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History of the Law Library and About Our Namesake

The Law Library was officially created by the Board of Trustees of The Cincinnati College in 1874. From this time until 1925 the administration of the Law Library was handled primarily by the Standing Committee on the Library. The Library of 1874 was established with an appropriation of $5,000 with an additional $1,500 appropriated annually for ongoing expenses.

During the period of 1888 to 1925, the Dean and faculty took over the responsibility of selecting, purchasing, and paying for the books for the Library. By 1903 the book ollection consisted of 12,000 volumes and the reading room seated 300, a capacity not reached again until the present building.

In 1918 the Cincinnati Law School and the University of Cincinnati merged forming the University of Cincinnati College of Law. In 1925 Mr. and Mrs. Charles Taft gave $75,000 to the University of Cincinnati to construct a building for the Law School. Taft Hall was dedicated in October 1925. The Library contained about 14,000 volumes.

Alfred K. Morrison was the law librarian from 1927 to 1949. He held the distinction of being the first editor of the Cincinnati Law Review. After Mr. Morrison's retirement in 1949, Robert Mace became the Law Librarian. He held the post until 1956. The size of the collection at that time had grown to 40,000 volumes.

The new law librarian in 1956 was William Jeffrey Jr., the first librarian of the Law Library to hold a library science degree. He came very well qualified, having been the Librarian of the Law Library at Drake University, and the Assistant Librarian at both Harvard and Yale Law Libraries.

The Robert S. Marx estate donated $425,000 in the early 1960’s to finance the construction of the Robert S. Marx Law Library. The building, which had shelf space for 100,000 volumes, was completed in 1964 and dedicated in 1965. Mr. Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gave the dedicatory address.

By 1972, the collection had expanded so greatly that there was approximately one year of shelf space remaining, making the physical facilities inadequate. The Ohio Board of Regents approved $6.25 million for construction of an enlarged building. The University and the alumni supplemented 2 million. During this period of time, Prof. Jeffrey retired as Law Librarian. In 1976 he was succeeded by Jorge Carro as the new Law Librarian. Mr. Carro had been the Law Librarian and associate professor at Ohio Northern University.

Removal of the wing portion of Taft Hall and construction of the new building were undertaken in the fall of 1979 when Prof. Gordon Christenson was Dean of the College of Law. The Law Library and law school addition were completed in the summer of 1982, making it one of the most attractive law schools in the nation. The brick interior walls, classic wooden bookcases, structural arches and bridges, and circular windows, give it a unique character. The new College of Law Library was dedicated in April 1983 by U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor.

The Urban Morgan Human Rights Institute was begun at the College in 1980. The Library received funds from the Institute to begin a special collection in the human rights field. Professor Carro retired to teach fulltime on the College of Law faculty in 1986. It was during his tenure that the new library was built.

In 1986, Taylor Fitchett became the Law Librarian. She had been the Associate Law Librarian at the Tulane Law Library. During the 1980s the Law Library holdings went online with the advent of the UCLID system, linking all libraries of the University.

Virginia Thomas served as Director of the Law Library and Information Technology from 2000 – 2009. In early 2009 she was succeeded by Kenneth J. Hirsh, formerly the Director of Computing Services at Duke University School of Law.

Robert S. Marx was the founder of the Disabled American Veterans. He was a graduate of Cincinnati Law School, a highly successful Cincinnati attorney, and a judge of the Cincinnati Superior Court. He also taught at the College of Law, and was an early proponent of skills training, having developed a course on "Facts" during the 1950's. He endowed the Marx Lecture Series, and his estate endowed the construction of a new library building in the early 1960's.