• Jaffe, Sanford
  • College/Year: NCAS '54
  • Links to Oral History Sessions: Jaffe, Sanford (April 25, 2013)
  • Conflict(s): Cold War
  • Military Branch & Unit: Army


Interview 1 - Early Life and Education: Professor Sanford M. Jaffe, son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, discusses his upbringing and education in the multiethnic neighborhoods of Newark, NJ, during the Great Depression and World War II.

Interview 2 - High School and College Years: Jaffe describes his education in Weequahic High School from 1945 to 1949 and Rutgers University, Newark Campus, from 1949 to 1954, as a night student at University College-Newark and day student at Newark College of Arts & Sciences. He relates how he worked his way through college and made the decision to attend Harvard Law School.

Interview 3 - Law School: Jaffe reflects on his years (1954-1957) at Harvard Law School and his legal training as a law clerk at a Newark law firm. He also shares several anecdotes from his military service and his relationship with Justice Joseph Weintraub.

Interview 4 - Military Service & Early Legal Career: Jaffe recalls his service in the US Army (part of his National Guard service commitment) during his active duty deployments at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in the late 1950s, and Fort Benning, Georgia, during the 1961 Berlin Crisis. He then describes his clerkship under NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Weintraub and his time as an assistant prosecutor in the office of Essex County Prosecutor (and future New Jersey Governor) Brendan Byrne.

Interview 5 - US Attorney for New Jersey's Office, 1961-1965: Jaffe discusses his years as the Chief of the Criminal Division in the US Attorney for New Jersey's Office under US Attorney David Satz, during which he prosecuted cases involving organized crime, Soviet espionage, tax evasion and other criminal matters.

Interview 6 - US Department of Justice, 1965-1967: Jaffe recollects his years as a Special Assistant to Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach and Ramsey Clark, including his role in writing the Bail Reform Act of 1966 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

Interview 7 - The Lilley Commission, 1967-1968: Professor Jaffe details his efforts as the Executive Director of the Lilley Commission, established by NJ Governor Richard Hughes to investigate the 1967 riots in Newark and Plainfield as well as the factors leading to the unrest.

Interview 8 - The Ford Foundation: Years of Social Change: Professor Jaffe describes the outcomes of the Lilley Commission report, including how his work on the Commission led to his next position as an officer in the Ford Foundation (1968-1983). He recalls how his work at Ford took him into the field of public broadcasting, the creation of university-based criminal justice centers and the development of public interest law.

Interview 9 - The Ford Foundation: Reshaping American Justice: Professor Jaffe discusses working with Ford Foundation President McGeorge Bundy on the issue of amnesty for Vietnam War draft evaders and his efforts in helping to establish the dispute resolution field.

Interview 10 - The Rutgers University Board of Governors: Professor Jaffe comments on his tenure as a Governor-appointed member of the Rutgers University Board of Governors from 1975 to 1986.

Interview 11 - The Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution: Professor Jaffe recalls his work on dispute resolution issues and furthering the discipline as a whole through educational initiatives as Co-Director, with Linda Stamato, of the Center for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.


See Also:

Sanford M. Jaffe Interview Collection, Center on the American Governor, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University (External Site)


The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2017-2018 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.