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Law School papers

Identifier: 412; 413

Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence concerning the general operation of the Law School including its use of large classes and the development of student practice work in law (1920s-1930s). The collection also contains general correspondence, legislative requests, graduation information, faculty committee minutes, Law School Council minutes, materials regarding the construction of the new Law School building (1967-1977), correspondence regarding the Legal Aid Society of Minnesota (1924-1936) and the Carnegie Foundations (1923-1930), research grants and budget materials.


  • 1889-1980
  • (bulk 1922-1980)


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Law School papers should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives head.

Historical Note

The first lectures in the College of Law were given at the University of Minnesota on September 11, 1888 by Dean William S. Pattee to 27 students in the Hermean room in the basement of Old Main. In 1889, the first law school was erected on campus (now known as Pattee Hall) and by 1894, the College of Law enrolled 320 students, employed 14 lecturers and offered three courses of study, a two-year program offered in the day, a three-year program in the evening, and a one-year graduate course. The first graduating class of three students was in 1889. In 1929, the Law School moved into a new building, renamed Fraser Hall in honor of Everett Fraser, dean of the Law School, 1920-1948.

In 1930, a new curriculum was introduced for the Law School. Known as the Minnesota Plan, all students were required to complete two years of pre-legal college education, focusing on the liberal arts, and then complete four years of study in the Law School, leading to the LL. B. Previously, students were required to complete the two-year prerequisite work and three years in the Law School. In 1967, the Law School adopted the J.D. degree for all graduates.

After 10 years of negotiations with the Minnesota Legislature, a new law building was constructed on the West Bankcampus in the mid 1970s, opening in 1978. In 2001, the building was expanded and renamed Walter F. Mondale Hall, in honor of Walter F. Mondale, a University of Minnesota alumnus and former Vice President of the United States (1976-1980).


19 boxes (23.1 linear feet)


Collection contains the papers of the Law School at the University of Minnesota.

Other Finding Aid Available

A finding aid with a contents list is available in University Archives.

Source of acquisition

The collection was originally transferred to University Archives on October 28, 1949. Subsequent deposits were made in the 1950s-1980s, with the last deposit being made on September 11, 1986.

Related Materials in University Archives

Carl A. Auerbach papers

William Watts Folwell papers

Everett Fraser papers

James Gray papers

Robert A. Stein papers

University of Minnesota. Comptroller papers

University of Minnesota. Office of the President papers

Processing Information

Parts of the collection have not been processed.

Law School papers, 1889-1980
updated by Karen Spilman
September 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area