Berle, Adolph Augustus, Jr.

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Berle, Adolph Augustus, Jr.

Adolph Augustus Berle Jr. was a diplomat, teacher, and writer. He was born January 29, 1895, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was educated at Harvard, receiving a bachelor of arts degree in 1913, a master of arts degree in 1914, and a bachelor of laws degree in 1916, in which year he was also admitted to the bar.

After military duty in World War I, Berle served as a U.S. representative at the Paris Peace Conference during 1918 and 1919. He opposed the conditions of the Versailles Treaty and resigned from the delegation. He returned to the United States and established his legal practice in New York City.

Berle began teaching corporate law at Columbia University in 1927. During the 1930s, he assisted the administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the formulation of New Deal legislation concerning Securities and banking.

From 1938 to 1944, Berle was assistant Secretary of State; in 1945 he was U.S. ambassador to Brazil; and in 1946 he returned to Columbia University to continue his teaching career. He helped establish the Liberal party and acted as its chairman from 1952 to 1955.

One of Berle's several publications was The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), written with coauthor G. C. Means.

"All powers granted to a corporation … whether derived from statute or charter … [are] exercisable only for the ratable benefit of all the shareholders as their interest appears."
—Adolph Berle Jr.

Berle died February 17, 1971, in New York City.