Along the way, we’ve learned tidbits and fun facts about the Supreme Court of Virginia, best practices for exhibits and oral history interviews, the serendipity of locating pictures and artifacts on the Internet (including eBay!) and how to cut foam core board in a straight line. It’s been challenging and rewarding. What sort of projects have we undertaken? Here are some highlights from the past year illustrating the new projects our library has completed:
Oral History Interviews
On March 27, 2013, we were delighted to have five judges who served on the newly-established Court of Appeals of Virginia gather in Richmond to share their reflections on the unique experience of helping create a new court in Virginia in 1984. The panel discussion was recorded at WCVE Studios in Richmond. Professor Cassandra Newby-Alexander moderated the conversation among Retired Judge James W. Benton, Jr., Senior Judge Sam W. Coleman III, Senior Justice Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr., U.S. Circuit Court Judge Barbara Milano Keenan, and U.S. District Court Senior Judge Norman K. Moon. Our collection of 21 oral history interviews (and corresponding transcripts) includes interviews of retired justices, judges, court personnel and prominent civil rights attorneys.
A collection of audio and video and video recordings of court ceremonies, 1969-2011, was migrated from a variety of formats, including reel-to-reel tapes, audio cassette recordings, and VHS tapes, to a digital format. In the near future, we plan to add some of these digital files to our collection in the Legal Information Archive at: http://cdm16064.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/
We presented a program at the Judicial Conference of Virginia on May 14, 2013 titled, “Completing the Historical Record: Preserving Your Judicial Papers.” Informational resources for judges considering donation of their papers to an archival repository were provided at a table in the conference exhibit area. Our program was followed by Corinna Lain, Professor of Law at the University of Richmond, who graciously mentioned how much she has depended on judge's papers in her legal history research. Building on this presentation, we have crafted a communication to send to appellate court judges and justices upon their retirement, encouraging them to consider the preservation of their chambers' papers.
This month we installed a new exhibit in the display cases on the third floor of the Supreme Court Building. Our exhibit commemorates the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the Virginia Bar Association and the 75th Anniversary of the organization of the Virginia State Bar. Our summer and fall semester interns from VCU’s History Department assisted with the research and preparation of caption cards for the exhibit. An “online” version of the exhibit is available at the Virginia Judiciary Web Site by clicking on The Bar at Work: http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/scv/hc/home.html