Law Library History

Many more gifts and donations than can be mentioned here have helped make Cornell Law Library into one of the leading academic law libraries in the country. Please accept our sincere gratitude for all of your support.

For more in depth information, read these articles:

1886
Cornell University Trustees purchase the 4,000 volume library of Merritt King, an Ithaca lawyer, which included Atherley's A Practical Treatise on the Law of Marriage and Other Family Settlements, signed by Chancellor James Kent with his personal notes.
1887
Cornell Law School opens with three professors and 55 students in the first university building, Morrill Hall on the Arts Quad.
1890
The first student law librarian from the entering class, Edward Cornell (LL.B. 1889, LL.M. 1890), continues on as Cornell Law Librarian after receiving his Master of Law degree.
1892
The Law Library moves to the newly-built Boardman Hall with accommodations for 30,000 volumes and 300 students.

boardman library

The Library totals 10,000 volumes, which include 500 volumes from Judge Douglas Boardman's personal collection.
1893
Alexander Hugh Ross Fraser is appointed the first library-trained Law Librarian.

Mrs. Boardman and her daughter purchase the library of Mr. Nathaniel C. Moak, consisting of 12,415 volumes, as a memorial to Judge Boardman. The collection includes one of ten existing copies of the Lizzie Borden case.
1908
Earl J. Bennett (LL.B. 1901) establishes a fund devoted to the collection of all U.S. and territorial session laws in existence.
1911
Edward Ecker Willever is appointed Cornell Law Librarian.
1929
Earl J. Bennett endows the Bennett Collection for its perpetual development.

The Law Library becomes a depository for the U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs.
1930
Myron C. Taylor (LL.B. 1894) supplies library funds to make current, catalogue, and preserve the League of Nations publications.
1932
The Library moves more than 70,000 volumes into the new Myron Taylor Hall.

history myron taylor hall
1935
Lewis W. Morse (LL.B. 1928) is appointed Law Librarian after having served as Assistant Librarian since 1931.
1942
Library collection reaches 100,000 volumes.
1965
Harry Bitner is appointed Law Librarian.
Samuel Leibowitz (LL.B. 1915) donates his Scottsboro Trial documents to the Library.
1966
Class of 1941 establishes a fund for "Dean Emeritus Robert S. Stevens (Professor 1919-1937; Dean 1927-1954) Collection on Corporations, Equity, and Taxation."
1968
"Class of 1942 William Harsh Farnham Book Collection" (LL.B., 1922; Professor 1924-1964) is established at its 25 th reunion.
1974
Library collection reaches 300,000 volumes.
1975
The Mary Heagen Cuccia Memorial Fund is established by Francis P. Cuccia (LL.B. 1912) in memory of his wife to purchase books for the Law Library.
1976
Jane L. Hammond is appointed Law Librarian.
Computerized cataloging is introduced.
1977
LEXIS is installed in the Library.
1978
The Law Library becomes a depository for U.S. government publications.
1979
The Library purchases the Thorne collection from legal historian, Professor Samuel Thorne.
1981
The Judge Alfred J. Loew (LL.B. 1912) Memorial Fund is established by his family.

Rare Book Room created with climate control and increased security.
1983
WESTLAW is installed in the Library.
1984
The Kurt W. Hanslowe Memorial Fund (Professor 1959-1983) is established by his widow.
1985
Rare Book Room dedicated as the Edwin S. Dawson Rare Book Room, a gift of Donato A. Evangelista (J.D. 1957) in memory of his father-in-law.
1986
Five computers in the Library are connected by a local area network.
1988
The Law Library expands into the Jane Foster Addition of the law school.

Law Librarian position is endowed as the Edward Cornell Law Librarian, a gift of his son and daughter-in-law, George D. and Harriet W. Cornell.
1989
Law Librarian Jane Hammond travels to Liberia to organize their new National Law Library.

Reading Room dedicated as the Gould Reading Room in honor of Eleanor and Milton S. Gould (A.B. 1930, LL.B. 1933) in recognition of their extraordinary service and support. dedicating Gould reading room
1991
Library collection reaches 400,000 volumes.
Clifford R. Weidberg (J.D. 1972) endows the squash court.
1992
Casual Study Room is endowed by Donald E. Claudy (AB 1948, LL.B. 1952).
1993
Claire M. Germain is appointed Edward Cornell Law Librarian.
1995
Cornell Law Library creates its first award winning web site .
1996
Law Library partners with International Court of Justice to create the first ICJ web site.

First issue of InSITE distributed.
1998
Henry H. Korn (Cornell 1963) and Ellen Schaum Korn (Cornell 1963) donate the Donovan Nuremberg Trials Collection, consisting of General William Donovan's personal archive of the Nuremberg Trial Transcripts.

Library partners with International Labour Organization and creates the official ILO mirror site.
1999
Law Library partners with Hein Digital Journals Project, hosted by CIT at heinonline.org, and begins digitization of Cornell Law Quarterly from its inception, to be made available online and fully searchable.
2000
Jack G. Clarke (LL.B.1952) Comparative Law Book Fund endowment is established for the acquisition of foreign and international law materials.

Sheppard A. Guryan (J.D. 1967) Law Library Endowment is established for the acquisition of materials on the History of Jurisprudence and American Legal Thought.

Law Library hosts web site of the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL).
2001
Attorney General and Secretary of State William P. Rogers (J.D. 1937) and Adele Langston Rogers (J.D. 1936) memorabilia donated to the Law Library by the Rogers family.

Harry Bitner Research Stipend Fund established by Richard Gilden (J.D. 1971) and Lorraine Bitner Gilden.

Law Library partners with New York State Small Business Association to assist with their new web site www.businesslaw.gov.

Law Library acquires one of only two print copies of the Chile Declassification Project.

Law Library partners with Rutgers Journal of Law & Religion on the Nuremberg Project to provide research and commentary on the Donovan Collection.
2003
New digital repository created, Scholarship at Cornell Law.
2004
From the Donovan Collection, Analysis of the Personality of Adolf Hitler by Dr. Murray, is digitized and made freely available online.
2005
The 700,000th volume is added to the Cornell Law Library.

The Arthur H. Rosenbloom (LL.B. 1959) Law Library Endowment is created for the purchase of Israeli books.

Cornell Law Library becomes the first U.S. law library in the country to subscribe to Wangfang Data and Isino Law, online databases of Chinese and Japanese law respectively.

Law Library purchases and catalogs each individual title in The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises 1800-1926 database.

2006
Law Library purchases The Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 database.

Digitization of 19th Century Trials Collection begins in partnership with Hein.
2007
Law Library Legal Research Engine created.

Law Library partners with French Supreme Court and establishes   the Center for Documentation on American Law in Paris with the donation of 13,000 volumes. Law Librarian Claire Germain is awarded the French Legion of Honor.

Law Library hosts with New York University Law Library an international conference, Tapping into the World of Electronic Legal Knowledge, thanks to a grant from the Starr Foundation.

2008
Thanks to the generosity of the Nathaniel Lapkin Foundation, the Law Library begins digitization of the Donovan Collection.
2009
Law Librarian Claire Germain and Librarian Thomas Mills travel to Tanzania to serve as consultants to the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) on archiving and preserving documents from their genocide trials.

Business Law Institute Fund created in honor of Norma Schwab for the acquisition of materials to support the new program.

2010
Video on Wild Bill Donovan's Nuremberg Legacy created for CornellCast CyberTower.
2011
Femi Cadmus is appointed Edward Cornell Law Librarian and   Associate Dean for Library Services.

Library goes live on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

2012
Trial Pamphlets Collection digitized and web site launched thanks to funding from Save America's Treasures Grant Program.

Edwin S. Dawson Rare Book Room moved to the Annex due to Myron Taylor Hall addition.

Law Library purchases The Making of Modern Law: Foreign, Comparative and International Law 1600-1926 database.

New Popular Reading Collection is created. Non-Book items offered. E-Books and audiobooks are available through OverDrive system.
2013
Law Library wins the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Law Library Publication Award in the non-print category for the Trial Pamphlets Collection

Law Library purchases The Making of Modern Law: Primary Sources I, 1620-1926 and II, 1763-1979; Trials 1600-1926; and Foreign and International Law Primary Sources databases. Students have online access to an unprecedented number of important historical sources.
2014
New platforms for the Donovan Nuremberg and Scottsboro Collections