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The Hurst Collection

Series VIII: Works About Hurst

This series contains a bibliography of articles about Hurst’s legal philosophy and scholarship.  There are also several memorial articles written upon his death.  Although this series primarily consists of citations only, the collection does contain copies of unpublished material.

Scholarship Review:

One measure of the stature of James Willard Hurst within the field of U.S. legal history is that three different journals published symposium issues about his scholarship and career during the last quarter of the twentieth century. The most recent one, in Law and History Review (Spring 2000), is an excellent blend of articles and commentaries from senior historians who have engaged Hurst’s work for several decades and junior historians who are taking his insights in new directions.

But if you wish to trace on your own the evolving views about Hurst’s work, start with Robert Gordon’s introduction to Hurst in the first symposium published in Law and Society Review (1975/1976). For subsequent, more critical views, read the pieces by Sidney Harring and Barry Strutt and by Eugene Genovese, along with Hurst’s response, in the American Bar Foundation Research Journal review symposium in 1985. Then take a look at Aviam Soifer’s retrospective review of The Growth of American Law in which Soifer attacks the assumption that Hurst offered a "consensus" history like that of other historians of his generation. Hurst in his interview with Hendrik Hartog acknowledges that his work often revealed a tension between visions of conflict and visions of consensus. Finally, to get a measure of the man as well as of the scholar, read the affectionate tributes of his friends and colleagues published shortly after his death in the Wisconsin Law Review.

(Scholarship review prepared by the Institute of Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School)

Works About Hurst:

An interactive database containing a bibliography of works about Hurst is available via RefShare

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