About the Powell Archives

The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Archives comprises the rare and unique materials held by the Wilbur C. Hall Law Library. The archives is currently open to researchers by appointment only. As this area is staffed by one archivist, researchers are encouraged to contact the archives well in advance of an anticipated visit.


Visitor Parking at the law school is extremely limited when classes are in sessions. Visiting researchers are encouraged to contact the archivist in advance to obtain a visitor parking permit.


The Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Archives is located on level 1 of Sydney Lewis Hall, the home of the Washington and Lee University School of Law in historic Lexington, Virginia.

Remote Research

Selected materials have been digitized and made available through Scholarly Commons. Since its inception, the Powell Archives has responded to reasonable photocopying requests made by mail or phone, and later via email. More information about duplication services can be found here.

We cannot do research on behalf of distance users. We also reserve the right to not take on copying projects so large as to inhibit prompt service to other researchers. We abide by copyright laws and will not reproduce restricted materials.

Collection Development Policy

Growth of the collection is achieved primarily through donation. The Powell Archives is highly selective in accepting additional donations. Donors are encouraged to review the Collection Development Policy. Please direct any questions to the archivist, Jenny Mitchell.

Other Sources for Washington & Lee School of Law History

This law school became associated with Washington & Lee University (then Washington College) soon after the Civil War. The administration of the law school was virtually indistinguishable from that of the university as a whole well into the twentieth century. Most early records of the law school, therefore, are held in Special Collections at W&L's Leyburn Library, which houses the university archives. Among the holdings here is the typescript draft of Ollinger Crenshaw's 1968 history of W&L, General Lee's College. The draft of the chapter on the law school is more extensive than the published version and contains notes to sources.

The law school web site contains sketches of the history of W&L law school, of its faculty, or of selected alumni.