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Legal Biography, Oral History and the Cambridge Eminent Scholars Archive (ESA)1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2014

Abstract

Lesley Dingle describes the ESA, a digital archive based on interviews with prominent personalities associated with the Law Faculty of Cambridge University. It constitutes a unique repository of audio, textual and photographic materials, providing insights into the careers of scholars, jurists and practitioners. Motivations for the establishment of the archive in 2006 were: recording reminiscences of scholars back to WWII and its immediate aftermath; documenting developments in administration and teaching in the Faculty and colleges; archiving voices of scholars taking about their early lives, careers and published works; compiling a cross-indexed reference of personalities mentioned in interviews; and generating an awareness amongst students and younger staff of the rich heritage of the Faculty. The methodology and strategy of conducting interviews and compiling entries is briefly described. Finally, in the broader context of legal biography, it is argued that such oral histories are an essential component because they capture aspects of personality that written accounts cannot and thereby reveal traits that conventional biographies may miss. This claim is illustrated by selected examples from the archive, that currently contains twenty interviewees.

Type
Legal Biography
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2014. Published by British and Irish Association of Law Librarians 

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