LOOKS AT THE
HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
LIFE was the leading twentieth-century magazine of photo-journalism, appearing weekly from 1936 until 1972. With its familiar logo displaying the title in white sans-serif type against a red rectangular background, the magazine dominated its market with a circulation that eventually reached 13.5 million copies a week. In 2008 Google Books digitized the complete file, and it is now a simple matter to obtain hundreds of images of the Harvard Law School, its students and faculty from this period.
The earliest “spread” on the School appeared in the November 1, 1937 issue, coinciding with the appointment of James Landis to the deanship:
James McCauley Landis gave up his job as chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission to become dean of the Harvard Law School. This picture shows him in a characteristic pose, lecturing on “contracts” in the classroom where, as a student, he once dazzled professors with his nimble mind. No man could be a better model of the fierce intellectual effort which the Law School expects of its students.
With the title, “At the Harvard Law School the work is hard but the rewards are high/The Cambridge â€˜Incubator of Greatness’ has a new Dean but the same fierce scholarship,” the eight-page articles surveys the rigors of the School’s academic program from a definite “pre-Paper Chase” point-of-view.
This picture of furrowed concentration is Barring Hesse Coughlin, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. In his Princeton University days, Coughlin was a star swimmer but at the Law School he is a proud “grind,” a ranking scholar in his class and a member of the Law Review. The afternoon light, streaming through a window of Langdell Hall, is softened by the green eyeshade, a gadget copied by hundreds of students from the Law School’s great, retired Dean Roscoe Pound.
A copy of the original article is currently on display in the Caspersen Room.
Posted by David Warrington, Librarian for Special Collections