A Man of Many Firsts: John H.A. Whitman

Author: Susan Good

John H.A. Whitman first stepped onto the campus of Notre Dame in 1918 when he was hired to teach American literature and Latin in the prep school. But, the Law Library will always remember him as the first law librarian, beginning in 1921.

During his initial years as the law school’s librarian, he earned several degrees at Notre Dame — an A.B. in 1925, an A.M. in 1927, and his J.D. in 1930. To top that, he was added to the law school faculty as an assistant professor during his senior year as a law student! He managed the modest 7,000 volume law library collection while it was located in the building that is now Crowley Hall of Music. By 1930, a new law building was erected and the collection had grown to 10,000 vol-umes due to the generous donations from law school graduates. In 1941 Whitman suffered a stroke which laid him up for a year and Lora Lashbrook was appointed to the position in 1942. However, when recovered, Whitman continued to serve the University as an assistant professor in the Law School and then in the History De-partment before he left the University. > Continue story