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Highlighted Archives Collection: The Penn Law Review

March 12, 2014

Written by William Chim, Archives and Special Collections Assistant

Since its inception in 1852 as the American Law Register, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review remains the oldest continuously published law journal in the United States. The Review is a student organization, run and edited by second and third-year law students, and currently publishes seven issues a year.

The Review was originally written and published entirely by practicing lawyers. It later expanded to accept contributions from judges and legal professors. By 1895, under the leadership of William Draper Lewis, the first full-time dean of Penn Law, the Review transferred to the Law School, and managed by the students. The student’s first fully edited and published volume was released in 1896. The Review’s current name was adopted in 1945 and has remained ever since.

This collection contains a selection of research and correspondence files used by Review editors and writers in the publication of articles, reviews, notes, comments, and other pieces from 1952 to1964. This includes original research on laws and legal issues of the day, correspondence with government and police officials throughout the United States, government reports and studies, and early drafts of articles and pieces for the Review. Correspondence includes a wide variety of typed and handwritten letters from Penn Law editors and accompanying responses and interviews.


The records are a fascinating look into the research and writing process of the Review throughout 1952 to1964, documenting the meticulous research undertaken to comprehensively detail and analyze the original published scholarship. The collection’s files are a testament to the tenacity of the Review‘s members to produce the highest quality legal scholarship and commentary of their time. The materials in this collection correspond to respectively published Review articles and piece, and which can be found in the Review Archives in Biddle Law Library or online through HeinOnline. All available details as to authorship, content, and date of publication of all materials provided.

The collection is now open to the research community. The finding aid can be found here. If you are interested in learning more about this collection, please email or stop by the Archives!