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November 5, 2004

Contact: Professor Roy M. Mersky, Harry M. Reasoner Regents Chair in Law and Director of Research, The Jamail Center for Legal Research, (512) 471-7735,

Judge Benjamin Dudley Tarlton Centennial Celebration

Photo of Benjamin Dudley Tarlton in his 1919 Law School class photo
Benjamin Dudley Tarlton
1919 Law School class photo

AUSTIN, Texas — The family of Judge Benjamin Dudley Tarlton will gather in the Law School for a celebration to honor the Judge's memory and contributions to The University of Texas School of Law. This invitation-only event will be held on Friday, Nov. 5, at 3:30 p.m., in the Sheffield Room in Townes Hall, at UT Law. Tours of the Tarlton Law Library will also be provided.

Judge Tarlton, for whom the Law Library is named, had an illustrious legal career. He practiced law in Waxahachie and latter in Hillsboro. He served in the seventeenth and nineteenth legislatures before Governor J. S. Hogg appointed him to the Commission of Appeals in 1891. In 1892, Tarlton was elected Chief Justice of the Court of Civil Appeals for the Fort Worth district. He remained on the bench until 1899, when he began private practice in Fort Worth. In 1904, he was appointed Professor of Law at The University of Texas, with which he was associated until his death on September 22, 1919. The Tarlton Law Library was named in his honor in 1951.

The year 2004 is the centennial of Judge Tarlton's association with The University of Texas School of Law. His tenure as law professor inspired a family of lawyers, and his legal career left a legacy of excellence to the legal profession, to the Law School, and to the Law Library, which proudly bears his name.

The family will donate a bound pamphlet to the Tarlton Law Library that reflects Judge Tarlton's teachings on insanity in capital cases - an issue that continues to be of pressing interest. The pamphlet, "Argument of William H. Seward in Defense of William Freeman, on His Trial for Murder" (Auburn, N.Y.: J. D. Derby & Co., 1846) is a fine addition to the Rare Book Collection, and the Law Library is very grateful to the Tarlton family for this gift. A keepsake booklet will be presented to each family member, and an exhibit and a collection of writings on Judge Tarlton have been prepared for the event.

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