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Cleveland-Marshall College of Law is the direct descendant of two proprietary night law schools, the Cleveland Law School, founded in 1897, and the John Marshall School of Law, founded in 1916. In 1946 the two schools merged to become Cleveland-Marshall Law School. In 1969 the law school joined Cleveland's new state university and was renamed Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University.

From their earliest days both law schools had law libraries. The 1905 bulletin of the eight-year-old Cleveland Law School mentions a "large library" in its description of its facilities in the "commodious American Trust Building" near Public Square. By 1934 the school's law collection had grown to "many thousands of volumes." The 1919 bulletin of the John Marshall School of Law proclaimed its "excellent law library." By 1924 the school boasted 1,000 volumes, and by 1937 its holdings contained most of the basic tools of general practice. The collection of the merged 1946 Cleveland-Marshall Law School included 45,000 volumes.

In 1955 Cleveland-Marshall Law School employed its first librarian, Winifred R. Higgins. A Cleveland-Marshall alumnus, Professor Jack F. Smith (LL.B., LL.M.), succeeded her the following year, and five years later Rudolf H. Heimanson (LL.B., LL.M. University of Berlin, J.U.D. University of Wurzburg, M.S.L.S. Pratt Institute) was appointed Law Librarian. Assistant Professor Helen L. Garee, a 1933 alumna of the law school, held the position until 1969 when the school joined Cleveland State University.

From 1969 until 1972, Professor J. Patrick Browne (J. D. University of Detroit, M.S.L.S. Case Western Reserve University) served as the school's Associate Librarian, and Bardie C. Wolfe, Jr., (J.D., M.S.L.S. University of Kentucky) was the school's Law Library Director from 1973 until 1977.

By 1977 the College of Law had moved into its new $7,500,000 building on the corner of East 18th and Euclid. The next year, Anita J. Morse, (J.D. Indiana University, LL.M. George Washington University, M.S.L.S. University of Kentucky, M.P.A. CSU) became the new Law Library Director during a period of rapid expansion and collection development. The bookshelves in the library's new home were only half filled, and the library's 130,000 volumes formed the smallest academic law collection in the state. In 1979 attorney Melvin Arnold, Executive Vice President of the Eaton Corporation and a CSU trustee, was the driving force behind one of the law school's most successful fundraising campaigns. Under Mr. Arnold's leadership the library raised approximately $750,000 from law firms, corporations, community foundations, alumni and friends. In 1979 the law school was named a selective federal depository, and by 1981, when Ms. Morse left for the University of Wisconsin, the collection numbered close to 200,000.

From 1985 until 1988 Robert J. Nissenbaum (M.S.L.S. Pratt Institute; J.D. Western New England) served the school as its Law Library Director.

In 1988 when Steven R. Smith was appointed the law school's new Dean, the collection, by then the second largest academic law collection in the state, had outgrown the building that in 1977 had seemed so spacious. Recognizing the need for a new facility to accommodate the ever-expanding holdings and the increasingly necessary on-line resources, the new Dean, with assistance from the new (appointed 1987) Law Library Director Scott Finet (J.D., M.L.S University of Illinois) and Associate Library Director Katherine Malmquist (M.L.S. Kent State, J.D. University of Toledo) organized an effort to secure funding for the new law library.

Michael J. Slinger (M.L.S. University of South Carolina, J.D. Duquesne University) succeeded to the post of Law Library Director in 1995. Working with the new Dean of the College of Law Steven H. Steinglass, he supervised the completion of the building project and the move into the new law library, which was dedicated on September 25, 1997. By 1997 the Law Library's collection had grown to 400,000 volumes.

On February 4, 2004, Dean Steven H. Steinglass, Associate Dean and Law Library Director Michael J. Slinger, the law school community and best-selling author Scott Turow added the landmark volumes 500,000 and 500,001 to the State's Second Largest Legal Collection during a ceremony in the College of Law's Joseph W. Bartunek III Moot Court Room. The 500,000th volume placed into the collection was The History of Law School Libraries in the United States: From Laboratory to Cyberspace by Glen-Peter Ahlers, Sr., Associate Dean for Information Services and Director of the Law Library at Barry University in Orlando, Florida. The 500,001st volume placed into the collection was author and attorney Scott Turow's latest work Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty. Following the ceremony, Mr. Turow delivered the law school's third Criminal Justice Forum lecture of 2003-2004, "Confessions of a Death Penalty Agnostic."  In preparation for this event, the staff created a multi media presentation tracing the 100 year history of the Law Library, which won the AALL award for Best Use of Technology in 2005. Watch the video.

In August 2008, Dean Geoffrey S. Mearns appointed  Kristina L. Niedringhaus (M.A. Information Science and Learning Technologies, University of Missouri - Columbus; J.D. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law.  During her tenure, the library accelerated the transition of the print collection to digital format to meet the changing priorities and patterns of modern legal research.

In June 2013, Dean Craig Boise announced the appointment of Lauren Michelle Collins (MSI University of Michigan, J.D.  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) to succeed Kristina Niedringhaus as Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law. 



Carrington T. Marshall, ed., A History of the Courts and Lawyers of Ohio, New York: American Historical Society, 1934.

Samuel P. Orth, A History of Cleveland Ohio, Chicago and Cleveland: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1910.

Elroy McKendree Avery, A History of Cleveland and Its Environs: the Heart of New Connecticut, Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918.

Bulletins of the John Marshall School of Law, Cleveland Law School, and Cleveland-Marshall Law School.


Adapted from text prepared in celebration of the 500,000 volume celebration in 2005.

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