The University Record, July 23, 2001

Clements Library, U.S. Supreme Court publish biography of Justice Marshall

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Marshall (Photo courtesy Clements Library)
This year marks the 200th anniversary of John Marshall’s appointment as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

An attorney, state legislator and member of the country’s highest court, Marshall was a very private person. However, in 1827, Associate Justice Joseph Story, Marshall’s close friend, prevailed upon him to write an account of his life and career up to the time of the appointment. The Clements Library owns the original manuscript.

In conjunction with an exhibition on Marshall mounted by the Supreme Court that includes photographic reproductions of portions of this manuscript, the Clements and the court have published a pamphlet edition of Marshall’s autobiography. The Events of My Life”: An Autobiographical Sketch by John Marshall has an introduction by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and was edited by President Lee C. Bollinger and John C. Dann of the Clements Library.

“The founding fathers come down to us as such distant people,” says Dann, “and a record such as this, where Marshall describes in his own words his actions, ambitions and motivations, allows us to appreciate that these were living human beings, no different from ourselves.”

Copies of the Marshall pamphlet are available from the Supreme Court Gift Shop, 1 First Street NE; Washington, D.C. 20543 or (888)-539-4438. The cost is $4.95 plus shipping and handling.

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