Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Office of the Registrar

Overview

 

For 100 years, from 1899 to 1998, Stanford Law School published annual bulletins containing key information about the upcoming academic year. These bulletins are rich with background on faculty, staff, and students; lists of course offerings (often with descriptions and assigned textbooks); and other administrative miscellanea (e.g. annual tuition, admissions requirements).

The bulletins paint a picture of one American law school as it changed over the 20th Century. But they also paint a picture of the changing nature of legal education, and the changing character of those who chose to study law as students and academics.

In 2009, Professor Hank Greely found a trove of bulletins and set about digitizing them. Library Archivist Sarah Wilson (2013) and Research Assistant James Rathmell (2016, 2019) investigated the contents of the bulletins and began extracting data in an analyzable format.

This readme summarizes the objectives of the project to date, the contents of the associated repository, and the progress that Wilson and Rathmell made on the project through 2019. It then proposes areas for research.

Project Scope

 

The initial objectives of the project were to:

  • Understand the information that could be extracted from the bulletins
  • Create datasets about faculty/staff and coursework
  • Create timelines and galleries to explore faculty/staff and coursework

Resources Available

 

This site contains the following resources:

  • Courses: course timeline and dataset
  • Faculty & Staff: faculty timeline, staff, timeline, and explorable gallery
  • Bulletins: gallery of the bulletins with some information on faculty, courses, and students
  • Other Resources: additional background on the history of the Law School
  • GitHub Repository: contains the 111 bulletins in PDF format, datasets in CSV format, and additional resources

Areas for Future Exploration

 

The information contained in these bulletins is quite rich, and those interested should be able to glean fascinating insights about the changes in legal education, scholarship, and practice over the course of the 20th Century. Two key areas stand out as possible areas for exploration:

Curriculum. What was a law student expected to know at the end of a legal education, and how did this change? How did changes in curriculum offerings mirror changes in legal practice and scholarship? The bulletins also contain detailed descriptions of each course offering, which could be added to the information on this site.

The Law Student. The bulletins contain detailed information about the geographic and academic origins of each class of students. How did the composition of the student body change? One valuable contribution would be to extract the data into a machine-readable format, then visualize it on a mapflow map, or stream graph (see also R resources for stream graphs).