Collection Information

Accession Number RG 100
Access Restricted
Use Restrictions Access Restricted to Law School Deans
Location SC - Basement
Digitized Content 28 Objects - Click to Jump to Digitized Content

Collection Description & Arrangement

Biographical & Historical Information

History of the Deanship

It was not until the University was almost ninety years old that its first president was appointed. Previously the chairmanship of the general faculty was filled by a faculty member elected annually. By the turn of the century, however, the administrative duties had become too demanding for a teaching professor to handle efficiently, and so in 1904 Edwin A. Alderman assumed the newly created position of president. He appointed deans for each of the four "minor" faculties: academic, law, medical and engineering; these men, in turn, carried out most of the administrative responsibilities of their departments.

When William Minor Lile, an 1882 graduate of the Law School, became the first dean of the School of Law in September of 1904, the law faculty was comprised of himself, Raleigh Colston Minor and Charles A. Graves. Classes for about 200 students met in a wing of the recently restored Rotunda, and the law library was housed in a section of its basement. The size of the student body held around 200 until after the Law School moved to John B. Minor Hall in 1911, but the faculty had already begun expanding to include Armistead M. Dobie, Charles W. Paul, and George B. Eager, Jr. Both Eager and Dobie filled in for Dean Lile at times when his health was poor. In 1932 when Dobie became dean, the administrative duties had grown to the point that the dean needed an assistant, Eager became the obvious choice. In that same year and only 21 years after moving to Minor Hall, the Law School moved to a new, larger building donated and named after William Andrew Clark, Jr., Class of 1899. During the thirties the number of faculty members remained below ten, and administrative chores were relatively slight.

An alumnus and law professor since 1921, Frederick D. G. Ribble became the third dean in 1939, but his service was soon interrupted by World War II which came close, as had the Civil War and World War I, but did not succeed in bringing the Law School to a halt. After the war, as the size of the student body mushroomed, Ribble patiently and persistently began his campaign for expanding the faculty and raising salaries to a level competitive with comparable law schools. It was not until the mid-1960s, when Ribble had retired and Hardy Cross Dillard had succeeded him, that these goals for the faculty were realized. During this decade the administration of the school of about 700 hundred students and 35 faculty members became too demanding for two men, and another assistant dean was hired. In the late sixties and early seventies Monrad G. Paulsen, the first non-alumnus to become dean of the Law School, implemented an even greater increase in the size and quality of the faculty, as well as raises in their salaries, and saw continued growth of the student body. In 1974 the Law School changed quarters for the third time since the turn of the century, moving this time about a mile north of the Rotunda.

Acquisition Information

Date Received 2011

Use Policy

Access Restricted
Use Restrictions Access Restricted to Law School Deans
Preferred Citation
Unless otherwise stated, digital materials in our collections are available for use under a Creative Commons BY 4.0 License (CC-BY-4.0). For Use and Citation guidelines, see Special Collections Use Policy.