This collection of newspaper articles was assembled by Davis Y. Paschall during his tenure as the President of the College of William & Mary.
In June 1966, the Tapping Reeve House and Law School became registered national historic landmarks. In the landmark citation, the National Park Service recognized Tapping Reeve’s Litchfield Law School as the first law school in the nation. The College of William & Mary disputed that claim, and argued that the first law program in the United States began in 1779 with the appointment of George Wythe as a Professor of Law and Police. The main point of contention was the Litchfield Law School’s date of establishment. The College of William & Mary argued that Tapping Reeve’s school was created in 1784. Litchfield advocates argued that Tapping Reeve’s school began in 1774, when Tapping Reeve took his brother-in-law, Aaron Burr, into his home for law classes. The law school debate even reached Congressman Thomas N. Downing, who asked the Park Service to clarify the statement for historical accuracy. Upon review, the Park Service declared the Litchfield Law School as “the first in the United States not associated with a college or university,” and recognized William & Mary as the first law school in America.