About Us

The Legal History and Rare Books SIS was established in 1989 at the AALL Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada. Its purpose is to promote the study and appreciation of legal history and rare books among members of the profession. To that end, the SIS hopes to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information concerning all aspects of these two different yet interconnected subjects. The organization publishes a newsletter twice a year and sponsors speakers and programs on both legal history and rare books at the Annual Meeting. In the hopes of attracting as wide an audience as possible, the SIS encourages vendors and book dealers to join the group.


Year Executive Board Members Key LHRB Sponsored Program at AALL Annual Report
2016-2017 Chair: Karen Wahl
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Elizabeth Hilkin
Immediate Past Chair: Kasia Solon Cristobal
"Spanish and English Water Law in the American Southwest"

Host City History Roundtable: Tequila and the Law

(Austin, 2017)

2015-2016 Chair: Kasia Solon Cristobal
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Karen Wahl
Secretary/Treasurer: Laurel Davis
Immediate Past Chair: Sabrina Sondhi
"The Once and Future Presidential Library: From Lincoln to Obama"

Host City History Roundtable

(Chicago, 2016)

2014-2015 Chair: Sabrina Sondhi
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Kasia Solon Cristobal
Secretary/Treasurer: Laurel Davis
Immediate Past Chair: Jennie Meade
"Voices from the Past: Using Rare and Antiquarian Books in the Modern Practice of Law"

Host City History Roundtable

(Philadelphia, 2015)

2013-2014 Chair: Jennie C. Meade
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Sabrina Sondhi
Secretary/Treasurer: Kasia Solon Cristobal
Immediate Past Chair: Michael Widener
"The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary"

Host City History: San Antonio Edition

(San Antonio, 2014)

2012-2013 Chair: Michael Widener
Vice Chair: Jennie C. Meade
Secretary/Treasurer: Kasia Solon Cristobal
Immediate Past Chair: Sarah Yates
"Law Libraries and Advocacy: Using Special Collections to Tell the Story of the Japanese American Internment"

(Seattle, 2013)

2011-2012 Chair: Sarah Yates
Vice Chair: Michael Widener
Secretary/Treasurer: Joni Herbst
Immediate Past Chair: Stacy A. Etheredge
"The Law of the Salem Witch Trials"

"Digitizing Legal History" (co-sponsored)

"'Digging' Legal History in Boston: The Case of the Boston Strangler"

"Early Law Libraries as Historical Documents: Recording the Bookshelves of Long-Ago Lawyers"

(Boston, 2012)

2010-2011 Chair: Stacey Etheredge
Vice Chair: Sarah Yates
Secretary/Treasurer: Joni Herbst
"Old Into New: Collaborative Law Library Digital Collections"

"We the People: Constitutional National Treasures in Philadelphia Archives"

"'Digging' Legal History in Philadelphia: The Meriwether Lewis Project"

(Philadelphia, 2011)

2009-2010 Chair: Stacy Etheredge
Vice Chair: Amy Taylor
Secretary/Treasurer: Daniel Blackaby
Immediate Past Chair: Karen Beck
"Mapping Uncharted Terrains: Introducing Archival Best Practices to the Management of Law School, Court and Law Firm Historical Collections"

(Denver, 2010)

2008-2009 Chair: Karen Beck
Vice Chair: Stacy Etheredge
Secretary/Treasurer: Daniel Blackaby
Immediate Past Chair: Laura Ray
"Lincoln, the Law, and Libraries"

"'Digging' Legal History: Using Exhumation and Innovative Forensic Science Techniques to Verify Historical Legal Events"

(Washington, D.C., 2009)

2007-2008 Chair: Karen Beck
Vice Chair: Stacy Etheridge
Secretary/Treasurer: Sarah Yates
"Beer and the Law: A Legal History of Beer, Brewing and Government Regulation from the German Purity Law to the Microbrew Movement" (AMPC-sponsored)

"Law Library Journal at 100: The Evolution of a Publication"

"Oregon's Death With Dignity Act (DWDA): A Legal History" (AMPC-sponsored/co-sponsored by SR-SIS)

"Explore the New World of Legal History Research--Be Prepared to Wiki!" (AMPC-sponsored)

(Portland, 2008)

2006-2007 Chair: Laura E. Ray
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Karen Beck
Secretary/Treasurer: Sarah Yates
"Taking Up the Gauntlet: The Duel in Southern Legal History"

"Rome: The Power of Film to Teach Foundations of Roman and Civil Law" (co-sponsored by the Micrographics/Audiovisual SIS and Foreign, Comparative & International Law SIS)

"Huey Long and the Press: Louisiana's Contribution to Modern Constitutional Law"

(New Orleans, 2007)

2005-2006 Chair: Laura Ray
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Karen Beck
Secretary/Treasurer: Katherine Topulos
"Promoting the Past to Assure the Future: The Lure of Legal History" (co-sponsored with the AALL Centennial Committee)

"Colonial Virginia's Legal History"

(St. Louis, 2006)

2004-2005 Chair: Robert Mead
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Laura Ray
Secretary/Treasurer: Katherine Topulos
"Deadwood: The Power of Film to Teach Foundations in Native American Treaty Law and United States Territorial Law" (co-sponsored)

"Los Archivos de las Indias: Judicial and Legislative Information on the Spanish Colonial Period in the United States"

"Values, Video, and Vignettes: Using Video Oral History Techniques to Document the Unwritten Histories of AALL" (co-sponsored)

(San Antonio, 2005)

2003-2004 Chair: Mark W. Podvia
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Robert Mead
Secretary/Treasurer: Laura Ray
"Creating and Maintaining Legal History Collections: Collections Development and Analysis Issues for the Law Librarian"

(Boston, 2004)

2002-2003 Chair: Kurt X. Metzmeier
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Mark W. Podvia
Secretary/Treasurer: Robert Mead
"The Collision of Native American and Anglo-American Legal Concepts: A Legacy of the Louisiana Purchase"

"Creating and Maintaining Legal History Collections: Collections Development and Analysis Issues for the Law Librarian"

"Researching and Writing Institutional History"

(Seattle, 2003)

2001-2002 Chair: Katherine I. Hedin
Vice Chair: Kurt X. Metzmeier
Secretary/Treasurer: Lucia Diamond
"Legal History from the Reference Desk: Connecting the Past to Today's Information Needs"

"Toward a Research Agenda for Legal History: Some Modest Proposals"

(Orlando, 2002)

2000-2001 Chair: Joel Fishman
Vice Chair: Katherine I. Hedin
Secretary/Treasurer: Lucia Diamond
"Celebrating John Marshall: The Two-Hundredth Anniversary of His Elevation to Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court"

"Legal Historical Materials in a Nutshell: An Introduction to Legal Archives and Manuscripts"

(Minneapolis, 2001)

1999-2000 Chair: Daniel Smith
1998-1999 Chair: Laura Anne Bedard
1997-1998 Chair: Gretchen Feltes
1996-1997 Chair: Mark Folmsbee "Glanville's World: The Rise of English Common Law"

(Baltimore, 1997)

1995-1996 Chair: Byron D. Cooper
Secretary/Treasurer: Gretchen Feltes
"The Impact of Roman Law on the Civil Law Tradition" (co-sponsored with the Foreign and International Law SIS)

"Secrets in the Stacks: Rare Books in Small to Medium-Sized Libraries"

(Indianapolis, 1996)

1994-1995 Chair: Mary Cooper Gilliam (took over by Byron Cooper midway through term) "Judges' Lives: Judicial Biography in America"

(Pittsburgh, 1995)

1993-1994 Chair: Dan Wade
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Mary Cooper Gilliam
Secretary/Treasurer: Gretchen Feltes
[No programs]

(Seattle, 1994)

1992-1993 Chair: Cynthia Arkin
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Dan Wade
Secretary/Treasurer: Ann J. Laeuchli
Editor: Janet Sinder
[No program proposals accepted by the AALL Education Committee]

(Boston, 1993)

1991-1992 Chair: Nicholas Triffin
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Cynthia R. Arkin
Secretary/Treasurer: Ann J. Laeuchli
Editor: Janet Sinder
"Crime and Punishment in Early California Law: Legal History and Court Records" "Ephemera: To Collect or Not" (co-sponsored with the Acquisitions Committee, Preservation Committee, and Contemporary Social Problems SIS)

(San Francisco, 1992)

1990-1991 Chair: Michael G. Chiorazzi
Vice Chair/Chair Elect: Thomas A. Woxland
Treasurer: Robert J. Nissenbaum
Editor: Janet Sinder
"The Historical Development of the Louisiana Legal System"

"Bridges to the Past: Looking After Older Legal Materials (Rare and Historical)" (co-sponsored with Technical Services-SIS and Academic Libraries-SIS)

(New Orleans, 1991)

1989-1990 Chair: Erwin Surrency