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Virginia Gazette (Sept. 16, 1966)


The United States Department of Interior's National Park Service has agreed to clarify its citation to a Connecticut historical group to preserve the historical priority of the College of William and Mary in the field of legal education.

The Service has agreed to designate the site of the former Litchfield, Conn. Law School as "Tapping Reeve's proprietary law school, the first in the United States not associated with a college or university . . ."

In a letter to College of William and Mary officials, the Service said that it had made the clarification to meet objections raised by William and Mary to the wording of its first citation awarded Litchfield.

The initial citation said simply, "Tapping Reeve's law school the first in the United States . . ." The Service said that all copies of the earlier statement have been destroyed and that the revised statement will be used in all future releases on the subject made by the Department.

A.C. Stratton, acting Director of the Park Service, the unit within the Department of Interior which makes historical site designations, told College officials that, "We are in full agreement with the thought quoted by you from a statement by Dean Erwin N. Griswold of Harvard Law School that the difference between the significance of the Tapping Reeve School and that of William and Mary is essentially one of definition."

Dr. W. Melville Jones, Dean of William and Mary , said that the revised law school statement "is deeply appreciated and accurately reflects, for purposes of historical recognition, the status of the famed Tapping Reeve school which was so influential in New England during the time it was in existence.

"At the same time, the Department of the Interior thus preserves the historical priority of the law program at the College of William and Mary, which program began in December, 1779."


Legal Education, Law Schools, History