Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black was hospitalized, his health failing, when he gave his son Hugo Jr. an order: Burn the papers. Worried that the publication of certain of his private notes could harm the court or his colleagues, he insisted on their destruction.

“Operation Frustrate-the-Historians,” his wife called it. As for the reporters asking the hospital about his condition: “Tell them nothing,” Black told his son.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo La Fayette Black Supreme Court Justice Hugo La Fayette Black. (Photo: Harris & Ewing/Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons)