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THIS STUDY is the official Centennial History of Hastings College of the Law, which was commissioned by the Board of Directors in 1973. The faculty History and Arts Committee, under the chairmanship of the late George E. Osborne, discussed the nature of the project with me and invited me to undertake it. What the Committee wished was a full-length history of the first century of the College that would also make a contribution to the history of California and to that of legal education in the United States. This wish accorded entirely with my own idea of what I should do, because my principal scholarly interests have been in the history of institutions, either legal institutions or institutions closely connected with the law, in the context of political and social change, usually with a definite local focus. What made the task both stimulating and difficult was unfamiliarity with time and place, both far from my previous scholarly concentration. An historian of Tudor and Stuart legal history, who has felt very daring in making sorties into the legal history of early Massachusetts and French courts about 1600, I found it a new experience to work in "recent" history in the American Far West. This required the acquisition of a great deal more knowledge of American and California history than I would otherwise have attempted. I am left with a certain uneasiness about writing the history of an institution which is not only not defunct but very lively as it rushes into its second century. On reflection, after the fact, the work done, I have quieted my uneasiness with the recognition that there are certain similarities in the development of all institutions in any context irrespective of period. The narrative emphasis that a study such as this demands knows neither place nor time. Certainly, given the paucity of institutional archival material, my fears of being crushed by the burden of documentation with which my colleagues in recent American history must deal were chimerical—and the skills that the mediaevalist and early-modern historian must command to make the best use of what he has in documentation have stood me in good stead. At the time I agreed to write this history, I thought the History and Arts Committee was bold to confide this project to a scholar who has for a quarter of a century exhibited great reluctance to go beyond 1641. No less courageous was the Committee's decision to commission a professor at Berkeley to do the job. Perhaps that my base is primarily the history department seemed reassuring, but that my secondary site is Boalt Hall should have caused some disquiet! I have striven to keep my Berkeley biases under control.


Professor Barnes sent an email in late 2007 asking if we had plans to include his centennial account of Hastings in the history section of the website. I replied that it had long been a hope of mine to actually put the full text online, not just a brief mention of his work. And so began a several-month correspondence with Prof. Barnes which resulted in his donating the research papers he compiled in writing this book to the Special Collections department of the Hastings Law Library. Ever since he gave his wholehearted support to the online publication of this work, I have made several attempts to do the scanning of the pages into text. Finally, the Sharp Business Systems group offered to scan the pages into Adobe PDF format. And so we have the results waiting and ready for all historical researchers interested in the history of this College, not to mention the insights that Prof. Barnes provides on the history of legal education in the United States. —Eric Noble

Publication Date



University of California Hastings College of the Law University Press


San Francisco


The contents of Hastings College of the Law: The First Century by Thomas Garden Barnes are © 1978 by the Board of Directors, Hastings College of the Law, All Rights Reserved. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 78-50398.

Hastings College of the Law: The First Century