Program in Law and History


The University of Iowa has a proud tradition of scholarship and teaching in the field of legal history. Among the many legal historians who have taught at the University of Iowa are Professors Percy Bordwell (d. 1970), Donald Sutherland (d. 1986), and Henry Horwitz (emeritus 2004), and Mary Dudziak (now at USC Law School). Legal historians now at the University of Iowa College of Law include Herbert Hovenkamp (who holds the Willie Chair in legal history), Lea VanderVelde, Carolyn Jones, Linda Kerber, and Thomas Gallanis (see profiles below). The Program in Law and History, founded in its current form in 2009, builds on this tradition by bringing together faculty and students to foster teaching and research and/or teaching at the intersection of law and history.

For an article on the Program, click here.

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The Program in Law and History will host the following events:

Donald W. Sutherland Memorial Lecture in Legal History
The Lecture honors the memory of Donald W. Sutherland, the late Carver Professor of History and Law at the University of Iowa.

The inaugural Sutherland Lecture was given in 2011 by Professor Thomas P. Gallanis of the University of Iowa, on the topic - The Evolution of the Common Law.  A video podcast in .mp4 format is available here.

We are delighted to announce that the next Sutherland Lecture will be given by Professor Linda Colley CBE, who holds the Shelby M.C. Davis 1958 Professorship in the Department of History at Princeton University. Professor Colley will deliver the lecture at a date to be determined in Fall 2014.

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The Program in Law and History includes the following faculty, in alphabetical order, with their fields of research in legal history:

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Joint Degree Program

At Iowa, JD students are able to develop joint degree programs with most graduate colleges and departments in the University. The cross-crediting feature of the joint degree program allows students to receive the JD and another graduate/professional degree by taking 12 to 24 hours (equivalent to one or two semesters) less course work than would be necessary if the two degrees were pursued independently. For more information on the Joint Degree Program, click here.

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Library Resources in Legal History

The Rare Book Room in the Library of the College of Law houses rare and irreplaceable books, manuscripts, and special collections. The Law Library owns two significant antiquarian collections. The first is the Leist collection, consisting of German, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Canon Law volumes. The Law Library purchased the 3,000 volume Leist Collection in 1920.

The second rare book collection is from the estate of William Gardiner Hammond, the first Chancellor (Dean) of the University of Iowa College of Law. The Hammond Historical Collection contains about 1,200 volumes of early English and civil law materials.

The Rare Book Room is located on the Law Library's third floor, and provides special climate control and fire protection for its priceless contents.

For more information, click here.

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The following links are to legal history web pages outside the University of Iowa.

Searchable Primary Sources

Anglo-American Legal Tradition (AALT)
Bracton on the Laws and Customs of England
British Tracts, 17th-19th Centuries (University of Missouri)
Bureau of Land Management: General Land Office Records
Harvard Law Library Digital Collections
Henry III Fine Rolls
Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties
Justinian's Code Annotated (University of Wyoming)
London Lives 1690-1800: Crime, Poverty and Social Policy
Official U.K. Legislation 1267-Present
Old Bailey Sessions Papers
Seipp’s Abridgement of Year Book Cases
St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records
Triangle Legal History Seminar: Legal History on the Web
U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates 1774-1875
Yale Law School Avalon Project

Organizations and Centers

American Society for Legal History 
Ames Foundation
European Society for Comparative Legal History
Institute for Constitutional History
Law and Society Association
Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Selden Society

Journals and Blogs

Journal of Legal History
Law and History Review
Legal History Blog
Legal History Review

List of Legal History Journals [pdf]

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Room 454, Boyd Law Building
Phone 319-335-9018

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