- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004

Joseph R. Schurman, 80, lawyer for NEH

Joseph Rathborne Schurman, a D.C. lawyer who served as general counsel for the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1969 to 1982 and as an attorney for the National Science Foundation from 1958 to 1969, died April 11 at Villa Rosa Nursing Home in Mitchellville, Md. He had Alzheimer’s disease.

Among his accomplishments at the NEH was the implementation of the Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act that Congress enacted in December 1975. Modeled on what was done in the United Kingdom, the law enabled Congress to assure countries that loaned priceless artistic works for display in this country would be fairly compensated in case of loss or damage.

Born Jan. 5, 1924, in New York City, Mr. Schurman was educated at Allen Stephenson grade school in Manhattan and at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He attended Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., from 1941 to 1943, when he joined the Army.

After basic training, he was sent to the University of Minnesota to learn Norwegian. During World War II, he spent time in England and France as a cryptographer for the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency. While in England, he attended the London School of Economics in 1945.

After the war, Mr. Schurman entered Harvard Law School and graduated in 1949. He immediately joined a small law practice in Rochester, N.Y. In 1956, he became an attorney for the Department of the Army in Rochester.

His survivors include his wife of 54 years, the former Evelyn Donoghue; two sons, Joseph R. Schurman Jr. of Brunswick, Maine, and Holbrook J. Schurman of Richmond; two daughters, Mary Grace Fuller of Incline Village, Nev., and Elizabeth Schurman Frank of Wauwatosa, Wis.; two sisters, Lydia Schurman of Arlington and Mary “Polly” Eddy of Wakefield, R.I.; and six grandchildren.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy be sent in his name to the Landscaping Fund of Blessed Sacrament Parish, 3630 Quesada St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20015.

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