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About the Law Library: Special Collections

About Our Special Collections

Regent University Law Library is home to a number of special collections. Researchers from all disciplines are welcome to contact the Director or Assistant Director to arrange access to the Special Collections Room.

  • Access—by appointment only.
  • The extent of the use permitted is limited by the guidelines associated with the particular Collection and the physical condition of the item requested. The Law Library reserves the right to restrict the use of a particular collection.

The Founders Collection

The Founders Collection once comprised the library of the first law school west of the Appalachians. Transylvania (latin for 'across-the-woods') University established its law department in Lexington, Kentucky in 1799, at a time when the only other university in the country to offer similar studies was the College of William & Mary. This pioneer law school was one of the most renowned of its day, praised by Thomas Jefferson, Justice Story, and John Marshall Harlan.

The volumes of this library were used to train many of our young nation's finest lawyers, legislators, and statesmen. Henry Clay was among the first faculty and was a strong force in helping to support and expand the library. The school eventually closed its doors in 1861. Several subsequent attempts to revive the law department proved unsuccessful.


In 1994, the Regent University Law Library had the good fortune to acquire the near-intact library from a bookseller who had obtained it from Transylvania University, where it had been in storage for some years. Careful research in the original catalog has revealed only a very few missing volumes two centuries later.

The Founders Collection totals 1,023 volumes and spans four centuries, from Fitzherbert’s La Grande Abridgement published in 1577, through early American imprints of Chitty, Story, and others during the first half of the 19th century. Approximately 60% of the collection is comprised of early American imprints consisting of treatises, reporters, and early state and federal materials such as legislative acts, reports, state papers, journals, and Congressional debates. The remainder of the collection consists of similar imprints from Great Britain, including many 18th-century treatises and compilations.

To learn more, read Foraging the Transylvania Law Library:  A Unique and Valuable Collection.

The John Brabner-Smith Library & Papers

John Brabner-Smith, Wall Street and Washington, DC attorney, prosecutor of Al Capone, Law Professor and founding Dean of the International School of Law, was a brilliant scholar and expositor of Christian Jurisprudence and Natural Law. His firm commitment to these foundational principles led to his decision in 1993 to gift two valuable collections to the Regent University Law Library. We are honored to preserve and make available these two rich collections that bear his name.

The John Brabner-Smith Library consists of books on the foundations of a nation created under the "laws of nature and of nature’s God," jurisprudence, history, and science. The Brabner-Smith Library is currently on display near the Law Library service desk. Books in this collection may be used in the Law Library and, for those with borrowing privileges at the Regent University Law Library, may be checked-out for normal loan periods.

The John Brabner-Smith Professional Papers consist of professional papers, correspondence, and archives collected by John Brabner-Smith throughout his career. Use of this research collection is restricted to attorneys, students, scholars, and others engaged in scholarly research on jurisprudence and the Judeo-Christian foundation of the United States of America. The Professional Papers are topically organized and maintained in a reserve cabinet in the Special Collections Room. Those who wish to access the John Brabner-Smith Professional Papers should contact the Law Library Director at (757) 352-4463.

The Ralph Bunche Collection




Credited with many accomplishments in diplomacy and political science, Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche reached the pinnacle of his distinguished career as the recipient of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his armistice negotiation between Israel and four separate Arab nations (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria). He was also the first African American recipient of that prize. To learn more, see Ralph Bunche: Distinguished Scholar, International Statesman and Equal Rights Activist, published in the Regent Journal of International Law.

The Ralph Johnson Bunche Personal Library consists of over 400 items, books, journals, journal articles, newspapers, magazines, news clippings, and other miscellaneous documents and personal items dating from the 1930s until the 1960s.

These items comprised the personal library of Dr. Bunche at the time of his death. Regent University Law Library purchased this library at auction from a rare book dealer in 1999.

To inquire about conducting research in this collection or to make an appointment to use the Special Collections Room, contact the Law Library Director.


The Dana-Mooradkanian Collection

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. was a prominent 19th-century Boston attorney and author of the classic, Two Years Before the Mast. An alumnus of Harvard Law, class of 1837, Dana was a well-known abolitionist, defender of the rights of the common man, and maritime law attorney, authoring the principal treatise of his day on the rights of seamen. 


The Richard Henry Dana Jr. Collection contains 440 volumes, many of which were a part of the working law library of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.  These later became part of the working library of Boston attorney Gregory Mooradkanian, who had offices at 314 Main Street. 

Mr. Mooradkanian's complete library was donated to Regent University School of Law in 2012 by his children.


The Ken North Collection

Dr. Ken North served on the law faculty of Regent University from 1994 until 1998, and from 1998 to 2000 in the office of the Provost. After his untimely death in 2000, his family donated two collections to the Law Library in memoriam

The Canon Law Collection

Dr. North played a key role in the founding of the Canon Law Institute in 1990. This collection contains Professor North's personal library of titles focusing on church conflict, conflict resolution, protestant canon law (though it does contain some Catholic works), and related titles.



The Legal Classics Collection

This beautifully bound legal collection of legal classics is available to patrons for study and scholarly research.



The Menefee Collection

The Mary Elizabeth Menefee Collection of Law and Film was established in 2001 as a research collection in loving memory of Mary Elizabeth Menefee, daughter of Professor Samuel Pyeatt and Mary Waterman Menefee. The collection focus is on Law and Lawyers in the visual media. Though most titles are in contemporary format (DVD or VHS), the films themselves are from every era and genre of filmmaking and address law, lawyers, courts, and society’s view of the same.

This collection is restricted to academic or scholarly use.


  • Regent University Faculty may borrow Menefee Collection films for three days. Renewals are permitted.
  • Faculty and scholars of all disciplines and from all institutions with an academic or research interest in using the collection are welcome to make use of Menefee Collection materials. Any loan period will be based on the nature of the research need. Loans must be authorized by a member of the Law Library Faculty.

To access materials from this collection, please complete and submit the Menefee Request Form at least 48 hours in advance of the time the film is needed.