Law Library

Virtual History of the Law Library

  • Georgetown University Law Library 1887–2011
  • Georgetown Law School started in 1870,
    and matriculated 25 male students for $80 a year
  • 1870–1887: U.S. Capitol Library was
    open "seven hours daily" for law students
  • 1870–1887: Riggs Library, on the main campus,
    was open to law students
  • 1872–1882: Law School moved in 1872 to
    Old Washington Seminary but still no law library
  • 1884: Law School moves into its fourth building,
    a former private residence at 6th & F
  • 1887: and then there was a law library
    First card catalog printed in 1888
  • 1887–1891: Early library rules
  • 1891: Law School moves to 506 E St.,
    first one built & owned by the school,
    with finally … a law library!
  • 1891–1920: Georgetown Law School expands
    first along E Street, then again along 6th
  • 1891: Law School had a coffee shop
    next door at 510 E. Street
  • 1891–1954: Law Library had
    dark and gloomy stacks
  • 1891–1954: Early library staff were highly trained,
    dedicated & professional law students!
  • 1891–1954: In 1912, the first issue of the
    Georgetown Law Journal is published
  • 1920: Georgetown Law School expanded around the corner to the Annex on 6th Street and celebrated its 50th anniversary
  • 1920: Newly remodeled Law Library
    moved into old auditorium
  • 1950s: Law Library expanded into the Annex,
    but books STILL did not circulate
  • 1935: Professor Joseph Gaghan becomes first Law Librarian appointed since Dean Martin Hoffman in the 1880s
  • 1944–1954: Library Staff during World War II included Marie Stoll, the Law School Registrar. She became Law Library Director while Director Gaghan was serving in the military.
  • 1954: John Harrison (Harry) Boyles (L'1948) becomes second Law Librarian and Professor of Law
  • 1956: Law Library in 1956 had not
    changed much since the 1890s
  • 1954–1971: Helen Steinbinder (L'1955, L'1956) was the first law librarian with a Master's degree in Library Science, as well as a J.D. and an LL.M. She became the Law Center's first tenured woman faculty.
  • 1954–1971: Law Library in the 1960s was crowded
  • 1954–1971: Law Library in the 50s, 60s & 70s had no room to grow: books are stacked in hallways and under windows, and it was still so dark
  • 1954–1971: New microcard reader, for the first microfilm, added to the Law Library in 1955
  • 1954–1971: Carroll Auditorium
  • 1968: Law Center purchases lot at New Jersey Ave. & 1st St. & begins construction of a new Law Center building, where this liquor store is. The building to the right is on the site of the future Williams Law Library.
  • 1954–1971: Holmes & Son Bakery and liquor store occupy space of present McDonough Hall
  • 1954–1971: Bernard McDonough Hall in 1971
  • 1971–1982: Building at 506 E Street
    was demolished in 1972
  • 1971–1982: Arch over the entrance of the
    Georgetown Law Department at 506 E Street is all that remains on the Law Library Quad today
  • 1971–1982: Judge Charles Fahy Reading Room
  • 1971–1982: Card Catalog
  • 1971–1982: Library Lounge
  • 1971–1982: Copy room
  • 1971–1982: Micro media room
  • "The Pits" — Popular name for recessed area
    near McDonough, now covered
  • 1971–1982: Crowded conditions
    were nothing new
  • "The Fishbowl" — Popular name for library reading lounge on McDonough's 2nd Floor
  • Harry "Terry" S. Martin, III — 3rd Law Librarian
    & Professor of Law, 1976–1981
  • 1977: First Lexis terminal for student use;
    available a few hours each day
  • Robert L. Oakley, 4th Law Librarian, Library Director,
    and Professor of Law, 1982–2007
  • 1982: First reference desk available,
    though without computers
  • 1986: Parking lot at 111 G Street
    finally purchased for new law library
  • 1987: Groundbreaking of building for
    Edward Bennett Williams Law Library
  • Assistant Registrar Barbara Monroe and son
    Williams Law Library groundbreaking
  • 1987: Library turns 100
  • 1987: Library staff celebrates 100 years
  • 1982–1989: Construction, construction, construction
  • And the building goes up
  • 1989: The new Edward Bennett Williams
    Law Library
  • Williams Library Reference Desk
  • International Collection,
    formerly in Williams, 1st Floor
  • Williams Library Atrium and Circulation Desk
  • Media Services, formerly on Williams 3rd Floor
  • Williams Reading Room
  • Eric Hotung International Law Center,
    John Wolff International & Comparative Law Library,
    and Health & Fitness Center
  • Law Library Staff, 2004
  • Michelle Wu, 5th Law Librarian,
    Library Director and Professor of Law, 2010–
  • Across three blocks and three centuries,
    into the future…

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Google Map Image  of Georgetown - Law Center. Georgetown Law Library 111 G. Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001



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