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School of Law records

Identifier: UA-001

Scope and Content

This collection contains publications and administrative records of the School of Law and the Zimmerman Law Library. Early materials dating to 1922-1933 document the first law school at UD, the College of Law (1922-1935). The majority of materials pertain to the present School of Law (est. 1974). The materials cover topics such as registration guidelines, events and activities, course offerings, library book acquisitions, School history, faculty, and alumni.

Unprocessed materials in eight boxes (11.5 linear feet) include a portrait of Oscar Trellis, the first librarian of the new Law School (1974); plaques, programs, and bulletins pertaining to Joseph Keller and his time at UD; memos, correspondence, newsletters, reports, and publications; and Law Library materials, including acquisition, circulation, and cataloging records.


  • Creation: 1922-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1972 - 1994


Access to Materials

This collection is open to the public for use in the University Archives and Special Collections reading room. All materials are non-circulating.

Copyright Notice

Copyright to the official records of the University belongs to the University of Dayton. Non-official records in this collection may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). The materials are available for personal, educational, and scholarly use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to locate and obtain permission from the copyright owner or his or her heirs for any other use, such as reproduction and publication.

History of the School of Law

The Univerersity of Dayton School of Law was first established in 1922 as the College of Law. Classes were offered from 5:20 - 7:30 p.m. to both men and women, even though the other University of Dayton schools were open to men only. John C. Shea, a prominent Dayton lawyer who was also the first Assistant Director of Law for the City of Dayton, served as the College of Law's first dean. Four other faculty were hired. Tuition in 1922 was $40.00 per semester, with a year's tuition and fees totaling $110.00. At that time, it took four years to earn a law degree. A student had to be at least seventeen years old, a graduate of high school or hold the equivalent of a high school degree, and demonstrate "satisfactory evidence of moral character" to be considered for admission.

Twenty students, including two women and one African American, proudly graduated from the College of Law in 1926, four years after the school opened. All passed their bar exams on the first attempt, and bar passage rates remained extremely high for the next decade.

Despite successful graduating students and the addition of daytime classes, the law school was faced with heavy economic problems due to the Depression. The administration, under Judge Robert C. Patterson, who succeeded Dean Shea in 1930, decided to close its doors. The decision was made in 1932, giving the entering freshmen that year the opportunity to graduate. The University of Dayton College of Law ended its run in 1935.

Interest in reopening the law school took place four decades later, when demand for lawyers had increased. University of Dayton officials conducted a preliminary investigation and feasibility study. After receiving optimistic study results and positive feedback from the community, it was announced that the University of Dayton School of Law would open in Albert Emanuel Hall in September of 1974.

UD President Rev. Raymond A. Roesch said at the time: "Our interest is not merely in providing, under private auspices, opportunities for the acquisition of legal expertise, worthy though this goal may be. Rather we see herein an exceptional opportunity to promote Christian justice, social as well as individual, and thus to help humanize society."

In 1979, the School of Law became fully accredited by the American Bar Association. It gained membership to the Association of American Law Schools in 1984.

UDSL has continued to grow and expand, most notably with the dedication of Joseph E. Keller Hall in 1997. Keller Hall now houses the School of Law and the Zimmerman Law Library.

Zimmerman Law Library

The Zimmerman Law Library opened as the University of Dayton Law Library in 1974. The first director of the library, Oscar Trelles, along with acquisitions librarian Theodora Artz, started the law library collection, which shared quarters with the rest of the school on the ground floor of the Roesch Library. After acquiring renovated space in Albert Emmanuel Hall in the mid-1970s, the majority of the law school moved out of Roesch. The law library remained in the building, connected to Albert Emmanuel by an enclosed but dimly-lit and poorly heated "tunnel."

Planning for a new unified law school and law library under one roof proceeded in earnest in the early 1990s. Joseph E. Keller Hall opened in July 1997, and the University of Dayton Law Library was renamed the Dr. J. Milton and Doris Zimmerman Law Library, in recognition of substantial support given to the law school building fund by Mrs. Doris Zimmerman.


16.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The records of the University of Dayton School of Law, including publications, histories of the School, records of the Dean and the Zimmerman Law Library, and other administrative records. Materials pertain to UD's first law school, the College of Law (1922-1935) and the present School of Law (est. 1974).

Acquisition Information

This collection was acquired between 1990 and 2009 through the following accessions: 1990-001, 1991-007, 1991-008, 1994-009, 1995-004, 1997-010, 1997-014, and 2009-034.



Related Material

University photographs. BUI - Keller Hall, COL 5 - Law, EVE 1.2 - Law School Graduation. Bro. Richard Liebler papers College of Arts and Sciences records

The following collections are located in the University Archives and Special Collections, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio.

Missing Title

  1. College of Arts and Sciences records
  2. Bro. Richard Liebler papers
  3. University photographs. BUI - Keller Hall, COL 5 - Law, EVE 1.2 - Law School Graduation.
Guide to the School of Law records
Finding aid prepared by Rachel DeHart
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Libraries Repository

300 College Park Dr.
Dayton Ohio 45469-1360