The Harvard Law School Library has announced the creation of the Morris L. Cohen Fellowship in American Legal Bibliography and History.

The fellowship, designed to assist scholars who must travel to consult the Library’s special collections, was named in honor of Morris L. Cohen, the Librarian at Harvard Law School from 1971 to 1981, and one of the country’s leading authorities in legal research and bibliography.

Cohen, currently a professor of law emeritus at Yale Law School, has written more than a dozen books, including the “Bibliography of Early American Law” (1998), the most complete record to date of the monographic and trial literature of American law published in this country or abroad, from its beginnings to the end of 1860.

“At the Harvard Law School, we are today the beneficiaries of the work of Morris Cohen both here as our librarian and in his subsequent career at Yale Law School,” said John Palfrey ’01, vice dean of library and information services. “We can think of no better way to honor his service to this library and to the profession and the study of law by offering these new fellowships to support the use of our rich historical collections in scholarship.”

David Warrington, Librarian for Special Collections, said: “The Library is particularly pleased to offer the fellowship in Professor Cohen’s name. Morris has spent his career in facilitating scholarship in American legal history, not only through his teaching of legal research and his writing on legal bibliography but also through his service as Librarian for three Ivy League law schools, all of whose collections of historical law books have been enriched by Morris’s acquisitions.”

The Cohen fellowship will provide a grant of up to $3,000 to assist in covering travel expenses, living expenses, photocopying and other incidental research expenses.

Fellowship applications will be evaluated on the significance of their proposed research and the project’s creativity in drawing on the library’s holdings. Applicants can request access to any of the library’s special collections, although preference will be given to proposals in American legal history and bibliography. There may be one or more fellowships awarded depending on the awardee’s research project and the length of time needed to use the special collections.

Applications for 2009-2010 will be accepted though April 30, 2009. 2009-2010 fellows will be announced in the spring and are expected to visit the library during the period from July 2009 through June 2010.

Full details are available here.

– Jenny Lackey