linear feet; 4 boxes

Biographical / Historical

Karl Fenning was born in Washington, DC, on March 30, 1881, the only child of James and Annie Dey Fenning (he had an older, half brother, Frederick A. Fenning). He attended Central High School in Washington, DC, and went on to Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1903. He then returned to Washington, DC to attend law school at National University and Columbian (now George Washington) University. Fenning practiced law in Washington, DC from 1904-1906, in New York City from 1906-1911, and in Cleveland from 1911-1921. On June 7, 1917, he married Hazel O’Neil. In 1921 President Harding appointed Fenning Assistant Commissioner of Patents, and in 1925 he was appointed Special Assistant to the Attorney General, a position in which he served until 1928. From 1923 until 1946 Fenning was a professor of patent law at Georgetown University. He died February 28, 1963 in Washington, DC.

Custodial History

Frederick F. Wright, grandnephew of Karl Fenning, donated the collection to the DC Community Archives. The donation was originally made in July 2006, with subsequent donations in September 2006.
Karl Fenning
An inventory of Karl Fenning at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Rachel Telford.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the DC Public Library Special Collections Repository

1709 3rd Street NE
Washington DC 20002 USA