Legal History and Rare Books SIS

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Meetings and Programs

(To see an archive of prior programs, click here.)

2011 AALL Annual Meeting, Denver, Co.

LHRB-SIS Business Meeting

Sunday, July 24, 2011: 5:30-6:30 pm
PCC - Room 106A

Contact: Stacy Etheredge at

LHRB-SIS Roundtable and Luncheon: Morris Cohen Student Essay Contest Paper Presentation

Sunday July 24. 12:00PM to 1:15PM
Marriott-Room 310

LHRB-SIS Sponsored Educational Program:  A5: Old into New: Collaborative Law Library Digital Collections

Sunday, July 24, 2011. 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM
PCC-Room 204(B)

Coordinator/Moderator: Laura E. Ray, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law Library; Speakers: Warren M. Billings, University of New Orleans; Kevin Garewal, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Marshall College of Law Library; Kurt X. Metzmeier, University of Louisville Law Library; Gail Warren, Virginia State Law Library

Building digital collections and repositories to facilitate research and enhance teaching has been a focus of much recent activity by state and university libraries. However, few law libraries have participated in this trend, largely due to the costs associated with content management systems and the need for specialist metadata librarians. By joining together in consortia, or by participating as junior partners in university digitization projects, law libraries are beginning to engage in the opportunities offered by digital collections. A panel of law librarians and professors will discuss the collaborative development of law library digital collections, as well as examine how these collections have greatly simplified research access to rare materials and enhanced teaching.

LHRB-SIS Sponsored Educational Program:  D6: We The People: Constitutional National Treasures in Philadelphia Archives

Monday, July 24, 2011. 8:45AM to 9:45AM
PCC-Room 204(C)

Coordinator/Moderator: Galen L. Fletcher, Brigham Young University, Howard W. Hunter Law Library; Speakers: Lee Arnold, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania; William Ewald, University of Pennsylvania Law School

James Wilson is the author of the phrase "We The People" in the U.S. Constitution. He also signed the Declaration of Independence, served as an original member of the U.S. Supreme Court, and helped found the University of Pennsylvania Law School. His early notes and drafts, archived in Philadelphia, are being preserved and made accessible to researchers and scholars. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has several versions of the U.S. Constitution, including the earliest surviving draft handwritten by Constitutional Convention delegate James Wilson and the first newspaper printing by The Pennsylvania Packet. This program will feature an archivist and law professor who will discuss the importance of Wilson's writings, his crucial role in creating our constitution, and the archive's current work of preservation and access.

LHRB-SIS Sponsored Educational Program:  F5: "Digging" Legal History in Philadelphia: The Meriwether Lewis Project

Monday July 25, 2011. 10:45AM to 11:45AM
PCC-Room 204(B)

Coordinator/Moderator: Jennie C. Meade, George Washington University, Jacob Burns Law Library; Speaker: James E. Starrs, George Washington University Law School

James E. Starrs, Professor Emeritus of Law and Forensic Sciences at The George Washington University Law School, will discuss his Meriwether Lewis Project, now in progress at the request of the Lewis family, to secure the approval of the U.S. Park Service under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) for the exhumation of the remains of explorer Meriwether Lewis. The primary goal of the project is to determine whether Lewis's controversial 1809 death at a frontier inn along Tennessee's Natchez Trace was a suicide or a murder. The contemporary evidence was inconclusive, there being no eyewitnesses. Via forensic analytical techniques nonexistent in the early 1800s, scientists now may be able to provide answers to key questions, such as whether the body exhumed is in fact that of Lewis, and if so, whether gunpowder residue reveals a close-range shot, as well as the location of the bullet wounds, if any. Other facts about Lewis that could bear upon the issue of murder or suicide perhaps could be determined, such as whether he suffered from disease and whether his remains show evidence of the therapeutic use of mercury or other toxic substances. Professor Starrs will explore these issues as well as new developments in the Meriwether Lewis affair. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the Corps of Discovery to explore the American West with the hope of discovering a transcontinental water route. Though the Lewis and Clark undertaking was aimed at gathering information about the Louisiana Purchase and uncharted western territories, it was not strictly a western venture. It is fitting for this program to be offered in Philadelphia, which later twentieth century research has shown to have furnished not only the venue, but the expertise, to assist and guide Meriwether Lewis in the year of preparation necessary for the launch of the expedition. Today, Philadelphia is home to the archive of the journals of Lewis and Clark (American Philosophical Society), as well as to the Charles Willson Peale portraits of both Lewis and Clark (Second Bank of the United States), both part of Independence National Historical Park in Center City, Philadelphia.


As are all web sites, the LHRB-SIS's web page is a work-in-progress. Please do not hesitate to send any suggestions to Kurt Metzmeier,

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