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Archives and Special Collections

The Archives and Special Collections Department of Biddle Law Library preserves and provides access to the American Law Institute (ALI) archives, the National Bankruptcy Archives (NBA), and Penn Carey Law historic records.

About the Biddle Law Library Collections

The Biddle Law Library Collections include the papers from prominent Penn Carey Law alumni and faculty, rare books and manuscripts, and a selection of Law School records. However, some records relating to the operations of Penn Carey Law are maintained by the University Archives. Penn Carey Law is in the process of updating and adopting a records management policy that will follows the University Archives protocols and retention schedules. See Records Management Resources for more information on Penn Carey Law's records management policies and procedures. 

The oral history collection currently consists of oral histories performed of Penn Carey Law alumni and faculty. The Penn Carey Law School Legal Oral History Project Files, 1999-2006, includes interviews and transcripts of interviews of distinguished Penn Carey Law School alumni, associated members of the Penn Carey Law community, and public interest lawyers. 

Major Collections

The Legal Oral History Project was a collaborative effort by a team of faculty, librarians, and students to record and preserve first-person narratives of graduates and members of the Penn Carey Law Community conducted between 1999 and 2006. Streaming media is accompanied by transcripts and video indexes where available.

The project began with a seminar taught by Professor Sarah Barringer Gordon and Associate Director for Public Services of the Biddle Law Library Edwin Greenlee which trained students in the theory and practice of oral history. Each student then selected a distinguished graduate or member of the Penn Carey Law community and conducts a one- to two-hour videotaped interview. Following the interview, the student transcribed the videotape and prepared a biographical article for publication. The videotape, transcript, article, and other biographical information were then archived in Biddle Law Library. The archive, which is posted on the web as well as housed in the library, is a valuable resource for legal scholars around the country, and for members of the law school and university.

Additional Penn Carey Law institutional records are still being edited and processed by the archives, so please stay tuned for additional content. 

The Archives and Special Collections Department has been collecting a web archives of University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School websites since 2011. This collection is built with the tool Archive-It and features an archive of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School websites, an archive of Penn Carey Law's presence on various social media sites, an archive of websites created by Penn Carey Law Student Groups. 

Click here to access the collections.

Biddle Collection Policies

Collecting Policy

The Archives collects papers and records relating to the history of bankruptcy law in the United States and also serves as the custodian of the records of the American Law Institute. We also collect materials related to U.S. legal history, Penn Carey Law faculty papers, Penn Carey Law student group records, Penn Carey Law institutional records, and photographs. The University Archives manages the acquisition and maintenance of some records of Penn Carey Law School.

Our collection development policy is under review, please contact the department for further details

Circulation Policy

Items in the Archives do not circulate.

Policy regarding harmful content or language with collections

The collections housed in Biddle Law Library’s Archives and Special Collections may contain language or images that represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive. We do not support or condone these harmful ideas. Our finding aids and metadata records may sometimes re-use language written by the collection’s creator to avoid erasing their actions and to help us learn from the past. We are actively working to place any offensive terminology used in context. This includes placing disclaimers on material at the collection, series, and item level. 

Many of our finding aids and collection descriptions were created years ago, and we are committed to rewriting any description created by archivist’s that contain harmful language. If you discover harmful or offensive language in our digital collections and collection guides, please email