Before I get into the main post, I want to applaud former Solicitor General Paul Clement for resigning from King & Spaulding after the firm withdrew under pressure from the DOMA case. I wouldn’t call what he did brave (I mean, the guy probably had a hundred job offers five minutes later), but the firm clearly needs to ask the Wizard of Oz for some courage. We’ll see how its new slogan (“We’ll represent you, but only if you’re popular”) will go over.
Now here’s a question I have for the scholarly community and law librarians who may read CoOp. I’ve posted before about my search for correspondence between John Bingham and his college classmates (Titus Basfield and Andrew Ross) that would be very illuminating for the biography that I’m working on. I am now confident that the originals were destroyed in the 1990s. One scholar (now deceased) worked with the originals before they were destroyed and quoted extensively from them. His papers are sitting in the basement of his daughter’s house. He may have made copies or verbatim notes — I don’t know yet.
It strikes me that the best solution would be for these papers to be donated to a library. That way, they would be accessible to anyone and could be organized in some fashion. Does anyone have any experience negotiating the terms for such a transaction? What do people typically want? Some statement that allows them to take a tax deduction? A ceremony that makes a big deal about the collection? Something on the Library website that makes a big deal about the fact that you have the So-and-so Collection? Any thoughts would be helpful.