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.
The initial objectives of the project were to:
This site contains the following resources:
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 map, flow map, or stream graph (see also R resources for stream graphs).
The SLS History is a project that was led by Prof. Hank Greely, it contains rich information on faculty, staff, students, and lists of course offerings published in the Stanford Law School Bulletins from 1899-1998.
The project started in 2009 and was completed in 2019.
For questions regarding this project please contact Special Collections.