Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Title:School of Law records
Call Number:A06

Scope and Content Note

The records of Northeastern University School of Law consist of approximately nine cubic feet of material documenting the institution's administrative and educational activities from 1900 to 1998.  Because the collection lacked discernible order when it was received, the records were arranged into seven series, five of which parallel the School of Law's current administrative structure: (1) Early History, 1900-1922, (2) Office of the Dean, (3) Development/Alumni(ae) Relations, (4) Admissions, (5) Cooperative Education (6) Placement/Career Services, and (7) Publications. 

Material on the evolution of the School of Law from a series of evening courses sponsored by the Boston YMCA into a formal program of legal education can be found in Series I. Early History, 1900-1922, which contains material from the School of Law before Northeastern University was established.  Of special interest are two handwritten, bound volumes of minutes from annual and faculty meetings, documenting the early formation of the academic program, faculty appointments, activities, and policies of the School (Box 1, Folders 1, 9).

Also of interest are two questionnaires (Boxes 1-2, Folders 11-14) completed by the School of Law in 1942 and 1977.  These questionnaires were required by the American Bar Association (ABA) for accreditation purposes and document the School's evolution. The School also completed two reports to the State of New York Court of Appeals, providing evidence of compliance with ABA standards and defending its cooperative education system (Box 2, Folders 16-17; Box 27, Folders 1-3).  In addition, the American Association of Law Schools' reports on the School of Law's program can be found in Box 2, Folders 18-19.  

The collection holds some information on the closing of the School of Law, such as the official statement issued by President Ell and the Board of Trustees on the decision to discontinue the law program (Box 2, Folder 21). The formal announcement issued by the Board of Trustees on the resurrection of the School of Law can be found in Box 20, Folder 439.  Other materials on the reopening of the School of Law can be found in Series II. Office of the Dean (Box 2, Folder 47) and in Series III. Development/Alumni(ae) Relations (Box 20, Folder 439).  Of particular interest is an article written by Thomas J. O'Toole, Dean of the School of Law from 1967-1971, and published in the "American Bar Association Journal" in 1968 (Box 3, Folder 43) describing the innovative cooperative education plan and the mission of the School. 

The collection contains minimal correspondence of the deans of the School of Law.  The existing correspondence, however, documents academic activities of the School.  Of particular interest is correspondence with President Knowles, the University's Cooperative Education Department, and the Office of University Development, which reflects the School's early attempts to recruit employer participation in the cooperative education program (Box 20, Folder 450).  Additional information about the cooperative education program can be found in the publication "School of Law: The Nation's First on the Coop Plan" (Box 4, Folder 53), which describes the School's innovative plan to implement professional work experience into its law program.

Series III. Development/Alumni(ae) Relations contains the records of the Law Alumni Association (LAA).  These records document the LAA's intricate relationship with several University offices and groups, including the Alumni Office, Office of Development, and Alumni Council.  The bulk of the LAA's records falls between the dates of 1940-1970 and reveals the association's active role in fund raising and in special alumni events and activities.  Records of events and activities, such as the Annual Dinner, Annual Meeting, and Alumni(ae) Day can be found in Boxes 16-20, Folders 346-355, 361-380, 387, 395-397, 428-436, and they include invitations, programs, agendas, recognition awards, and attendance sheets. Of special interest are the records of the LAA and the Office of University Development on the fund-raising drive to reopen the School of Law (Boxes 20-21, 25, Folders 454-456, 572-573).  Also of interest is the constitution of the LAA which is located in Box 16, Folder 360 and outlines the organization's mission and structure.

The majority of the correspondence in the collection was written and received by various officers of the LAA, concerning member dues, pledge drives, voting ballots, upcoming events and assigned tasks.  Most of this correspondence is located in various subject files, such as Annual Activities, Notices and Bulletins, Memberships, and Correspondence (Boxes 16-20, Folders 346-355, 361-380, 387, 395-397, 428-436). 

The LAA also kept records on its alumni, documenting address changes, employment positions, and gift prospects (Box 18, Folders 395-397).  Some of the information was recorded on 3 x 5 index cards (Box 18, Folders 389-391).  In addition, the Association documented its activities in minutes from meetings of its various committees, such as the Executive Committee, Planning Committee and Campaign Committee (Boxes 16-20, Folders 346-355, 361-365, 428-436).  The Executive Committee was the governing body which decided and implemented policies; the Planning Committee arranged events and activities; the Campaign Committee managed fund-raising drives.  

The School of Law sponsored various student publications, such as the first female law student newspaper, "Pro:Se" (Box 4, Folder 69) and the official student newsletter, "WE Weekly" (Boxes 4-15, Folders 70-331).  The purpose of "Pro:Se" was to maintain communication and sisterhood of female law students around the country and to give coverage to events and projects that concerned women's struggles for equality and humanity. "WE Weekly" began as a report concerning schedules of committee meetings, courses, and activities; it eventually expanded to a newsletter that informed students, especially those on coop assignment, of news and events of the School of Law.  While the collection holds only one issue of "Pro:Se," "WE Newsletter" is almost a complete from its establishment in 1972 through 1995; a few issues in 1973, 1975, 1986, 1987, and 1995 are missing.  In addition, the collection contains the newsletter, "NewsBriefs" (Boxes 18-19, Folders 400-427), which is distributed to alumni/ae and friends of the School of Law and reports news about alumni/ae and development programs and activities (“NewsBriefs” published after Spring 1994 are held in the NU Publications collection). 

Series V. Admissions contains course catalogs of the School from 1941-1996, with some gaps (Boxes 21-22, 25, Folders 463-480, 558-560).

Series VI. Placement/Career Services contains material that reveals the office's relationship with the LAA and Alumni(ae) Relations Department.  The Placement/Career Services department helped organized and arranged alumni events and activities, such as lectures, parties, and trips (Box 22, Folders 487-495).