An early taste of legal research launches careers

D’Angelo Law librarians give College and graduate students their first exposure to legal research

For almost 15 years, librarians from the D’Angelo Law Library have been teaching a seminar on legal research for undergraduates and graduate students who are interested in using legal resources or considering law school or other legal careers. D’Angelo Law Library runs the seminar in coordination with the UChicago Careers in Law (UCIL) program and has expanded the course in recent years to include a legal writing component. This past Spring Quarter, 29 students signed up for the six-week seminar, which included units on case law research, statutory and administrative law research, and using secondary sources, in addition to legal writing and oral communication. The research segments were taught by librarians Thomas Drueke and Todd Ito, and legal writing was taught by Bill Chamberlain, Program Director of UCIL.

Students who have participated in the seminar have reported that the classes provided a good preview of what legal research is like in law school and in practice. Kyle Panton, AB’14, JD’17, took part in the seminar in 2013 and said it helped him decide whether to go to law school: “As an undergrad, quality opportunities to learn about what lawyers experience on a day to day basis can be hard to come by.” Panton went on to graduate from the University of Chicago Law School earlier this year and will be starting work at a law firm in New York City this fall. “I would highly recommend the seminar to any students who think that they may be interested in practicing law, or who think they may want to pursue a career where knowledge of how to conduct legal research may be a boon,” Panton added.

Seferina Berch, AB’14, said that, in addition to helping her decide whether to attend law school, “the seminar helped guide research for my BA thesis, which had a historical legal focus, and helped me get a 1L internship on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.” Berch graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School this May and starts work as an associate at the law firm Sidley Austin, LLP in New York City this fall.

UChicago students interested in taking this course in Spring 2018 can sign up through the Career Advancement Office.

Through the eyes of a Nobel laureate’s wife

Ronald H. Coase and his wife, Marian, had just buckled themselves into their seats on the last leg of a journey from Chicago to Stockholm when an unusually loud and clear voice came over the in-cabin announcement system, jolting them to attention.

It was early December 1991, and their flights so far had been mercifully calm and relaxed. Less than two months earlier, the couple had been visiting Tunisia when a Reuters reporter approached them and became the first to tell the 80-year-old economist—a University of Chicago Law School professor well regarded as a founder and leader in the field of law and economics—that he’d won the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. (“I didn’t know a thing,” Coase later recounted. “I’m really pretty fortunate to be in a place where it’s so difficult to reach me. It’s a good place to learn about it—a place so ancient.”)

Now, as the plane prepared for takeoff, someone on the cabin crew wanted everyone to know that a new Nobel laureate was on board—and that champagne would be served in his honor.

The first page of Marian Coase’s account. Source: Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 22], SCRC, UChicago Library.

“And it was, immediately, the trays of glasses having already been prepared,” Marian recalled in a 15-and-a-half page handwritten account of their visit to Sweden for the Nobel Prize ceremonies. “We were grateful that there was no spotlight on the plane to shine on us.”

So began the trip of a lifetime: one documented not just in news stories extolling Coase’s work on transaction costs and the nature of firms—but one chronicled in about a dozen Nobel-focused folders that are part of Ronald Coase Papers, which became publicly available earlier this year at the University of Chicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center. The collection, a 186-box treasure trove of research files, drafts, lectures, personal and professional correspondence, notes, reports, photographs, clippings, artifacts, and more, offers insight into both the mind and the man, a Law School legend who died in 2013 at age 102. Marian Coase died in 2012.

The materials documenting Coase’s 1991 Nobel Prize are just a small part of the 112.5-linear-feet collection. But they paint a picture of an extraordinary experience that only 923 global leaders in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, economics, and peace have shared. When Coase won the economics prize—which wasn’t established until 1969 and is technically the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel—it was a distinction he shared with only 30 others, nearly half of them associated with the University of Chicago.

This year, University of Chicago Professor Richard H. Thaler, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, was honored “for his contributions to behavioural economics”—becoming the 49th Nobel laureate in economics, and the 29th associated with the University of Chicago. Although Coase won his prize more than a quarter century ago—in a year of particularly elaborate festivities designed to mark the Nobel Prizes’ 90th anniversary—the artifacts in the Coase Papers offer a hint of what Thaler, and his wife, might expect when they travel to Sweden in December for the awards banquet and other events.

A congratulatory drawing from a young friend. Source: Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 24], SCRC, UChicago Library.

The Coase Papers include dinner invitations from ambassadors, printed University of Chicago Law School thank you notes (“I would have liked to reply individually but the numbers made this impossible”), news clippings, congratulatory notes, laureate information, letters nominating Coase for the Nobel in the 1970s and 1980s, and an official program emblazoned with a gold Nobel Prize seal. And then there’s Marian Coase’s neatly written account, assigned to its own folder. It is relayed with an attention to detail, as if she hoped to keep the particulars of their visit from being lost to history. She describes moments of splendor, from listening to Georg Solti conduct Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 at Stockholm Concert Hall (“Fortunately, we sat near enough to hear the machinery at work … I understood, from the sound of the first chord, why Solti … commands such high praise. It wasn’t just satisfying Brahms, it was great Brahms”) to dining at the Royal Palace at a dinner given by the King and Queen of Sweden.

“The meal was chosen with the skillful restraint of a grand gourmet who was, I was informed, the King himself,” she wrote. “He was also responsible for hunting the deer whose meat, exceptional in both flavor & in texture, was the star offering of the main course.”

Dinner invitations from ambassadors. Source: Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 23], SCRC, UChicago Library.

Marian marvels again and again at the efficiency, organization, and planning expertise displayed by the Nobel Foundation, and she tells of the “intricate maze of events” that were at once spectacular and exhausting.

The couple, who had been traveling until mid-November that year, had only two and a half weeks in Chicago before leaving for Stockholm. Preparations had been intense, with Ronald fielding congratulatory notes and interview requests while writing his 45-minute Nobel lecture and three-minute banquet remarks and Marian assembling appropriate “special events” wardrobes, something she’d never troubled about in previous travels. Garment alterations stretched to the last minute; in fact, she’d set down her needle and thread “only moments before rushing off to O’Hare Airport.”

Coase’s name tag and lecture from the Nobel events. Source: Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 17], SCRC, UChicago Library.

In addition to the time pressure, there had been the sudden shock of sad news: Ronald Coase’s friend and colleague George Stigler, the 1982 Nobel laureate in economics and a member of the University’s economics faculty, had died suddenly on December 1, just days before Coase left for Stockholm. The grieving Coase offered a tribute as a prologue to his prize lecture, Marian wrote, adding that his words “seemed to lead his friend into the auditorium to acknowledge all the allusions to him in the Lecture.” Afterward, numerous people came by to tell Ronald that he’d given a fine eulogy. (Stigler actually formulated and named the Coase Theorem based on an argument Coase made in his well-known 1960 paper on transaction costs, “The Problem of Social Cost.” In his lecture, Coase made this distinction.)

The action-packed week hit its crescendo the next day when 1,300 people gathered for the much-anticipated Nobel Prize ceremony and banquet.

“One was warned not to make too many demands on one’s energy the day before as the day itself would be long & arduous & it all was going to be televised,” Marian wrote. “Everyone was counted on to be punctual and not to make mistakes. The Laureates were taken to the auditorium & rehearsed—& no doubt the King and Queen went through their paces as well.”

The demanding pace ultimately took its toll, and Coase fell ill with a cold and fever on the flight home. On Christmas Day, Ronald and Marian Coase finally “abandoned ourselves to sleep & awoke, unbelievably, 18 hours later,” Marian reported. “It was no longer Christmas but late in the morning of the 26th.”

Thank you cards. Source: Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 19], SCRC, UChicago Library.

Despite the physical impact, the week had included various thrilling extras. The day after the banquet, Ronald, who had explored the economics of lighthouse management in some of his work, was taken for a private visit to the Swedish Lighthouse Authority. Two days before the banquet at Stockholm City Hall, the Coases were able to make a private visit to the building to admire the “bold design that had made a strong impression on us when we saw it forty-five years ago,” Marian wrote. And on the way back to the States, they had a nice stop in Paris.

Afterward, as Ronald settled into life as a Nobel laureate, someone compiled an album, pages of which are preserved in the collection. Affixed to the sticky pages with clear plastic overlay are yellowing news clippings, including a Chicago Tribune story featuring a photo of Marian and Ronald locked in a tender kiss, and a hand-drawn note of congratulations with multiple signatures. There’s a picture, too, of a blue ribbon labeled “Nobel Prize Economics” drawn in marker by a 12-year-old who appears to be a family friend.

The same child wrote him a poem that also relays the magnitude of the experience:

There once was a scholar named Coase,
Whom for the Nobel Prize they chose.
He was surprised at a prize of this size,
And now for pictures he does pose.
Hats off to Dr. Ronald Coase!

Poems by a young friend. Coase, Ronald H. Papers, [Box 1, Folder 24], Special Collections Research Center, UChicago Library.

Digitized campus publications open a century of University history and debate to researchers

The Daily Maroon, October 1, 1902 (page 1)

October 1, 1902, seemed an auspicious day to the staff of the new University of Chicago student newspaper, the Daily Maroon. Its writers took great pride in a number of historic events occurring that day: the launch of their paper; the opening of the new Law School; the start of autumn quarter, featuring the largest attendance in University history to date; and even the prospects for “a successful and satisfactory foot-ball season.”

But in addition to conveying school pride, page 1 also reports on the controversies associated with student life. The founding of the Daily Maroon as “a self-supporting student activity” rather than a university-funded entity is reported to have occurred only after extensive debates among faculty, administration, students, alumni, and the owner of a preexisting literary magazine. And an article on autumn quarter registration reports that a newly segregated registration process—with women in Cobb Hall and men in the Press Building—had become “the subject for conjectures among the students as to whether or not it was a forerunner of separate instruction.”

Sexual segregation cartoon

Sexual segregation cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1903 (page 17).

Digitized copies of the first 20 years of the Daily Maroon have recently been added to the University of Chicago Campus Publications website. Launched in April 2017, the Campus Publications site allows researchers to readily explore history from 1892 to 1995. Beginning at launch, the site provided digital access to four periodicals: Cap and Gown, the College yearbook; the University of Chicago Magazine, the official alumni publication; Quarterly Calendar, an early omnibus publication; and the University Record, its successor.

Other campus publications, such as the Maroon, are being added on an ongoing basis as digitization continues, and additional issues of the Maroon are expected to be added over the coming academic year. Because Maroon student reporters covered campus events of all kinds, even when other press did not, the Maroon’s accounts of lectures by visiting scholars, faculty academic debates, and arts performances are sometimes the only surviving historical record.

Outgoing dean hands "grand master" key to incoming dean

The cover illustration of outgoing Dean Gerhard Casper handing the “Grand Master” key to incoming Dean Geoffrey Stone was drawn by David Rothman, JD’62. The Law School Record, vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1987)

By visiting campub.lib.uchicago.edu, members of the UChicago community and researchers around the world can conduct a simultaneous keyword search of all of the publications on the site, using an interface built and maintained by the University of Chicago Library. As a result, researchers can sometimes rapidly access the distinct voices and perspectives of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and guest lecturers as they engage with the vital issues of the day. One example can illustrate the point: “sex segregation”—as alluded to in the first issue of the Daily Maroon—was a vital subject in the early 20th century, and the University briefly experimented with separate instruction for first and second year male and female undergraduates. A search for the word “segregation” on the site turns up more than 100 citations for the decade 1900-09, often connected with sex segregation. Searches on other topics such as war or urban renewal uncover campus debates and involvement in topics of vital local, national, and international importance.

The Law School’s scholarship repository, Chicago Unbound at chicagounbound.uchicago.edu also serves as a home to many historical publications and other materials of interest to the campus community, alumni, and outside scholars. Developed by the D’Angelo Law Library and the Law School’s Communications Department and launched in 2014, Chicago Unbound includes PDFs of all issues of the school’s alumni magazine, The University of Chicago Law School Record, from its original publication in 1951 to 2017. The site also makes available all issues of the Law School’s Announcements back to 1903-1904. An essential resource on the Law School’s history, the Announcements includes course descriptions and information on the faculty and administration. Chicago Unbound also has video and audio recordings for three notable lecture series: the Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lectureship in Legal History, the Coase Lecture in Law and Economics, and Chicago’s Best Ideas. The D’Angelo Law Library will continue to build Chicago Unbound as a digital repository for researchers to uncover the Law School’s past.

The Law School Record, vol. 35, no. 1 (Spring 1989), cover

Chicago Unbound provides access to some of the innumerable debates that have been central to the life of the Law School throughout its history. In the Fall 1999 issue of the Law School Record, for example, Law School faculty, deans, and alumni are shown to take pride in representing opposing parties in important cases “that unsettle precedent, fire policy debate, and advance new lines of legal analysis” on subjects ranging from anti-gang loitering ordinances to bankruptcy law to the constitutionality of same-sex marriage (Fall 1999, page 8).

UChicago faculty, students, staff, and everyone interested in University of Chicago history are encouraged to visit Campus Publications and Chicago Unbound to explore other campus debates and historic moments.

People Introducing Scott Vanderlin, new Student Services Librarian

Scott Vanderlin joined the D’Angelo Law Library on September 5 as our new Student Services Librarian. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, Scott worked at the Chicago-Kent College of Law Library and also served as a Reference Associate and taught first year legal research for three years at the Pritzker Legal Research Center at Northwestern University School of Law.

Todd Ito, Head of Instruction and Outreach, interviewed Scott to find out how he plans to work with faculty and students, how he became a law librarian, and about his love for craft beer, indiepop, and artisanal candles.Photo of Scott Vanderlin

What were you doing before you came to the University of Chicago?

For the past 6 years, I worked at Chicago-Kent College of Law as a reference librarian and then briefly as the Associate Director for Research and Instructional Services. Pretty much just hanging out.

What’s your favorite thing about being a law librarian?

I’d be lying if I said that the glory wasn’t nice, but honestly I just really like being able to help students out with an aspect of law school that is not always the easiest or most exciting. And, every day I get to learn about new areas of the law and interesting research that is being done by scholars all around me. So, law librarianship is both intellectually and personally satisfying for me.

What originally got you interested in law libraries?

Most of the things that led me to this career probably happened subconsciously, and over a number of years. When I did make the decision to actually pursue law librarianship, however, it was towards the beginning of my 3L year, and I was slowly realizing that while everyone else couldn’t wait to graduate, all I wanted to do was keep reading, learning, researching, writing, etc. Basically, my favorite things about law school were the things that a lot of my classmates couldn’t wait to be done with. At the same time, I went to law school with the conscious, if vague, idea that I wanted to use my education to help people. I assumed that the “where” and “how” of helping people would become clearer as I learned more about the law, and I guess that while I was slowly backing away from the idea of traditional legal practice, I bumped into the thing I was supposed to be doing all along.

tl;dr: I like law school, doing research, and helping people.

Do you have any advice for law students from when you were a law school student?

I mean, yeah. Tons. Fiercely protect the things about you that make you unique–being different is the best possible thing you can be. BUT, also learn to adapt to the people around you when the situation calls for it–a lot of life is a game, so learn to enjoy it and figure out how to play it well. Look at your professors’ past exams. Don’t take your health for granted–you’re not invincible. Call your parents–they miss you. Nurture your closest friendships–you’ll need them, and neglect can be a tough thing to undo. Learn how to handle criticism. Figure out a study routine that works for you and don’t be intimidated if it’s not the same as someone else’s. Read books for pleasure. Make use of CALI lessons. Travel as often as you get a chance. Learn how to be completely fine on your own–then find somebody who makes you not want to be. Ask librarians for help.

What are some of your interests outside of law libraries?

Craft beer, fantasy football, candle making, reading, indiepop, personal finance, listening to podcasts, sleeping.

What’s the best thing you read, watched, or listened to recently?

Read

Listened to

Duh.

 

Supreme Court October 2017 Term Begins

Tuesday the Supreme Court hears the first arguments of the October 2017 term. This year, the Court has before it the President’s travel ban, rights of aliens facing deportation, high-tech gerrymandering, First Amendment challenges to gay rights laws, and whether police need a search warrant to track people through their cell phones. See our Supreme Court Research Guide for sources of news, case status, briefs, and oral arguments in the cases you care about.

The D’Angelo Law Library welcomes new students

The D’Angelo Law Library welcomes the JD class of 2020 and the LLM class of 2018. The D’Angelo Law librarians will introduce new JD and LLM students to the Library’s resources and services during tours and presentations during orientation. We hope you will take advantage of our vast resources and knowledgeable staff. There is a great deal of new information to process, so please remember that if you ever have any questions about the Library, please ask us!

We’ve gathered what we think is the most important information in the Library Guide for Law Students and in the D’Angelo Law Library organization site on Canvas, the University’s course management system, but we also wanted to highlight our Top 5 services and resources here:

1. Reference librarians are here to help.

Our reference staff is knowledgeable, helpful, and accessible by email, chat, phone, and in person. Each Bigelow section also has a Reference Librarian assigned to teach legal research sessions over the course of the year. You can consider that librarian as your point of contact in the library, although all of our librarians are available to help you. We are available seven days a week through email, chat, phone, text and in person at the Reference Desk. See our Hours page for the exact hours.

2. Start with the Law Library website.

The Library website can direct you to services and tools to help you find what you need to study law and conduct legal research. Use our website to get research help, find databases, learn library policies, and keep up with the latest library and legal research news.

3. Access information using our primary discovery tools.

Library Catalog: You can search the Library Catalog for books, electronic materials, and more. The University of Chicago Library has over 7 million books and access to hundreds of thousands of electronic resources, so if you are looking for something, you should start with the catalog, and chances are we have what you are looking for.

Databases: The Library offers access to hundreds of databases covering various subjects. To locate a database to use for your research, use Database Finder, a tool that enables you to search for a particular database by name or browse by subject to identify relevant databases. The Law Library also provides a list of the main databases used for legal research.

Access to Bloomberg Law, LexisNexis, and Westlaw is restricted to Law School students, and each law student will be supplied with an individual password. You will get this password during your library orientation. If you have any questions about these resources, please do not hesitate to Ask a Law Librarian.

Research Guides: The reference librarians have created research guides on a variety of legal topics. These guides give you starting points for doing research in particular areas of law.

4. We offer a number of on demand services.

Scan & Deliver is an electronic document delivery service that enables members of the University of Chicago community to obtain scanned portions of books or journal articles from the Library’s collections. Requests should be made online, directly from the Library Catalog. Requested documents will be scanned and delivered within four business days. We will scan chapters from books or single articles from journals, provided that the chapter(s) or article does not exceed 20% of the entire book or journal issue.

We also offer a paging service for Law School students. We will retrieve uncharged Library books located in the stacks of other libraries on campus. This service is currently available to Law School students, faculty, and staff only. Materials will generally be collected within two business days and placed on hold at the Circulation Desk or delivered to the appropriate carrel. You will receive an email when your item is available for pick-up.

While searching the Libary Catalog, you may also occasionally come across items with the location Mansueto or one of the two D’Angelo Law Library annexes. You can request materials from these storage collections to be delivered to the Law Library. It generally takes less than 24 hours, and you will receive an email when your item is available for pick up at the Law Library circulation desk.

5. You can easily get books from other institutions.

Use Borrow DirectUBorrow, and Interlibrary Loan if you need material that is not available here on campus.

Borrow Direct is a service that can be used to borrow books directly from libraries at the Ivy League universities plus Duke, Johns Hopkins, and MIT. Most books borrowed through Borrow Direct are available for pickup at the Law Library within four business days.

UBorrow is a similar service that can be used to borrow books directly from libraries at the Big 10 universities plus University of Chicago. Most books borrowed through UBorrow are available for pickup at the Law Library within four business days.

If the book you want is not available from Borrow Direct or UBorrow, or if you need it for an extended period of time, you should use Interlibrary Loan. Requests may be submitted online.

If the material you are looking for is not available from any of these services, Ask a Law Librarian, and we’ll be happy to help you locate the material.

University of Chicago students in other schools and programs are welcome at the D’Angelo Law Library. If you are interested in an introductory D’Angelo tour or a research consultation with a law reference librarian, please use the Ask a Law Librarian service to schedule a time with one of us.

People Lyonette Louis-Jacques among award-winning authors

Lyonette Louis-Jacques (photo)Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Foreign and International Law Librarian at the D’Angelo Law Library, was among the authors who were recently awarded the Reynolds and Flores Publication Award for their “Mexican Law and Legal Research” guide. The award, named after the authors of the Foreign Law Guide, a core foreign law research source, recognizes members of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Foreign, Comparative & International Law Special Interest Section (FCIL-SIS) who have created a publication that “enhances the professional knowledge and capabilities of law librarians.” Louis-Jacques shares this award with her co-authors Bianca T. Anderson, Marisol Floren-Romero, Julienne E. Grant, Jootaek Lee, Teresa M. Miguel-Stearns, Jonathan Pratter, and Sergio Stone.

The guide was recently published in March 2016 in Volume 35, Issue 1, of the Legal Reference Services Quarterly. It covers all types of primary sources of law and secondary legal literature, including international agreements, state gazettes, law journals, textbooks, and monographs. Additionally, it filled a gap in the literature: it contains an extensive bibliography of secondary literature in English on Mexican law and legal research, which is not found in other research guides or treatises on Mexican law and legal research. Since its publication, it has received approximately 500 views and over 200 SSRN downloads.

New online resource: The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law

Max Planck Encyclopedia logoUniversity of Chicago researchers now have access to a new global research tool licensed by the Library – the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law. Oxford University Press launched the Encyclopedia on April 27, 2017 with 70 articles, and will have over 570 articles when completed. The Encyclopedia includes articles on children’s rights, the right to education, the right to privacy, supreme/constitutional courts of Argentina, Colombia, France, Israel, Japan, and Mexico, and much, much more. It complements the primary constitutional texts, source materials, and expert commentary in the Oxford Constitutions of the World and Oxford U.S. Constitutional Law databases – also available on the Oxford Constitutional Law platform.

Here is an excerpt from the OUP launch announcement:

“Overseen by the editors at the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law, the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law will provide a high level of analytic coverage of constitutional law topics in a comparative context. The encyclopedia articles—modeled on those in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law—address a focused range of topics that seek to provide the best coverage of the essence, character, development, and history of constitutional law from a global perspective. The articles will define and cover the basis and foundations of state formation and constitutional law, as well as analyzing and explaining underlying legal concepts such as:

  • human rights;
  • constitutional formation;
  • scope of state protections;
  • the defining structures of governmental makeup;
  • types of legal structures and interactions within a constitutional law system; and
  • legal constitutional concepts that make up constitutional law.

In addition, articles provide insight and detail into key cases that have contributed to or defined constitutional law concepts on a global scale such as Brown v Board of Education (United States), the Mizrahi Bank Case (Israel), the Minerva Mills Case (India), and Marbury v Madison (United States), and discuss key instruments in constitutional law history such as the Magna Carta and the Charter of Medina, among others. The service provides browsing and searching of all of the material within the resource based on keywords and subjects….”

Check it out!

New online resource: Nevo

The Library recently subscribed to Nevo, a database of Israeli law. It includes primary law (legislation, bills, regulations, case-law) and secondary law sources (articles, books). Access is campuswide. Searching is in Hebrew, but users can use their favorite translation tool (for example, Google Chrome or Google Translate) to navigate the database if needed. Try it out, and let us know what you think!

Restricted access to D’Angelo Law Library during reading period and finals

Access to the D’Angelo Law Library for non-law students will be limited from Friday, May 19 through Friday, June 2 during the Law School reading and exam periods. During this period, the library will continue to be accessible to any member of the University community who needs access to legal materials or who would like to work with one of our reference librarians. In addition, all non-law students who are taking Law School classes will have access to the library.

Consult the D’Angelo Law Library webpage on access for additional information.

Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law access over the summer

Your law student accounts for Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg Law can all be used over the summer, though under different terms for each service.

Westlaw

Rising 2Ls and 3Ls:

You can use Thomson Reuters products, including Westlaw and Practical Law, over the summer for non-commercial research. You can turn to these resources to gain understanding and build confidence in your research skills, but you cannot use them in situations where you are billing a client. Examples of permissible uses for your academic password include the following:

  • Summer coursework
  • Research assistant assignments
  • Law Review or Journal research
  • Moot Court research
  • Non-Profit work
  • Clinical work
  • Externship sponsored by the school

Unlike last year, you do not have to do anything to gain access to these tools over the summer.

Graduating 3Ls:

Graduating students will have full access to Westlaw through June 30, 2017. Graduating students can also continue to use Westlaw through the Graduate Elite program, which will extend their access through the end of November. Graduating students should have received an email regarding this program and can locate information about the Graduate Elite program on the https://lawschool.westlaw.com homepage.

For help or more information, contact the Law School’s Westlaw Account Manager Tami Carson at Tami.Carson@thomsonreuters.com.

Lexis

Rising 2Ls and 3Ls:

Returning students will have full access to Lexis Advance during the summer without special registration.

Graduating 3Ls:

Graduates have full Lexis Advance access through December 31, 2017. For help or more information, contact our LexisNexis Account Executive, Carter Mills Isham at carter.mills@lexisnexis.com.

Bloomberg Law

Rising 2Ls and 3Ls:

Bloomberg Law provides unlimited and unrestricted access over the summer. There is no need to register, as your student account will remain active and available all summer.

Graduating 3Ls:

Students graduating this spring have unlimited and unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law for six months after graduation.

For help or more information, contact our Bloomberg Law Account Manager, Chrishantha Vedhanayagam at cvedhanayagam@bna.com.

Exam preparation resources at the D’Angelo Law Library

The D’Angelo Law Library provides a variety of resources to help students prepare for exams.

Past exams: Perhaps most importantly, the Library provides copies of past exams given at the Law School, in addition to model student answers and memos written by the professors where available. The exams are organized by course and faculty member. Everything we have been given permission to post is available on the Library website.

Screenshot of Law Library website

Study Supplements: Another helpful resource for preparing student outlines and studying for exams are the many study supplements, including the popular Examples & Explanations and Understanding series, that are available in the Reserve Room. Our Hornbooks & Study Supplements page provides lists of the available study supplements by course name. Students also have access to the online West Academic Study Aids package. This package provides online access to many of the study supplements, including West’s Concise Hornbook Series, the Law Stories Series, and all of the Nutshells.

CALI Lessons: If you prefer something more interactive, CALI lessons might be the resource for you.  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) provides UofC law students with access to nearly 1,000 internet-based lessons on different legal topics. Lessons range from core 1L courses (92 lessons on property, for example) to many different upper level courses. CALI lessons are often interactive and feature questions to test your knowledge as you go through them. If you have not already registered an account with CALI, you can Ask a Law Librarian to get the authorization code for the Law School.

Student Outlines: Student outlines for various courses taught at the Law School are made available by the UChicago Law Students Association (LSA) in an online outline bank on the LSA’s website. You will need to enter a password to access. If you do not have the password, Ask a Law Librarian.

Study Rooms: If you want to meet with a study group, the D’Angelo Law Library has seven study rooms that can be reserved online: two study rooms on each of the 4th, 5th and 6th floors, and one study room on the second floor. Law students may reserve use of a study room using the Law School’s room reservation system. For further assistance, see How to Reserve a Law Library Study Room.

Quiet Study Space: Quieter study spaces are available on the upper floors of the Law Library. Law School students are also able to study in any of the other libraries on campus. Crerar, Mansueto, and Regenstein will extend weekend building hours during reading period and finals week. For a full list of library hours, see https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/using/libraries-hours/.

Lockers: Please remember to secure your belongings when you take breaks. You can check out a locker key from the Circulation Desk. Library lockers are located in the northeast corner of the second and third floors. Two types of lockers are available: laptop lockers, which are smaller and each equipped with an electrical outlet, and bookbag lockers, which are large enough to accommodate a bookbag and/or coat.

Good luck with exams!

Brief formatting classes for 1L students: Tue. and Thu., April 18 & 20

First year Law School students are encouraged to attend one of two sessions on formatting for the Bigelow appellate brief assignment:

  • Tuesday, April 18 at 4:00 p.m. in classroom II
  • Thursday, April 20 at 4:00 p.m. in classroom II

The training will focus on Microsoft Word for generating a table of contents and a table of authorities. The sessions are the same: students are welcome to attend either session. The sessions are scheduled till 5:30 p.m. each day and will allow ample time for questions.

American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990

The Library has purchased the American Civil Liberties Union Papers, 1912-1990, from Gale Cengage. This collection contains bills, briefs, correspondence, court documents, legal case files, memoranda, minutes, newspaper clippings, reports, scrapbooks, and telegrams in two major collections. The Roger Baldwin Years, 1912-1950, contains sub-series on academic freedom; censorship; legislation; federal departments and federal legislation; state activities; conscientious objectors; injunctions; and labor and labor organization correspondence. Years of Expansion, 1950-1990, has project files on the Amnesty Project, 1964-1980; the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, 1964-1976; and subject files on freedom of belief, expression, and association; due process of law; equality before the law; international civil liberties; and legal case files, 1933-1990.

Crime, Punishment, and Pop Culture

The Library has purchased Crime, Punishment, and Pop Culture, from Gale Cengage. Focusing on the period from 1790-1920, this collection brings together over 2 million pages of archival materials. Content includes trial transcripts, detective agency records, police force records, police gazettes, penny dreadfuls, crime-related broadsheets, true crime literature, prisoner photographs, prison postcards, statistics, and manuscripts.  During this period, major prison reforms and the development of dedicated police forces occurred, crime journalism appeared in daily newspapers, and crime fiction became a popular literary genre.

Lincoln at the Bar

The Library now has access to Lincoln at the Bar: Extant Case Files from the U.S. District and Circuit Courts, Southern District of Illinois 1855-1861. (And Archives Unbound collection from Gale Cengage)

“This collection consists of the extant files of cases from the records of the U.S. District and Circuit Courts at Springfield with which Abraham Lincoln has been identified as legal counsel, and date from 1855 to 1861. The 122 case files reproduced here include civil actions brought under both statute and common law, admiralty litigation, and a few criminal cases.” This collection is a useful addition to the Library’s extensive collection of material about Lincoln, and will improve understanding of his law practice.

Throwback Thursday: The Law Library on the cusp of the Digital Age

There’s a hand-drawn map of the law library’s second-floor Reading Room that harkens back to a barely digital age—a time when card catalogs and bound volumes of Shepard’s Citations took center stage and the latest technology included a dedicated Lexis machine with a dialup modem and a clunky “comcat” terminal that couldn’t even search whole words. It appears to have been created some eight or nine years before the library was expanded, renovated, and renamed in honor of Dino D’Angelo, ’44, in 1987.

It’s a small piece of the library’s past—but one that serves as a visible reminder of how far technology, legal research, and the law library itself has come in the past three or four decades. The drawing, part of an old law library guide, was sent to the Law School late last year by a 2011 alumnus who works as an attorney with the US Railroad Retirement Board and found the map on a shelf in the RRB’s law library.Map of D'Angelo Law Library from the 1970s

“It’s interesting to look at this and see what was most prominent in the space,” D’Angelo Law Library Director Sheri Lewis said of the map, which appears to represent the Reading Room in the late 1970s. Back then, federal, state, and regional case reporters filled stacks along the north end of the room, and bound copies of state annotated codes, various indices, and the latest copies of Shepard’s ringed the center of the room.

“These were obviously a very important resource, so they had prime real estate,” Lewis said, remembering the days when a lawyer or law student needed to consult the bright red books to find tables of citations to see if a case had been overturned, reaffirmed, questioned, or cited by later cases. “But this was also a system that was just screaming for automation.” (LexisNexis released an online version of Shepard’s in 1999.)

The 1970s library also featured a built-in card catalog along the southwest wall, just past the circulation and reference desks. At the beginning of that decade, the library was already crowded, and books were being moved into Harper library for storage, said Judith Wright, who retired as the law library’s director in 2013 after more than four decades. “We sold the second copy of the English Reports to make space—very painful!” Wright said.

Online cataloguing was nascent; there was a single “dumb” terminal that hooked into the Library Data Management System mainframe. The comcat (computerized catalog) terminal didn’t have a search engine, and users could only type in portions of words, said Bill Schwesig, the D’Angelo’s Anglo-American and Historical Collections Librarian, who has worked in the law library since 1986. As the technology advanced, though, searching became easier—and the library eventually undertook a long project to digitize all of its catalog entries. When the library was renovated again in 2008, the printed card catalog was removed.

Photo of the D'Angelo Law Library Wilson Reading Room from the 1980sIt wasn’t always easy to accommodate emerging technology: when the building was built in the late 1950s, few could have anticipated how important wiring would become.

“There were few plugs, few telephone lines—it was a major problem,” Wright said. “It was hard to find a place to put anything.”

When the first Lexis terminal arrived in the late 1970s, it ended up in the Rare Book Room at the far west end of the library because there was a place to plug it in. The dedicated microfilm reader on which users could view an index of law reviews and other academic journals was installed nearby.

The 1970s library was smaller and darker. There was wasn’t yet a staircase in the center of the room—that came with the 2008 renovation—and there were three heavy wood tables surrounded by dark wood chairs with hunter green cushions, several of which can be found now in Lewis’s office. The latest law journals were kept in stacks in the room’s northwest corner, and Lewis said faculty would stroll through and browse the latest scholarship.

In those days, law library staff spent a lot more time handling print material—labeling, shelving, and routing material to faculty. A huge volume of mail came to the library each business day and on Saturday, including Shepard’s pamphlets and other updates, new materials, and more.

But as the computer age took hold, and resources and catalogs moved online, the work of the law librarians evolved, too.

Today, “their work is so much more complex and requires a vast knowledge ranging over incredible print and online resources along with sophisticated knowledge about ever-changing technology,” Wright said. “In addition, law seems to have become more complex, and scholarship and teaching reflect that complexity.”

One thing, however, has remained constant, Wright said.

“From my earliest days in 1970s to the day I retired, we always had committed faculty and students who were very serious about their work—and always trying to keep a step ahead of whatever (research tools) were available. It was amazing how quickly students and faculty adapted to each new thing.”

Restricted Access to the D’Angelo Law Library during reading period and finals

Access to the D’Angelo Law Library for non-law students will be limited from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12 during the Law School reading and exam periods. During this period, the library will continue to be accessible to any member of the University community who needs access to legal materials or who would like to work with one of our reference librarians. In addition, all non-law students who are taking Law School classes will have access to the library.

Consult the D’Angelo Law Library webpage on access for additional information.

New app lets users check out Library materials with their phones

The University of Chicago Library has launched a new mobile app, Checkout UChicago, that lets users check out Library materials using their phones or tablets.

Checkout UChicago allows students, faculty members, staff, and others with borrowing privileges at the University of Chicago Library to scan an item’s barcode with their phone and instantly check it out to their Library account.

Checkout UChicago app on a phone in the bookstacks

A phone displaying the Checkout UChicago start screen

D’Angelo Law Library users who want to leave the building with their items can bring items to Circulation Desk for deactivation. Books shelved in the Reserve Room cannot be checked out using Checkout UChicago.

Download the app

Checkout UChicago is available for download for both iOS and Android devices.

Gift for new users

The first 100 UChicago students and faculty members to check out a book with this app will receive a $3 credit to their UChicago Card in Maroon Dollars. They will receive an email notifying them when the credit has been applied.

Library staff, including student staff, are not eligible for this promotion.

Exam preparation resources at the D’Angelo Law Library

The D’Angelo Law Library provides a variety of resources to help students prepare for exams.

Past exams: Perhaps most importantly, the Library provides copies of past exams given at the Law School, in addition to model student answers and memos written by the professors where available. The exams are organized by course and faculty member. Everything we have been given permission to post is available on the Library website.

Screenshot of Law Library website

Study Supplements: Another helpful resource for preparing student outlines and studying for exams are the many study supplements, including the popular Examples & Explanations and Understanding series, that are available in the Reserve Room. Our Hornbooks & Study Supplements page provides lists of the available study supplements by course name. Students also have access to the online West Academic Study Aids package. This package provides online access to many of the study supplements, including West’s Concise Hornbook Series, the Law Stories Series, and all of the Nutshells.

CALI Lessons: If you prefer something more interactive, CALI lessons might be the resource for you.  The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) provides UofC law students with access to nearly 1,000 internet-based lessons on different legal topics. Lessons range from core 1L courses (92 lessons on property, for example) to many different upper level courses. CALI lessons are often interactive and feature questions to test your knowledge as you go through them. If you have not already registered an account with CALI, you can Ask a Law Librarian to get the authorization code for the Law School.

Student Outlines: Student outlines for various courses taught at the Law School are made available by the UChicago Law Students Association (LSA) in an online outline bank on the LSA’s website. You will need to enter a password to access. If you do not have the password, Ask a Law Librarian.

Study Rooms: If you want to meet with a study group, the D’Angelo Law Library has seven study rooms that can be reserved online: two study rooms on each of the 4th, 5th and 6th floors, and one study room on the second floor. Law students may reserve use of a study room using the Law School’s room reservation system. For further assistance, see How to Reserve a Law Library Study Room.

Quiet Study Space: Quieter study spaces are available on the upper floors of the Law Library. Law School students are also able to study in any of the other libraries on campus. Crerar, Mansueto, and Regenstein will extend weekend building hours during reading period and finals week. For a full list of library hours, see https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/using/libraries-hours/.

Lockers: Please remember to secure your belongings when you take breaks. You can check out a locker key from the Circulation Desk. Library lockers are located in the northeast corner of the second and third floors. Two types of lockers are available: laptop lockers, which are smaller and each equipped with an electrical outlet, and bookbag lockers, which are large enough to accommodate a bookbag and/or coat.

Study Break: On Saturday, March 4, enjoy free coffee and small snacks near the Reference Desk in the D’Angelo Law Library, from noon until 2:00 p.m., or whenever the coffee runs out.

Good luck with exams!

Try new CCH research platform Cheetah

The Library now provides access to Cheetah, the new Wolters Kluwer platform, which replaces the old platform CCH IntelliConnect. It includes the same content as IntelliConnect, but in a modern, more intuitive user interface with improved searching and browsing capabilities. Cheetah also utilizes responsive user design, so it works equally well on desktop and mobile devices so you have access whenever you need it.

Cheetah includes primary sources and secondary sources for antitrust, corporate and securities, banking, intellectual property, and tax law, including the treatises Antitrust Law: An Analysis of Antitrust Principles and Their Application by Areeda and Hovenkamp and Securities Regulation by Loss, Seligman and Paredes; the topical reporters Federal Securities Law Reporter,Trade Regulation ReporterStandard Federal Tax Reporter, and U.S. Tax Treaties Reporter; and many other looseleaf services, treatises, practice tools, and newsletters. The focus is on the United States, but there is some international coverage, as well.

For help using Cheetah, visit Wolters Kluwer’s training site or Ask a Law Librarian for assistance.

Gorsuch Supreme Court nomination

President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. We have updated our Supreme Court Research Guide with links to background information about Judge Gorsuch, official documents from the nomination process, and news about the confirmation process.

Wright Fellowship for promising new academic law librarians

The D’Angelo Law Library at the University of Chicago is accepting applications through March 6 for the 2017 Judith M. Wright Fellowship.  Established on the occasion of Ms. Wright’s retirement as the director of the D’Angelo Law Library in 2013, the Fellowship recognizes her 40 years of service to the University of Chicago Law School and her legacy as a mentor to generations of law librarians.

Judith Wright

Judith Wright

The Wright Fellowship will develop promising new professionals in academic law librarianship by supporting a career training program at the D’Angelo Law Library. It provides $4,000 to a law school or library science student or recent graduate for a minimum of six consecutive weeks of temporary, full-time work to occur between June 12 and September 15, 2017.

The Fellowship is intended to give candidates interested in law librarianship as a career an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in an academic law library setting. Fellows will work in the D’Angelo Law Library under the guidance and supervision of the Law Library Director and other librarians and will learn about the overall functions, policies, and practices of the D’Angelo Law Library in both collection services and user services departments.

The primary focus of the Fellow’s work will be determined by the interests and prior experience of the Fellow and the needs of the D’Angelo Law Library. In addition to participating in the daily work of a premier academic law library, Fellows will undertake and complete a project based in the needs and capabilities of the D’Angelo Law Library.

The project for Summer 2017 will be one of the following:

  1. Support for Clinics. The University of Chicago Law School offers a number of clinical and experiential programs, in which students represent clients and engage in other lawyering roles under the supervision of full time clinical teachers, faculty, and practicing attorneys. The 2017 Wright Fellow will help develop methods and strategies to effectively promote library resources and services to clinical faculty, staff, and students, including creating online research guides, promotional materials, and other resources. The exact scope of the program will be determined by the Fellow and the designated Fellowship Coordinator. To undertake this project, the Fellow must have completed or be in the process of completing his/her J.D. degree, in addition to the other qualifications required by the Fellowship description.
  2. Digital Project on Law School Deans. Chicago Unbound, the University of Chicago Law School’s institutional repository, contains the scholarship of the Law School community, providing full-text access to decades of Chicago Law faculty scholarship and the archives of many Law School journals and publications. The 2017 Wright Fellow will help develop a new Chicago Unbound collection highlighting the scholarship and service of the Law School’s deans throughout its history. The Fellow will create a space for this historical collection in Chicago Unbound and complete materials for three to five former deans. Creating the new collection will involve reviewing and selecting materials (e.g. articles, speeches, manuscripts, photographs) as well as organizing and describing the selected materials in Chicago Unbound.
  3. Guide for Rare Book Collection. The D’Angelo Law Library has an impressive collection of rare and unique books both in dedicated special collections space and as part of other rich and extensive collections of U.S., foreign, and international law. Historically, these books have been acquired as part of the development of other collections, through individual purchases at the request of faculty or received as gifts. The 2017 Fellow will develop a descriptive guide for the Roman, civil, canon, and international law materials in the D’Angelo rare book collection, including the scope and strengths of the collection and a desiderata list in areas where these materials would be enhanced by future acquisitions. This project will build upon the work of the 2016 Wright Fellow who created a descriptive guide for Anglo-American titles in D’Angelo’s rare book collection.

For detailed information on eligibility, requirements, and how to apply, visit the Library website.

Ronald H. Coase Papers

The Ronald H. Coase papers are ready for use at the Special Collections Research Center. The Nobel Prize winning economist taught at the Law School from 1964 until 1982, where he edited the Journal of Law and Economics. Mr. Coase’s papers on social costs, broadcasting regulation, and the nature of the firm were fundamental to the field of Law and Economics. A detailed finding aid provides access to the papers.

 

Hidden treasures: Law Library unearths original letter from Marshall to Washington—and more

On March 26, 1789, 22 days after the newly ratified US Constitution took effect, future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall sent a letter to George Washington at his Mount Vernon estate, where the president-elect was waiting for Congress to count the votes of America’s first electors.

It was, in many ways, an unremarkable note from a Richmond lawyer to his powerful, land-owning client, merely the latest in an ongoing conversation regarding Washington’s disputed claim to a piece of land on the banks of the Ohio River. But it was also one founder writing to another: a constitutional defender who would help shape the nation’s legal system advising the man who would soon assemble the nation’s first cabinet, oversee the creation of a national government strong enough to navigate partisan debate, and suppress the Whiskey Rebellion—and whose property holdings in the Ohio River Valley were already helping push the burgeoning nation west.

It was history, living and breathing among the syllables of routine correspondence.

Which is why, when Sheri Lewis, the director of the University of Chicago’s D’Angelo Law Library, opened an unfamiliar hardbound volume from the library’s Rare Book Room last summer and glimpsed Marshall’s 227-year-old letter—the original—pasted carefully inside, her first thought was, “Oh—wow.”

What’s more, the handwritten missive wasn’t alone. The carefully constructed album that had protected it for nearly six decades, maybe more, bristled with 18th- and 19th-century Supreme Court history, mostly hand-drawn portraits and letters signed by early justices, men like John Jay, Oliver Ellsworth, Samuel Chase, Salmon P. Chase, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.

And for years nobody at the University of Chicago Law School knew it was there.

* * *

There had been clues: an old catalog entry in the D’Angelo’s records; a note in an online database maintained by the National Archives; a plaque on the library’s sixth floor honoring the album’s donor, albeit for a different generosity; and a couple of 1958 articles in back-to-back issues of the University of Chicago Law School Record. It had been the articles that ultimately led Lewis and her team to the well-preserved, but temporarily forgotten, collection in July.

“It took me awhile to really absorb how much is in here,” Lewis said one morning in early 2017, as the D’Angelo’s librarians were preparing to send the 154-page album to the central University of Chicago Library to be fully digitized. “Every piece of parchment in this book tells a story.”

It had been a busy several months since Lewis first saw the volume. In that time, she and her team created an inventory of the collection, examined it with a preservation librarian and Law School scholars, and worked to unravel the mysteries of the album, which had been given to the Law School in the late 1950s by a colorful Chicago hotelier, Louis H. Silver, ’28.

 

D'Angelo Law Library Director Sheri Lewis with Professor Alison LaCroix

D’Angelo Law Library Director Sheri Lewis with Professor Alison LaCroix

The discovery was thrilling and unexpected but, for librarians and scholars versed in archival research, it wasn’t a shock. Library science has evolved significantly since the late 1950s; back then, there were no digital inventories and few finding aids—new items were catalogued and added to the shelf. As a result, the Supreme Court collection was, in fact, never truly lost: it was well-preserved and findable to those who went looking—it’s just that, after a while, there was nobody at the Law School who would have known about it without looking. And that’s why the rediscovery wasn’t a shock. History, after all, is a decidedly human affair that takes on a slightly different shape for each generation, molded by a combination of perspective, whim, and fortuity. People discover, forget, and rediscover; they choose what to protect, display, study, and discuss—and all of this ultimately shapes the historical narrative, often leaving a trail of breadcrumbs along the way.

“As historians, we tell our stories and build our analyses based on the evidence we have,” said Alison LaCroix, the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law and a legal historian who was among the first to examine the rediscovered collection. “There’s always this question of what has been preserved, and why it’s been preserved. Sometimes things that are ‘lost’ don’t stay lost, and when we find them, we have new evidence. But what’s interesting, and important to remember, is how much of it is chance.” It was the point, she noted with a laugh, of the final number in the musical Hamilton, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” which centers on the twists of fate that ultimately shape one’s legacy.

“You think of history as being this thing that comes in nice, tidy boxes,” said William Baude, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Law and a scholar of constitutional originalism who also has examined the collection. “But it doesn’t. There are things that we don’t know are out there—and things that we know are out there but don’t know we have.”

Before the Law School’s discovery, historians actually knew that Marshall had written to Washington on March 26, 1789; current-day researchers just didn’t know where the note was or what it said. Its entire public record was reflected in a short entry in the National Archives’ Founders Online database: “To George Washington from John Marshall, 26 March 1789 [Letter Not Found].” Other letters in the series had been catalogued as part of the Papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia and incorporated into Founders Online—including Washington’s April 5, 1789, reply to Marshall, which began, “Sir: I have duly received your letter of the 26 Ulto . . . ” (Note: Ulto is an abbreviation of the Latin ultimo mense, used in correspondence at that time to say “last month.”) Also included in the database: the March 17, 1789, letter from Washington that prompted Marshall’s March 26 reply.

Professor Alison LaCroix

“I think for me part of the excitement is that nobody knew what this March 26 letter said, and now we do,” said LaCroix, an expert in early American history. “But also, like most historians, I have a fascination with holding the real things. I was almost fearful in a way when Sheri brought it to my office and let me keep it for a day or two. I thought, Can I really have this? It’s unique, it’s the only one, it’s its own thing.”

The album, bound in blue goatskin with gold tooling, is filled with strokes of history, each with the potential to shade the narrative in some small way or even deepen our understanding of modern America. There are 60 drawings and 5 photographs of Supreme Court justices, various banking and legal documents, and 75 letters, including the one by Marshall and one in which future Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase speculates that Abraham Lincoln will win the upcoming 1860 election.

“In these manuscripts, we hear the voices of the country’s greatest jurists, recorded in their own hand, along with portraits that put faces to the authors,” said Bill Schwesig, the D’Angelo’s Anglo-American and Historical Collections Librarian. “The great effort and expense that Mr. Silver put into building the collection resulted in a beautiful and engaging artifact.”

The written documents, which appear to be expertly affixed to preservation-quality pages, are arranged not by the order in which they were produced, but by the order in which the writer or signer served on the Supreme Court—starting with a 1783 letter written by the first chief justice, John Jay, and ending with a 1917 letter by Oliver Wendell Holmes. In between, the book holds a 1797 bank draft signed by the Supreme Court’s third chief justice, Oliver Ellsworth; an 1844 letter from Justice Peter Vivian Daniel to President John Tyler; and an 1823 note from Supreme Court Justice William Johnson to David Hosack, the physician who nearly two decades earlier had attended to Alexander Hamilton after his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. One of the oldest documents is a 1762 writ from King George III summoning a man named William Keating to court in Charleston, South Carolina; it was signed by the state’s provost marshal, John Rutledge, who more than 30 years later would serve—briefly—as the US Supreme Court’s second chief justice.

“When we first started looking for the collection this summer, we knew it was important,” Lewis said. “But, until we saw it, we didn’t have any sense of the breadth of it. This collection is unusual, and it is something nobody else has. And the fact that it was given to us by an alum is significant.”

Louis Silver, who had been an engineer before attending the Law School, was known as lively, astute, and discriminating. His personal collection of rare books—some 800 of which were purchased by the Newberry Library for a record $2.75 million after his death in 1963—was considered among the most impressive in the world. Even before the rediscovery, D’Angelo librarians knew of Silver: the Rare Book Room was named for himPhotos of selected portions of the Rare Books Collection at the D'Angelo Law Library. decades ago, when it first occupied a space on the Law School’s second floor. Silver had been generous to the University of Chicago, and although nobody knows why he donated the Supreme Court collection—or where it and its individual pieces had been in earlier years—librarians have speculated that he may have acquired, or even assembled, it expressly because he wanted the Law School to have it. At any rate, when the D’Angelo’s rare books collection moved in 2008 to the two glass-enclosed rooms on the sixth floor, Silver’s name went with it.

Quietly, so did the US Supreme Court Portraits and Letters collection, which ended up on a shelf in the western chamber, just feet from the plaque.

And there it slept until Lewis launched a research project this summer as a first step in rediscovering the rare books collection, which she and her team hope to strengthen and expand. That research turned up the 1958 Record articles, which referenced a “rare and important” collection that nobody in the 2016 law library had ever seen. One story contained the reprinted text of the Marshall letter, and the other included the text of the Chase letter.

“We didn’t even know it was assembled as a book—I first thought that the portraits and letters must have been displayed at some point in the Law School,” Lewis said. But she couldn’t find anything. She called retired D’Angelo Director Judith M. Wright; she, too, was stumped.

Finally, a member of the library’s staff found a promising entry in the library catalog. It was simple but accurate: “United States Supreme Court; portraits and autographs [collected by Louis H. Silver].” The call number led them to a shelf in the western chamber of the sixth-floor Rare Book Room.

And just like that, John Marshall’s words were back.

* * *

George Washington, Esquire
Mount Vernon

Richmond March 26th 89

Sir:

I had the honor to receive a letter from you enclosing a protested bill of exchange drawn by the executors of William Armstead esquire. I shall observe your orders, sir, with respect to the collection of the money. I shall only institute a suit when I find other measures fail. I presume Mr. Armstead’s executors had notice of the protest. If they had, you will please to furnish me with some proof of the fact or inform me how I shall obtain it. Should a suit be necessary this fact will be very material.

Your caveat against Cresap’s heirs is no longer depending. It was dismissed last spring under the law which directs a dismission if the summons be not served.

I wrote to you on this subject before that session of the court and supposed it to be your wish that it should no longer be continued.

I remain Sir
With perfect respect and attachment
Your obedt servt

                     (signed) John Marshall

“Just looking at this, we can assume that this is Washington’s copy,” LaCroix said one afternoon in December, as she and Lewis were looking through the collection with a visitor. “You can see that it has been folded and postmarked—and it’s stamped, ‘FREE,’ so Marshall must have had franking privileges because he was a government official.” (Franking privilege, which dates to 1775, allows public officials to send mail without a postage stamp. Marshall was the Richmond city recorder—and therefore a magistrate—as of 1785, and that may well have been the office that gave him free postage in 1789.)

Someone would have copied the letter for Marshall’s files, LaCroix said, which means that at some point there was a second version that hadn’t traveled the 95 or so miles between Richmond and Mount Vernon. “But this one,” she said, “is addressed to ‘George Washington, Esquire, Mount Vernon.’” She paused. “Because, really, what else would you have needed to write? This must have been his.”

To a historian’s eye, the letter is filled with little insights, reminders, and curiosities: from the role of the founders in westward expansion to the quirks of letter writing; Marshall, for instance, used 11 words to sign off, but abbreviated the last two: obedient servant.

It was a little detail, but one that had a humanizing effect. It was hard not to wonder what Marshall had been thinking and feeling as he wrote the letter, or to consider the swirl of activity that must have surrounded Washington as he read it. There was something fascinating, LaCroix mused, about touching what they’d touched, and seeing the curves of their handwriting, and reading the words they’d chosen.

“It’s a little window into the founding,” LaCroix said. “It’s a slice of life. Marshall and Washington are writing to each other as lawyer and client, and that’s a relationship that had been going on for a long time, too.”

It was a time of transition for the young nation: the US Congress had met for the first time on March 4, and they were on the verge of certifying Washington’s victory in the first presidential election. “He was reluctant to become president,” LaCroix said. “He’d been away from Mount Vernon for so long, and he wanted to be back there and be the gentleman soldier in retirement.” But Washington felt a sense of duty, and on April 16, he’d begin a weeklong procession to New York City, the nation’s capital, for his swearing-in on April 30.

“He was getting ready to process to be the chief magistrate of this unknown experiment,” LaCroix said. “It’s pretty cool to think about.”

Marshall was a force in his own right. He’d been a leading champion of the Constitution as a delegate to Virginia’s ratifying convention, and he’d fought especially hard for Article III, which provides for the federal judiciary. (Years later, in 1803, the first major case before Marshall’s Supreme Court would be Marbury v. Madison, which established judicial review.) But now, he was practicing law in Richmond—and trying to help Washington settle a dispute over hundreds of acres of land in the Ohio River Valley, property Washington had claimed in 1770 and had most likely earned for his service in the area during the French and Indian War.

It was a typical frontier dispute: another man built houses on Washington’s land in 1773, and now, years later, Washington was still sorting things out with the man’s heirs. (According to research that accompanies the Founders Online entry, it appears that the dispute wasn’t fully settled until 1834, when a court upheld the title in favor of a man who had purchased the land from Washington in 1798.)

What’s intriguing to LaCroix about the timeline, though, is that it began in British America and was eventually settled in the United States—an important reminder about the continuity of law.

“You look at this and you remember: it wasn’t that Americans invented law on March 4, 1789,” LaCroix said. “They already had British common law, and they had disputes that had been going on under the British Empire.”

It is impossible to know, of course, whether Louis Silver shared this fascination or even envisioned contemporary and future scholars probing these sorts of details when he donated the album sometime during or just before 1958. His intentions are one of the collection’s enduring mysteries.

“He was this extremely well-known collector of his time, but law wasn’t his major area of focus,” Lewis said. “And yet, he did collect this. He intentionally gave it to the Law School, even though much of the rest of his collection went elsewhere. To me, it suggests that he thought it was important that the Law School have this.”

Sign outside in the Louis H. Silver Special Collections Room in the D'Angelo Law LibrarySilver made the gift while he was still living—and he made it at a time when Americans’ interest in the Supreme Court was particularly high: Earl Warren was the chief justice and, just a few years earlier, the Court had ruled in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education. (Incidentally, Silver’s album arrived just a year or two before the Law School moved from Stuart Hall to the current building south of Midway. It is possible that the flurry of activity accompanying the move contributed to the album’s recession from collective memory, though Lewis notes that the library’s comparatively small staff—directed by a member of the faculty in those days—and its predigital cataloguing system probably played roles as well.) Either way, both the timing and topic were curious. Silver’s interests were broad: in 1958 and 1959, he’d donated science and technology books to the University of Chicago, and the collection acquired by the Newberry Library included valuable works in English and Continental literature and history. But there isn’t much indication that law was a top priority beyond the Supreme Court collection.

“Collectors collect things for different reasons, and—I don’t know—but you can imagine Mr. Silver thinking, I’m a lawyer and I’m really interested in Supreme Court justices, so let’s get all the documents we can pertaining to them.” LaCroix said. “But that could take so many different forms. He could have just been after the autographs. One of the letters, Roger Taney’s, is responding to someone who wrote [in September 1860] asking for his autograph. And Taney just sent it back with a note.”

LaCroix shook her head: “Of all the ones you’d want.” (Three years before sending the autograph, Taney had delivered the majority opinion in the landmark Dred Scott case, which held that black people, whether free or slave, could not claim US citizenship.)

But the Taney letter underscored another important point: motive aside, someone had collected these letters, portraits, and documents; and had taken care to preserve them regardless of writer or content; and had assembled them into one book, ensuring that, to some extent, they would be studied and considered together.

“This is the happenstance, and good fortune, of someone choosing to collect and preserve, and choosing to do it in a certain way,” LaCroix said.

This album, for instance, connected each writer to the Court, but also, at least in some cases, offered insight into other parts of their lives. LaCroix turned the pages until she found the 1762 summons that had been signed by John Rutledge.

“See here, in 1762, this is Rutledge as the provost marshal of South Carolina—it’s a future Supreme Court justice as a judicial official in the British Empire, carrying out writs signed by George III,” LaCroix said. “This, too, is a continuity we often don’t think about.”

Similarly, the album’s portraits captured some of the men as younger, or otherwise different, than the images we most often see. In the Marshall letter, Washington was a man eager to keep the land he’d claimed on the western frontier and Marshall was a practicing lawyer whose time on the Supreme Court was still a dozen years away.

“Sometimes the value in letters like these is that they tell us something we didn’t already know . . . but other times the value is that they make [the writers] real,” Baude said. “The artifacts bring them to life, and they’re more than abstractions in the computer. Seeing an original letter, you remember, too, that the writer actually had to sit down and write, and that the letter had to travel—and you remember how little they knew about what was going on [outside their geographic area]. You get a better emotional sense for how big the world is.”

What’s more, reading about pivotal events through the wizened eyes of hindsight, he pointed out, can offer up powerful reminders and even a lesson or two.

* * *

In 1860, Salmon P. Chase, the Ohio governor and a candidate for US Senate, wrote to a man named E. A. Stansbury about the upcoming presidential election. It had been a turbulent election cycle marked by deep divisions over slavery, a geographically fractured Democratic Party, and a contentious four-way race involving Abraham Lincoln, John C. Breckinridge (a cousin, incidentally, of the Law School’s first female graduate, Sophonisba Breckinridge, 1904), Stephen A. Douglas, and John Bell.

Chase, who would later become the Supreme Court’s sixth chief justice and whose face would appear on the now-defunct $10,000 bill, was an abolitionist lawyer who had represented runaway slaves. He seemed to favor Lincoln and speculated that the Illinois Republican would win—and that his election might bring an end to slavery in America.

But Chase couldn’t help but wonder: what comes next?

My dear friend,

Nothing in the future is even tolerably clear to me except the probability, approaching certainty, that Mr. Lincoln will be our next President, and that by his election the power of slavery in our country will be broken. What lies beyond I see not. I hope the Administration will be Republican, and that faithful Republicans will be called into the Cabinet, and that all will be well. To that end I shall honestly, sincerely and earnestly labor. I do not know Mr. Lincoln personally. All I hear of him inspires confidence in his ability, honesty and magnanimity. These qualities justify the best hopes, but we must remember that he has not been educated in our school, and may not adopt our ideas, therefore, either in selection of men or in the shaping of measures.

Faithfully your friend,

S.P. Chase      

Any apprehension Chase might have felt was well placed, of course. The coming years would bring the secession of 11 southern states, a devastating civil war that would leave hundreds of thousands of dead, and Lincoln’s assassination. But the future would also bring the end of slavery, a fitful reconstruction, and an eventual return to national unity.

“We think of ourselves as confronting all these new circumstances, and we think, ‘Who knows what’s going to happen?’ But they felt that way in 1860, too,” Baude said. “We see that, in some ways, our problems aren’t as new as we think they are. In a way, we’ve been here before.”

All of this—the perspective, the opportunities to connect with founders and shapers of law, the chance to see the evolution of America and its legal system through the words of those who were there—have underscored the very mission that led Lewis and her team to the US Supreme Court Portraits and Letters collection in the first place.

“We were focused on advancing the rare books collection when we found this and, now, it’s a nice reminder of the value that this material brings to the Law School,” Lewis said. “We are looking for ways to continue making rare books more accessible to faculty, and to strengthen and build our offerings.”

Part of that means continuing to explore the existing rare books collection, which includes more than 2,800 items.

“After this,” Lewis said, “I can’t help but wonder what else we’ll find.”