Maryland’s Leading Cases and Controversies:
An on-line repository of papers, pictures, illustrations, documents and maps providing insight into Maryland history and the legal process.
This repository collects papers or abstracts of papers on Maryland history derived from court records and linked to images of the actual documentary sources upon which they are based. Final decisions of Maryland courts of record are published, but the other documentation involved in the resolution of cases (the dockets, transcripts, depositions, exhibits and working papers, etc.) are often overlooked or forgotten. Some of these documents are destroyed and many more remain deposited in court houses, archives and libraries. Yet these sources can provide a treasure trove of insight into both the decisions themselves and the social, political and economic context in which the cases was decided.
This collection undertakes to search out these important historical sources and to bring them back into public awareness. Cases may be designated as "leading" for different reasons. Some will be legal landmarks; others will "lead" to a better understanding of the life and times in which they were decided. Among the underlying topics to be addressed, but certainly not limited to, will be the slavery and segregation of African Americans, the rise and fall of the city of Baltimore, and the changing standards of professional responsibility required of lawyers and judges.
The collection is meant to help supply the need within the Social Sciences (which includes Law and History) for clearly delineating and documenting what we know about the past and how we know it. Too much of what is called 'history' in today's world is poorly documented and inadequately researched. By readable example, we hope to promote better standards of research and documentation among scholars and commercial writers of Maryland's past.
Entries in the collection will be solicited from professors, practitioners and students of history, law, political science, sociology and economics. The best of the student papers prepared for University of Maryland Law School’s seminar on Maryland Legal History will be included.
The Collection will be coordinated by Professor Garrett Power, University of Maryland School of Law; Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents; and William Sleeman, Assistant Director for Technical Services, University of Maryland School of Law, Thurgood Marshall Law Library.