Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Digital searches in legal oral history

Down to Toronto's stately Osgoode Hall yesterday for the AGM of the legal history organization The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.  Among the news (to me) items was a reminder that the Society's large collection of oral history interviews in legal history, some dating back forty years, is now digitally searchable online. Many of these interviews, I can testify from my own use, are long, rigorous, and relevant to much that lawyers (and legal historians) get involved in. The Society is rapidly removing a backlog of unprocessed interviews, and all but a few still-closed interviews are available through the Archives of Ontario and can be delivered by pdf to interested researchers.

The Society also gives prizes. A notable one yesterday was the presentation of the one-year Roy McMurtry Fellowship to recent Ph.D. Dennis Molinaro of Trent University, to support his groundbreaking and newsworthy work (see here and here) in security and intelligence history, including the revelation of the "Secret Archives" of security papers never transferred by the Crown to Library and Archives Canada.  Actually, Molinaro was also announced as winner of the Society's Peter Oliver Prize for the best published work in legal history by a student. (I should pay more attention at meetings: find the true winner here.  Molinaro won last year)

And Constance Backhouse of the University of Ottawa spoke on the Society's forthcoming book, her biography of Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-DubĂ©, to be published by the Society this fall.  If you were a member, you would be getting one in the mail.
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