What is the measure of a person’s life – the legacy left behind?
How will you be remembered?
MORRIS L. COHEN: The American Association of Law Libraries dedicated one entire volume of their Law Library Journal to reflecting back on the scholarly work Morris Cohen accomplished during his lifetime. Morris died in late 2010, but his memory burns brightly in volume 104, the Winter issue of AALL Journal printed in 2012.
What is the measure of a person’s life-how do we determine the legacy one leaves behind? How will you be remembered? What kind of lawyer will you be? How will your success be measured, will it be measured in dollars or by the number of people you helped in your lifetime?
Morris L. Cohen was known as a scholar who shunned the practice of law because it was too confrontational. Morris was a law librarian, at both Harvard and Yale law libraries, where he helped usher the schools into the era of computers.
“Morris was a towering figure in legal education,” said S. Blair Kauffman, now the law librarian at Yale, “and helped transform two of the world’s greatest academic libraries.” The computer catalog at Yale is known as Morris.
Born in the Bronx in 1927, Cohen earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago in 1947 and his law degree from Columbia in 1951.
Morris Cohen wanted to be a labor lawyer, but his leftist activities in college led to many job rejections. Cohen practiced law with his uncle, Max Cohen, and then on his own for several years before starting to study for a master’s degree in library science at the Pratt Institute, which he received in 1959.
In an introduction to a tribute to Morris L. Cohen, librarian Fred R. Shapiro stated that when Morris Cohen died, “the New York Times printed a sizable obituary for Morris; probably no other law librarian, at least in modern times, has ever been accorded that honor. However, that was not the end of it. A few days later the Times printed an editorial hailing him: Professor Cohen saw law, its study and its practice, as a bountiful, all-encompassing, field… In an age when the internet …gives, many the illusion they are scholarly detectives, the meticulous, old-fashion research he put into [his] bibliography is almost unfathomable. It yielded a resource that is matchless, brilliant and of eternal value.
Check out the Volume 104, number 1, Winter 2012 (quarterly edition) of the Law Library Journal, published by the American Association of Law Libraries, to explore the 171 pages dedicated in a loving tribute to a man they knew and loved.
A Tribute To Morris L. Cohen (1927-2010)
- Introduction-Shapiro 9-10
- A Remembrance and Celebration-Vincent DiMarco , Kent C. Olson, Balfour Halevy, Lika Miyake, Mary Jane Kelsey, Sharon Hamby O’Connor, Robert C. Berring 11-24
- In Praise of Morris L. Cohen’s Bibliography of Early American Law -Daniel Cohen 25-28
- Morris L. Cohen: A Reminiscence- Morris S. Arnold 29-30
- Memories of Morris-and How I Use His BEAL-Jordan D. Luttrell 31-32
- Morris Cohen and Rare Book School-David Warrington 33-37
- Morris Cohen and the Art of Book Collecting-Michael Widener 39-43
- Cornerstones for Enduring Law Libraries: Morris Cohen’s Influence at Yale-S. Blair Kauffman 45-51
- Birth of a Nutshell: Morris Cohen in the 1960s-Ken C. Olson 53-67
- The End of Scholarly Bibliography: Robert C. Berring 69-82
- Appeals to the Privy Council Before American Independence: An Annotated Digital Catalogue-Sharon Hamby O’Connor and Mary Sarah Bilder 83-97
- Blackstone and Bibliography: In Memoriam Morris Cohen-Wilfrid Prest 99-113
- Booksellers in Court: Approaches to the Legal History of Copyright in England Before 1842-James Raven 115-134
- The Most Congenial Lawyer/Bibliographer-Mary Whisner 135-147
- Reflections: An Interview with Morris L. Cohen-Bonnie Collier 149-164
- Morris L. Cohen: A Bibliography of His Works-Compiled by Ryan Harrington and Camilla Tubbs 165-171