Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: HOLLIS 9121242

Harvard Law School Student Law Club Records

This collection consists mainly of handwritten and typed records of moot court cases argued by various law clubs at the Harvard Law School. The collection also includes a small amount of materials related to the various clubs, such as correspondence, minutes, and ephemera.

Dates

  • 1857 - 1971

Conditions Governing Access

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2 business-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Extent

12 boxes (9 Paige boxes)

This collection consists mainly of handwritten and typed records of moot court cases argued by various law clubs at the Harvard Law School. Most of these records are organized by academic year, and many are in bound volumes. Some of the volumes include copies of the club constitution, as well as a list of members. Generally the docket for the academic year is at the beginning, followed by the full text of all documents relevant to each case. The collection also includes a small amount of materials related to the various clubs, such as correspondence, minutes, and ephemera.

Historical/Biographical Information

During much of the nineteenth century, moot court exercises were an integral part of the Harvard Law School curriculum. When interest in these school-sponsored moot courts began to wan in the 1870s, it was due in part to the rise in popularity of various law clubs, which held moot courts of their own. In the mid-1800s the prominent clubs were Coke, Kent, Bracton, Fleta, and Marshall. The Marshall Club was the oldest, having been founded in 1825. The clubs were made up of students elected from each class based on their social prominence and legal ability, and were often organized according to previous affiliation. (The Kent Club, for instance, was made up of students who had attended college at Yale.) During these years, the law clubs often argued cases that were on the school-sponsored moot court docket, but which had not yet been decided. The differences between the decisions of the clubs’ student judges and those of the Professors who decided the moot court case were apparently the subject of amusement.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the law clubs increased in both number and popularity. The new clubs were divided into three courts: the Superior, consisting of first year students; the Supreme, consisting of second year students; and the Court of Appeals, consisting of 3rd year students, once the Law School program included a third year. The school-sponsored moot court system was discontinued, and the Law School faculty began taking an active interest in the law clubs. By 1908, the school had approximately fifty different law clubs, the most prominent being Ames-Gray, Williston, Kent, Austin, Choate, George Gray, Harlan, English 6, Bryce, Holmes, Langdell, Moody, Parsons, Smith, Story, Westengard, Witenagemot, and Wyman.

The law clubs continued to hold moot courts into the second decade of the twentieth century, but after 1910, with the institution of the Board of Student Advisors and the Ames Competition, interest in the clubs decreased.

Series List

  1. Series I: Ames-Gray Law Club, 1883-19121883-1912
  2. Series II: Austin Law Club, 1885-18981885-1898
  3. Series III: Beale Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  4. Series IV: Blackstone Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  5. Series V: James Bryce Law Club, 1911-19181911-1918
  6. Series VI: Choate Law Club, 1909-19141909-1914
  7. Series VII: Cooley Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  8. Series VIII: Ellenborough Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  9. Series IX: English VI. Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  10. Series X: Forum Law Club, 1904-19051904-1905
  11. Series XI: George Gray Law Club, 1911-1912
  12. Series XII: Harlan Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  13. Series XIII: Holmes Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  14. Series XIV: Holt Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  15. Series XV: Kent Law Club, 1857-19171857-1917
  16. Series XVI: Langdell Law Club, 1911-19131911-1913
  17. Series XVII: Lowell Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  18. Series XVIII: Marshall Law Club, 1910-19841910-1984
  19. Series XIX: William H. Moody Law Club, 1906-19121906-1912
  20. Series XX: Parke Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  21. Series XXI: Parsons Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  22. Series XXII: Pound Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  23. Series XXIII: Smith Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  24. Series XXIV: Story Law Club, 1892-19121892-1912
  25. Series XXV: Thayer Law Club, 1880-19121880-1912
  26. Series XXVI: Warren Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  27. Series XXVII: Westengard Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  28. Series XXVIII: Williston Law Club, 1892-19711892-1971
  29. Series XXIX: Witenagemot Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  30. Series XXX: Bruce Wyman Law Club, 1911-19121911-1912
  31. Series XXXI: Compiled Volumes of various law clubs, 1912-19141912-1914

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Contact Curator of Modern Manuscripts and Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Erica C. Bicchieri, May 2003.
Link to catalog
Title
Harvard Law School. Student Law Club Records, 1857-1971: Finding Aid
Author
Harvard Law School Library, Cambridge, MA 02138
EAD ID
law00127

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository

Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.

Contact:
1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Langdell Hall
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-4550