The Cleveland Law Library was originally founded in 1869 by William J. Boardman and several prominent members of the Cuyahoga bar. Throughout its history, the Cleveland Law Library has employed a number of Librarians and Directors who have shaped its future. Its first Librarian was George R. Galloway, who served from December of 1870 to January of 1874. Mr. Galloway was succeeded by F.B. Avery, who was followed by F.M. Townsend. H.C. Bunts replaced Mr. Towsend in April of 1878 and only served as Librarian for a very short period of time. From October of 1881 through 1883, F.H. Goff served as the Librarian of the Law Library. When Mr. Goff resigned in 1883, the Law Library hired its first lawyer-librarian named A.A. Bemis, who served for the next six years and more than doubled the size of the Library’s collection.

Mr. Bemis was succeeded by Henry N. Johnson, who served only two years until 1890, when he became ill and his wife Frances assumed his role and duties. After being formally appointed to the position in 1892, Mrs. Johnson served as the Law Library’s first female Librarian. Although Howard A. Couse was named as the next Librarian, he resigned before ever beginning his duties and was replaced by Charles Kuzel, who served until 1901.

For over the next 30 years, Ernest A. Feazel operated the Library during its boon period when both the collection and memberships grew and the Library moved to its present home. In 2010, Mr. Feazel was inducted as a “Pioneer” into the American Association of Law Libraries Hall of Fame. Upon Mr. Feazel’s death, Thomas P. Shaw administered the Library until his death in March of 1941. Miss Mabel McWerter then held the position on a temporary basis for a few months until Arthur W. Fiske assumed the position in December of 1941. Mr. Fiske’s 42-year tenure will be remembered for the extensive services he provided and the library growth he fostered.

For a brief period of time, Mr. Fiske was succeeded by his Assistant Law Librarian, Robert E. Barner, who served until he retired in 1987. In his stead, Jan Ryan Novak assumed the position of Director for the next seventeen years. When Mrs. Novak retired in November of 2002, Anne McFarland assumed the role of Interim Director until Kathleen M. Dugan became the new Director in February of 2003.

*Thanks for much of this historical information go to J. Patrick Browne, who wrote an article in the December 1969 issue of the Cleveland Bar Journal captioned A Century of Service: The Cleveland Law Library. Credit is also due to CWRU History Department, which maintains The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.


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