Professor Summers with the Uniform Commercial CodeCornell Law Library will miss our colleague, supporter, and great friend Professor Robert S. Summers who retired at the end of last year.  At his last contracts class in December of 2010, part of a series of Retirement Events, Professor Summers was honored by former and present students, colleagues, family, and friends.  He had two opportunities to address the group and in his first brief remarks he said it was the most appropriate occasion “to express his profound gratitude for 42 years at Cornell Law School.”  He expressed gratitude to his students, colleagues, research assistants, and administrative assistants, and “gratitude to the attentive and very helpful librarians – God bless them – their great contributions should be acknowledged more often.”

Later, near the end of the occasion, he said:

I wish also to express my profound gratitude and appreciation … to the excellent librarians, without whom naught! I’m a book worm and those librarians have satisfied the appetite of that worm in a most remarkable way. And sometimes I fear the librarians don’t get quite their due and I want to emphasize their importance.

And for a good many years I not only was heavily engaged in supporting our librarians here but I was chair of the Cornell University Library board. And we did our best to get people in line to support the Library budget and to support the efforts of the librarians to make the campus conscious of the profound importance of those libraries. We just tend too often to take all those books on those shelves for granted. Let me tell you there’s a lot of work behind that, a lot of careful attention behind that, and much gratitude is due.

Incoming and returning students may wish to check out the new display in the Law Library Reading Room, Cornell Law School Programs & Projects.  Cornell Law School is known not only for its strong instruction in traditional and newly-emerging fields of law, but also for its diverse projects, institutes, programs, and research centers.  Among the many initiatives located here at the Law School and directed by our talented professors are:

Book cover The Bluest EyeWhat do these novels have in common: The Bluest Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The House Gun, in addition to offering gripping action and memorable social vision created by brilliant women?  These books are part of the canon of great literature in which law plays a prominent part.  For more examples of law in literature see the display case at the stacks entrance to the Reading Room.

Lizzie BordenWhat do Lizzie Borden, a middle-aged white woman living in Fall River, Massachusetts at the turn of the nineteenth century, who inherited a small fortune after her parents were savagely murdered in their own home, and O.J. Simpson, all-American athlete turned Hollywood celebrity, who was charged with the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend at the turn of the twentieth century, have in common?  If you knew that they were both acquitted, and that many people think they literally got away with murder, then you would be right. If you knew that both were defendants in two of the most publicized trials in U.S. history, you would also be right.  For these and more famous American trials see the display case in the center of the Reading Room.

What do John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, John Jay, and Salmon Portland Chase have in common?  If you know that they all served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, then good for you.  But that’s not the answer.  What about Patrick Henry, Abe Lincoln, and Daniel Webster?  Yes, they were all prominent statesmen.  But that’s not it, either.  For the answer to both questions, which happens to be the same in each instance, see the display case in the center of the Reading Room.

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