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Moritz College of Law

Law Library

College History: Digital Collections & Archives: Home

Descriptions and links to Moritz Law Library digital collections, library print resources and archival collections relating to College of Law history.

Moritz Digital Archives in the Knowledge Bank

University Archives

1910 Law Class Football Team

125th Anniversary, 1891-2016

Introduction: College History & Overview of Collections

Digital Collections and Library Resources on College of Law History

This guide provides an introduction to digital collections and other library resources relating to College of Law history. Historical print materials include the College of Law class composite photographs (1902-present), alumni and student publications, law journals, bulletins, directories and more.  Selected College publications as well as the earlier law class composites (prior to 1997) have been digitized and are now available online in the University's open access, institutional repository known as the Knowledge Bank.

Users may browse the digital collections or visit the Moritz Law Library to research College history relating to people, programs, events and buildings including courses and degree requirements, student organizations and activities, faculty and administration, graduating classes, clinics, law journals, library, Moot Court and special events such as hooding, dedication ceremonies and more.

The University Archives also maintains collected papers, photographs and other materials relating to the history of the College of Law. Depending on researchers' interests and needs, specific questions or requests for assistance may be emailed to

In 2016, the College celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding in 1891.  Currently, the Moritz website features the 125th anniversary with photos and a timeline of major events in the College's history-- including some of the most influential people and ideas that contributed to the spirit, growth and forward momentum of the College over the past decades.  

Brief Timeline: Moritz College of Law History

1891 - The first law classes were held on October 1, 1891, meeting in the Franklin County Court House with 33 students including one woman. The Board of Trustees had voted earlier that summer to establish a Law department within the University. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Marshall J. Williams served as the first dean. 

In December 1891, the library was formed with a gift from Elizabeth Noble of 1,500 volumes from the law library of her husband, the late Honorable Henry C. Noble of Columbus.

1893 - William F. Hunter was appointed as the first full-time dean, serving until 1904.

1894 - Classes were moved to the main campus, meeting in Hayes Hall and later relocating to Orton Hall to accomodate the growing library. In addition to the Noble Law Library, a gift of $3,000 from Emerson McMillin in 1894 was designated specifically for the library.

1896 - The Law department was re-established as the College of Law within the University.

1901 - The college became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.

1903 - Page Hall was constructed with a bequest from Circleville lawyer Henry Folsom Page. Students lobbied in support of naming the building in honor of Dean Hunter, but their objections were overruled. Page Hall was home to the College of Law until 1959.

The law library was located on the second floor of Page Hall and eventually included two reading rooms, the East Room and the West Room, with stacks located in the center. In 1903, when the College moved into Page Hall, the library comprised some 3,500 volumes including the Noble, McMillin and Critchfield collections and sets of the Ohio code.  

1915 - The Ohio State chapter of the Order of the Coif was formed.

1917 - Classes were suspended for a year due to lack of student enrollment during the first World War.

1926 - The Moot Court program was established.

1932 - An honor code proposed by the students was approved by the faculty, one of the first adopted by an American law school.

1934 - The Student Bar Association was organized. 

1935 - The Ohio State Law Journal began publication under the auspices of the Student Bar Association. An article published in the inaugural issue noted that the library held 33,000 volumes at the time.The Legal Aid Clinic was also established the same year, initially under student leadership with support from the SBA, the Columbus Barrister's Club and Columbus Family Bureau. The College later absorbed the clinic, placing it under the direction of Professor Silas Harris.

1947 - Professor Ervin H. Pollack was hired as director of the law library, a position he held until his death in 1972. The library collection included 55,000 volumes at the time of his hiring and had been previously under the control of University Libraries. Pollack was instrumental in greatly expanding the library's collection, teaching legal research and developing a system of classification for the law collection. Pollack's classification scheme was adopted by other libraries and remained in use for several decades until Library of Congress classification was later developed for legal materials.

1948 - The Ohio State Law Journal resumed publication after a six-year hiatus during World War II. The College of Law Alumni Association was established.

1955 - Ground breaking ceremonies for the new Law building on High Street took place on April 30, 1955.

1959 - Final construction on the Law building, which occurred in two phases, was completed. The library collection, including some 150,000 volumes, was moved from Page Hall to the new building at the end of the year. The law library was among the largest in the nation by this time, ranking seventh among law school libraries.

1960 - The new building was dedicated on April 23, 1960, culminating three days of ceremonies including the annual Law Day and a conference for federal judges of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The Honorable Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States, delivered the dedicatory address, with Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart also in attendance.

1961 - The National Council was created to provide alumni leadership in support of the College.

1967 - The John W. Bricker Endowed Faculty Chair, the College's first named professorship, was established by friends in honor of John W. Bricker, '20.

1970 - The library collection included over 270,000 volumes, the largest law library in the state of Ohio and one of the largest in the nation.

1983 - The Mediation Clinic was established, one of the earliest of its kind among American law schools.

1984 - The college adopted a new academic calendar, switching from quarters to the semester system. The Oxford summer program, including an undergraduate pre-law program, was established. 

1985 - The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution began publication.

1990 - Groundbreaking for the new Law Building Addition was held on Oct. 6, 1990.

1991 - The college concluded the successful Centennial Campaign, raising over $15 million, the largest, single campaign in American legal education at the time.

1992 - Construction on the College of Law building was completed, allowing for expansion of the library collection, faculty offices, and student services.

1995 - The newly-renovated Drinko Hall was named in honor of John Deaver Drinko, '44, a Cleveland lawyer and businessman whose leadership contribution helped to launch the College's Centennial Campaign.

1996 - The Justice for Children Clinic was established.

1998 - The law library was named the Moritz Law Library in recognition of a generous gift from the family of Michael E. Moritz, '61.

2000 - The Legislation Clinic was formed, allowing students to work on legislative matters pending before the Ohio House and Senate.

2001 - Michael E. Moritz, '61, donated $30 million to the College of Law, designated for new student scholarships, faculty chairs and a wide range of academic programs. The gift was the largest, single donation to the University and among the most significant to any law school at the time. The College was dedicated and named in his honor as the Michael E. Moritz College of Law.

2002 - The Washington, D.C. summer program was established.

2003 - The Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law began publication.

2004 - The Moritz College of Law began offering a Master in the Study of Law (M.S.L.) degree for graduate students in non-law fields.

2004 -  I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society began publication. The Election Law @ Moritz program was established.

2006 - The Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal began publication.

2007 - The College admitted its first Master of Laws (LL.M.) class for international lawyers in the fall, a program that has continued to develop and thrive with students from around the world seeking application each year.

2007 - The Program on Law and Leadership was established to organize programs and events around leadership for Moritz students.

2014 - The Public Service Law Center was opened in newly-renovated quarters in Drinko Hall, facilitating faculty, student and alumni involvement in public service and access to justice initiatives.


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Mary Rider Hamburger
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