A Short Walk, A Historical Journey

The Law Library invites you to take a few moments to experience the exhibit at the Library’s front entrance on the history of the Law School. We hope that both current and prospective students, as well as our many visitors, will gain a better understanding of who we are, where we have been and how we came to be a top ten law school. Some of the items you will find in the display cases include a letter in Thomas Jefferson’s hand, student notebooks from the 1800’s, a once-renowned golden calf trophy from the annual faculty-student softball tournament, the first Virginia Law Weekly, pictures of Barristers Balls and Libel Shows from as early as the 1950’s and a mason jar with a special meaning to a couple of students from the Roaring Twenties!

In this exhibit, our history unfolds in photographs, books, buildings, statues and other artifacts. The display is designed to present a decade-by-decade timeline of our history, with law school architecture from all eras serving as the backdrop. Replicas of archival documents and period photographs are mounted in the foreground. A reader-rail running along both sides of the room provides further description of the images. Although the space will not be completely finished until new lighting is installed, most of the display’s content is in place.

We appreciate our students’ patience while the project was underway and apologize that we had to barricade the entrance several times during the construction period. But now the noisy part of the work has been completed, and we hope that you will feel that the effort was worthwhile. As we were constructing the exhibit, several law students walking through the area contributed very good ideas for content, including the notion that a bust of Jefferson must be present. Your thoughts on items that would be of interest to you and your colleagues are welcomed. Check occasionally for changes, because we plan to rotate items on the walls and in the display cases. Now, you who are a part of our history, go investigate!

– Taylor Fitchett 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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A Glimpse of the Past, A Peek at the Future

For the first time, the annual Alumni Reunions Weekend program included a program by Law Library. Last Saturday in the library’s Caplin Reading Room, staff members Philip Herrington, Elizabeth Ladner, and Kristin Jensen presented “Capturing the Past, Preserving the Future: People, Places, and Pedagogy.” The program featured fellow Philip Herrington’s look at the history of U.Va. Law School as place. Herrington began with the law program’s early years as a class offering in a Lawn pavilion and a collection of law books in the Rotunda Annex. He then chronicled how the school became its own place at Minor Hall, but overcrowding and a passion for murals soon led to the building of the more spacious Clark Hall. The Law School continued to grow and eventually moved to North Grounds, where several expansion projects transformed the structure into the place it is today. Elizabeth Ladner, also a Law Library fellow, illustrated U.Va. Law School as a curriculum, exploring how Thomas Jefferson’s uncommon hiring of a single law professor for undergraduates evolved over time into free standing professional graduate school. Kristin Jensen then explored U.Va. Law School as a story, as told through student and faculty memorabilia and writings. Among the interesting artifacts Jensen shared were letters home from Elizabeth Tompkins, the Law School’s first female graduate, which revealed her struggle to find her place among the men of her 1L class.

At the close of the program, Director Taylor Fitchett issued standing invitation to alumni to share their own U.Va. Law stories and memorabilia. She shared her hope that our past students will come to regard any law school books or class notes stored in their attics, as well as their personal stories, as welcome future additions to the U.Va. Law School history. If you’re an alumnus or past faculty member with something to share about your U.Va. Law experience, please contact Taylor Fitchett at tf2u@virginia.edu or at http://libguides.law.virginia.edu/alumni.

– Amy Wharton 

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Amy Wharton

Amy Wharton became Director of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library at the University of Virginia School of Law in February 2018. She was previously Research & Web Services / Emerging Technologies Librarian. She has taught Advanced Legal Research and is a past-president of the Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL). Amy joined the Arthur J. Morris Law Library in 2008.

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Brown II Through the Eyes of a Supreme Court Clerk

While a number of UVA Law alums have served as clerks in all levels of the judiciary, it is probably a good guess most were not thinking about the documents they generated in their clerkships as providing insight for future scholars into the inner workings of the court. The work clerks do, however, has an effect on jurisprudence as they help their justices research, form positions, and draft opinions that may have a lasting impact. The final product created by the court, the opinion, often obscures the amount of work that was dedicated to creating the document. The University of Virginia Law Library’s Special Collection is fortunate to have the Prettyman Papers, which provides a peek into the behind-the-scenes work done by the United States Supreme Court on the seminal Brown v. Board of Education cases.

E. Barrett Prettyman graduated from the law school in 1953 and served as a law clerk to Justice Robert H. Jackson, and upon Justice Jackson’s death he clerked for Justice Felix Frankfurter. The Brown v. Board of Education cases were a vital part of the Court’s agenda during Prettyman’s clerkships. The archival papers in the library’s Special Collections provide access to the justices’ debates and dialogues as they grappled with how much they would require of the states to end segregation and how quickly they would ask the states to meet those requirements. The Prettyman Papers show the amount of research the law clerks did to help inform the justices on disparate issues involved with the cases, and the papers also highlight the role the clerks played in informing the dialogue between the justices. While the Brown II decision, which implemented the Court’s decision in Brown I, was unanimous, the documents show how much work was needed to bring about unanimity.

UVA Law Professor Risa Goluboff provides insight into the importance of the Brown v. Board of Education decisions and the wealth of information available on the Brown II case from the Prettyman papers. The Prettyman Papers, which are available in the library’s Special Collections and have been digitized on the library’s Special Collections website, highlight the important role of the clerks and provide insight into the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of the Supreme Court, and are a fascinating example of the scope of materials to be found in the library’s manuscript collections.

– Leslie Ashbrook 

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Leslie Ashbrook

Leslie Ashbrook is a Research Librarian at the Law Library.

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Presenting André Kertész: Capturing Paris and New York

Kertesz_print13André Kertész is one of the most celebrated photographers of the twentieth century. In 1985, an anonymous Law alumnus donated a set of Kertész's black-and-white photographs to the Law Library Special Collections. The Law Library is pleased to exhibit forty-two images capturing Kertész's impressions of Paris and New York, the two cities where he spent the central epoch of his life.

The exhibition is complemented by an online gallery of the complete set of fifty prints. Visitors with smartphones can scan a QR code next to each photo to view a description and map that pinpoints where the image was taken.

The exhibit, which will run through July 2014, results from the efforts of curators Loren Moulds, Philip Herrington, and Cecilia Brown.

Special Collections Department 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Law Library’s Tokyo War Crimes Trial Exhibit Featured

"Frank Stacy Tavenner Jr., a 1927 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and assistant chief prosecutor of the Tokyo War Crimes trial, stood at the lectern on April 16, 1948, and delivered the final summation in the case against 28 Japanese defendants who stood accused of starting an illegal war, atrocities and crimes against humanity committed during World War II." Read more on the UVA Law School website.

 


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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Mr. Jefferson’s “Special Collection” Featured in the Local News

The efforts of our Special Collections Department to recreate and preserve all of the books in Thomas Jefferson's 1828 catalog for "Law" was featured yesterday on Charlottesville's NBC29. Taylor Fitchett and Cecilia Brown were interviewed for the piece. The video includes an inside look at some of the Law Library's rare books.

Since the airing, we've received a number of requests for the lists of what books we have and what books remain outstanding. We're pleased to provide those here:

Download UVA Law Jefferson Book List – Missing

Download UVA Law Jefferson Book List

– UVA Law Library Special Collections  

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Making Your Research Go Viral

In a paper soon to be published in the American Economic Review, economists Scott Stern and Jeffrey Furman studied biology scholarship and found that making research materials easily available to others has a viral effect. When the research materials were placed in a Biological Resource Center easily accessible to other researchers, “the post-deposit citation boost is estimated to be between 57 percent and 135 percent.”

Would making legal research easily available to other researchers have the same viral effect on legal scholarship? It just might—ask Professor Brandon Garrett. With the help of the law library, Professor Garrett has made much of his research accessible online, including the research for his book Convicting the Innocent, the set of corporate prosecution agreements he used for a 2007 article “Structural Reform Prosecution,” and the corporate plea agreements used for his 2011 article “Globalized Corporate Prosecution.”

We do not know the exact effect of making his research publicly available, but the pages for these materials have been accessed more than 16,000 times. Professor Garrett’s research has certainly received national attention. Convicting the Innocent has been featured in the New York Times (and here and here), cited by Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor in a recent dissent on eyewitness testimony, and used by the New Jersey Supreme Court to support its sweeping changes in how eyewitness testimony will be treated in New Jersey courts. “Structural Reform Prosecution” has been cited over fifty times in law reviews and other secondary sources.

If you would like to think about making your research similarly publicly available, just contact Jon Ashley in the law library. He and Professor Garrett are currently working on making the data sets even more accessible by adding faceted and full-text search functions.

– Ben Doherty 

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Arthur J. Morris Law Library

The Arthur J. Morris Law Library is the home of research for students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law.

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Both Then and Now, a Celebration with “Great Éclat”

Yesterday the University celebrated founder Thomas Jefferson’s 268th birthday. Among the events were a tree planting on The Lawn and the annual awarding of three Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals. The presentation of the Medal in Law has been a Founder’s Day tradition since 1977, the year the current honoree, Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser, graduated from the Law School.  

Founder’s Day has always been celebrated in style at the University. An entry from the diaries of Law School Dean William Minor Lile reveals how the event was observed 87 years ago, an interesting time in the history of our nation and in that of our neighbor up the street, Monticello:

“April 12, 1924

“Tomorrow being Sunday, Jefferson’s birthday was celebrated today with great éclat, with Governor Trinkle present. Dr. [John Holladay] Latané of Johns Hopkins delivered the address on the great Democrat. It was a very thoughtful study, including an interesting comparison between Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson; and pointing out in a striking way what Jefferson meant by ‘entangling alliances’, by extracts from his letter indicating that at one time he was heartily in favor of an alliance with Great Britain. 

“In addition to our own University celebration, the Jefferson Memorial Association which has recently purchased Monticello @ $500.000.00, $100.000.00 only paid thus far, is here in full force, including 50 boys and girls from the schools of New York City, prize winners in a contest for the best 50 essays on Jefferson. Tomorrow there will be a pilgrimage to Monticello with all sorts of stunts to be performed on the Monticello lawn, including an oration by the Governor, orations by sundry other notables from different sections of the country, all in the line of propaganda for raising money for the purchase and endowment. A hard surfaced road has just been completed to the top of the mountain, but the road from the gate to the mansion, and particularly the return road on the eastern side, is in bad shape and scarcely manageable for cars. Seaplanes would come in well for the return trip back to the gate. I hope that by the time my grandchildren are ready to make a trip to the shrine of Democracy, the place will be paid for, a sufficient endowment provided, and the place will be put in a condition worthy of the great man who from that center evolved and disseminated a political philosophy that has influenced the whole world for the world’s good, probably more than any man that ever lived on the planet we call earth, excluding of course Jesus of Nazareth.” 

We take the absence of recent seaplane sightings over Charlottesville as solid evidence that Dean Lile’s hopes for Monticello have been realized.

– Amy Wharton, with Kristin Jensen

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Amy Wharton

Amy Wharton became Director of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library at the University of Virginia School of Law in February 2018. She was previously Research & Web Services / Emerging Technologies Librarian. She has taught Advanced Legal Research and is a past-president of the Virginia Association of Law Libraries (VALL). Amy joined the Arthur J. Morris Law Library in 2008.

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