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Moritz College of Law

Law Library

College History: Digital Collections & Archives: College of Law Class Composites

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

Search the Collection in the OSU Knowledge Bank

Search Tips

The OSU College of Law Class Composites (1902-1996) archived in the Knowledge Bank are a useful resource for locating the names and pictures of earlier graduates. An item record is available for each composite that includes a list of the law faculty and graduates pictured with the class. Online users may link to the item record and/or view the digital image to look for names of individuals pictured with graduating classes between 1902 and 1996 for years in which composites are available.

Library visitors may also browse the complete collection of print composites (1902-present) that remains on permanent display inside the front entrance to the Moritz Law Library.

Overview and Description of the Collection

Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Class Composites

About the Collection

The OSU Moritz College of Law Class Composite collection (1902-2019) consists of individual photographs of faculty and students assembled as composites of the graduating law classes. The collection includes the original, poster-size composite prints or more recent reprints that vary in quality and condition, generally ranging in size from 12 x 18 inches, up to 28 x 22 inches or larger. The names of individual faculty and students are included, although not every class member is pictured. Occasionally, students are pictured with more than one class. Composites are not available for the following years: 1919, 1924,1925, 1944,1945 and 1978. 

The College of Law composite photographs for the graduating classes of 1902-1996 have been digitized and are available online in the University Libraries' institutional repository known as the Knowledge Bank. The original print composites for all of the available class years (1902-2019) are displayed inside the main entrance to the Moritz Law Library.

Background and History of the Collection

In 1902, the year in which the first class composite was issued, the College was becoming well-established under its first full-time dean, Dean William F. Hunter, and had joined the American Association of Law Schools as a charter member. Nearly a decade after the first law classes were held in October 1891, the College was about to move into permanent quarters in the newly-constructed Page Hall, which would house the law school for more than 50 years. Page Hall is featured prominently in many of the early composites for the graduating classes following its dedication and opening in 1903.

Over the decades, the class composite photographs reflect changes in law school enrollment that mirrored societal changes and larger, historical events impacting the College and the nation. For instance, both women and minorities are represented in graduating classes from the earliest days, although not in great numbers until much later.

Both World Wars disrupted classes and student enrollment declined sharply during wartime. During World War I, classes were halted for a time and no composite is available for the graduating class of 1919 which included only a few members. The 1920 class composite was compiled many years later and presented to the College by a class member, William Dougherty, '20 who gathered individual photos from various sources including old Makio yearbooks. Enrollment continued to be low in the early 1920's and composites apparently were never created for the classes of 1924 and 1925.

Enrollment gradually grew from the late 1920’s into the Depression-era 1930’s and student involvement also increased at this time. The Student Bar Association was organized in 1934 and the class President, Carl Tucker, is identified in that year's class composite for the first time. Class officers, student leaders and law journal editors are frequently identified in later composites. As the country entered World War II, student enrollment plummeted again. Law classes continued during the war with a few remaining faculty, but composites were not created for the years 1944 and 1945.

By the late 1940's, law school classes expanded rapidly as returning veterans enrolled and a new law curriculum was developed. Class sizes continued to grow steadily throughout the 1950’s. By the end of the decade, with new programs and a larger faculty under the leadership of Dean Frank R. Strong, the law school relocated to the new Law Building on High Street, dedicated in April 1960. Law classes had been meeting in the new building for several years before the facility was finally completed.

The 1970’s and 1980’s marked a period of especially rapid growth for the College, with average class sizes nearly doubling from those of previous years. Increased University support and recruitment initiatives promoted enrollment and increased the diversity of entering classes. Significant alumni involvement in fund-raising, including the highly successful Centennial Campaign of 1991, helped to fund a major building renovation and new addition. In 1995, the renovated law building was dedicated and named Drinko Hall, in honor of John D. Drinko, '44.

In 2001, the College was named the Michael E. Moritz College of Law in honor of a Michael E. Moritz, '61 following his transformative gift to endow student scholarships, faculty chairs and programs. Class composites continued to be issued through 2019, after which the practice ceased during the pandemic. The digital collection of Law Class Composite Photographs (1902-1996) is freely available to all internet users through the University Libraries' Knowledge Bank.