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Monday, August 19, 2019

New Donation: The Archive of Former Dean Pirsig

Recently we have added a unique and important new collection to the Law School Archives, of material related to former Dean Maynard Pirsig. Born in 1902, Pirsig graduated from the Law School in 1925, before studying at Harvard and in England. He returned to enjoy an extraordinary teaching career at the Law School, spanning the period from 1933 to 1970, and served as its fourth dean, from 1948 to 1955. During his deanship, Pirsig was lauded for his faculty recruitment and the development of new programs. After Minnesota, he taught law at Mitchell Hamline Law School until 1993, remaining involved with legal teaching into his nineties. During his tenure at Minnesota, and among other service and scholarship, Pirsig authored two foundational teaching texts, pioneering the field of judicial administration and legal ethics in law school curricula.

Over the years, Maynard Pirsig's family has carefully gathered and preserved important documents related to Pirsig's life and career, and these have now been generously donated by the Lindberg and Pirsig families. David Lindberg, a noted artist and Maynard Pirsig's grandson, has also carefully digitized most of these documents and images related to Pirsig's student days and career at Minnesota. This valuable trove of material adds important archival documents related to the Law School's history, and to one of its most illustrious graduates. Particularly notable are photos and slides that document former Dean Pirsig's career, which will be added to the Law Library's photographic archives. In addition, many of the extensive written descriptions of the material, on an accompanying spreadsheet, are based on the memories of the writer Robert Pirsig, Maynard's son, which have been recorded by Robert's wife, Wendy. The spreadsheet forms a kind of biographical narrative for Maynard's life, including material related to other family members.

The Law Library is very grateful to add to its collections this material, which represents a wonderful testament to the life and career of former Dean Pirsig and his legacy at the Law School.

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections