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The Papers of David Nelson Sutton

Identifier: MSS-04-3

Scope and Contents

The David Nelson Sutton Papers are comprised of 2 archival boxes (.7 linear feet). They consist of handwritten notes taken while attending the University of Virginia Department of Law, and some printed materials that relate to his classes. There are two folders that document his nomination to the presidency of the Virginia State Bar Association in 1948, and his nomination as a member of the House of Delegates at the 75th meeting of the American Bar Association in 1953.


  • Creation: 1905 - 1955


Biographical / Historical

David Nelson Sutton was born on 14 July 1895 in Stevensville, King and Queen County, Virginia. He received his A. B. degree from Richmond College (now University of Richmond). He was a student at the Department of Law between 1919-1920. [Some alumni records state that he graduated in 1920, adn others 1921. Spec. Coll. thinks that the 1920 date is more accurate.]

He participated in WWI, first enlisting as a private and was later commissioned in the regular army. He resigned his commission as 1st. Lt. Cavalry, Regular Army to enter the University of Virginia in 1919. He was admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1920.

Mr. Sutton practiced law in West Point, Virginia. He was director and general counsel of the Citizens & Farmers Bank, and attorney for the Commonwealth for King William County, Virginia (1928-1946).

He was “governor” of the Kiwanis International (1940), president of the Virginia State Convention of the Disciples of Christ (1942), and vice-president of the International Convention of the Disciples of Christ. He was on the Board of Trustees of Lynchburg College, University of Richmond, and Lexington Theological Seminary. He was also a member of the Institute of Judicial Administration, and a member of the American Bar Association.

In 1936, 1940, and 1944, he participated as delegate to the Democratic Conventions. From 1946-1948 he was associate counsel for the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, Tokyo, Japan, in the trial of General Tojo and other important Japanese political leaders.

Mr. Sutton was president of the Virginia State Bar Association from 1948-1949. He was member of the Virginia State Bar from 1945 -1954, where he was chairman of the commission on continuing legal education (1949-1952). He was also a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Society of International Law, the Academy of Political Science, the American Judicatore Society, and the Raven Society of the University of Virginia.

He was president of the Alumni Association of the University of Richmond, and of Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, Sigma Upsilon.

Mr. Sutton died at his home in West Point, Virginia, on November 21, 1974.


.7 Cubic Feet (2 archival boxes)

Language of Materials



Small collection of University of Virginia memorabilia: students notes, notebooks, examinations, programs related to Law School (1905-1919). Also some ABA and VBA files (1948-1953).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the Law School by Frances Sutton Oliver, the daughter of David Nelson Sutton, in September of 2004.

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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library Special Collections Repository

Arthur J. Morris Law Library
580 Massie Road
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22903 United States