Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Stephen T. Roth Papers

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Stephen T. Roth Papers,
Creator: Roth, Stephen T., 1908-1974.
Inclusive dates: 1936, 1979, and undated
Extent: approximately 2 cubic feet (in 2 boxes, 1 Oversized folder)
The papers include biographical materials, photographs, copies of court transcripts, correspondence, and newspaper clippings regarding the Circuit Court of Appeals of Michigan, elections and court reform, the Criminal Investigation Division of World War II, Flint Hungarian Relief Committee, minutes of the Michigan Judges Association-Court Administration Committee, correspondence with Justic Warren Burger, speeches, and certificates of appointment.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

No Acc#

Access Restrictions:

Stephen T. Roth Papers are open for research.


Copyright has been transferred to the Clarke Historical Library.

Preferred Citation:

Stephen T. Roth Papers, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is by size, alphabetical by topic, then chronological.



Judge Stephen T. Roth (1908-1974) was born in Sajo Szoged, Hungary on April 21, 1908. He came to Flint, Michigan, in 1913 and became a naturalized citizen on January 9, 1933.

In 1931, Roth earned a Ph. D. degree from the University of Notre Dame, He earned a J. D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1935. Roth worked his way through both schools. Later, he received a honorary Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan in 1969.

Roth served in the United States Army, as a member of the Criminal Investigations Division, in North Africa and Italy, 1943-1945. During his service, he rose in rank from a private first class to a second lieutenant.

Also, Roth had a distinguished legal career. He served as the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Genesee County, 1937-1938; Prosecuting Attorney of Genesee County, 1941-1942; Attorney General, State of Michigan, 1949-1950; and Circuit Court Judge of Michigan, 1952-1962. On May 7, 1962, Judge Roth was appointed U.S. District Judge for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan by President John F. Kennedy, a position in which Roth served in until his untimely death in 1974. Roth was also active in Genesee County politics and served as chairman of the Genesee County Democratic Committee, 1946-1947.

Judge Roth married Evelyn L. Roth and they had five children: Diane, Susan, Kayla, Charles, and Bradford. Judge Roth died after suffering his third heart attack, on July 11, 1974.

Most importantly, Judge Roth is remembered as the judge who ordered the Detroit schools desegregation, which included major cross-district busing in Detroit in 1972. Roth ruled that the Detroit Board of Education was operating a de jure (by law) segregated school system. The city school system was a link in a long term pattern of discrimination by government, individuals, and agencies. The board also maintained enrollment options which allowed white students to flee black schools. The state had not enforced its written policy statements against segregation. The board had created and changed attendance zones, grade structures, and feeder school patterns with the effect of maintaining segregation. The original case against the Detroit Board of Education was brought by the NAACP. Because of his ruling, Roth was referred to as “the most unpopular man in Detroit.” This action thrust him into the national limelight. In Michigan, he was subjected to a lot of personal abuse and criticism in the press. (This information is from the collection.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection covers Roth’s life and career, especially as related to the busing ruling. The collection is mostly newspaper clippings, his speeches, notes, court case materials, and biographical materials, including obituaries. Photographs and a history paper of his son, Bradford, provide the only family materials. The Sixth Judicial Circuit, Annual Conferences, folder includes miscellaneous correspondence between Roth and Justice Warren Burger, 1971-1972.

Patrons are advised to exercise caution when researching in the collection which has suffered some mold and mildew damage.

Subject Terms

    • Roth, Stephen T., 1908-1974.
    • Burger, Warren E., 1907-1995.
    • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    • Detroit (Mich.). Board of Education.
    • Michigan. Circuit Court (7th Circuit)
    • Michigan. Circuit Court (6th Circuit)
    • Judges--Michigan.
    • Discrimination in education--Law and legislation--Michigan--Detroit.
    • School integration--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Hungarians--Michigan--Detroit.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--Race relations.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--History--20th century.
    • Detroit (Mich.)--Segregation.
    • Genesee County (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Stephen T. Roth Papers. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Information, 1942-1977, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Appointments, Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1962
    Box   1 F   3
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1966
    Box   1 F   4
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1967
    Box   1 F   5
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1968
    Box   1 F   6
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1969
    Box   1 F   7
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1970
    Box   1 F   8
    Bankruptcy Cases, Monthly Fee Reports, 1971
    Box   1 F   9
    Bobier, Harold, Installation as Bankruptcy Referee, 1961
    Box   1 F   10
    Circuit Court of Appeals, Assignment, 1971
    Box   1 F   11
    Circuit Court of Appeals, Correspondence, 1971
    Box   1 F   12
    Circuit Court of Appeals, NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) vs. Pepsi Cola, Correspondence, 1971
    Box   1 F   13
    Circuit Court of Appeals, NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) vs. Pepsi Cola, Appendix, 1971
    Box   1 F   14
    Circuit Court of Appeals, NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) vs. Pepsi Cola, Opinion, 1971
    Box   1 F   15
    Court Reform, 1955-1961
    Box   1 F   16
    Criminal Investigation Division (World War II), 1944
    Box   1 F   17
    Criminal Investigation Division (World War II), 1944
    Box   1 F   18
    Elections, 1953, 1959
    Box   1 F   19
    Elections, Supreme Court, 1955
    Box   1 F   20
    Elections, Supreme Court, Court Reform, Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1959
    Box   1 F   21
    Elections, Supreme Court, Court Reform, Newspaper Clippings (copies), Advertisements, 1959
    Box   1 F   22
    Flint Hungarian Relief Committee, Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1956-1957
    Box   1 F   23
    Installation as Circuit Court Judge, Transcript, 1952
    Box   1 F   24
    Ivan Johnson-Siegier Case, Newspaper Clippings (copies) and Notes, 1949
    Box   1 F   25
    Judge John Feikens, Assignment of Bay City Case, George Martin vs. Perry M. Johnson Warden, Court Transcripts (copies), 1972
    Box   1 F   26
    Michigan Judges Association, Court Administration Committee, Correspondence and Minutes, 1959-1960
    Box   1 F   27
    Miscellaneous, Cassette Tape of a Tribute to Judge Roth; Roth’s Class Ring, Grand Blanc High School, 1920
    Box   1 F   28
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1962-1975
    Box   1 F   29
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1968-1972
    Box   1 F   30
    Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1968-1979
    Box   1 F   31
    Newspaper Releases, 1954, 1974, undated
    Box   1 F   32
    Origins of Segregation, a History Paper by Bradford M. Roth, 1976
    Box   1 F   33
    Personal Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1949-1953
    Box   1 F   34
    Personal Correspondence and Newspaper Clippings (copies), 1962-1974
    Box   1 F   35
    Photographs, Election, 1959
    Box   1 F   36
    Photographs, Installation as Federal Judge, 1962
    Box   1 F   37
    Photographs, undated
    Box   1 F   38
    Pre-trial Lists of Pending Cases, 1958
    Box   2 F   1
    Sixth Judicial Circuit, Annual Conferences, Correspondence with Warren Burger, and Miscellaneous, 1971-1972
    Box   2 F   2
    Speeches, Assyrian-American Federation, Assyrian Law, 1954
    Box   2 F   3
    Speeches, Auto Workers, Flint Federal Credit Union, Circuit Court, 1959
    Box   2 F   4
    Speeches, Background Material, 1955-1969
    Box   2 F   5
    Speeches, Background Notes, 1952
    Box   2 F   6
    Speeches, Black, Justice Eugene, Introduction, 1958
    Box   2 F   7
    Speeches, Blendle High School Graduation, 1963
    Box   2 F   8
    Speeches, Carland, Judge, Retirement, 1971
    Box   2 F   9
    Speeches, Civitan Club of Flint, Citizenship, undated
    Box   2 F   10
    Speeches, Civitan Club of Flint, Random Judicial Notes, undated
    Box   2 F   11
    Speeches, Crime and the Courts, 1942
    Box   2 F   12
    Speeches, Crime and the Courts, 1965
    Box   2 F   13
    Speeches, Detroit Busing, 1972
    Box   2 F   14
    Speeches, Fairview Community School, 1971
    Box   2 F   15
    Speeches, Flint Junior Chamber of Commerce, Sex as a Trial Judge Sees It, 1961
    Box   2 F   16
    Speeches, Galliver, Joseph, Testimonial, 1964
    Box   2 F   17
    Speeches, Graduation, General, undated
    Box   2 F   18
    Speeches, Graduation, Law and Order, undated
    Box   2 F   19
    Speeches, Grand Blanc High School National Honor Society, 1962
    Box   2 F   20
    Speeches, Greek Fight for Independence, undated
    Box   2 F   21
    Speeches, Humorous Notes, undated
    Box   2 F   22
    Speeches, Hyche, Georgia Edwards, Memorial, 1963
    Box   2 F   23
    Speeches, Improving the Courts, 1966
    Box   2 F   24
    Speeches, Inauguration of District Judges, 1968
    Box   2 F   25
    Speeches, Judicial Advice, undated
    Box   2 F   26
    Speeches, Labor Day, Muskegon, 1950
    Box   2 F   27
    Speeches, Michigan Judges Association, Humor, undated
    Box   2 F   28
    Speeches, Michigan Society of Registered Land Surveyors, The Surveyors' Responsibility to the Courts, Expert Witness, 1960
    Box   2 F   29
    Speeches, Mount Pleasant Junior Chairman of Commerce, 1951
    Box   2 F   30
    Speeches, National Association of Legal Secretaries, undated; Background Materials, 1961
    Box   2 F   31
    Speeches, Naturalization, 1966
    Box   2 F   32
    Speeches, Pratt, Judge Philip, Swearing in Ceremony, 1970
    Box   2 F   33
    Speeches, Retirement for Glen, undated
    Box   2 F   34
    Speeches, Roth, Stephen, Introduction, undated
    Box   2 F   35
    Speeches, Saginaw Valley Debate League, Truth and Debate, 1959-1960
    Box   2 F   36
    Speeches, Saint Patrick, March 1946
    Box   2 F   37
    Speeches, Starker, Janos, Introduction, Musician, undated
    Box   2 F   38
    Speeches, Swirtz, Arthur, Installation, 1970
    Box   2 F   39
    Speeches, U. S. Marshall, undated
    Box   2 F   40
    Speeches, Voice of Democracy Contest, 1954
    Box   2 F   41
    Speeches, Welch, Elizabeth, Memorial, 1953
    Box   2 F   42
    Speeches, Whittier Junior High, Parents' Responsibilities to Their Teenagers, 1961
    Box   2 F   43
    Speeches, Wranglers Club, Law Enforcement, undated
    Box   2 F   44
    Speeches, Wranglers Club, Streamlining Our Court Procedures, 1953
    Box   2 F   45
    Speeches, Yeotis, Thomas, Installation as Circuit Judge, 1971
    Box   2 F   46
    Speeches, Woman's World (CKLW-TV, Windsor, Ontario, Canada), Integration, Ruling NAACP vs. Detroit Board of Education, 1970
    Box   2 F   47
    Speeches, World War II Humor, undated
    F   1  
    Oversized Folder, Autographed Photograph of J. W. Connolly, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, undated; Michigan’s Salute to President Johnson, June 26, 1964; Original sketch for Newspaper Political Cartoon, circa 1972 busing ruling [1972]; Certificates of, Appointment as Attorney of Eastern District Court of Michigan, 1936; Appointment as Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 1944; Election as Attorney General of Michigan, 1948; Appointment as Circuit Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit, 1952; Election as Circuit Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit, 1952; Election as Circuit Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit, 1953; Election as Circuit Judge, Seventh Judicial Circuit, 1959; Resolution on the death of Judge Roth, 1974; Appointment as Member of the Board of Appeal for the State of Michigan, Panel No. 2, 1950, 1936, 1972, undated