Sunday, March 28, 2021

Michael de Laval Landon (1935-2021)

Michael de Laval Landon, professor emeritus at the University of Mississippi, passed away at his home in Oxford on Tuesday.  He went emeritus in 2009.  His publications included The Triumph of the Lawyers: Their Role in English Politics, 1678-1689 (1970); The Honor and Dignity of the Profession: A History of the Mississippi State Bar Association, 1906-1976 (1979); Erin and Britannia: The Historical Background to a Modern Tragedy (1981); and The University of Mississippi School of Law: A Sesquicentennial History (2006).

I was not to surprised to learn from his obituary and another notice that, in addition to teaching and publishing scholarship, Professor Landon actively served his church and local government.  I first encountered him when, during his long service as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Society for Legal History (1988-1997), I chaired the Local Arrangements Committee in 1994 and got to know him as part of the Society’s Old Guard, who came to legal history because of the allure of the common-law tradition but stayed to do the administrative chores that kept a learned society run wholly by volunteers going. 

Since Professor Landon left the Secretary-Treasurership, the leadership of the ASLH has diversified beyond what I could have imagined when I met him.  If word of his death is an occasion for reflecting upon how much stronger the field of legal history is as a result, it is also a moment for recalling how much it was sustained because scholars like him did their part.

--Dan Ernst