University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Law Library

William R. Roalfe:  Builder of Libraries, Scholar, Association Animal

Michael Chiorazzi
Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law
and Information Resources & Library Science

Men do not always make history and they never make it alone. Yet the contribution of one man frequently has a lasting influence in his chosen field of endeavor. - William R. Roalfe1

William Robert “Bob” Roalfe wrote these words in describing the contributions of John Henry Wigmore to Northwestern University School of Law, but he just as easily could have been talking about himself. His long career spans the history of law librarianship from a time when academic, law firm, state and court law libraries were small operations, often lucky to be staffed by a single professional, to the explosive growth of law libraries and legal materials in the 1960s and 1970s. His productive professional life was dedicated to service to others and to the development of the art and science of law librarianship. While he spent several years in private practice prior to his first job as a law librarian and served as a government attorney during World War II, he was first and foremost a librarian - a builder of collections and provider of library service to the legal community.

He made the Duke and Northwestern Law Libraries great, both through the building of their collections and in the development of staffs and services. He was also a scholar and teacher who wrote about a wide range of concerns to law librarians and the legal profession, from teaching legal research and writing, to collection development, to the need for professional organizations to serve the profession. Most significantly, he was a strong advocate for the profession, and as his long and distinguished service to professional organizations testifies, he was above all an “association animal.” Professor Roalfe was an active member of almost a dozen professional organizations, most notably the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL). He saw professional organizations as vital to the improvement not only of law librarianship but also, quite literally, of the world. His service to AALL encompasses a time from when annual meetings of AALL drew fifty members to the late 1970s when meetings began to be attended by more than a thousand people, and it was through the guidance of Roalfe and his Expansion Plan that the Association would grow and flourish during those years.

This chapter examines Roalfe's impact on law librarianship in these three areas: (1) the building of the Duke and Northwestern Law Libraries; (2) his scholarship; and (3) his involvement in regional, national and international professional organizations, most notably AALL, the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) and the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Particular attention is paid to the Roalfe Plan, without a doubt his single most important contribution to law librarianship.

An exhaustive, annotated bibliography of works by and about Roalfe accompanies the chapter.

I. Builder of Libraries

Law librarianship was not Roalfe's first chosen profession. Upon graduating from the University of Southern California with an LL.B. in 1921, he practiced law, first with the law firm of O'Melveny, Milliken and Tuller and then in his own practice. He also worked for a time as a construction supervisor before accepting a job at the University of Southern California as its Law Librarian in 1927. At the age of thirty he had finally found a career and a profession he could call his own, one which would consume him for the next forty years. Little is recorded of his short tenure as Librarian at USC. He left in 1930 to become the first Director of the Duke University Law School Library. It was at Duke that he would establish himself as a major force in the profession and a librarian of the first rank.

While Duke Law School traces its history back to 1868, it was not until 1904 that it became a separate School of Law and 1930 that it reorganized and became a full-time graduate program. Its first class arrived that fall. Roalfe and those first-year students arrived in Durham, North Carolina, at what was at the time considered an undistinguished university. Duke did, however, have something which few other law schools and universities had in 1930 - money, and lots of it. A $30 million endowment, given by the Duke family in honor of Benjamin Duke, allowed the small North Carolina college, Trinity, to become a major university, Duke University. This provided Roalfe with a luxury of resources few other libraries of the time enjoyed. In effect, Roalfe was charged with the building of a law library and a staff for a new law school. He quickly set out to do just that, and as with any task Roalfe undertook, he would do it well.

One of the first things Roalfe set out to do was build the collection. He was able not only to purchase new materials but also to purchase large quantities of books through the used book market. For those with resources, the Depression was a good time to develop a collection with so many institutions looking to raise funds to stay in business. Thanks to Roalfe, the Duke Law Library today has many old and rare materials in its collection which at one time were in small private collections and large academic law libraries. Many libraries such as Cornell and Harvard withdrew from their collections second copies and sold them to used book dealers. The Duke Law Library Archives contain correspondence between Roalfe and several used book dealers about the building of this collection. One dealer, Judge William H. Sawyer, was a Superior Court Judge from Concord, New Hampshire who bought and sold law collections on the side. In one letter to Roalfe he mentioned his recent purchase and the offering for sale of the law collection of Justice William M. Chase of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.2 Included in this collection was a first edition of Kent's Commentaries. One cannot help but wonder if this sale was brought about by the necessities of the Depression or if Sawyer was merely a thrifty New Englander looking to earn an extra dollar.

Roalfe's years at Duke were busy and successful ones. In a Law Library Journal article, “The Duke University Law Library:  An Account of Its Development,”3 Roalfe reported that from 1930 to 1940 the collection grew from 11,141 to 65,158 volumes - a 580% increase in size in ten years! In 1930, the library's collection ranked fortieth among law school collections; just two years later, it was ranked twentieth. By 1940 the Law Library was the largest in the South. The task of organizing the quickly growing collection through cataloging and classification was no small task. To do this he needed to build up the law library staff. In 1930 the library staff consisted of Roalfe, a cataloger and a secretary, and by 1941 the staff was doubled to six.4

While at Duke, Roalfe also began publishing a bibliography entitled “Current Legal Publications.” This was a current awareness service which kept the Duke faculty informed of the latest legal publications. It was so well received that it began to be published in the Duke Law School Bulletin, and Roalfe was given the responsibility of publishing the Bulletin. “Current Legal Publications” was such a popular book selection tool that many libraries received a copy of the Duke Law Bulletin specifically for the list. It appeared irregularly in the Law Library Journal (LLJ) from 1942 to 1943. When Roalfe moved on to Northwestern, “Current Legal Publications” was revived, and from 1944 to 1950 it again appeared in LLJ.5 Its popularity would eventually result in its being regularly published in Law Library Journal, first appearing in May 1952.6

In 1942 Roalfe took a leave from Duke to serve as legal counsel in the Court Review, Research and Opinion Branch of the Office of Price Administration. At the age of forty-six he was too old to serve in the military, but as a government lawyer he could still serve his country. In 1944 he became Chief Counsel of the Cereals, Feed and Agricultural Chemicals Branch of the Food Price Division of the Office of Price Administration, a position he held until 1946.

Perhaps feeling that he needed new challenges, shortly after his return to Duke in 1946, Roalfe accepted an offer to become the Director of Northwestern University's Elbert H. Gary Law Library. Roalfe wrote an article in LLJ which described what he faced upon arriving at Northwestern. In it he described the effect of Wigmore on Northwestern Law School and legal education. As the quote which begins this chapter indicates, Roalfe not only had great respect for the man but also saw in Wigmore qualities which Roalfe himself respected and strove to possess. Clearly, he saw in Wigmore a kindred spirit - a spirit which Roalfe now wanted to carry on. Like Wigmore, he wanted to help Northwestern achieve greatness.7

Roalfe quickly set about rebuilding the collection and staff of the library. During World War II the library had reached an “all time low.” Class size shrank and with it, tuition dollars and demands for service were reduced to a trickle. Staff size “fell even below the maintenance level.” When Roalfe joined the staff of the Law Library it had a full-time staff of four persons and a part-time staff of eighteen. This was clearly inadequate given the demands of the post-World War II students on the GI Bill who returned to school in droves.8

In 1946 Roalfe developed a plan which had five objectives:  (1) organization of an adequate staff; (2) rehabilitation and further development of the collection; (3) reorganization of all processing operations; (4) extension of library service; and (5) development of cooperation with other libraries, participation in the work of professional organizations and contributions to the literature of the field. In effect, he was describing his life's work.9 He would eventually meet those goals. Staff grew from four professional and eighteen part-time staff in September of 1946 to ten full-time and twenty-two part-time employees in March of 1949. The foreign collection grew under the guidance of Kurt Schwerin. Serial check-in records were improved; the collection was classified; research support was increased; Roalfe began teaching a legal research and writing course; and he helped found the Chicago Association of Law Libraries, through which he worked for cooperation among law libraries in the Chicago area.10

II. The Scholar

As the accompanying bibliography attests, Roalfe was also a prolific writer. This is especially impressive when one considers that this writing took place while he was building the libraries at Duke and Northwestern. Through his writings Roalfe sought to teach others modern library practices and address the important issues of the day. His writings and correspondence show a deep concern for a wide range of problems facing the profession:  the effective teaching of legal research and writing, the education of law librarians, the future of AALL, the nature and content of Law Library Journal, law library accreditation standards, the status of law librarians, the need for interlibrary and inter-organizational cooperation, the growth of law book publishing and the ethics of vendor support of conventions.

It did not take long for Roalfe to establish himself as a scholar and careful thinker. By the early 1930s Roalfe was frequently sought as a speaker at annual meetings of AALL, where he regularly presented papers. Early in his career, he often felt that there were those better qualified to give a particular paper, but when prevailed upon, he would always agree to do his best. For example, in 1932 Roalfe received a letter from Frederick Hicks, Law Librarian at Yale, asking Roalfe to speak at the annual meeting of AALS on “Status and Qualifications of Law School Librarians.”11 Roalfe hesitated because he had only an LL.B., and hence felt unqualified to speak on the qualifications of law librarians. He was a strong believer in the value of professional training in librarianship and since he himself lacked such training, he felt uneasy about advocating that a library school degree was an essential requirement for a qualified librarian. Hicks, however, was certain that Roalfe was perfect for the job. Roalfe had clearly given the matter careful consideration and his perspective would be invaluable. Ultimately, Hicks prevailed, and Roalfe agreed to present a paper which would eventually be published in the American Law Review.12

Roalfe's desire for professional growth led him to carry on an active correspondence on the issues of the day with many of the leaders of the profession, but particularly with Frederick Hicks. Hicks was the most important and influential law librarian of his day. It should not be surprising that this relatively young law librarian became such a close friend and colleague of one of the giants of the prior generation of law librarians. However, one must remember that at the time the profession was much smaller, with annual meetings almost intimate affairs in small hotels. Thus, it was very easy for law librarians to get to know one another, and it is hard to imagine that a man of Roalfe's energy and drive escaped notice for long. It was inevitable that their paths would cross early in Roalfe's career.

It is apparent from Hicks' correspondence that he admired this young law librarian. In a particularly telling series of correspondence, Hicks cautions Roalfe to reconsider a comment Roalfe had made in a report concerning lawyers. Hicks suggested that Roalfe change the language in the offending report which stated that a large number of lawyers “are hardly entitled to be classed as belonging to a learned profession” to “a large number of lawyers need the help of law librarians in order to live up to the standard of scholarship and learning which has traditionally been set for the profession.” Roalfe appreciated Hicks' suggestions and replied, “[Y]ou are quite correct in pointing out the inadvisability of having any statement in this report which might give offense.”13

They corresponded regularly through the years and Roalfe, who viewed Hicks as his mentor, was greatly saddened by his death in 1956. It was Roalfe who would write Hicks' biography for Law Library Journal. 14

Roalfe published a trio of articles in Law Library Journal which established him as one of the deep thinkers of the profession. The articles, “The Relation of the Library to Legal Education,”15  “The Essentials of an Effective Law School Library Service,”16  and “Some Suggestions for Improving the Law School Library Service,” 17  articulated his philosophy of law librarianship. While the articles were written within the context of the academic law library, much of what Roalfe wrote was equally applicable to any law library. The first article described the challenges which law school libraries face, particularly with the current method of teaching through the Socratic method; the second article focused on what a good law library should provide in the way of facilities and services; and the third focused on how libraries should change to meet the challenges of the future. He saw the profession changing from one of caretaker to one of provider of a wide range of research services. There is almost a public relations tone to the articles. He seemed to be saying that if given the chance, librarians can do much to serve library users, and both they and the institution will be the better for it. He particularly bemoaned the failure of law schools to provide sufficient skills training, especially in legal research. He wrote:

[T]o the extent that the case book continues to blind teachers to the necessity of supplementing this method of instruction by actual practice in the use of the original materials themselves, there is the greatest danger that these advantages are being bought at too great a price. … Unquestionably conditions are radically wrong in the law schools where the libraries are merely convenient places in which students may read their case books rather than “extremely important teaching aids.”18

It was at Northwestern that Roalfe reached his prime as both scholar and elder statesman of law librarianship. He wrote numerous articles and four books:  The Libraries of the Legal Profession:  A Study Prepared for the Survey of the Legal Profession under the Auspices of American Bar Association (1954); the fifth and sixth editions of How to Find the Law (1957, 1965); and John Henry Wigmore:  Scholar and Reformer (1977).19 Each in its own way was a significant contributions to legal scholarship (see accompanying bibliography).

Libraries of the Legal Profession was a monumental work.20 Based upon a survey under the auspices of the American Bar Association, this work was the first and, to date, only attempt to investigate and chronicle the current state of law libraries throughout the profession. The report covered collections, facilities, equipment, furniture, personnel, services provided, public relations and cooperation among libraries and among professional groups. Roalfe surveyed law firm, company, county, state, federal, court and association law libraries. The only significant group excluded from the study was law school libraries. The ABA felt their inclusion was unnecessary because of a previous study of law schools.21 Roalfe strongly disagreed, and while he did not survey the law school libraries, he does have some comments about the role they play in service to the bar.22 Roalfe also spent considerable space in the book explaining and promoting the role of AALL in the life of law libraries. He could not miss an opportunity to proselytize. He stressed the importance of cooperation between law libraries of all types and the positive role AALL and local law library associations played in this cooperation. In this discussion there was some, be it intentional or unintentional, self promoting by Roalfe. Roalfe spent considerable time explaining the progress of two endeavors he helped develop:  the AALL Expansion Plan 23  and the “pioneer efforts” of the Carolina Law Librarians. 24

If one were to read only one work by Roalfe in the hopes of understanding his philosophy of law librarianship, this would be it. Roalfe used the survey to describe the current state of law libraries and law librarianship and the need for reform. Roalfe finally had his bully pulpit, and he was not about to waste it. He “educated”the bar on the growth of legal materials, the ability of law libraries to serve their patrons and the services well-funded libraries can provide.

While at Northwestern, Roalfe also became the editor of the legal bibliography classic, How to Find the Law. He edited the fifth and sixth editions. The fifth edition was organized significantly differently from the fourth edition by Carlton B. Putnam.25 While, like Putnam, he used contributing authors, Roalfe brought together a completely new team to write the book. He also tried to adhere to the philosophy of “less is more.” He made a concerted effort “to keep the text within reasonable limits”and he said that “the temptation to add further detail although they are obviously important has been consciously resisted.”26 The book was to be used primarily as a text for students, not as a reference source for librarians.

The sixth edition is notable in that he included for the first time four extra chapters on legal writing - no doubt because at the time he was teaching legal research and writing at Northwestern.

Three years prior to Roalfe's arrival at Northwestern, one of America's greatest legal minds and former Dean of the Northwestern Law School, John Henry Wigmore, died. Wigmore clearly left his mark on Northwestern and Roalfe had greatly respected the man, as the quote at the beginning of this article testifies. Roalfe devoted much of his time at Northwestern as well as a significant portion of his retirement chronicling the life and times of Wigmore. The end result was two articles and the definitive biography of the life of the former Dean and legal scholar. John Henry Wigmore:  Scholar And Reformer (1977) was based upon the archives of Wigmore which are housed at Northwestern as well as personal interviews conducted by Roalfe with those who knew Wigmore.

The talks Roalfe gave and the articles he wrote covered a variety of subjects, but they all had a common thread:  the value of good professional librarians and the need for change in the way things were currently being done. Roalfe looked to improve everything he found and was rarely satisfied with the status quo. He presented a paper or talk at virtually every annual meeting of AALL he attended. At the 1957 annual meeting of AALL Roalfe rose to speak:

I have appeared before the members of this association so many times over the years that I am always concerned about my capacity to come forward with anything new. I feel a good deal like the minister who preaches to his congregation Sunday after Sunday and has the same misgivings. One day the minister's young son said, “Dad, why do you pray so hard every Sunday morning before you go to church?” The father replied, “I pray to God to give me the power to say something new - something original and inspiring.” After a moment the young son asked with the directness and incisiveness characteristic of children, “Well, Dad, why doesn't God help you.”27

These words, while spoken in jest, actually are appropriate in understanding Roalfe's role in his chosen profession. Through his writings and talks he was law librarianship's minister. He was the one the profession always looked to for guidance and thoughtful introspection, ever the serious professional when it came the advancement of the work of the profession. He had a deep and abiding faith in the worth of law librarians within legal education and the practice of law. His articles in the Journal of Legal Education and the ABA Journal actually seem a little preachy because he wrote them in the hope of converting those who would read them to the value of good law library service.

III. Association Animal

Roalfe's life would be significant if his scholarship were the only record he left. What makes his life so extraordinary, however, is that he not only identified and wrote about the problems law libraries and law librarians of his day faced, but that he also dedicated his professional life to doing something to resolve them.

Roalfe may have been the ultimate Association insider; if there was an association out there that could potentially have impact on his profession, he was sure to join and actively participate in its work. It is hard to imagine how he could have been more professionally active. He not only participated in these groups, he dominated them.28 He was always to be found on the toughest and most important committees or task forces and was always their most diligent and active member. In an article based upon a panel discussion of the organization and structure of AALL, Roalfe set out, in exact detail, how one should chair a committee.29 It should be required reading for anyone who is ever called upon to serve in that capacity. In the accompanying bibliography a summary of his advice is included. It is clear from his papers that he practiced what he preached. He took the duty of committee work seriously and expected others to do the same.

Roalfe's correspondence is full of expressions of frustration over committee members who failed to do their work. In one particularly pointed communication to a committee he chaired, he scolded:

As some members of the Committee even find returning a post card more of an effort than they can manage, I believe I had better lay down the rule that I will assume that any member who does not respond to a communication within a reasonable length of time either agrees with the proposals that have been advanced or is willing to let the other members of the Committee make the decision. 30

In response to a letter from Arthur Charpentier, Librarian at Yale Law School, in which he declined an invitation to serve on a committee which Roalfe chaired, Roalfe explained why he selected certain people for committee assignments, “If we exclude busy people [from the committee] not very much would be done.”31

Roalfe clearly believed that involvement in professional organizations was central to the work of a competent law librarian, and he was involved in a number of ways:  regionally, nationally and internationally.

A. Regional Associations:  The Carolina Librarians and the Chicago Chapter

In 1937, while at Duke, Roalfe set about to do something which for the rest of his life he would seem to do better than any other - help organize an association of law library professionals. In this case it would be a regional association of law librarians, the first of its type in the United States. Roalfe gathered with nine other North Carolina law librarians in October of 1937 to establish an organization to be named the North Carolina Law Librarians.

In 1938, with the inclusion of the Law Librarian from the University of South Carolina, the group expanded and renamed itself the Carolina Law Librarians. Never satisfied with the status quo, it was Roalfe who proposed at its October 1939 meeting that the Carolina Law Librarians apply for chapter status in AALL. AALL accepted the petition of the Carolina group on two conditions:  the chapter would create a written constitution and the name of the group would be changed to acknowledge its relationship to AALL. Roalfe himself wrote the constitution and the name was changed to the Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries. This was the first regional association of law libraries and AALL's first officially recognized chapter. This group would ultimately become the South Eastern Chapter of AALL, better know as SEAALL.32

When Roalfe began at Northwestern, he adopted a familiar plan of action. As he had done in North Carolina, he quickly became a force among the local law librarians. On February 20, 1947, he was one of seventeen law librarians who met to form the Chicago Association of Law Librarians and, not surprisingly, Roalfe would serve as its first president. Charles McNabb, in recounting the founding of the Chicago Chapter, recalled his first encounter with Roalfe.

I told him I had been selling cooperation in Chicago for years and that I had done everything with the institutions involved; I had made them loan each other books; I had made them permit each other to use their facilities, and I had done quite a bit of missionary work, except to organize them. He said, “Why don't we do it?” If you haven't had any experience with Bob Roalfe, let me warn you now, you are either prepared to go along with it or you keep your mouth shut, because if you suggest a good idea to him, the next thing you know it has happened.33

B. National:  AALL and the Roalfe Plan

Roalfe's lifelong dedication to those professional organizations to which he belonged is remarkable. This is particularly true when it comes to his service in AALL. His value to the Association can be measured in part by the importance of the committees to which he was assigned and the leadership roles he played on them. Invariably Roalfe was in the thick of the most important issues of the day. In 1959 the Association chose to acknowledge Roalfe's service and presented him with an AALL Recognition Award.

Looking back, one will never know if Roalfe had any idea what he was setting in motion when he wrote a long letter to Rosamund Parma, the president of AALL in 1930. That letter set in motion a chain of events that would ultimately define Roalfe's professional life as a law librarian. What is clear is that the impact of the letter was immediate and profound. It would result in what would perhaps become his most lasting contribution to law librarianship:  The Roalfe Plan. Also known as the Expansion Plan, the Roalfe Plan called for a total reorganization and expansion of the operations and services of the American Association of Law Libraries. Much of today's AALL organizational structure is a direct result of this plan. The plan would make him the dominant figure in Association history for the next thirty years. While much of what was proposed in the letter has come to pass, it was a long time in coming. Even today, the letter raises issues central to current discussions on the role of the Association.

Roalfe wrote the letter at a time of extraordinary growth in the profession - but that growth is relative. Membership in AALL was approximately 200 members, with about 50 of those members attending annual meetings. Meetings were held in conjunction with the National Association of State Libraries or the American Library Association. Several of those who attended annual meetings were among the twenty-four law librarians who gathered on Narragansett Pier in Rhode Island on July 2, 1906 to form the American Association of Law Libraries. Yet the organization was no longer what it once was. Individuals like Roalfe recognized that the potential of the organization and the profession was not being met. While others undoubtedly felt the need of the Association to grow and adapt to the changing profession, it was Roalfe who decided to do something about it.

A Letter to the President of the Association September 11, 1930

Miss Rosamond Parma, Librarian,
School of Jurisprudence, University of California,
Berkeley, California.

Dear Miss Parma:

    Ever since you were elected President of the Association I have planned to write to you regarding a matter which has occupied my thought and attention for some time, and without any apology I will now do so in the hope that the ideas set forth may be of some constructive value.

    While I am a comparatively new member of this Association I have had considerable experience in working with groups and I am, therefore, aware of most of the difficulties which confront the officials of an association such as ours. For this reason I am venturing to suggest that there is a step which we might take, and which would, in my opinion, go a long way toward making our group the cohesive and constructive agency which it should be, if we are to make the most of this profession to which we are devoting the better part of our lives. I hope I will not be misunderstood when I venture the opinion that the Association is not beginning to take advantage of the opportunities which lie before it. This is not a criticism of present or past officials or, in fact, of individuals of any kind. I believe that the reason is to be found solely in the structure of our organization which suffers from an inherent defect that has long since been recognized by many business and trade groups, as well as by all the more established professions.

    To come directly to the point, I think you will agree with me that every group organization which has achieved conspicuous results has at least one or more paid full time persons on its staff, and in my opinion this is the most vital step which lies before the American Association of Law Libraries. We members, and this includes the officials, are hard pressed at all times by the tasks which lie before us in connection with our specific libraries, and regardless of what our intentions may be we are not able to think out problems of the group as a whole first, but must delegate them to second place at least, and frequently we dismiss them altogether. In a busy age like our own this is inevitable, and the proof of this lies in the experience of many other groups which have found it necessary to take the step which I am proposing.

    To one side of us exists the highly organized and the decidedly effective general library profession, and its organization has certainly suggested some of the things which we may do for our particular field, although in a specialized way and on a smaller scale. On the other side we have the legal profession, one which has been somewhat reluctant to organize and act cooperatively, but is rapidly passing into a new phase, a notable example of which is the new State Bar movement which is gaining considerable momentum. Still a third professional group come in contact with our daily work, particularly in the case of law school libraries, and this is the teaching profession behind which stands the highly organized academic world. Recent developments in the organized life of the teaching profession have played an important part in the raising of their standards and in obtaining the type of recognition which is more and more coming to them. In the case of all of these three professions we will generally find that the individual members receive higher recognition, both as to standing and as to financial remuneration.

    In my opinion all of these things go together and the one thing in which probably all law librarians agree, namely, that they are not adequately paid, depends for its alleviation upon much persistent constructive work including the appropriate education of those to whom we are responsible in order that they may appreciate our needs and give adequate support to our work. In this, all of the active members of our profession should join, but if we are to be intelligent about it we must also create an instrumentality adapted to our needs and to the age in which we live in order that we may confidently expect genuine results.

    I do not wish to be misunderstood as advocating the elimination of the voluntary officials, and of the voluntary work, nor am I minimizing the substantial results which have been accomplished in the past. In my opinion all of this voluntary effort could be enhanced one hundred per cent if there were a minimum staff on the job at all times to see that if any initiative were once taken the program proposed should be carried out to its logical conclusion. Under the set up that I envision individual initiative and endeavor would in no case be supplanted, but every effort would be made to encourage the members to undertake necessary tasks, and the Association would only engage in such work as could best be handled from some central headquarters. In other words the policy would be to encourage, augment and coordinate the work of all those engaged in law library administration and development.

    I have no doubt that you can visualize the things that you could accomplish this year if you could formulate a general program for your term of office in the knowledge that there would be a staff available to see that the program was carried out. I can think of many things that the Association could do if we had such full time interested officials as I have in mind, but I will only burden you here with the briefest mention of some that occur to me at the moment.

    1. Obviously the Journal should be continued as at present, although it might be enlarged to advantage as the scarcity of technical material on law library administration is apparent to anyone who has had occasion to look for information of this kind.

    2. In my opinion there is a crying need for a bulletin, preferably in print form, but if this is impossible mimeographing would serve the purpose. Such a bulletin should contain current notices of interest to law librarians and comments and items regarding libraries where the information would be of interest to other librarians. It should also contain a list of current legal publications, including pamphlets, giving the author, title, publisher, source and price, and other data whenever possible. If this information were regularly gathered together by some central agency it would save much time and trouble on the part of individual librarians, who must at present scan a vast amount of current material in order to keep themselves posted, and then are bound to overlook many items of interest. We as law librarians should have some means of knowing that everything being published in our field will come to our attention.

    Obviously the bulletin published by Mr. Rosbrook has attempted to meet some of these particular needs and I think he deserves a great deal of credit for the work which he has been doing. He has convinced me that, in spite of the evidence of the moment, there is a very real need in this direction, and one which can only be met by the general distribution of a bulletin of some sort. Lack of support and of funds has, of course, made it impossible for him to prepare it in an attractive form, or to give the full bibliographical data which is desirable. This has probably contributed to the difficulty he has encountered in securing subscriptions. Under the centralized plan which I am proposing I believe the difficulties which he has encountered as an individual could be minimized or overcome.

    3. Another class of publication in which the Association could very well take a much more active interest is that of indexes, check lists and bibliographies for which there is certainly a crying need such as will probably never be entirely satisfied. Here is an illustration of how the Association could operate at its best, for in my opinion it need not, and perhaps should not undertake this sort of work directly as an organization. The better policy would be to establish conditions encouraging voluntary endeavors in these directions. I mean by this that if the Association would sponsor the publication of indexes, check lists and bibliographies, a great deal of individual initiative might thereby be developed. Under present circumstances the cost of publication has discouraged efforts of this sort since one must be possessed of an almost “inhuman” eal to be willing to undertake such labors if they are to see the light of day.

    4. It seems to me that we are in great need of a clearing house for general information as well as a place where material on law library administration can be collected. In short, we are in need of some central library on law library administration where all possible data should be gathered and arranged in a manner to be of service to all persons interested. The American Association of Law Libraries should be a clearing house for all such information, and should also be a source to which we could freely write in the confidence that we would frequently receive information of help to us in solving our particular problems. So far as I know, no one has as yet made any attempt to systematically gather material along these lines, and yet the time is coming when we must pass into a phase where law library administration will be a well developed technical field administered by persons extensively trained for this particular purpose. I don't mean to indicate by this expression that there are not law librarians of the first order in the field at the present time, for there are, but there are also many law libraries which are inefficiently administered, either because they are inadequately manned, or because the librarians are untrained and poorly paid.

So much for this very brief discussion of some of the fields of service which lie before the American Association of Law Libraries. Assuming that the Association and its members are in favor of the addition of one or more full time paid members to the staff, we are confronted by the very important problem of ways and means.

    While I have no idea as to a concrete source from which financial assistance may be procured, I can not but believe that we have a very legitimate claim to bring forward when we are ready to act in earnest, and I see no reason why we should not approach the problem of securing financial assistance with some reasonable degree of assurance. Foundations of many kinds are contributing millions of dollars annually in any number of directions, and surely some of us among the law librarians are acquainted with persons who could make approaches for us. As you know, the American Library Association has received substantial assistance from the Carnegie Corporation, which is simply a proof of the fact that similar assistance has been procured. When one considers the immense importance of the legal profession, and the tremendous influence which it exerts upon our respective communities and upon the states and the country, it seems to me undeniably clear that the intelligent and the insistent claim of those who are engaged in providing the absolutely essential library facilities for this profession should be heard and responded to in no less concrete terms than the contribution of the necessary funds to improve our service to our public.

    Of course while discussing the question of receiving outside financial assistance, we should not overlook our own resources although they be meager, for we must be willing to give direct assistance ourselves. No doubt there are ways and means of augmenting the income from our group if we can provide an increased service to our own membership. In this connection I submit that assistance from the legal profession in any of its branches should not be considered “outside”assistance. We are merely a part of this group with an absolutely necessary but specialized function to perform.

    In spite of the length of this letter I feel that the main considerations have not been adequately treated, and I regret that it is not possible for us to discuss these matters at length. However, as I am urging the adoption of a specific program I am going to conclude with a concrete proposal, namely, that you and your fellow officers consider the advisability of appointing a committee with authority to look into this matter thoroughly.

    Thanking you in advance for such consideration as you may be inclined to give this proposal, I am

    Yours sincerely,

    William. R. Roalfe, Librarian.
    Duke University Law School34

The letter clearly touched the imagination of President Parma, because she published it in the Law Library Journal. While Roalfe was known to members of the profession before 1930, he now became one of its most visible members and would remain so for the next forty years. The work of the Expansion Committee would consume much of the time of Roalfe and the Association for the next ten years.

Whether Roalfe was a visionary or whether he merely articulated a popular sentiment of members of the Association at the time is not clear. What is indisputable is the fact that through his continuing involvement in the realization of the plan, he became its principal architect. The Expansion Plan became an agenda item at the twenty-sixth annual meeting of AALL in New Haven, Connecticut in June 1931. While concerns were voiced as to whether such an ambitious plan could be undertaken by the Association, it was agreed that a committee should be formed to examine the proposal. Not surprisingly, William Roalfe was selected as its chair.

While the committee appointed to examine the proposal was called the Committee on the Expansion Plan, it was referred to by John Vance, the Law Librarian of Congress, as “the Roalfe Plan,” and the name stuck. Proof of the importance placed on this committee by AALL was the professional standing of the members chosen to serve on it. The other members Of the committee were John Vance, a future president of AALL; Frederick C. Hicks, Director of the Yale Law Library, Professor of Law and former AALL president; and Gilson Glasier, of the Wisconsin State Library, former AALL president and a charter member of the Association. All were leaders in the profession. S. D. Klapp, Librarian of the Minneapolis Bar Association, was later appointed to the committee by president Parma.

At the 1931 meeting there was a round table discussion of the Roalfe plan within the Committee on Incorporation. Miss Lyons, Librarian, New York State Library, presided, and she called upon Roalfe to comment on his proposal. In an impassioned speech, Roalfe urged:

[T]here are two major problems of consideration into which this entire discussion falls; first, shall we work out a modified or enlarged type of organization to carry out the work of the American Association of Law Libraries; and secondly, if we undertake to carry forward such a program, how are we going to meet the financial obligations that will be incurred thereby? 35 All pioneer work is done by making a start, not knowing how the final result is to be achieved. The main thing that lies before us today, I feel, is to make that kind of start. In other words, to set forth boldly and say, “Let us encourage the functioning of the Association, and let us go into it wholeheartedly, and let us develop an instrument such as is adequate for modern conditions.” 36

John Vance spoke strongly in favor of Roalfe's proposal:

I just can't go away from this meeting without expressing my hearty approval of Mr. Roalfe's plan. We hear a great deal about plans nowadays, five-year plans, ten-year plans, and this plan and that plan, but I think that this plan is certainly deserving of the name of the Roalfe Plan. In spite of what Mr. Mettee says, I think that deep down in his heart, even in his words and acts during the past 25 years, he has approved this plan. Certainly, after 25 years of progress with the American Association of Law Libraries, it would be impossible to say at this junction of the beginning of the second quarter of a century, that we are going to stand still from now on and just stagnate. That is what it would mean if we didn't help Mr. Roalfe.

I envy Mr. Roalfe the vision and the force and the clearness with which he has presented this matter. There is no question about the great work of the Association during 25 years, and no question about the gratitude that the whole profession of the law and the law librarians owes to the founders of this Association, and the important work that they have carried on during their first quarter of a century. It seems to me, also, that there is no question about the necessity of going forward.

Like Mr. Poole, the matter of funds is a secondary matter to me. If we have the idea, and the idea is sold to the members of the profession, we can sell the idea to those who have the funds in their power to carry on the work that's conceived. It is easy for me to understand Mr. Roalfe's plan - I envy him - and the feeling that the money is of secondary importance. He's living in an atmosphere of luxury and wealth at Duke University, and where money seems to spring from the smoke, if not from the trees, and naturally he lives among great ideas.

It seems to me that we should all enthusiastically endorse the plan, and a committee should be appointed in order to get it before the Association. I believe, Madame Chairman, that a committee of three be appointed to carry out this Roalfe Plan, and that Mr. Roalfe, the father of the Plan, be the chairman of the committee.37

While much of the commentary was similarly favorable to the proposal, A. J. Small, Librarian at the Iowa State Law Library, a charter member of AALL and its first president, rose and spoke to the problem of financing of the plan. Earlier, Roalfe had indicated that one way finances could be addressed would be through the seeking of grants from foundations since millions were being given away every year for projects such as this. “So far as the financing is concerned,” Small contended, “that is one of the hardest problems that we will have to surmount. If Mr. Roalfe knows of any millionaires who have a million or two to hand over, let him bring them up.”38 Another concern voiced was the dangers of centralization and bureaucracy.

These issues again arose at the 1932 annual meeting in New Orleans,39 when the Committee issued its recommendations. The report contained, in a more organized and detailed fashion, much of what Roalfe had recommended in his letter. The only new recommendation was a “national survey of present law library conditions.” Also included was a list of special recommendations which would need to be addressed if the plan was to succeed:  the incorporation of the Association, the establishment of a national headquarters or “secretariat” and recommendations regarding dues, bylaw amendments and grant seeking. Roalfe was not in attendance at the meeting and thus was unavailable to respond to specific questions. H. R. Coffey read the report and responded on Roalfe's behalf, however.

While on the whole the report was well received, it also received its fair share of criticism. Mr. Small again rose to voice his concern that the plan was overreaching. Another critic, Dr. Goddard rose and stated:

It seems to me, the more I have been able to think it over, (speaking of the Plan), if one individual is to lead and conduct the work of the Association along the present and extended lines, he would have to have the strength of Samson, he would have to have the wisdom of Solomon, and the Association would have to have the wealth of Croesus, especially in these days, with stocks marked down, and so far as my acquaintance and observation go, we have no Samsons, we have no Solomons, and we have no Croesus.40

He then stated another concern, “I cannot but feel that our country is overridden with bureaucracy. We are getting altogether too much dependent upon a bureau rather than upon the whole people or the association, with the result, in the case where the bureau is composed of one, that we are made dependent upon the health, strength, common sense and faithfulness to duty of one or a very few individuals.”41

At the end of the discussion a motion that the work of the Committee on the Expansion Plan be continued was seconded and carried.

A testament to the importance of Roalfe to the Expansion Plan was the fact that little work was done on the plan during 1933 because Roalfe was ill for a good portion of the year and could not attend the convention.42 At the June 1934 annual meeting of the Association in Montreal, Canada, the Expansion Plan was once again discussed at a round table. Helen Newman, Librarian, George Washington University Law School and Representative to the AALS, stated:  “Some of us already had the same view, but we had not had the wisdom to put into print what we felt about these things.” She then went on to recommend that the national headquarters be established in Washington, D.C. because “the Library of Congress gave us unusual facilities, particularly in the field of foreign legal publications and, second, that government publications, which I know some of you find difficult to obtain, may be obtained by those of us who are able frequently to secure them, even though they may be out of print at the Government Printing Office.”43

It should surprise no one that the primary concerns raised were those of finances. Who was going to pay for this enterprise? After a period of some questions and answers, Rosamund Parma rose and asked if Mr Roalfe might be willing to add something to the discussion. Roalfe responded:

I had very much hoped that I was going to have the privilege of listening this evening to everyone else. It is rather diverting, if you look at it impersonally, to have holes picked in a scheme to which you have given a great deal of thought. However, I feel just the same now as I did three years ago, that there is a wonderful opportunity before this organization to exploit the field of service to members of the Bench, Bar and that includes members of the Bar who belong to the teaching profession.44

A clearly exasperated Roalfe continued:

I cannot see why, if we want to commit ourselves, - and by that I mean adopting the plan as something we want to carry into effect, - if we commit ourselves to the incurring of expenses we cannot afford, well, of course, obviously the officers of this organization are duty bound to keep within the budget available; but what I would like to see here today, because we have loitered long enough, is the adoption of the plan, and with that adoption the authorization or recommendation to the officers during the next year to explore all possible means of commencing it into effect … I continue the offer of being perfectly willing to have holes picked in my ideas, and I will attempt to answer them, but I very much prefer that the discussion come from the floor. (applause).45

After further discussion Eldon James called the question. The question was that the round table recommend to the American Association of Law Libraries that the incoming officers go forward with the Roalfe Plan and that the permanent headquarters be established in Washington, DC It carried unanimously. Also, on December 29, 1934 at the annual meeting of the Association of American Law Schools a resolution was adopted by the membership at the business meeting which stated that AALS approved of the Roalfe Plan.46

Slowly, in these pre-war years certain elements of the plan began to be carried out. In 1935, Roalfe was elected president of AALL, and while much of the Roalfe Plan had yet to be adopted, his election can no doubt be seen as an endorsement of the Expansion Plan. He was an able leader whose tenure is worth noting for a number of reasons. The Association was incorporated on September 25, 1935 - one of the recommendations of his Expansion Plan. He also worked hard during his administration to strengthen ties with American Library Association (ALA).47

In a March 28, 1938 memo to the Committee on Expansion, Roalfe reported that with respect to eight of the twenty-four specific proposals articulated in the Committee Report on the Expansion Plan, the Association had taken the specific steps recommended, and all but two of the remaining had been acted upon. Those parts realized were as follows:

  1. The adoption of amendments to the constitution and the bylaws necessary to clear the way for the changes proposed;
  2. Incorporation of the Association;
  3. Establishment of a permanent headquarters;
  4. Employment of a paid executive secretary48 on at least a part-time basis;
  5. Publication of the Index to Legal Periodicals and the Law Library Journal as separate and distinct periodicals;
  6. Publication of the entire proceedings of each annual meeting promptly and in a separate issue of Law Library Journal;
  7. Establishment of an institutional membership; and
  8. Modification of the fees for regular and associate members so as to bring them into line with the institutional membership plan as proposed.49

In 1941 Helen Newman presented a report to the Association on “A Decade of Progress under the Roalfe Plan:  1931 - 1941.”50 Further developments included:  the issuance of the Law Library Journal on a bimonthly basis; a grant of $5,000 from the Carnegie Foundation for the establishment of a permanent headquarters; paid advertising accepted in the Journal; a number of bibliographies published in Law Library Journal; and the appointment of a Committee on Publicity. Clearly much of what Roalfe proposed had yet to be realized. Still, the plan was the defining event of those years. An article by Helen Newman on the history of AALL from 1930 to 1946 in the Golden Jubilee issue of the Law Library Journal is entitled, “The Roalfe Plan and the Middle Years, 1930 - 1942.”51 The work on the Expansion Plan was the single largest common denominator during those years - and with it Roalfe. He dominated the Association, but this domination should be kept in perspective. Most AALL meetings during the 1930s were attended by fewer than 50 members, with membership in the Association less than 300; thus, one motivated individual could make an enormous impact.

Undoubtedly, World War II slowed down the efforts to implement the plan.52 Shortly after the war, Roalfe was appointed to chair the Special Committee on Advisability and Practicality of Establishing the Office of Executive Secretary and Treasurer on a Full-Time Basis (1946-48).

In the early 1950s, there was again a call for a new Roalfe Plan, called New Horizons. As a result of that initiative, Roalfe would again be asked to chair the Committee on Permanent Quarters for the American Association of Law Libraries (1953-55). A permanent headquarters was one of the core concerns of the Roalfe Plan. For years the “secretariat” was located in Washington, DC with Helen Newman. Many thought that the headquarters should be located there. But with the ABA and ALA located in Chicago, that city became the focus of headquarters discussion.

At the 1954 annual meeting, President Lucile Elliot called for a revitalization of AALL. Roalfe's survey of the libraries of the legal profession was viewed as the realization of yet another one of the goals of the Roalfe Plan. And of the next year's annual meeting, Harrison MacDonald wrote, “Expansion was in the atmosphere, and plans of the special policy committee were discussed, promising a professional 'new look' before long.” He continued, “At the end of 50 years it is, indeed, discovering 'new horizons' or, shall we say, rediscovering them, for that dependable trailblazer, William R. Roalfe, had chartered many of them twenty-odd years ago.”53

The Report of the Special Panel on New Horizons, presented at the Fifty-fourth Annual Meeting, made a set of sweeping recommendations for further study to the Association. The organization of AALL needed to continue to expand and mature. The growth of chapters was one healthy means of doing this. While the growth of the profession meant a wider range of individuals in the Association, it was important that law librarians, no matter what their specialization, participate in AALL. It was time to reconsider all aspects of committee organization, from their subject matter to their anatomy. Membership needed to increase in order to raise sufficient funds to run the Association, but other sources of funds were also necessary. The ABA and foundations were two other potential sources.

Additionally, standards for law librarianship needed to be developed. These standards should involve certification of law librarians, recruitment of personnel and internships. Once again, there was a call for a full-time permanent executive secretary and headquarters. There should be a increased effort at public relations. A wide range of publications should be developed, among them a handbook of law library practice, bibliographies, indexes and monographs. Law Library Journal needed to be revised. Institutes, much like the recently successful Institute on the Fundamentals of Law Library Administration organized by Miles O. Price, should be held as a means of continuing education in law librarianship. Annual meetings should change to adjust to the growing membership.54 In effect, there was a call for an expansion of the Roalfe Expansion Plan. Much of this plan would be realized later.

As the Association grew and the years rolled by, there was less frequent mention of the Roalfe Plan. Its ideals had become part of what drove the AALL; the goals of the plan internalized in the collective consciousness of the Association's leadership. There was never any question that what had been accomplished under the plan was good for the profession. Roalfe's influence was profoundly felt by those law librarians who came of professional age during his tenure in the Association. What became clear early on was that money, and not ideals, would control the pace at which modernization could take place. It was not until 1964, coincidentally the year of Roalfe's retirement, that a permanent headquarters in Chicago with a full-time executive secretary was finally approved by AALL. Much of what had been proposed in the Roalfe Plan was now in effect, and AALL was entering a new stage in development and growth. Throughout the post-war period and until the present day, there have been periodic attempts to reorganize AALL through committees and task forces whose job it was to identify the challenges and chart the future direction of AALL. At present, the challenges are the costs and benefits of the Washington representative and the role of the Association as lobbyist; tomorrow others will arise. What was once viewed as too expensive, unnecessary or foolish, soon either becomes essential or fades away. What is certain is that Roalfe charted a direction for the Association from which it has never looked back. And on occasion, one can still hear the suggestion that what AALL needs is a new Roalfe Plan.

C. International:  International Association of Law Libraries and the American Association of the United Nations

Though Roalfe's interest in law librarianship's national organization never waned, it was clear that the events of the Second World War had a profound effect upon him. After the war he became very interested in international matters, as his service in the International Association of Law Libraries (IALL) and the American Association for the United Nations (AAUN) would testify. Roalfe thought that law libraries would have a fundamental part in the building of the new world order. Democracy could be spread if law libraries in war-ravaged countries and the Third World could be established and supported. For the rule of law to take hold and spread democracy, it was necessary for people in those countries to read the law, and particularly the law of the western democracies and the United States.

In 1957, an AALL Special Committee on the Creation of the International Association of Law Libraries was created. Roalfe served as its chair. In a memorandum dated July 18, 1958, Roalfe reported to the committee that the Executive Board had approved the Committee's recommendation that AALL issue an invitation to all interested persons to attend a meeting to be held during the annual AALL meeting in New York, for the purpose of considering the creation an International Association of Law Libraries. In the memorandum to the committee, Roalfe suggested the proposed purposes of the new association were as follows:

  1. To promote the development of legal collections on a multinational basis where it is necessary or desirable to further the work of the legal profession in any of its branches.
  2. To encourage and facilitate the exchange of legal materials between institutions which are collecting materials on a multinational basis.
  3. To facilitate the distribution of legal materials on a worldwide basis, whether by exchange or otherwise.
  4. To serve as an agency for the dissemination of useful information.
  5. To encourage and promote the development of bibliographical services and other aids that will facilitate research involving the use of legal materials on a multinational basis.
  6. To cooperate with any other organization which is in a position to and is willing to assume some responsibility in the area with which the proposed organization will be concerned.55

Roalfe was the primary architect of the constitution of the newly formed organization. At the organizational meeting held on Wednesday, June 24, 1959, at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Roalfe was elected president of IALL. He served in that capacity until 1962.

AALL was such an integral part of his life that he even found his second wife in its ranks. On November 26, 1960, Roalfe married Helen Snook, who was at the time the president of AALL and Law Librarian for the Detroit Bar Association. At the second annual meeting of IALL, held at Boston in conjunction with the AALL meeting, Roalfe presided. His wife, Helen Snook Roalfe, presided over the AALL meeting. This was not only the first and only time spouses held the presidency of these two professional organizations, but to hold them simultaneously was truly remarkable - the first couple of law librarianship!

In 1973, in recognition of the role he played in the founding and continued development of IALL, Roalfe was awarded an honorary membership in the Association.

Roalfe was enough of an internationalist at this point that he was not satisfied with his work in IALL alone. In the early 1950s he also was one of the original organizers of the American Association for the United Nations (AAUN), along with its most famous co-founder, Eleanor Roosevelt. From 1954 until 1964, Roalfe served in a number of capacities. From 1954 to 1958 he served on its National Board of Governors, and from 1954 to 1958 and 1959 to 1964, he served on the Board of Directors of AAUN. Roalfe was active in organizing the Chicago and Illinois chapters and represented them on the board of governors.

In 1956 he was asked to head a committee looking into improving AAUN's field structure of chapters and state divisions. Once again Roalfe was involved in what he seemed to do best in any association in which he was involved:  the reorganization of the group to create a more efficient and effective administrative framework. He worked with Dr. Frank Porter Graham, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, on the project.56 From this committee, which would be popularly known within AAUN as “the Roalfe committee” came the call for the first national convention of the Association. At that convention AAUN would be reorganized into a new organization called the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA/USA). Roalfe continued to serve on its board of directors until 1967.

Estelle Linzer, a staff member of AAUN who is currently working on a history of the organization, worked closely with Roalfe during the 1950s and 1960s. She says of Roalfe, “Bob was intense in his interest in the United Nations and in the Association's activities in support of effective United States membership in the UN. He gave his time unsparingly to the committee he headed, which involved travel on his own vacation time to chapter and regional meetings looking toward the streamlining of the organization's structure.”57 She thought he was the perfect man for the job. She found him to be a “serious, rigid man of great principles, who didn't have much of a sense of humor - which was maybe just what we needed on a committee charged with the restructuring of the organization.”58


Marian Gallagher referred to William Roalfe as “Mr. AALL.”59 It is hard to disagree with this assessment, but he was also much more. He always sought out other law librarians to band together for cooperative endeavors. He did this in a serious and professional way. Those who remember him use descriptions like “a thorough gentleman”and “a real doer.”60 While he wrote of humor in the law library, he is remembered as a humorless man. Perhaps he took his work so seriously this was the only side of the man most saw. Whoever the man, it is his work and contributions to law librarianship which will live on.

Many of the concerns he expressed about AALL are concerns the Association still faces:  the cost of dues, the content of Law Library Journal, the need for an adequate headquarters staff, the over reliance upon vendors for convention support, the education and training of law librarians, salaries, accreditation standards, the teaching of legal research to law students, the increasing varied needs of law firm and government law librarians and the lack of appreciation and understanding by the public and the user communities of the work law librarians do. There was not an important issue of the day about which he did not raise his voice or pen.

Appendix A:
Chronology of the Life of William R. Roalfe

1896 Roalfe born in Mexico City, Mexico, Aug. 22
1921 Admitted to California Bar
1922 Receives LL.B. from the University of Southern California
1922-1923 Attorney in law firm of O'Melveny, Milliken and Tuller, Los Angeles
1924-1925 Private practice
1925-1926 Construction supervisor and salesman
1927-1930 Librarian, University of Southern California School of Law
1930 Writes letter to Rosamund Parma describing program which would come to be called the Roalfe Plan, Sept. 11
1930-1943 Librarian, Duke University Law Library and Professor of Law
1932-1933 Chairman, AALS Round Table on Library Problems
1934 Elected vice president/president elect of AALL; Roalfe Plan endorsed by AALL, June 29; married Mary Holland, July 7; Roalfe Plan endorsed by AALS, Dec. 29
1935 AALL incorporated
1935-1936 President of AALL
1937 President of Ephebian Society
1937 Helps found the Carolina Law Librarians - AALL's first chapter
1943 Legal Counsel, Office of Price Administration, Washington, DC
1946 Returns to Duke
1946-1962 Director, Elbert Gary Law Library, Northwestern University School of Law and Professor of Law
1947 Helps found Chicago Association of Law Libraries and is elected first president
1953 Libraries of the Legal Profession published
1954 Helps found American Association for the United Nations (AAUN)
1954-1958 National Board of Directors of AAUN
1957 Chair, AALL Special Committee on the Formation of an International Association of Law Libraries
1958-1964 Executive Board, AAUN
1959 Mary Holland Roalfe dies; awarded honorary LL.D., Temple University; receives AALL Recognition Award
1959-1962 Helps found and is elected first president of IALL
1960 Marries Helen Snook, Librarian of the Detroit Bar Association and president of AALL, Nov. 26
1964 Roalfe retires; Roalfe Committee of AAUN calls for national convention where the group is restructured into the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA/USA); permanent headquarters for AALL established in Chicago
1965 Professor Emeritus, Northwestern Law
1966-1969 AALL Parliamentarian
1970 Moves from Chicago to San Diego
1974 Made first honorary member of IALL; Helen Snook Roalfe dies, Feb. 27
1975 Marries Emma Brubaker
1976 Poetic Utterances published
1977 John Henry Wigmore:  Scholar and Reformer published
1979 William Roalfe dies, July 22

Appendix B:
A Bibliography of the Writings of and about
William R. Roalfe

This is an exhaustive bibliography of the writings of William Roalfe. Also included are several of the more informative articles which discuss Roalfe's work. The annotations are selective and for the most part descriptive. In some cases, particularly with respect to Roalfe's books, annotations are evaluative if it seemed to assist with better understanding of the man.


John Henry Wigmore:  Scholar and Reformer. Chicago:  Northwestern University Press, 1977. Interestingly, this book was never reviewed. A well-written, exhaustive account of the life of Dean Wigmore, a man Roalfe clearly respected. Wigmore served as dean at Northwestern from 1901 - 29. He died in 1943, three years before Roalfe became Law Librarian at Northwestern.

Poetic Utterances. William Roalfe, 1976. Roalfe was clearly a better librarian than poet. In the forward to this self-published collection of 41 poems he writes:

All of the following verses, except “Plumed Frond” which was written in 1955, were produced in 1926, 1927, and 1928 when I was about thirty years old. They were the products of the unconscious; I was unaware of the ideas or words until I wrote them down. In each case the verse appeared as if written by another person. They are reproduced here in the approximate form of their original writing.

Although I have been writing steadily since that time, the impulse to write verse has recurred only twice and at wide intervals, and never again have I felt impelled to write down something formed without conscious effort.

A sample:

Come What May

Come what may
I'll fight away
And win the day.

The day I speak
Knows not the weak
And is not for the meek.

It's nothing less than free man's day
And strikes not till the soul says yea
And thus becomes the master of its way.

It's natal hour:
It's manhood's flower
And makes of life a joyous bower.

For he who does self master,
In spite of gods and men,
Can come to no disaster.

How to Find the Law. 5th ed. St. Paul:  West, 1957. Roalfe took over the editorship of the casebook from Carlton B. Putnam. Its modern equivalent is the Cohen, Berring, Olsen text. Roalfe wrote the Preface and Introduction and the Summary and Conclusion. All of the other chapters were written by respected law librarians and law teachers like Julius Marke, Morris Cohen and Marian Gallagher.

Its focus is much different than the previous edition which was edited by Carlton B. Putnam. In the introduction to this edition, Roalfe begins with a description of the reasons for studying legal bibliography and the method of study which he believes best used.

This book proceeds upon three basic assumptions, namely (1) that the best way to learn is by doing - by actually using law books in their wide variety, (2) that a certain amount of trial and error is both inevitable and desirable, but (3) that wasted effort can be reduced to a minimum by starting with relatively simple problems to be solved under the guidance provided by this book and supplemented by the instructor in the course.

Roalfe also differs from Putnam's approach in the fourth edition, which discusses the importance of legal materials in jurisprudence by describing the typical law library, its collections and how research is conducted in them. Roalfe begins his discussion of legal bibliography with a chapter on legal encyclopedias because he felt they represented an easy transition from undergraduate research to legal research.

How to Find the Law, with Special Chapters on Legal Writing. 6th ed. St. Paul:  West, 1965. Roalfe, as the title indicates, spent more time in this edition discussing legal writing and problem solving - four chapters were added. Of the sixteen contributors, only six had written chapters in the fifth edition.

The Libraries of the Legal Profession:  A Study Prepared for the Survey of the Legal Profession under the Auspices of American Bar Association. St. Paul:  West 1953. Oft quoted, a monumental work in law librarianship. Never before or since has there been this comprehensive look at the libraries of the legal profession. Because of an earlier ABA survey of legal education, this survey only looked at firm, governmental and court law libraries. This project was one of the proposals of the Expansion Plan, and in it Roalfe calls for further reform in the Association because many of the goals of the Roalfe Plan had yet to be met.

In the forward of the book, Forrest Drummond, President of AALL writes:

Among the important objectives in the program of the American Association of Law Libraries has been the improvement of Law Libraries and standards of Law Librarianship, together with a more complete understanding by the Bar of the services available to the legal profession through their libraries and librarians. With this in mind, there was first proposed in 1931 to the American Association of Law Libraries an expansion program commonly known as the Roalfe Expansion Plan, bearing the name of the original sponsor of the plan and the author of a majority of its provisions. One of the important provisions of the Roalfe Expansion Plan was a survey of law libraries, and everyone familiar with the law library field knew that the right choice had been made when William R. Roalfe was selected to make the Survey of the Libraries of the Legal Profession. We all relaxed with the knowledge that the Survey was in the capable hands of a man who had done so much to improve the standards of law libraries and law librarians.

The chapters contained:  I.  Introduction; II.  Book Collection; III.  Quarters, Furniture and Equipment; IV.  Personnel; V.  Some Comparisons Between Law Librarians and Related Groups; VI.  Service and Public Relations; VII.  Law Office and Company Libraries; VIII.  County Law Libraries; IX.  State Law Libraries; X.  State Court Libraries; XI.  Federal Court Libraries; XII.  Federal Departmental and Administrative Agency Law Libraries; XIII.  Association Law Libraries; XIV.  Other Types of Law Libraries; XV.  Cooperation Between Libraries; XVI.  Cooperation Through Organized Groups; and, XVII.  Conclusion. It includes dozens of Tables, an Appendix and an Index.

Much of the book is really a personal statement by Roalfe of the current state of affairs of law librarianship. If one were to only read one work by Roalfe, this work would give one the best sense of Roalfe the law librarian and “association animal.”

The book was reviewed by Bernita J. Davies at 47 Law Libr. J. 51 (1954).


Humor in the Law Library, 64 Law Libr. J. 37 (1971). While Roalfe's premise was that there is a need for more humor in the law library, this article is a not very funny look at humor in the law library. Clearly there was a need for more humor in the profession if this was the best which could be offered. Unfortunately, Bob Roalfe never met Bob Berring.

Organization and Committee Structure of AALL, A Panel, 60 Law Libr. J. 416 (Nov. 1967).

Organization and Structure of AALL, the Future, A Panel, 61 Law Libr. J. 463 (Nov. 1968). Marian G. Gallagher served as the chair of both panels. Also speaking on both panels were Harry Bitner, Cornell University Law Library, and Erwin Surrency, Temple University Law Library.

Roalfe presented an outstanding talk on how a committee and its chair should function. He laid out quite specific guidelines and timetables for a committee chair to make sure that the committee functions effectively. This should be required reading for all incoming AALL Committee and SIS chairs. In summary, the guidelines are as follows:

  1. Make a start - sooner rather than later.
  2. Keep it moving.
  3. Do your homework.
  4. Communicate with your fellow committee members. In the initial communication:
    1. give the names of the committee members;
    2. articulate the existing situation and the committee's charge;
    3. provide background documentation in the form of cites or the actual text; and
    4. ask for comments from committee members.
  5. Two weeks after the initial communication, if there is no response, send a reminder and explain that an answer is expected and overdue.
  6. If possible, send written communications in a survey format which only requires checking squares or inserting “yes” or “no” and slipping the survey into a self-addressed envelope. “Even when this is not altogether satisfactory it may be all that can be expected from persons who are not capable of committee work at a higher level. At least this clears the way for further work by the more competent members of the committee.”
  7. After all the responses are in hand and digested, it is time for a second communication which reflects the views of the committee.
  8. Depending upon the complexity of the committee charge, several more communications with committee members may be necessary. Sub-committees may also be called for.
  9. Prepare a draft report for comment. In certain circumstances a vote may be necessary.
  10. Follow up with reminders.
  11. Make sure the final report is an accurate reflection of the members of the committee.
  12. Inform the president-elect which committee members were effective and which were not. This will avoid mistakes in next year's appointments.

Roalfe then categorizes the various types of committee members and their strengths and weaknesses.

The follow-up panel consisted of the members of the previous panel who summarized their earlier comments and then opened the discussion to questions and comments.

Some Observations on the Development of Law Library Service in the Emerging Nations, 57 Law Libr. J. 396 (Nov. 1964). This paper was presented on July 1, 1964 at an annual meeting of AALL, as part of a panel on emerging nations. After World War 11, Roalfe became very interested in the international scene.

Centennial Tribute of John Henry Wigmore, 58 Nw. L. Rev. 445 (1963). An update of his biographical look at Wigmore.

John Henry Wigmore - Scholar and Reformer, 53 J. Crim. L., Criminology and Police Sci. 277 (1962). This is the first biography of the man about whom Roalfe would later writes the definitive biography.

Development of Qualitative Standards for the Evaluation of Law Libraries, A Panel, Remarks, 52 Law Libr. J. 324 (1959). Roalfe presided over the panel. Also participating were Helen A. Snook, Detroit Bar Association; Elizabeth Finley, Covington and Burlington, Washington, DC; and Harry Bitner, Yale Law Library.

Law School Library, Facts and Fancies, 11 J. Legal Educ. 346 (1959). An article about law library standards, and lack thereof.

Law Library Service from the Administrator's Point of View, 51 Law Libr. J. 349 (Nov. 1958). This paper was presented as part of a panel called Bibliographic Organization in Law Libraries. Also presenting papers were Roy Mersky, Yale Law Library, “Bibliographic Organization in Law Libraries”; Francis Holbrook, UCLA Law Library, “Bibliographic Organization and Cataloging.” Iris Wildman read Francis Holbrook's paper.

Law Librarianship - A New Field of Specialization, 63 Case & Com. 24 (1958). Roalfe clearly felt the need to make people aware of the profession of law librarianship. He always looked for ways to promote the profession.

Widening Scope of Law Librarianship - A Forum, 50 Law Libr. J. 403 (1957). Roalfe served as chair of the forum. On the panel were:  Erwin Surrency, Temple University Law Library, “The Law Librarian as Author and Legal Scholar”; Howard J. Graham, Los Angeles County Law Library, “The Law Librarian as Bibliographer”; Carroll C. Moreland, University of Pennsylvania Law Library, “The Law Librarian in Relation to Undertakings of the Bench, Bar and Legislative Branch”; Ervin Pollack, Ohio State University Law Library, “The Law Librarian as Researcher”; and Vernon M. Smith, University of California, Berkeley, “Law Librarian as Coordinator and Consultant on Library Standards.”

Centralized University Library Service and the Law School, 50 Law Libr. J. 2 (1957). This is a book review which Roalfe uses as a forum to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the autonomous academic Law library.

Frederick C Hicks:  Scholar-Librarian: Biography, 50 Law Libr. J. 88 (May 1957). Roalfe had great respect for Hicks. He saw him as a role model and mentor. This article is reprinted as a chapter in this book.

Legal Research & Writing at Northwestern University, 9 J. Legal Educ. 81 (1956) (written with Higman). A description of the course as it was taught at Northwestern. It gives some valuable insights into Roalfe's philosophy of the importance of legal research in the curriculum. He seems to damn by faint praise the course offered at Northwestern. His principal argument in favor of the course is that it was better than it was in the past. Still, he saw great problems in not using full-time members of the faculty to teach the course. The use of one-year teaching associates caused great difficulties in getting the associates up to speed. Each year the process of educating the teaching associates had to begin anew since full-time permanent instructors could not be afforded. On a more positive note, the program was an attempt to formalize what until that time was a catch-as-catch-can method of legal research and writing instruction.

Relations of the American Association of Law Libraries with Other Professional Organizations, 49 Law Libr. J. 128 (1956). History of AALL activities with other associations for the Golden Jubilee Issue.

How Can the American Association of Law Libraries Expand and Modernize Its Program to Improve Law Library Service?, A Panel, 47 Law Libr. J. 360 (1954). Roalfe paper “How Can the American Association of Law Libraries Use the Survey of Law Libraries?” is summarized. Needs include more research projects like bibliographies, a critical collection of all the laws affecting law libraries, a study of the unique problems of federal court libraries, and a more thorough study of state law libraries. He also advocated improving and expanding LLJ and better access to foreign materials and the vast body of legal literature in non-legal publications.

Look at the U.N. Record, 34 Chi. B. Rec. 367 (1953) (with Brunson MacChesney). A short article in response to an article in the Chicago Bar Record by Howard Newcomb Morse critical of the UN entitled, “UN on the Wane.” Roalfe, who at the time was on the Board of Directors and President of the American Association of the United Nations, defends the record of the United Nations to date.

Reference Work in Law Libraries, A Panel, 46 Law Libr. J. 448 (1953). Roalfe served as Chair of this panel which included:  Vincent Fiordalisi, Rutgers Law Library, “Law Library Services to the Community”; Elizabeth Holt, Nevada State Library, “Recording of Reference Questions”; John W. Heckel, Los Angeles County Law Library, “General Reference Books in Law Libraries”; and Arthur W. Fiske, Cleveland Law Library Association, “What Should an Attorney Expect of Reference Service?”

Elbert H. Gary Law Library of Northwestem University, 46 Law Libr. J. 219 (1953) (with Kurt Schwerin). Roalfe and Schwerin wrote, “Although interest in a library is to a large extent confined to persons who are in one way or another directly concerned with it, information relating to a specific library is often useful to librarians because it provides a basis for the making of worthwhile comparisons.” And, it also makes for fascinating history. This is a wonderful snapshot of the state of a first-class academic Law library in the early 1950s.

Compensation of Law Library Personnel in 1951, 46 Law Libr. J. 18 (1953). Roalfe always felt that librarians were underpaid, and that the ABA, AALL and AALS needed to work to improve salaries. Bob Roalfe never heard of the Massachusetts School of Law antitrust law suit!

Libraries of the Legal Profession in American Association of Law Libraries, Annual Meeting, Fortyfifth, July 7-10, 1952, Proceedings, Reports and Addresses, 45 Law Libr. J. 206 (1952). This is a report on his book, The Libraries of the Legal Profession. It describes the methodology he used, the limits of the project and the problems he encountered.

Remarks on the Use and Loan Policy of the Chicago Association of Law Libraries, 44 Law Libr. J. 202 (1951). A very brief report on the status of the project.

Panel Discussion on Timesaving Methods in Acquisitions, Accessions, Bookkeeping and Cataloging, 43 Law Libr. J. 178 (1950) (Roalfe, Chair). Roalfe did not present a paper, but provided introductory comments for each speaker and called for questions. Panelists included:  Bernita Davies, University of Illinois, “The Key Sort Card System and the New Photographic Process”; Forrest Drummond, Los Angeles County Law Library, “Time Saving Methods in Accessions”; Vincent Fiordalisi, Rutgers Law Library, “Time Saving Methods in Functional Accounting”; Julius Marke, New York University Law Library, “The Divided Catalog As a Time Saver at the New York University Law Library”; and Flossye Newhart, Washington State Law Library, “Where to Compile a Subject Catalog.”

Some Observations on Teaching Legal Bibliography and the Use of Law Books, 1 J. Legal Ed. 361 (1949). Fairly standard and unimaginative restatement of some of the views of the day concerning the problems associated with the teaching of legal bibliography. This is probably because he was talking to an audience of law professors and law school administrators, whom, he believed, did not fully understand the issues involved.

Necessity for Quantitative as well as Qualitative Library Standards, 2 J. Legal Ed. 166 (1949). Roalfe was always active in the ABA, AALL and AALS in the developing of accreditation standards for law school law libraries. What is fascinating about this article is that the call is for more quantitative standards for law school library inspections, the exact opposite of today's cry. The dangers which Roalfe scoffed are today cited as the reasons standards need to rely less on numbers. In fairness, Roalfe could not have anticipated the technological revolution which would overtake libraries in the 1980s.

Formulation of the Interpretations to the Library Requirements of the Association of American Law Schools, 40 Law Libr. J. 229 (1947). More on accreditation of law school libraries.

The Duke University Law Library:  An Account of Its Development, 35 Law Libr. J. 41 (Mar. 1942). Interesting account of the formation and growth of the Duke Law Library during Roalfe's tenure there.

Panel Discussion on Book Selection, 35 Law Libr. J. 335 (1942). Roalfe was the panel leader. Panelists included Michalina Keeler, Hartford Bar Association Library, and Alfred. A. Morrison, University of Cincinnati Law Library. Interesting approach to panel discussion. Roalfe provided examples of some recent publications, and the panelists spoke on whether or not libraries would purchase them.

Relationship Between Work of the Committee on Classification and Pay, Plans and Work of the Joint Committee on Cooperation Between the Association of American Law Schools and the American Association of Law Libraries, 34 Law Libr. J. 19 (1941). Brief discussion on how the work of the two committees overlap and are different.

Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries:  Luncheon Meeting of Law School Library Inspectors and the Joint Committee on Cooperation Between the Association of American Law Schools and the American Association of Law Libraries, 33 Law Libr. J. 259 (1940). Roalfe, as Chair of the Committee, presided over the meeting. This is a transcript of the meeting. The meeting was called to decide if the ten law school library inspectors should be consolidated with the Joint Committee on Cooperation. Roalfe was one of two present who was a member of both groups. The new committee would be expanded to twelve members.

Increasing Need for Bar Libraries in Smaller Cities, 25 A.B.A. J. 509 (1939). A call to action to the Bar of the United States. With the continued growth of legal materials, Roalfe felt a greater need than ever to make the materials available to the local bar. The article is another example of Roalfe's unrelenting public relations drive to raise the visibility of law libraries and law librarians.

Essentials of an Effective Law School Library Service, 31 Law Libr. J. 335 (1938); Relation of the Library to Legal Education, 31 Law Libr. J. 141 (1938); Some Suggestions for Improving the Law School Library Service, 32 Law Libr. J. 1 (1939). This is a series of three articles which Roalfe published on the Law School Library. They helped establish him as one of the deep thinkers of the profession and give insights to his personal philosophy. See the accompanying chapter for a more in-depth look at these articles.

Development of the American Association of Law Libraries under the Expansion Plan, 31 Law Libr. J. 111 (1938). Update of the Roalfe Plan.

American Association of Law Libraries, Thirty-First Annual Meeting, August 20-22, 1936, Proceedings and Addresses, 29 Law Libr. J. 95 (1936). These proceedings are listed here because these are the proceedings of the Annual Meeting held at Harvard Law School during Roalfe's presidency. While Roalfe's comments can be found throughout the proceedings, especially worth noting are:  a Welcoming Address by Roalfe at page 95; a Report from the President on page 114; an Outline of Plan for Further Expansion of Activities of the American Association of Law Libraries at page 133; and a toast at the Saturday evening dinner at the Wayside Inn on page 243.

Status and Qualifications of Law School Librarians, 8 Am. Law. Rev. 398 (1936). This article is the result of a talk Roalfe gave at an annual meeting. Hicks convinced Roalfe to give the talk and publish it.

Activities and Program of the American Association of Law Libraries, 29 Law Libr. J. 7 (1936). This is a paper read at the Round Table on Library Problems at the Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, New Orleans, Louisiana, Dec. 28, 1935. It concerned the status of the Roalfe Expansion Plan. Roalfe was the president of AALL at the time.

American Lawyers and Their Books, 22 A.B.A. J. 241 (1936). This was one of the public relations articles which Roalfe wrote to increase the visibility and state the need for qualified law librarians.

Report of Committee on Roalfe Expansion Plan, 27 Law Libr. J. 40 (1934). Roalfe was the primary writer of the report.

American Association of Law Libraries Report of Committee on An Expansion Program, 25 Law Libr. J. 177 (1932). As the Chair, Roalfe was the primary author.

Letter to the President of the Association (Parma), September 11, 1930, 24 Law Libr. J. 60 (1931). The letter which resulted in the formulation of the Roalfe Plan. This is probably the single most important piece of correspondence in the history of the Association. It is reprinted in total in the accompanying chapter.

Book Reviews

Book Review, 4 J. Legal Educ. 370 (1952) (reviewing George P. Weisiger & Bernita Long Davies, Manual for Use of Law Books (4th ed. 1951)).

Book Review, 44 Ill. L. Rev. 558 (1949) (reviewing Carlton B. Putnam, How to Find the Law (4th ed. 1949)).

Book Review, 41 Law Libr. J. 375 (1948) (reviewing Esther Lucile Brown, Lawyers, Law Schools and Public Service (1948)).

Book Review, 43 Ill. L. Rev. 128 (1948) (reviewing Arthur S. Beardsley & Oscar C. Orman, Legal Bibliography and the Use of Law Books, 2nd ed. (1947)).

Book Review, 30 Cornell L. Q. 131 (1944) (reviewing Robert Bowie Anderson, A Supplement to Beale's Bibliography of Early English Law Books (1943)).

Book Review, 31 Law Libr. J. 19 (1938) (reviewing Yale Law Library Manual:  The Building, Books and Their Availability for Use (1937)).

Book Review, 3 So. Cal. L. Rev. 449 (1930) (reviewing Lectures on Legal Topics (1930)).

Book Review, 3 So. Cal. L. Rev. 238 (1930) (reviewing Dwight G. McCarty, Psychology for the Lawyer (1929)).

Book Review, 2 So. Cal. L. Rev. 198 (1928) (reviewing William Searle Holdsworth, Some Lessons from our Legal History (1928)).


Kurt Schwerin, William R. Roalfe (1896-1979):  A Tribute (obituary), 8 Intl. J.L. Libr. 3 (1980). Schwerin was the International Law Librarian at Northwestern and a long-time friend of Roalfe.

Kurt Schwerin, Memorials:  William R. Roalfe (obituary), 73 Law Libr. J. 236 (1980).

William R. Roalfe in Who's Who in Library Service (Shoe String Press, 1966).

Roalfe Papers

The Archives of the American Association of Law Libraries, located at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, is the home of the Roalfe papers.

The papers consist of over 13,000 pages and are available on ten rolls of microfilm. They deal predominantly with his responsibilities in the various offices he held in AALL, AALS, and IALL and contain manuscripts of many of his articles. The Duke University Law Library and Northwestern Law Library also contain a limited number of papers of Roalfe, mostly concerning internal operations from the time he spent at those institutions.

1. William R. Roalfe & Kurt Schwerin, The Elbert H. Gary Law Library of Northwestern University, 46 Law Libr. J. 219, 219 (1953).

2. Telephone interview with Janet Sinder, Head of Reference, Duke University Law Library (Feb. 5, 1996).

3. 35 Law Libr. J. 41, 42-44 (1942).

4. Id. at 45-46.


6. Jean Ashman, Current Publications, 45 Law Libr. J. 121 (1952).

7. 46 Law Libr. J. 219 (1953).

8. Id. at 225.

9. Id. at 224.

10. See text accompanying note 33.

11. William R. Roalfe, 8 Am. Law. Rev. 398 (1936).

12. Id.

13. Letter from William R. Roalfe to Frederick Hicks (May 28, 1938) (on file in Roalfe Papers, AALL Archive, University of Illinois) [hereinafter Roalfe Papers].

14. William R. Roalfe, Frederick C. Hicks:  Scholar-Librarian:  Biography, 50 Law Libr. J. 88 (1957),

15. 31 Law Libr. J. 141 (1938).

16. 31 Law Libr. J. 335 (1938).

17. 32 Law Libr. J. 1 (1939).

18. 31 Law Libr. J. 141, 149 (1938). It is interesting to note that Roalfe referred to the law library as a teaching aid. This language seems a little archaic to modern law librarians.

19. Each of these books are described in more detail in the accompanying bibliography.

20. See Widening Scope of Law Librarianship - A Forum, 50 Law Libr. J. 403, 416 (1957) (Vernon Smith's comments on Roalfe's book).



23. Id. at 393-407.

24. Id. at 407-10.


26. Introduction, in HOW TO FIND THE LAW, at ix (5th ed. 1957).

27. The Widening Scope of Law Librarianship - A Forum, 50 Law Libr. J. 403 (1957) (Roalfe's comments).


As I am sure you know by this time, the charge that the Association is being run by an inner-circle is a fairly continuous one. It, of course, has a certain amount of validity because it is inevitable that those who have been active in the Association for a considerable period of time find themselves in the positions of responsibility. However, my own view is that these charges are usually exaggerated. I really think our Association is fairly flexible and that anyone who is willing to work soon finds himself an active participant in which case he does share some measure of responsibility and, if it is important to him, some of the limelight.

Letter to Francis Farmer, Law Librarian, University of Virginia (Feb. 23, 1956) (Roalfe Papers).

29. Organization and Committee Structure of AALL - A Panel, 60 Law Libr. J. 416 (1967).

30. Memorandum to the Special Committee on the Creation of the International Association of Law Libraries (Oct. 8, 1958).

31. Letter from Roalfe to Arthur Charpentier, Law Librarian, Yale Law School (May 22, 1961) (Roalfe Papers).

32. For a more detailed history of the southeastern chapter of AALL, see Hazel Johnson's chapter in this book, The Southeastern Chapter of the Association of Law Libraries:  The First Chapter. See also Sarah Leverette & Lucile Elliot, History of the Carolina-South Eastern Chapter, 1937-1955, 49 Law Libr. J. 180, 181-82 (1956).

33. Cooperation in Law Library Service, A Panel, 49 Law Libr. J. 430 (1956).

34. 23 Law Libr. J. 60-63 (1931).

35. Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Meeting, 24 Law Libr. J. 153 (1931).

36. Id. at 154.

37. Id. at 160.

38. Id. at 156.

39. 25 Law Libr. J. 177 (1932).

40. Id.

41. Id. at 194.

42. It is worth mentioning that Roalfe had several long-term illnesses during his life all of which he seemed to weather well, and he managed to live to the ripe old age of 83. It makes what he accomplished as a librarian even more remarkable. Roalfe was also ill for much of the month of May 1936, and he believed it affected his ability to serve effectively as AALL president. Roalfe offered to resign but was asked by Helen Newman and others to stay on. He agreed and in a letter of June 27th to Miss Newman he stated that he was feeling much better.

43. Wednesday Evening Session, June 27, 1934, Round Table, 27 Law Libr. J. 132, 133 (1934).

44. Id. at 138.

45. Id. at 139.

46. 28 Law Libr. J. 3 (1935).

47. His tenure was not without its amusing moments, however. In a letter to Helen Newman, discussing the editing of the proceedings of the 1935 meeting, Roalfe was forced to edit comments in proceedings by Miss Magee of the Louisiana State Law Library concerning Huey Long. In addressing the annual meeting, Miss Magee rose to toast Huey Long, “He is noted for considerably more than the tropical violence of the color of his pajamas. He has done more for Louisiana than any other public official. We love him; we feel that he is on the straight and short path to future greatness.” Both felt that these comment, were inappropriate for the official proceedings, although in hindsight, they may have spiced them up considerably! Long would be dead within a few months (Sept. 1935) - the victim of an assassin's bullet.

48. The first paid executive secretary was Helen Newman, Director of the George Washington University School of Law Library.

49. Memorandum to committee on Expansion. (March 23, 1938) [Roalfe Papers].

50. 35 Law Libr. J. 419 (1942).

51. 49 Law Libr. J. 105 (1956).

52. Roalfe's interest in law librarianship and Association politics continued during the war. In his correspondence from 1942 and 1943 are expressions of great concern about the possible nomination of William “Billy” Johnston as the new president of AALL. Johnston was 75 years old at the time and considered one of the old school. He was also a friend of Sidney B. Hill, who was not well liked by many in the Association. He was likened to an old party boss who refused to change with the profession. Johnston was seen as little more than one of Hill's lieutenants. Roalfe, along with Frederick Hicks, Helen Newman, Alfred Morrison and others in the Association, would have much preferred to see Miles O. Price nominated for President. Hicks wrote that he “thought of him [Johnston] as thoroughly unrepresentative of the better type of law librarian.”

In a letter from AALL vice president/president-elect Alfred Morrison to Roalfe, Morrison expressed his unhappiness with the choice but was flattered by those who compared him to John L. Lewis for his battles with Hill. Miles Price was more charitable - referring to Johnston as an amiable windbag - but he felt awkward about the controversy and uncomfortable at being the choice of the younger group. When Price was not nominated, an attempt was made to write him in on the ballot. While the effort failed, Miles Price was subsequently nominated and served as the next president of the Association from 1945-46, no doubt in part because Roalfe served on that nominating committee.

53. Harrison MacDonald, History of AALL:  Up to Now, 1943-1955, 49 Law Libr. J. 126. (1956)

54. Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of AALL, Report of the Special Panel on New Horizons, 47 Law Libr. J. 362(1954).

55. Memorandum to AALL Special Committee on the Creation of the International Association of Law Libraries (July 18, 1958) [Roalfe Papers].

56. Dr. Frank Porter Graham had been the president of the University of North Carolina and later a United Nations Mediator for Kashmir.

57. Letter from Estelle Linzer, UNA/USA historian, to author (Feb. 1, 1996) (on file with author).

58. Telephone interview with Estelle Linzer, UNA/USA historian. (June 31, 1996).

59. Organization and Committee Structure of AALL - A Panel, 60 Law Libr. J. 416, 421 (1967).

60. Conversation with Julius Marke, Director, St. John's University School of Law Library (July 17, 1995, AALL Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh).