Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Roy Mersky (1925-2008)

Mersky_roy_color_3 Very sad news today.  Professor Roy M. Mersky -- one of the giants in the field of legal research -- died at the age of 82.  He was the Harry M. Reasoner Regents Chair in Law and Director of Research at the Jamail Center for Legal Research, Tarlton Law Library, University of Texas. 

Roy Mersky was born in New York in 1925.  He entered the army after finishing high school.  After World War II he attended the University of Wisconsin, where he obtained his bachelor's degree, his law degree, and a master's in library science.

He worked in Wisconsin for many years, followed by brief stints at Yale Law School, the Washington State Law Library, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.  He has worked at the University of Texas since 1965.  During leaves of absence from his home base in Texas, he worked at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Mersky_book_1 New York Law School, Queen Mary and Westfield College in London, England, and the Australian National University Faculty of Law.

He was active in many bar associations, including the American Bar Association SecMersky_book_2 tion of Individual Rights and Responsbilities, the National Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Native American Bar Association, and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists.  He was also an active member of other professional groups, including the Texas Library Association, the American Library Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the Special Library Association.  Professor Mersky was a board member and past president of the Texas Humanities Alliance, and a board member of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society.  He was a board member of the Texas Book Festival. He served on the Austin Council for Foreign Affairs' Board of Mersky_book_3_3 Directors, and was elected to membership to the Philosophical Society of Texas in 2006.

Professor Mersky was a prolific author, particularly in the areas of legal research, language and law, and the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and its justices. He is co-author of Fundamentals of Legal Research, a book that many of us used ourselves when we were first learning legal research.   

Mersky_roy_4  He was recognized as a pioneer in law librarianship. Under his leadership the Jamail Center for Legal Research became one of the most important legal research institutes in the United States. He was known for his innovative approaches to library management and services and his strong commitment to improving library resources, services, and facilities.   

His resume appears here with additional information for those who are interested in reading more about him and remembering all of his accomplishments and contributions.  He was also the proud father of three daughters, and a great human spirit.

With great respect for a life of accomplishment, service, dedication, and vision, we take a moment to honor your memory, Roy Mersky. 

Here is a link to the Law Librarian Blog's notice about Professor Mersky.

Here is a link to Brian Leiter's entry on Professor Mersky.


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