Archives & Special Collections

University Archives

The Law Schools’ Archives and Special Collections contain information on the founding of the school from its early days as the Hartford College of Law to the Law School today.  Collections span 1920-the present and include materials from the Dean’s office, Board of Trustee Minutes, Faculty Minutes, and records related to Commencement, student activities and organizations, academic and administrative departments and events, and the history of the various campus locations and buildings.  Records created by student groups and the Student Bar Association as well as those of the various law journals are an integral part of the collection.

Formats in the Archives include student newspapers, photographs, publications such as the Starr Report and the Graduate Report, course catalogs and Commencement programs, and marketing materials such as brochures, announcements, and posters as well as correspondence, meeting minutes, handbooks, and teaching and curriculum materials.

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Manuscripts and Special Collections include papers and research from alumni and faculty.  Several of the collections contain books both collected and used by the donor as well as their published works. A set of Arbitration files from the 1980s and a complete run of the Connecticut Law Tribune from 1986-2016 are included in the collection.

Notable Manuscript Collections

Charles C. Goetsch Collection of Litchfield Law School Notebooks 1790-1833

Charles C. Goetsch Collection of Litchfield Law School Notebooks 1790-1833 (MS 013)

After graduating from Harvard Law School's LL.M. program and while serving as a Visiting Scholar and American Bar Foundation Fellow in Legal History at the Yale Law School, Charles C. Goetsch '76 began identifying and collecting the most important Litchfield Law School Notebooks.  The Litchfield Law School was the first law school in America, founded by Judge Tapping Reeve in 1784.  Goetsch traveled to university libraries and historical societies where he obtained copies of the most representative notebooks from the Early Period (1790-1798) when Tapping Reeve alone lectured, the Middle Period (1798-1820) when Reeve and Gould lectured, and the Late Period (1820-1833) when Gould alone lectured: Eliphalet Dyer (1790-1793); Asa Bacon Jr. (1794); Seth P. Staples (1798); Daniel Sheldon Jr. (1798); Aaron Burr Reeve (1802-1807); Ely Warner (1808-1809); Timothy Follet (1812-1813); Origen Storrs Seymour (1824-1825) and George Flagg Mann (1826-1827).  Digitized copies of the original notebooks can be found here.  The Archives contain only photocopies of selected notebooks.

Shirley R. Bysiewicz Papers

Shirley R. Bysiewicz Papers (RG 05.10.01)

Shirley R. Bysiewicz was the first woman to become tenured professor at the School of Law.  From 1956-1983 she served as Director of the Law Library.  Concurrently, she was a professor of law and taught courses in Women and the Law, Juvenile Law, Elder Law and Legal Research and Writing.  She also taught the judicial clerkship clinic.  Bysiewicz was known as an advocate of children's rights and authored Juvenile Law Handbook."  She also wrote other legal books among them  Dictionary of Legal Terms and Effective Legal Research.  Bysiewicz was involved in many organizations outside the law school.  She was appointed to the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, organized a committee on the status of women for the Connecticut Bar Association, and was a member of the Association of American Law School Committee on Women in Legal Education. The Bysiewicz papers reflect her time at the University of Connecticut School of Law from 1956 to 1989.  Bysiewicz retired from the law school in 1990.  In 1993, to honor her legacy and service to the law school as professor and librarian, the library named the reading area on the 3rd floor of the library the Shirley Raissi Bysiewicz ’54 Reading Lounge.

Joseph Steffan Collection

Joseph Steffan Collection (MS 004):

The Joseph Steffan Papers span the years 1987 to 1994.  The Collection includes legal documents, Naval Academy papers, correspondence, media coverage, and a draft of his book Honor Bound.  Steffan studied at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (1983-1987), North Dakota State University (1987-1989) and the University of Connecticut School of Law (1991-1994), where he received a J.D.

On April 1, 1987 the Naval Academic Board at Annapolis, where Joseph Steffan was enrolled and in his last year, recommended that Steffan be dismissed under Performance Manual Sec. 2.153e-Homosexuality.  Steffan resigned from the Naval Academy six weeks short of his graduation date.  In 1988, Steffan, with the help of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, wrote to the Secretary of the Navy to request that his letter of resignation be withdrawn and he be reinstated.  There was no response to the request.  On January 29, 1989, Joseph Steffan v. Richard Cheney, was filed in the Federal District courthouse in Washington D.C.. in an effort to get Steffan reinstated.  Judge Oliver Gasch was assigned the case.  As the case gained national attention Marc Wolinsky, an attorney at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, became the representing lawyer in the case.  In 1993, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Steffan and ordered him reinstated.  The Navy appealed the case and in 1994 the U. S. Court of appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the order in Joseph C. Steffan v. William J. Perry.

Wesley W. Horton Collection

Wesley W. Horton Collection (MS 005): 

Materials donated by Wesley W. Horton in 2002 and 2022 comprise correspondence, news articles and press, trial notes, and court documents from litigation related to Horton v. Meskill.  On November 21, 1973, Horton filed a suit in the Connecticut Superior Court in an attempt to overturn Connecticut's system of fixed grants to town school systems. In December of 1974, Judge Rubino ruled Connecticut's use of property tax to finance education was unconstitutional. Governor Ella Grasso appealed Rubino's decision to the Connecticut State Supreme Court in 1975. After years of legal appeals and legislative stalling, the General Assembly allocated additional funding to be phased in over a five-year period. Horton decided in 1979 not to challenge the new finance law.

In 1980, with little noted progress from the new funding, Horton decided to go back to court and reopen the 1973 case. When the case came to trial in 1984, Judge Arthur L. Spada issued an 83-page ruling ordering the State to spend more money on local public schools. This time Governor O'Neil appealed Judge Spada's decision. The Court affirmed that the Guaranteed Tax Base formula was constitutional and didn't order specific expenditures.

A second accession from 2022 contains documents from Kelo vs. City of New London, (Susette Kelo, et al. v. City of New London, Connecticut, et al. 2005 ) a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court held that the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development did not violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The decision from this case triggered 47 states to strengthen their eminent domain laws with 12 states amending their state constitutions to stop eminent domain from benefiting private parties.

The 2022 accession also contains research material Horton used to write books, articles, and other publications and his research on Connecticut Constitutional Conventions.

The Horton collections are currently being processed.  Contact the Archives for more information.

Law School Photographs

The Archives has a substantial collection of photographs reflecting academic and student life at the Law School. Images are arranged by subject such as: Faculty and Staff, Events, Students, Alumni and Campus Buildings.  Photographs are found within collections corresponding to the topic (e.g. Alumni photographs are part of the Alumni Collection) and can be found by key word searching the finding aids at Connecticut’s Archives Online.

Printed Collections

Printed materials in the Archives include:

  • United States imprints published before 1870
  • Non-United States monographs published before 1860
  • Non-United States serials published before 1850
  • All Blackstone Commentaries published before 1900
  • Connecticut historical primary legal materials
  • Faculty Publications
  • Items of special significance to the Law School or the Law Library collection

Printed materials can be found searching the library catalog.