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October 14, 2008

Tarlton Law Library publishes Professor Roy Mersky’s oral history

Photo of Roy Mersky

Professor Roy M. Mersky

The Tarlton Law Library has published the oral history of long-time director of the law library and faculty member of The University of Texas School of Law, Roy M. Mersky (b. 1925 – d. 2008). This oral history is the ninth issue of the Tarlton Law Library Oral History Series. The publication helps to document the history of the law school and the legal history of Texas and the United States.

Tarlton Law Library Oral History Series No. 9. Roy M. Mersky: An Oral History Interview. 2008. 75 pages. $25.

Professor Mersky was the director of the law library and a faculty member at the UT Law School for more than 40 years (1966–2008), where he held the Harry M. Reasoner Regents Chair in Law. He was an author of, and contributor to, scores of books and articles, and was acknowledged in many more texts written by others. He was also a frequent speaker both in the United States and abroad on legal research, the history of the United States Supreme Court, law and language, law in popular culture, and rare law books.

He served as the interim director of the Jewish National and University Library of Hebrew University during his sabbatical in 1972–1973 and as acting director of the New York Law School Library in 1982–1984. He consulted on the construction and organization of many law schools.

Mersky was a member of numerous associations and honorary societies, including the Texas Philosophical Society, the American Law Institute, and the American Society for International Law. Among the many honors he received were the 2005 Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award from AALL and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and the Information Studies Alumni Association’s Centennial Celebration Alumnus of the Year Award. In 2003, Mersky was named one among the fifty most innovative librarians working today by the Library Journal. In 2008, he was awarded posthumously the Frederick O. Hicks Award by the ALL-SIS, and the Spirit of Law Librarianship Award that he founded with Richard Leiter, a law professor and the law library director at the University of Nebraska, was renamed in his honor.

In this oral history Mersky discusses his service in WWII; his education at the University of Wisconsin; his library experiences at Yale, the Washington State Law Library, and the University of Colorado; his involvement in the struggles for civil rights; and his many years and activities at the University of Texas, including visiting positions and consultancies around the world, developing law-trained librarians, and his passions for history and collecting.

To purchase this publication, and to find out about the other publications of the Tarlton Law Library, visit the Library’s TxShop page, email, or contact Publications Coordinator, Tarlton Law Library, Jamail Center for Legal Research, The University of Texas at Austin, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705, (512) 471-7735, fax (512) 471-0243.

Related links:

Tarlton Law Library:

A Tribute to Roy Mersky:

Tarlton contact: Sofia Chamberlain, Tarlton Law Library, 512-471-7735,

Media contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or