Possibly your best on-line entree into the topics is the Federal Judicial Center's webpage, Federal Court Historical Programs. Circuit Courts with very active historical societies include the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuit. An entree into the work of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society is here. Some notion of the many District Courts with active historical societies, may be acquired here.
Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School, reviewed an early spate of circuit and district court histories in Reconsidering the Frankfurterian Paradigm: Reflections on Histories of Lower Federal Courts, Law and Social Inquiry 24 (1999). Court histories published since Purcell's essay include Jefferey Brandon Morris, Establishing Justice in Middle America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) (Eighth Circuit); Burton Alan Boxerman, And Justice for All: A History of the Federal District Court of Eastern Missouri (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2014); Richard Cahan, A Court that Shaped America: Chicago's Federal District Court from Abe Lincoln to Abbie Hoffman (Northwestern University Press, 2002); George W. Geib and Donald B. Kite, The History of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2007); Mark Edward Lender, "This Honorable Court": The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1789-2000 (Rutgers University Press, 2006); John O. Peters, From Marshall to Moussaoui: Federal Justice in the Eastern District of Virginia (Dietz Press, 2013) (see also here); Richard Cahan, Pia Hinckle, and Jessica Royer Ocken, The Court that Tamed the West: From the Gold Rush to the Tech Boom (Heyday Books, 2013); Harvey Bartle III, Mortals with Tremendous Responsibilities: A History of the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (St. Joseph's University Press, 2011); Steven Flanders, The Federal Circuit: A Judicial Innovation, 2d ed. (Twelve Tables Press). And just out is Peter Graham Fish’s Federal Justice in the Mid-Atlantic South: United States Courts from Maryland to the Carolinas, 1836–1861 (Carolina Academic Press, 2015).
Judicial memoirs and biographies include 8th Circuit Judge Myron Bright's Goodbye Mike, Hello Judge: My Journey for Justice (North Dakota State University Institute for Regional Studies), the Nebraska Federal District Judge Warren Urbom’s Called to Justice: The Life of a Federal Trial Judge (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press); and James Haskins's Cecil Poole: A Life in the Law. Just about all of the historical societies Dr. Holt surveyed collect and make publicly available oral histories of judges, court staff, and lawyers. I've plugged the DC Circuit's repeatedly; information about the Ninth Circuit's is here. The Historical Society for New Jersey District Court has posted video interviews of twelve judges, court officers and US attorneys.
Journals include Stereoscope (for the Western District of Michigan), Western Legal History (published by the Ninth Circuit Historical Society), and the Journal of the Federal Circuit Historical Society.
Newsletters abound. The historical societies for several circuit courts, including the Tenth and the Eleventh, have them. So do those for federal district courts, such as Eastern Michigan (The Court Legacy); Eastern Tennessee, New Jersey (Nunc Pro Tunc); and Oregon.
Historical societies also post web-based histories, profiles, and blogs. The Tenth Circuit Historical Society’s online history is here; its blog is here; its Flickr page, here. The Federal Circuit's online history is here, and a commemoration of the 225 anniversary of the establishment of the District of New York is here. The Middle District of Florida Historical Society posted a brief narrative history here. The Historical Society of the Western District of Michigan has a downloadable collection of judicial biographies, entitled Portraits of Justice.
|Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse|
Archival collections present a challenge for many historical societies, because they usually lack the facilities and professionally trained staff to maintain them. Even so, Dr. Holt found a few notable exceptions. The Third Circuit created an archives for Judge John Biggs, Jr., and Judge Albert Maris, whose fascinating career is briefly described here. The Middle District of Florida Historical Society maintains an archive that includes the papers of Judge Alexander Paskay and Bankruptcy Judge George L. Proctor. And the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society preserves the papers of Judge Cecil Poole as part of the Judge Cecil Poole Biography Project.
|Bell Room Historical Gallery, Whittaker Courthouse|
Finally, sponsored lectures and other public programs on historical topics are too numerous to list. Illustrations include the Second Circuit's Hands Lectures, which are held throughout the circuit. The Oregon US District Court Historical Society sponsors a famous cases series. The Ninth Circuit helped organize the panel The Legal and Physical Infrastructure of Southern California Water at the Western History Association last October. The Tenth Circuit held a program on the assassination of President Kennedy that featured U.S. District Judge Jack Tunheim, who chaired the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board. In Colorado, the Tenth Circuit was a cosponsor of Forty Years Since Keyes Equality of Education Opportunity and the Legal Construction of Modern Metropolitan America. (Cf. the DC Circuit's recent panel n Bolling v. Sharpe!) In Kansas, the same society hosted the program Americans by Choice: The Story of Immigration and Citizenship in Kansas. The Eastern District of California opted for programs on notable criminal trials: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and on the Unabomber. (Both aired on CSPAN.) The Federal Circuit Historical Society's events are listed here.