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Archives & Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections Department of the Biddle Law Library preserves, promotes, and provides access to the the papers and records of two major legal organizations: The American Law Institute (ALI), and the National Bankruptcy Archives. The archives also houses select Penn Law institutional records and a number of smaller archival collections. This includes the personal papers of early Penn Law Dean and ALI co-founder William Draper Lewis, Penn Law graduate and Philadelphia lawyer Bernard G. Segal, and United States Court of Appeals Judge David L. Bazelon.  


The Archives of the American Law Institute (ALI)

The ALI was established in 1923 by judges, lawyers, and law professors in an effort to promote the clarification, simplification, and scholarship of the law. The ALI Archives contains over 800 cubic feet of material documenting the administration, organization and work of the Institute, from early projects like the restatement of basic legal subjects to a collaboration with NCCUSL in developing and monitoring the Uniform Commercial Code.

The National Bankruptcy Archives (NBA)

In 2000 the Biddle Law Library and the American College of Bankruptcy collaborated to establish the National Bankruptcy Archives (NBA), a national repository of materials relating to the history of debtor-creditor relations, bankruptcy and the reorganization of debt. The NBA currently contains over 1,000 linear feet of personal papers and institutional records. 

Biddle Law Library Collections

The Biddle Law Library collections consist of manuscript collections, rare books, oral histories, special collections, and a select number of Penn Law School records. The manuscript collections include the papers of George Wharton Pepper, Bernie Segal, William Draper Lewis, and David L. Bazelon. The Raymond F. Trent Collection consists of books, periodicals, articles, and audio tapes concerning the history of education and practice of black lawyers in the United States. Some records relating to the operations of Penn Law are maintained by the University Archives. Please contact us for more information.

Access and Hours

*Beginning 3/12/2020 Biddle Archives is canceling all on-site research visits until further notice and will have limited availability for remote research requests. 

Monday-Friday 9:30 am to 4:00 pm*
By appointment