Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky

PRESS RELEASE

UofL Law Library Enhances Its Digital Collection

January 6, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville Law Library, in conjunction with University Libraries, has enhanced its digital collection with the addition of 88 plates from H. Levin's Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky (1897).  The illustrations are portraits of lawyers active in Kentucky’s first century of statehood. The persons portrayed include the nationally famous, like U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan and Senator Henry Clay, but the majority of the illustrations are of lawyers whose greatest prominence was in the cities and towns of Kentucky where they practiced their trade.  The Law Library Collection can be accessed at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/collections/law/.

Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky is an important biographical source for information about the Kentucky bench and bar in the 19th century.  The 777-page encyclopedia attempted to capture the geographical breadth of the state’s legal community in 1897 by surveying all of Kentucky’s disparate regions. While most of the work consists of detailed biographies, there are also historical sketches of legal institutions and articles on the bench and bar of Kentucky’s cities, towns and counties.

Good copies of the original 1897 edition are relatively rare.  The Southern Historical Press published a xerographically reproduced edition in 1982 that is available in many libraries, but the reprint edition made little attempt to replicate the 88 high-quality illustrations in any detail. This collection attempts to remedy this by digitizing these illustrations. They derive from an unusually well-preserved copy of the original work found in the rare books collection of the University of Louisville Law Library.  

The Law Library’s digital collection draws on the varied collections of the Law Library of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. The first titles to be made available were the William Littell's Statute Law of Kentucky, which compiles all the legal enactments relating to Kentucky from its beginning as a district of Virginia to 1819, and Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Kentucky (1849), a rare transcript of the debates of the convention that drafted Kentucky's third constitution.

For more information, contact Virginia M. Smith at (502) 852-2075.