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Constitutional Scholar Maeva Marcus to Edit Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise Supreme Court History Series

The Library of Congress and the Permanent Committee of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise announce the appointment of OAH member Maeva Marcus as the general editor of the "Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court of the United States." Marcus, a constitutional scholar with special expertise in the history of the United States Supreme Court, is the third person to serve as editor in the publication's 60-year history.

Holmes, who served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932, left a donation (devise) in his will—later augmented by Congress—to document and disseminate the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise was established by Congress in 1955 to administer the fund and oversee the project. To date, 10 volumes have been published and three others have been commissioned, covering the period 1789 to 1976. The next volume, covering the Earl Warren court, will be published by Cambridge Press in 2017.

Marcus is the founding director of the Institute for Constitutional History at the New-York Historical Society and George Washington University Law School, where she is also Research Professor of Law. The institute enlists leading scholars to offer seminars to graduate students, junior faculty, journalists, and interested laypeople on key issues in American constitutional history.

She served as editor of the eight-volume "Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800" (Columbia University Press, 1985-2007), which is regularly cited in opinions by judges throughout the federal court system. She is also co-editor of the Cambridge University Press series "Studies on the American Constitution." She is the author of "Truman and the Steel Seizure Case: The Limits of Presidential Power" (Columbia University Press, 1977), as well as numerous essays on constitutional, legal and judicial history. Professor Marcus has also served as an OAH distinguished lecturer for the last 14 years. 

A member of the Permanent Committee of the Holmes Devise from 2001 to 2009, Marcus has served as president of the American Society for Legal History and now serves as historian of the Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit. Marcus earned her Ph.D. in history from Columbia University.

Marcus was appointed general editor of the Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court by former Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, who served as chair (ex officio) of the Permanent Committee until his retirement on Sept. 30, 2015. Marcus succeeds Stanley N. Katz, president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies and professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University, who has served a co-general editor of the Holmes Devise History of the Supreme Court from 1978 to 1989 and as general editor from 1990 to 2015. He will continue to advise the Permanent Committee as general editor emeritus.

The Permanent Committee has five members, including the Librarian of Congress and four presidentially appointed members, who each may serve an eight-year term. Current members are Rachel Moran, dean of the University of California at Los Angeles Law School; Linda Kerber, a past president of the American Historical Association and Harmswoth Professor at Oxford University; and Les Benedict, professor emeritus at Ohio State University. One position is vacant.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation's first-established federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library's rich resources can be accessed through its website at loc.gov.

Posted: November 17, 2015
Tagged: News of the Profession, Clio's Kudos