Digital Collections & Exhibitions

Over the past decade the Law Library’s most prominent initiative has been the creation, preservation, and management of digital content. All of our digital content is freely available to researchers and searchable through the main Special Collections search page or through the curated exhibits for individual collections below.

The UVa Scottish Papers Collection consists of printed and formerly bound case materials presented before the Scottish Court of Session, the highest civil court in Scotland, from 1759 to 1834. As a court of appeal and of first instance, the Court of Session held jurisdiction over contract and commercial cases, matters of succession and land ownership, divorce proceedings, intellectual property and copyright disputes, and contested political elections.   Despite its seat in Edinburgh, the legal disputes that came before the Court of Session often spanned the Atlantic, and the petitions, memorials, and maps included in this collection offer researchers a rich portal into life and law in the 18th- and 19th-century British empire.

The 1828 Catalogue Project is an ongoing effort of Special Collections at the University of Virginia Law Library to reconstruct the first legal library at UVA. For the past forty years, we have been quietly working to amass the 375 law titles included in the Catalogue, an inventory of books in the University of Virginia Library compiled by University librarian William Wertenbaker. This online collection presents a virtual bookshelf to explore the books we have acquired so far.

Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an exhibition that explores Justice Ginsburg’s connection to and legacy with the UVA Law community. Materials include photographs of UVA Law faculty and former clerks with Justice Ginsburg, popular culture items, and recollections and memorabilia from her 1981 and 1997 visits to the Law School. The exhibit is online and on display in the entryway to the Law Library.

The Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson statues in Charlottesville, Virginia garnered national attention in 2017. Given this widespread interest, the Charlottesville Statues Legal History Research Guide provides resources for those interested in the statues' past and present. Researchers will find digitized copies of litigation documents from the ongoing court case, Payne v. City of Charlottesville. This guide also lists research materials, including municipal records, published texts, and archival collections, relating to the statues and the associated parks. In the coming months we will be adding content to these pages, including updated litigation documents, additional City Council minutes from the 1910s and 1920s, and expanded descriptions of archival collections.

The Special Collections staff are curators of the law school's substantial collection of photographs. Our digital collection features thousands of images featuring scenes from the School's long history, the earliest dating from the 1880s. Particularly rare and valuable, for example, are class photos from the late nineteenth century, and group shots of attendees at the Virginia Bar Association meetings in the early 1900s. Also included are photos of faculty and students, speakers or other visitors of the law school, alumni, and law school rooms and buildings.

A collection of André Kertész photographs consisting of fifty 8½ x 11 silver gelatin prints, donated by an anonymous alumnus of the School of Law in 1985. Together these prints, taken from 1925 to 1969, represent the central epoch in the life of Kertész—the flowering of his artistry when he first discovered Paris, his time of trials in mid-century New York, and a new wave of enthusiasm for art and life that Kertész experienced in the 1960s. This exhibition allows visitors to explore Kertész’s work through digital galleries while maps offer users the opportunity to explore Paris and New York with Kertész, providing geographic context for this remarkable collection of photographs.

A digital exhibit featuring nearly 6,000 sketches from artist Ida Libby Dengrove. Dengrove was the sketch artist for WNBC New York from 1972 to 1987. Her tenure coincided with a sharp rise in New York City’s crime rate, and she sketched some of the most noteworthy trials of the late twentieth century. She won two Emmys and was nominated twice more over the course of her career. This exhibit catalogued by topic, including 1,751 we were unable to identify or to link with a particular court case covers both criminal and civil trials – contested wills, Mafia dons, deportation hearings, murder, kidnapping, police brutality, and others. This collection, remarkable in its scope and artistry, offered an unprecedented window into American courtroom proceedings.

In May 1970, a student strike consumed the Grounds of the University of Virginia in protest over the Vietnam War and the shootings at Kent State University. Drawn from the law library’s May Days Oral History Program, this site tells the story of the law school legal marshals during UVA’s May Strike. Explore images and hear archival audio and oral history recollections from those who experienced the 1970 strike firsthand.

This collection provides a portal to investigate the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) through the papers of three members of the prosecution team and one defense counsel member. Informally known as the Tokyo War Crimes trial, the trial lasted two and a half years, from April 29, 1946, to November 12, 1948. In contrast, the far better known international Nuremberg Trial lasted a little less than a year. Our database offers an extensive oneline collection of these materials. Scholars now have access to these primary documents to investigate legal precedence for the international criminal court while general users can learn more about this important but under-studied tribunal.

A group of UVA law librarians, faculty and alumni have assembled a database of drafting histories from the major post-World War II human rights treaties. Using the published guides to travaux préparatoires and the United Nations’ UNBISNET database, the UVA Law Library has sought to compile fully-searchable, digital copies of as many of the travaux préparatoires as we could find. The database will allow international law scholars, lawyers, and students around the world to study the origins and influences of several key sources of international law.