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Friday, April 15, 2016

William Sharp (1900-1961), Courtroom Satirist

William Sharp, detail from
"Nothing But the Truth!"
The Law Library was recently gifted a new rare lithograph by William Sharp (1900-1961), the book illustrator, etcher and lithographer who was noted for his humorous and satirical trial sketches. Sharp (born Leon Schleifer) and his wife fled from Nazi Germany to New York in 1934, where he began his American career and adopted a name that reflected his craft and satirical talents. The Library's new lithograph - "Nothing But the Truth!" - depicts a man swearing on a Bible, a bailiff gazing up in disbelief, and a skeptical court reporter seated nearby. Beyond courtroom scenes, Sharp depicted American society at large, lampooning political figures and capturing typical personas and social scenes of the 1940s and 50s. For more on Sharp, see here and here.

"Nothing But the Truth!" has been generously donated by University of Minnesota alumnus and retired Minneapolis attorney Douglas A. Hedin. The work joins four other lithographs by Sharp, collectively known as the Sharp Collection, located on the second floor of the Law Library. The Sharp Collection was donated by Mr. Hedin and his wife Barbara S. Hedin, in memory of early Law School graduate James Manahan (1889) and his daughter Kathryn Manahan Hoxmeier (1925).

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections