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First Class Law School, or None at All: GU Law School Turns 100: 1912 - 1940

Background

 

In 1881 Fr. Cataldo purchased 320 acres to start a school across the river from Spokane Falls. The Original College Building was built to support this endeavor.  On September 17, 1887 Gonzaga College opened with 8 students.  The number would increase to 18 by year’s end.  Gradually, each succeeding year the school’s enrollment grew so that another building was needed.  Construction of the Administration Building, now College Hall started in 1897.  Even after its completion, an addition to the east was added in 1904.  This addition included a chapel, dormitory, and swimming pool called the “Plunge” to support the study body of 244.  By 1912, Gonzaga College’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated with the addition of a law school, and its name changed to Gonzaga University. 

“Gonzaga University: New Law Department Will Open October 1st”, Spokesman- Review, September 1, 1912

“Gonzaga University: New Law Department Will Open October 1st”, Spokesman- Review, September 1, 1912 

Advertisement to attract students to the new law school with the motto: “A First Class Law School, or None at All”.

 

 

 

 

 

“Open Law School at Gonzaga; Dine”, Spokesman-Review, October 2, 1912

 

“Open Law School at Gonzaga; Dine”, Spokesman-Review, October 2, 1912

 

Gonzaga University Law School formally opened October 1, 1912 following appropriate exercises by enrolling 14 students.  Father Louis Taelman, S. J., president of the university, proclaimed the legal school an additional adjunct to the University. 

 

Law Register, 1912 – 1927 and Commerce and Finance, 1921 – 1927

Law Register, 1912 – 1927 and Commerce and Finance, 1921 – 1927 

 

Handwritten ledger showing the listing of the names of students for the first year of Gonzaga University School of Law.  Twenty four names are listed entering as late as February 1913. This law register continues through 1927.  It also includes the names of students for Commerce and Finance from 1921 to 1927.

 

Edward J. Cannon, 1929 (Dean: 1912 – 1934)

Edward J. Cannon, 1929 (Dean: 1912 – 1934) 

 Edward J. Cannon, distinguished Spokane lawyer, became the school’s first dean. He served until his death in 1934 and to this day is the school’s longest tenured dean.

Administration Building, Gonzaga College, Spokane, Washington, about 1912

 

Administration Building, Gonzaga College, Spokane, Washington, about 1912

For the first 50 years, the Administration Building, now College Hall, housed the Law School.  When the school began in 1912 this location was supposed to have been temporary.  It was finally replaced in 1963.

 

 

 

 

“Thirteen Youths to Finish Course”, Spokane Chronicle, February 12, 1915

 

“Thirteen Youths to Finish Course”, Spokane Chronicle, February 12, 1915

Thirteen students will be the first graduating class of Gonzaga University Law School.  The candidates are finishing a three year course, entering into the law department in September, 1912.  After completing final examinations the candidates will have to take the state bar examination before they will be admitted to practice.  

 

 

 

 

“Gonzaga Bill Gets Approval of Both Houses”, March 10, 1915

“Gonzaga Bill Gets Approval of Both Houses”, March 10, 1915

Senate bill, No. 159, was strongly supported by faculty members, students, and other supporters of Gonzaga.  Both houses passed it overwhelmingly.  Governor Ernest Lister signed the bill into law on March 15, 1915. Because Gonzaga’s night school law curriculum could not keep the same hours of a law school of the state university, Gonzaga law school graduates were required to take the state bar exam while University of Washington law graduates did not.

 

 

 

 

Third Annual Banquet of Gonzaga Law School, Program, June 7, 1915

Third Annual Banquet of Gonzaga Law School, Program, June 7, 1915

This program gives the menu, the speakers, and lists 19 faculty/staff members and 33 students. This annual banquet was later named the Heidelberg by Fr. James Linden SJ in 1934.

 

First Class of Law Graduates, June 10, 1915

First Class of Law Graduates, June 10, 1915

 Back Row: Edward J. Ferris; John P. Murphy; William G. Boland; Salvi A. Gagliardi.  Middle Row: Alfred O. Stuberg; Frank M. O’Leary; Roy E. Lowe; John G. Rotchford; Maurice A. Meagher.  Front Row: Edward. M. Connelly; William I. Lonergan, S. J.; Edward J. Cannon, LL.D., Dean; Rev. James M. Brogan, S. J., Pres.; Frank J. Mckevitt.

Gonzaga Law Students, Gonzagan, 1924

Gonzaga Law Students, Gonzagan, 1924

The portrait of law students excluding law seniors shows Harry L. “Bing Crosby”.

 

 

 

Harry L. “Bing” Crosby, Gonzagan, 1924

Harry L. “Bing” Crosby, Gonzagan, 1924

After graduating from Gonzaga High School in 1920, Bing Crosby began taking college classes to prepare for law school.  He entered the law school in the fall of 1922.  He worked as a clerk for Spokane attorney Charles Albert.  Crosby left school in 1924 after deciding that he would pursue a music career rather than becoming a lawyer. This image is a close-up of his photo from the 1924 Gonzagan.

 

 

 

“Bus Boy Lawyer Back to Islands”, Spokane Chronicle, November 9, 1929

“Bus Boy Lawyer Back to Islands”, Spokane Chronicle, November 9, 1929

Miguel Alviar, a student from the Philippine Islands, had been in Spokane for eight years.  After graduating from Gonzaga University Law School he planned to take the bar examination in the city of Manila and practice there. 

 

 

 

Law School Library, 1930s

Law School Library, 1930s

The first dean, Edward J. Cannon and Professor Ben Kizer were appointed to the library committee and given the job of purchasing a complete law library. In the meantime, Dean Cannon arranged for students to use the Spokane County Bar Association Library. In January 1913 the library acquired Washington Statutes and Reports and the American Encyclopedia of Law. The 300 volume library, serving the first law class of 19 students, was then given its own room.

 

Gonzaga University School of Law, Class of 1935

 

Gonzaga University School of Law, Class of 1935

James E. Winton; Richard A. Williams; Edward J. Leman; Helen D. Grigware; Alexander I. Switzer; Ignatius E. Morrison; Glenn L. Bellinger; Willard T. Linehan; Floyd A. Futter; Leo N. Cashatt, president; Donald B. Miller; Paul E. Malone.

“Gonzaga’s First Portia Scores”, Spokesman Review, August 15, 1935

“Gonzaga’s First Portia Scores”, Spokesman Review, August 15, 1935

Miss Helen Grigware, the first woman to graduate from Gonzaga Law School received word that she passed the state bar examinations in 1935.  After she received her diploma in May she became the attorney for the Federal Land Bank.  She worked in San Francisco U.S. District Court of Appeals.  After World War II, Helen Grigware Lambert participated in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, giving a one hour summation of the American case against Naoki Hoshino in February 1948.

 

Exhibition Info

Hours: Weekdays 10 – 4:30

 

Open Through May 15, 2013

 

Foley Library, 3rd Floor

 

Special Collections Website