The Legal History Community

The Legal History Community serves those working to preserve and promote legal and court history around the nation in history organizations of all types and sizes. Its members include university faculty, state and federal court historians and educators, law librarians/archivists/researchers, judicial assistants, a U.S. Supreme Court curator, and independent historical societies affiliated with courts such as the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and the Historical Society of the New York Courts.

A valuable function of our group is the development of a network of professionals working in comparable fields and sharing similar focused interests. Through our activities we strive to develop a group of professionals who share a focused interest and common background. Our group hopes to help curators and educators at museums and other historic venues learn how to incorporate legal sources and resources into their exhibits and programming.

The Court and Legal History Affinity Group has met informally at the annual meeting of AASLH for more than a decade. In 2012, we became an officially recognized affinity group of AASLH and in 2015 changed our name to the Legal History Affinity Group. The AASLH meetings have been held in locations across and nation and in each city our group has been privileged to have a private tour at a federal or state courthouse.

AASLH Annual Meeting Events

At each AASLH annual meeting, our community hosts tours at a courthouse that include architectural tours, library tours, and meetings with judges. We follow our tour with a group meeting where we discuss topics of mutual interest, such as web site development, public programming, how to utilize materials in exhibits and similar topics. At this meeting participants exchange ideas, information and other pertinent materials.

Our group also sponsors and plans a general session open to all conference attendees. Our most recent program considered An Untapped Resource: How to Locate and Use Legal Cases at Historic Sites.

Through these activities we strive to develop a group of professionals who share a focused interest and common background. Some of the presentations at these meetings have been given by outside presenters, and others by members of our own group.

Networking

A valuable function of our group is the development of a network of professionals working in comparable fields and sharing similar focused interests. Through the use of a listserv, members of the group can seek information and advice from colleagues throughout the year. Please join our listserv by contacting Bethany Hawkins at hawkins@aaslh.org.

Committee

The Legal History Community is run by the following committee:

Interim Chair

Rachael L. Drenovsky
Michigan Supreme Court

Members

Rachael L. Drenovsky (2012-2016)
Michigan Supreme Court

Matthew Hofstedt (2012-2016)
Supreme Court of the United States

John Lupton (2013-2017)
Illinois Supreme Court

Marilyn Marcus (2012-2016)
Historical Society of the New York Courts

Catherine O’Brion (2012-2016)
Virginia State Law Library

Carrie Sampson (2017-2019)
Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society

Kathleen Shurtleff (2012-2016)
Supreme Court Historical Society

Legal History Resources

Read our blog.

Sign up for our listserv.

Looking for more? Browse through Legal History resources in the AASLH Resource Library.