National Law Center records
Collection Scope and Content
Materials in this collection include the law alumni photographic collection, founder's day celebrations, biographical sketches, articles reports, GW law school yearbooks, 1895 to 1915, bulletins and journals of the Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Research Institute of GW, (1950-1972), copies of the "Advocate," Banners scrapbooks correspondence Alumni reunions, minutes from the Board of Trustees, Research notes, banners, caps and gowns, reports to the Dean Exam questions, and information on Stockton Hall.
- Creation: 1865-2005
Restrictions on Access
Series 12 is closed to research for 50 years from date of record creation.
Restrictions on Use
Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.
The George Washington University Law School is the oldest law school in the District of Columbia. Originally established in 1826 by vote of the board of trustees of Columbian College (now The George Washington University), classes were discontinued just one year later due to insufficient enrollment and lack of financial support.
In 1865, the Trustees recommended the reestablishment of the Law School, and classes began in the Old Trinity Episcopal Church on Fifth Street between D and E. The Law School was to occupy this space until 1884. The Department of Law offered the degree of bachelor of laws, which required two years of study.
Sixty graduates, from 22 of the then 37 states, received degrees in 1867. The School continued to have a student body and a faculty that reflected its location at the heart of the seat of the nation's government. Supreme Court Justices David J. Brewer and John Marshall Harlan were among the many prominent members of the bench and bar who were on the Law School faculty.
In 1872, the Trustees adopted a resolution to establish a one-year postgraduate course in legal practice. That same year, Lydia S. Hall and Belva Ann Lockwood graduated from the National University Law School, the school's first female graduates. (The National University Law School, which had held an important place in legal education in the District since 1869, was merged into The George Washington University Law School in 1954.)
In 1877, one year after the first such program was adopted in the United States, the Law School instituted a course leading to the degree of Master of Laws. In 1891, the Intellectual Property and Patent Law Program was initiated, with the first course in Patent Law taught by the Commissioner of Patents.
The George Washington Law Alumni Association was established in 1912, and in 1914 the Department of Law became the Law School.
In 1924, Stockton Hall was constructed on 20th Street. Designed to house the Law School in total when it was built, Stockton Hall now is one of four buildings that adjoin to form the Law School complex occupying the block on 20th Street between G and H Streets, across from the World Bank and just four blocks from the White House.
In 1936 the Law School was made a graduate school and the degree of Juris Doctor was established. A baccalaureate degree was a prerequisite for admission to the J.D. degree program.
As its contribution to the war effort, GW maintained the third floor of Stockton Hall during 1941 for use by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps in testing fabrics for tropical use. In 1946, the Law School began accepting foreign attorneys into specially designed programs, and in 1948, Law School enrollment surpassed the one thousand mark.
In 1965 the International and Comparative Law Program was established. Two years later, the Law School library was able to consolidate its growing collection in the newly completed Jacob Burns Law Library. In 1970, the Environmental Law Program was introduced.
The Law School's Enrichment Program, which has annually brought such illustrious speakers as Supreme Court Justices Scalia, O'Connor, Kennedy, and Ginsburg; Senators Fred Thompson, George Mitchell, and Orrin Hatch; author Scott Turow; columnist George Will; FCC chairman Reed Hunt; ACLU president Nadine Strossen, and many others to the school, was established in 1981.
In 1984, Lerner Hall was completed and dedicated in a ceremony addressed by Chief Justice Warren Burger. In 2000, the Law School began a major building and renovation scheme to create an integrated, modern learning facility. The National Law Center became the School of Law in 1996.
120 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Collection includes the law alumni photographic collection, founder's day celebrations, biographical sketches, articles reports, GW law school yearbooks, 1895 to 1915, bulletins and journals of the Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Research Institute of GW, (1950-1972), copies of the "Advocate," Banners scrapbooks correspondence Alumni reunions, minutes from the Board of Trustees, Research notes, banners, caps and gowns, reports to the Dean Exam questions, and information on Stockton Hall.
Organized into thirteen series: five are simply titled National Law Center; three are National Law Center, publications; one is National Law Center, self-study; one is Hugh Bernard, papers; one is Department files; and one is Alumni Relations office.
Materials acquired through transfers from the National Law Center.
- George Washington University--History (Organization)
- George Washington University. National Law Center (Organization)
- George Washington University--Alumni and alumnae (Organization)
- George Washington University. Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Foundation (Organization)
- Guide to the National Law Center records, 1865-2005
- University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English