June 14, 2013

Lind earns prestigious legal literature award

by Pete Rosenbery

Douglas Lind

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Douglas W. Lind, law library director and professor of law at the SIU School of Law, is the recipient of a national award that recognizes a significant contribution to legal biographical literature.

Lind will receive the 2013 Joseph L. Andrews Biographical Award for his sourcebook, “Lincoln’s Suspension of Habeas Corpus: the Pamphlet Literature and Congressional Debate,” from the American Association of Law Libraries.  He will receive the award at the closing luncheon of the organization’s annual meeting July 16 in Seattle, Wash.

Lind’s work covers President Abraham Lincoln’s unilateral suspension of the Constitutional protection against illegal imprisonment between 1861 and 1863 -- a period spanning from Lincoln’s speech to Congress suspending the writ, until the time that Congress authorized the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act of 1863.

Lind said that in spite of a large body of material devoted to the constitutional issues involved, he was surprised that much of it only cites a handful of pamphlet titles. 

His work, which took more than two years to complete, comprises 111 documents, including Lincoln’s original order, along with texts of numerous speeches and debates on the issue.  Lind said his purpose was to collect, arrange and annotate a comprehensive collection of pamphlets and Congressional debate to provide scholars with a “broader and deeper understanding of the arguments presented regarding Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus.”

As a bibliographer and librarian, Lind said the work was rewarding for providing a “window into not only the debate as it was unfolding, but also a glimpse into a niche of the publishing industry at the time.” He added, “The pamphlets were transitory items -- printed on thin, acidic paper and designed simply to get the author’s point across, not for permanence. As a result, few copies of many of the titles remain and the ones that do are quite brittle and in danger of crumbling to dust.  Extending their life through digitization and reproduction on acid-free paper was quite gratifying.”

Lind noted that this is the second time that an SIU Carbondale librarian earned the award.  In 1969, Ralph McCoy, then-dean of University Libraries, earned the award for his work, “Freedom of the Press.”

“The list of previous winners is a litany of those in the profession whom I respect and admire, so the Andrews Award means a great deal to me both professionally and personally,” he said.

Lind came to SIU Carbondale in 2007 after 13 years at Georgetown University Law Center’s Edward Bennett Williams Law Library.