About The J. Willard Hurst Collection

Banner of HurstThe J. Willard Hurst Collection details the career of the man commonly identified as the father of modern American legal history.  The collection primarily spans the years 1932 through Hurst’s death in 1997.  The bulk of material dates between 1946 and 1980 when Hurst was a professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he developed the field of American legal economic history through his scholarship and teaching.  The collection provides insight into the evolution of Hurst’s view of legal history and his role in developing a community for legal historians.

The collection includes Hurst’s personal outlines and notes; course texts; publications; publication reviews; research notes; correspondence (incoming and carbon copies of outgoing letters); personnel records; photographs; audio recordings; and typewriter.  Correspondence, topical outlines and notes, and audio recordings compose a bulk of the collection.


This collection is open to the public.  In anticipation of high research demand, the majority of materials in this collection have been digitized and are freely available on this site.

Researchers may browse the collection using the menu on the left or use the search feature.  See also the complete finding aid available in PDF.

The complete collection, including those materials which have not been digitized, is available at the University of Wisconsin Law Library.  Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the University of Wisconsin Law Library.   Consult the library staff for assistance


The collection is divided into eleven series which are arranged as follows:

Use Restrictions:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the UW Law Library staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Summary Information:

Repository: University of Wisconsin Law Library
Creator: Hurst, J. Willard
Quantity:  38 archives boxes, 15 books, 6 binders, and 1 typewriter

Processing Information:

Prepared by Bonnie Shucha, Stephanie Rytilahti, and Steven Weber, January 2003 – June 2007

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