Powell Archives Turns 25



above — Dean Randall Bezanson, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Josephine R. Powell at Dedication of the Lewis F. Powell Jr Archives.

Twenty-five years ago, on April 2-4, 1992, ceremonies, dinners and an academic symposium marked the dedication of the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Archives, and of the addition to the law building known as the Powell Wing. Justice Powell and dozens of his family members, personal friends and professional associates were in attendance. Distinguished speakers included Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Judges J. Harvie Wilkinson and Robert Merhige, Powell SCOTUS clerk and biographer John C. Jeffries, former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton and civil rights legend Oliver Hill. Academics presenting at the symposium included Scot Powe, Jean Love, Judith Resnik, Sanford Levinson and Catharine Wells. (Here are some documents related to those events.)

In the intervening quarter century, the Powell Papers have formed the basis of many books and articles, and contributed to hundreds more. Several documentary films have also used these materials.

The archives’ mission and holdings have both greatly expanded since its inception. Its stacks are now home to more than two dozen manuscript collections, the retired administrative records of the law school, the rare book collection and records of student clinical programs.

The first library unit to have a website, the Archives now delivers, to researchers around the world via the Internet, more than 650 complete SCOTUS case files of Justice Powell, along with selected speeches, writings, correspondence and photos from his papers. Significant portions of other manuscript collections, most notably portions of the M. Caldwell Butler Papers and the complete Newton Baker Scrapbooks, have also been digitized and uploaded to our Scholarly Commons.

The Archives is also responsible for records management within the law school. An Archive-It subscription preserves the ever changing content of the law school website. The Archives also created many temporary physical exhibits. Several of these have been preserved in electronic form, and born digital displays are also available. Most recently, the Archives conceived and had professionally fabricated two permanent exhibits, on the late Dean Roy Steinheimer and on the ABA Presidents who are alumni of W&L Law.

The Archives looks forward to its next 25 years of meeting the challenges of a changing records landscape. Something that will remain unchanged, however, will be the primacy of service to students, faculty, administrators and the researching public.


“Lawyers Without Rights” in Hitler’s Germany: New Research and Resource Guide

Through mid-April 2017, the traveling exhibition “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich” will be on display at Washington and Lee School of Law, co-sponsored by the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer) and the American Bar Association.

The W&L Law Library has prepared an online guide at http://libguides.wlu.edu/lawyerswithoutrights to highlight research materials and information resources relating to the themes of the exhibit, focusing on the Nazi use of law to suppress justice, equality, civil rights, prosperity, and professional practice in World War II-era Germany. Leading books, scholarly articles, films, and online resources are identified, described, and linked for easy access.

Please contact a librarian with any related questions.

Spring Into Summer Success – Legal Research Certification – 3/25 – Register Today!

Sharpen Your Research Skills! Attend W&L Law Library’s Spring Into Summer Success Legal Research Certification, Saturday, March 25, from 9:00am to 1:00pm in Classroom A. Open to all 1L, 2L, and 3Ls – lunch provided.

Learn expert tips and strategies from librarians and lawyers to help you succeed this summer and beyond. Instructional sessions taught by our W&L Law librarians will cover legal research methods and resources useful for firm, court, public interest, and government jobs, including practice-area specific materials, legal news resources, legislative and agency info, and more. Efficient use of Lexis, Westlaw, Bloomberg Law, and alternative online sources is also an important focus.

The program includes a panel discussion with insights and advice on legal research and professional success from three experienced practitioners:

  •     Tanishka Cruz, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Justice Center, Charlottesville, VA
  •     Jim Pickle ’15L, Associate, DLA Piper, Washington, DC
  •     Christopher Russell, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Buena Vista, VA; W&L Law Adjunct Professor

After attending, you are eligible to earn a Certificate in Legal Research to add to your credentials and show value to employers. One lucky attendee will also win a $100 gift card courtesy of Bloomberg Law.

Contact Andrew Christensen, Faculty Services Librarian, at christensena@wlu.edu to reserve your place or for more information.