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Special Collections

The Drake Law Library houses special collections, including the Rare Book Room, National Bar Association Archives, and the Charles Wennerstrum papers.

Patrons may ask at the Information Desk for in-library use of materials weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All users must abide by the Law Library Rare Book Room and Special Collections Usage Policy.

Rare Book Room

The Drake Law Library Rare Book Room (Room 283) is located on the second floor near the central staircase. It preserves, protects, and organizes those library materials that are housed in a secure, climate-controlled room because of their rarity, value, format, significance, or condition.

Items located in the Rare Book Room are identified as such in the library catalog.

National Bar Association Archives

The National Bar Association Archives, located on the Lower Level (Room 16), was dedicated in 2007.

The archives contain biographical information, newspaper clippings, and articles about five African-American lawyers from Des Moines—S. Joe Brown, Charles P. Howard (a 1922 Drake Law School graduate), James B. Morris, Gertrude Rush, and George Woodson—who co-founded the National Bar Association in 1925.

The archives also contain reports filed by the FBI from 1937-1958 on founder Charles P. Howard, annual meeting conference materials dating back to 1978, materials on other prominent members of the National Bar Association, and information on the National Association of Bench and Bar Spouses. (Researchers may also be interested in the Charles Preston Howard collection, available at the Drake University Archives and Special Collections in Cowles Library.)

The archive is open to the public. The library has also completed digitization of the collection, which can be found in the National Bar Association Digital Collection.

Charles Wennerstrum Papers

Charles F. Wennerstrum, a 1914 Drake Law School graduate, served on the Iowa Supreme Court from 1941-1958. In 1947-1948, he took a leave of absence from his service as Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to serve as the presiding judge in the Hostage Case at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

The papers contain personal notes, trial proceedings, memorabilia, and newspaper articles relating to Justice Wennerstrum's time serving on the Military Tribunal.

The archive is open to the public. The library has also completed digitization of the collection, which can be found in the Charles Wennerstrum Papers Digital Collection.

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