National Library Week at the Law Library

April 10th, 2015 No comments

PeanutsCelebrate National Library Week at the Law Library

April 13—April 17

With Free PB&J!

You just have to make the sandwich yourself!

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg advanced training

March 26th, 2015 No comments

Westlaw, Lexis & Bloomberg are offering advanced training classes to prepare students for summer jobs & practice.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Bloomberg
    • Thursday 4/2 at 2 pm & 5:30 pm in T503
  • Lexis
    • Thursday 3/26 at noon in 237, at 2 pm & 5:30 pm in T503
    • Wednesday 4/1 at noon in 237, at 2 pm & 5:30 pm in T503
  • Westlaw
    • Tuesday 3/31 at noon in T503
    • Monday 4/6 at 5:30 pm in T503

Library spring break hours

March 2nd, 2015 No comments

The law library will be on shorter hours this week for spring break. Our hours will be:

February 27        8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
February 28        9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 1               12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
March 2 – 5         8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
March 6               8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
March 7               9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8              12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Library catalog, databases, and interlibrary loan system down on Monday February 9th

February 6th, 2015 No comments

Access to the library catalog, some library databases (Lexis and Westlaw will not be affected) and ILLiad will be unavailable for 2-3 hours beginning at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, February 9th.  Partial service disruptions may occur afterwards for the remainder of the day.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

The great Delaware blue laws crackdown of 1941

January 21st, 2015 No comments
Just a few of the nearly 500 people arrested on one Sunday in 1941 for breaking Delaware's blue laws, at the Wilmington police station.

Just a few of the nearly 500 people arrested on one Sunday in 1941 for breaking Delaware’s blue laws, at the Wilmington police station.

I’ve previously posted about the blue laws, or Sunday closing laws, of Delaware. Originally passed in 1795, Delaware’s strict blue laws, prohibiting “any worldly employment, labor or business” on Sunday were still in effect in the first half of the 20th century, although they were rarely enforced. In 1911, Delaware’s blue laws made the news when Arden residents, including the writer Sinclair Lewis, were arrested for playing baseball and tennis on Sunday. There were calls for reform of the blue laws, but the Delaware General Assembly couldn’t agree to pass a bill repealing them. In 1941, a crusading attorney general named James R. Morford declared war on the state’s blue laws.

James R. Morford, Attorney General of Delaware from 1938 to 1943

James R. Morford, Attorney General of Delaware from 1938 to 1943

James R. Morford was elected Delaware’s attorney general in 1938, fresh from a stint as Wilmington’s city solicitor. While city solicitor, he was part of a successful campaign to clean up corruption in the Wilmington police department. Morford strongly felt that having laws on the books that were only occasionally enforced, caused disrespect for the law and contributed to corruption of public officials. Frustrated by the General Assembly’s failure to enact reforms, he threatened to begin enforcing the blue laws strictly. In 1939, he asked the State Police to conduct a survey of the number of people breaking the blue laws, but no actual arrests were made. In 1940 he made a speech strongly stating his opposition to any laws that were not uniformly enforced, including the blue laws.

We have thereby created uncertainty as to what an honest citizen may or may not do, but we have created a situation where he may do an act one day and be apparently a law abiding citizen while the same act next day may subject him to arrest… But the worse feature is that by substituting the discretion of a man for the mandate of the law we have gone far to destroy respect for all law and have opened a door for graft and corruption in public office.

In 1941, when the Delaware General Assembly once again failed to pass a proposed bill reforming the blue laws, Morford decided to force them into action. Delaware papers carried the news that starting on Sunday, March 2nd, the blue laws would be strictly enforced. State and local police forces received orders from the Attorney General to arrest everyone found violating the law. All over the state police arrested taxi drivers, bus drivers, newspaper vendors, restaurant workers, gas station attendants, even the general manager of WDEL radio. Around 500 arrests were made that Sunday, swamping police stations and the courts.

Lena Blatman, owner of Wilmington's Blatman's Bakery at the police station after being arrested for violating the blue laws.

Lena Blatman, owner of a Wilmington bakery, at the police station after being arrested for violating the blue laws.

Morford’s ploy worked, as the General Assembly finally passed a reformed blue laws bill on Friday, March 7th (it was approved by the governor on the 14th), narrowly avoiding another Sunday crackdown. State prosecutors dropped all of the pending cases against blue law violators.


Photos from the Delaware Public Archives. There are more photos of people arrested on March 2nd at the Delaware Public Archives digital collections page.

Martin Luther King Day hours

January 16th, 2015 No comments

The Widener Law Library on the Delaware campus will be open Sunday, January 18th from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Monday the 19th, we will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more library hours information see our webpage.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Library winter break hours

December 22nd, 2014 No comments

The Delaware campus law library will be closed for winter break from December 24th through January 4th. We will reopen Monday, January 5th. Enjoy the holidays!

For more information about library hours see our webpage.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Library exam hours

December 5th, 2014 No comments

The Delaware campus law library is now on exam hours. We will be open until 2 a.m. every night through December 18th. Good luck with your exams!

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

John Maxcy Zane’s The Story of Law and the Delaware Bar

November 24th, 2014 No comments
The Power of the Law illustration

The Power of the Law by Edwin Blashfield, frontispiece of the original edition of The Story of Law.

The modern Delaware Bar exam has a reputation as one of the toughest in the nation. But today’s bar candidates can at least be thankful they no longer have to read The Story of Law by John Maxcy Zane. From 1931 to around 1970, those wishing to be admitted to the bar had to first register as a law student and were required to read and pass an oral examination on The Story of Law, a survey of the history of Western law originally published in 1927. The Delaware State Bar Association’s official history claims it was “for many members of the Bar, … a horrible experience they have never forgotten.” In 1963 13% of candidates failed their examination on Zane.

In a 1987 article in The Delaware Lawyer, attorney William Prickett (whose father, William Prickett, Sr., was a member of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners) called The Story of Law “that truly awful book.” He recalled his father’s explanation for the Board’s continued use of the book: first, the members of the Board were already familiar with Zane and didn’t want to spend the time to learn a new book well enough to conduct the exam, and second, many aspects of legal practice are tedious, so reading and understanding Zane was a good test of a lawyer’s ability to learn tedious and dull material.

The Story of Law does have its admirers. A review in the Pennsylvania Law Review called it “… a source of delight from cover to cover.” It was republished in a second edition by the Liberty Fund in 1998 with a new introduction and illustrations. The introduction to the new edition describes it as “… a learned and highly readable account of the shaping of Western law from the Neolithic age to the dawn of the twentieth century.”

If you would like to judge Zane for yourself, you can read the new edition online at the Liberty Fund website. Widener Law Library has a copy of the new edition available for borrowing. The first edition is in our special collections and can’t be borrowed but you can view it on HeinOnline.


Kinnane, Charles H., The Story of Law by John M. Zane, 78 U. Pa. L. Rev. 89.

Murphy, Earl Finbar, The Philosophy of Law in Historical Perspective by Carl Joachim Friedrich; The Story of the Law and the Men Who Made It-From the Earliest Times to the Present by René A. Wormser; Legal History, Law and Social Change by Frederick G. Kempin, 8 Am. J. Legal Hist. 89.

Prickett, William, Flunking the Bar, 6 Del. Law. 34 (Summer 1987)

Siebold, Dennis J. Admission to the Bar in The Delaware Bar in the Twentieth Century (Delaware State Bar Association, 1994)

Zane, John Maxcy, The Story of Law (Liberty Fund, 2nd ed. 1998)

Thanksgiving hours

November 21st, 2014 No comments

Thanksgiving is coming up. The Delaware campus Widener Law Library will be closed on Thanksgiving and on shorter hours Thanksgiving weekend.

  • November 26               8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • November 27                CLOSED
  • November 28 & 29      9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • November 30               12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For more information on library hours see our webpage.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags: