Louis D. Brandeis Home

Historical marker #2366 in Louisville marks the boyhood home and the legacy of Louis D. Brandeis, who was the first Jewish judge to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Louis Brandeis was born on November 13, 1856 in Louisville. Brandeis grew up in a large limestone home at 310 East Broadway.

Brandeis’ boyhood home was built in 1864 when he was eight years old. He had a normal upbringing in Louisville, according to biographer Alpheus Thomas. Brandeis graduated from Louisville’s Male High School and, at age 16, received a gold medal from the University of the Public Schools in Louisville for ‘pre-eminence in all his studies.’

He was drawn to the study of law at a young age by his uncle Lewis Dembitz, a notable practitioner, citizen and scholar who eventually published the landmark treatise, Kentucky Jurisprudence, in 1890. After a year of study in Germany, Brandeis enrolled in Harvard Law School at the age of 18 without attending college first. At Harvard, he thrived in the intellectually charged atmosphere of case analysis and Socratic dialogue created by Professor Christopher Columbus Langdell.

Graduating with the highest honors, Brandeis worked briefly at a St. Louis law firm and then returned to Boston to establish a partnership with Samuel Warren, Jr. Together, Brandeis and Warren combined the practice of law with developing the law, as seen in their landmark article, “The Right to Privacy.” The article defined protection of the private realm as the foundation of individual freedom in the modern age and argued that the law must evolve in response to technological change. Following the publication of this article, Brandeis became increasingly involved in issues of public interest.

In 1916, at the age of 60, Brandeis was appointed an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Woodrow Wilson. He served on the Supreme Court until 1939 and passed away in 1941.

Throughout this career, Brandeis expressed his interest in the growth of the city of Louisville, seen primarily through his efforts to stimulate the growth of the University of Louisville Law School. Some of his instructors left lasting impressions on him, resulting in Brandeis arranging for various collections to be named after his former teachers. His influence and gifts of money and personal papers were major contributions to the university and resulted in major improvements for the school. The law school at the University of Louisville was renamed the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in 1997. Brandeis University, founded in 1948 and located in Waltham, Massachusetts, was named after Brandeis.

In 1913, the German Gymnastic Association, now known as the American Turners, purchased the former Brandeis residence and added a gymnasium to the rear of the property. The purpose of the association is to “promote health and physical education, cultural education, and rational thinking” and it “espouses the harmonious education of the body and mind as the most important factor to preserve and protect our democracy.”

This marker was dedicated on December 2, 2012.

It reads:


Built in 1864, this was the boyhood

home of first Jewish U.S. Supreme

Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis.

It was here, in his formative

years, that Brandeis developed the

democratic social philosophy that

would later be reflected in his own

reform activities. It was in this

house, at the age of nine, that he

taught a slave to read and write.



Brandeis believed in honoring the

people who helped him succeed.

during his 23 years on the bench,

he stayed interested in his home

town. His influence, and gifts of

money & personal papers, stimulated

growth of the Univ. of Louisville

Law School. He named collections

after former high school teachers.