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Washington State Historical Collections at Gallagher Law Library

Print and digital collections about the history of Washington State legal topics


Gallagher Law Library has a rich collection of historical information, both digitized and in print, about the Washington State legal community and the University of Washington School of Law.

Washington State Bench & Bar Collection

Arthur Beardsley was the head law librarian at the University of Washington School of Law from 1922 to1944. Dr. Beardsley was a lawyer, a librarian, and an historian. In 1939, Arthur Beardsley and Judge Donald A. McDonald began collecting newspaper clippings and photographs of Washington State lawyers and judges in an attempt to compile a history of Washington State's legal community. Dr. Beardsley used the detailed research to write a manuscript about Washington's legal history. The result of this meticulous research was a 42-chapter manuscript called The Bench and Bar of Washington: The First Fifty Years, 1849-1900. This work was never published, but the Gallagher Law Library has a copy of the manuscript.

Dr. Beardsley preserved the materials that he used to write his manuscript, and the Gallagher Law Library has continued to preserve these materials both in bound volumes and file folders. Arthur Beardsley's contribution to the preservation of Washington State's legal history is significant. The Bench and Bar clippings and files can be useful for families of past Washington State lawyers and judges, who are interested in understanding their relative's contribution to the legal community. The clippings and files are also useful tools for scholarly research regarding Washington State legal history.

Bench & Bar Files

What: Files with letters, clippings, photos, etc., relating to Washington State attorneys and judges (mostly 1960s and earlier). Contents vary widely. Filed by name.
Where: File cabinets in a nonpublic area.
Finding Tool: Brandy Whittington, Index to the Washington Bench & Bar Clippings (1999), KF354.W3 W37 Index at Reference Area and Reference Office; index is also available in this guide. Please read the compiler's notes before looking at the index. Please note: this index only includes information about the files folders and does not include information about the bound volumes.
Access: Request files from the Info Desk.

Many of the Bench and Bar file folders contain newspaper clippings, photographs, and correspondence between Arthur Beardsley and lawyers or relatives of lawyers. The contents in the files are not permanently affixed to the file folders. All material is loose and some of the files are empty or sparse.