Photograph of a sketch of the Temple of Justice
From the Collections of the Washington State Archives
The Washington Courts Historical Society is a membership organization whose purpose is to promote a greater public understanding of the significance of the law and legal institutions in our State's history. It accomplishes this through the collection, preservation, and dissemination of written and oral history, significant artifacts, memorabilia and information related to the court and the legal profession of the State of Washington.
This vision will be shaped, developed and accomplished within the context of the Society’s significant values. These activities include: the sharing of knowledge about the Washington State constitution; the promotion of pride in the legal profession and in the legal process; the enhancing of the public's impression of the legal profession; the promotion of an appreciation of the institutions and contributions of the legal system; and the preservation of history.
The original idea to form an organization to preserve Washington State’s legal history came from Supreme Court Justices Gerry Alexander and Philip Talmadge. With the support of then Chief Justice Barbara Durham, a committee was formed to begin planning. The goal of this group was to preserve the rich historical heritage of all levels of the Washington Court System as well as of the Bar Association. The committee’s vision was to make the Washington Courts Historical Society’s purpose and focus statewide.
The Society accomplishes its goals through a variety of projects and programs. Every two years, it sponsors an accredited Continuing Legal Education seminar (CLE), with Society members receiving a discount on the registration fee.
Donations of historical artifacts and archival documents related to Washington State’s legal history are temporarily stored and protected until the Society can facilitate their transfer to an archival facility or museum. There they will be catalogued, preserved and appropriately made available for public access.
The Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, which meets quarterly to establish policy, set long- range goals and oversee finances. A part-time Executive Director works closely with the Board to implement the Society’s program and activities.
The Washington Courts Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) corporation funded by memberships fees, donations and grants. The Society does not receive any state funding.
P.O. Box 4081
Tumwater, WA 98501