In 1941, an Italian law professor arrived in the United States to make his home here. Born in Russia during Czarist days, he was educated in Austria, England, and Italy, finally settling there and becoming a citizen. A member of the Italian bar and teacher of law at the Universities of Florence and Rome, he found himself in 1939 unwanted in his adopted homeland. He went to France, where he practiced law until coming to this country. In New York City he joined the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, remaining in that post for five years, until he died, at the age of 44, in an airplane accident. His name was Alexander Pekelis.

During his short stay in the United States, Pekelis showed himself to be an acute commentator on the American legal and social scene. His foreign training perhaps helped him to understand our legal system better than many American lawyers who are too deeply immersed in its daily operations. With insights born of a restless and inquiring mind and his experience in analyzing parallel machinery in other countries, Pekelis was able to contribute much of value to our jurisprudence. A slim volume of his essays, put together by his friends after his death, testifies to that.