Wigmore, John Henry

views updated May 18 2018


John Henry Wigmore ranks as one of the most important legal scholars in U.S. history. A law professor and later dean of Northwestern University Law School from 1901 to 1929, Wigmore was a prolific writer in many areas of the law. He is renowned for his ten-volume Treatise on the Anglo-American System of Evidence in Trials at Common Law—usually referred to as Wigmore on Evidence—originally released in four volumes (1904–1905) but expanded to ten volumes by the third edition (1940). Legal scholars consider this treatise one of the greatest books on law ever written.

Wigmore was born on March 4, 1863, in San Francisco, California. He graduated from Harvard University in 1883 and entered Harvard Law School in 1884. While attending law school, he helped to found the Harvard Law Review, which was to become a pre-eminent legal journal. After graduating in 1887, Wigmore was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and entered

private practice in Boston. He supplemented his income by doing research and writing for Chief Justice charles doe of the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

In 1889, Wigmore moved to Tokyo to accept the post of chief professor of Anglo-American law at Keio University. In addition to his teaching duties, Wigmore wrote extensively and researched Japanese legal history. Extremely adept at languages, he became fascinated by the field of comparative law and pursued this interest throughout his life.

"Some day, it may be hoped, the method of rationalization will be recognized in systematic treatment of all legal ideas, and not merely of the fundamental institutions."
John Henry Wigmore

Wigmore returned to the United States in 1892 and accepted a teaching position with

Northwestern University Law School in 1893. He taught a variety of courses, including evidence, torts, and international law. In 1901, he accepted the position of dean, a post he held until his mandatory retirement in 1929. As dean, Wigmore raised money to build the Albert Gary Library, one of the finest university law libraries in the United States, as well as a new law school building. He recruited some of the leading legal scholars of his day and made Northwestern one of the most prominent U.S. law schools.

Wigmore's output as a writer was astounding. He produced 46 original volumes of legal scholarship, 38 edited volumes, and more than 800 articles, pamphlets, and reviews. Much of Wigmore's writing was not of timeless quality, but his treatise on evidence is recognized as a classic because of the scope of its coverage and the insightful explanations of doctrine drawn from the most advanced U.S. jurisprudence.

Wigmore died April 20, 1943, in Chicago.

further readings

Celebration Legal Essays: To Mark the Twenty-Fifth Year of Service of John H. Wigmore as Professor of Law in Northwestern University. 1981. Littleton, Colo.: F.B. Rothman.

Roalfe, William R. 1977. John Henry Wigmore: Scholar and Reformer. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern Univ. Press.

Twining, William L. 1985. Theories of Evidence: Bentham and Wigmore. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press.

Mortimer, Roger, 6th Baron Wigmore

views updated Jun 11 2018

Mortimer, Roger, 6th Baron Wigmore (c.1231–82). Mortimer was one of the most powerful marcher barons of Henry III's reign and preoccupied with resisting Welsh advance. His mother was a daughter of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and he also inherited great estates through his marriage to a daughter of William de Braose. He succeeded to the title in 1246. At the outset of the political struggle in 1258, Mortimer stood with the baronial opposition to Henry III. But de Montfort's rapprochement with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, with whom Mortimer was constantly at feud, caused him to change sides. He fought with the losing royal army at Lewes in 1264 and subsequently helped Prince Edward to escape captivity and take refuge at Wigmore. He took a leading part in de Montfort's defeat at Evesham in 1265, sending his head as a grisly trophy to his wife at Wigmore. Thereafter Mortimer worked closely with Edward, as prince and king, much involved in sometimes desperate campaigning against Llywelyn in the 1270s.

J. A. Cannon

Treadwell, Henry John

views updated May 18 2018

Treadwell, Henry John (1861–1910). English architect. With Leonard Martin (1869–1935) he practised in London from 1890 to 1910, specializing in developing small, narrow-fronted sites in London's West End. Stylistically, their work was an eclectic mix of Art Nouveau, Baroque, late-Continental Gothic, and dashes of other styles, used in a very free way. Among their best buildings are 23 Woodstock Street, 7 Dering Street, 7 Hanover Street, 74 New Bond Street, 20 Conduit Street, 78 Wigmore Street, 106 Jermyn Street, and 61 St James's Street (all early 1900s), and 78–81 Fetter Lane, in the City. They designed the Rising Sun Public House, 46 Tottenham Court Road (1897), St John's Hospital, Lisle Street, Leicester Square (1904), the White Hart, Windsor, Berks., and St John's Church, Herne Hill (1910).


A. S. Gray (1985)