Elizabeth Hughes Gossett, 73, the last surviving child of the late Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and the founder of the Supreme Court Historical Society, died of pneumonia Saturday at a hospital in Detroit. She lived in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who had conducted a tour in 1975 of seldom-seen rooms at the Supreme Court to welcome Mrs. Gossett as first president of the newly formed Society, said in a statement that Mrs. Gossett shared many of her father's talents for organization and leadership.
"Her intimate acquaintance with the court from the time of her father's chief justiceship and her husband's work as a law clerk enabled her to make an unusual contribution to the programs of the Society for the education of the public on the role of the court in American Life," Burger continued. "She was a frequent vistor to Washington, attending meetings of the American Law Institute with her husband and especially in the last five years as president of the Supreme Court Historical Society."
Supreme Court Associate Justice Lewis F. Lewis F. Powell Jr. said Mrs. Gossett "inherited from her father a respect -- almost a reverence -- for the Supreme Court as an institution. She viewed the court as the ultimate guardian of the liberties that Americans cherish."
Mrs. Gossett was the author of an article on her father that was published in the Yearbook of the Supreme Court Historical Society.
She was born in Albany, N.Y., during her father's tenure there as governor of New York and moved to Washington when he was appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 1910. He later served as chief justice of the United States from 1930 to 1941.
Mrs. Gossett was a graduate of the Madeira School and earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College in New York.
In 1930, she married William T. Gossett, a former president of the American Bar Association and a former vice president and general counsel of the Ford Motor Co.
Mrs. Gossett was a member of the board of trustees of Barnard College and the Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills. She was active in civic affairs in the Detroit area and did volunteer work for Michigan State University and the Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit.
Besides her husband, of Bloomfield Hills, survivors include two daughters, Antoinette Carter Denning of San Jose, Calif., and Elizabeth Evans Karaman of New York City; a son, William T. Jr., of Vancouver, British Columbia, and eight grandchildren.