Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

James Valentine Campbell


Henry Wade Rogers, Law School of the University of Michigan
1 The Green Bag 189, 194 (1889)
Burke A. Hinsdale, History of the University of Michigan 104
(Ann Arbor: Published by the University, 1906)


"James Valentine Campbell was born at Buffalo, New York, February 25, 1823, sone of Henry Munroe and Lois (Bushnell) Campbell. . . . In 1826 the family removed to Detroit, Michigan. The elder Campbell had been a man of some prominence in Buffalo, and soon became such in Detroit. He was a memer of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in whose tenets he instructed his son, whom he sent to an Episcopal preparatory school at Flushing, Long Island. Afterwards the son entered St. Paul's College at the same place, and was graduated in 1841. After graduation he returned to Detroit, and began the study of law in the office of Douglass and Walker. He was admittted to practice in October, 1844, and immediately entered into partnership with his preceptors. After thirteen years of practice at the Bar, he was elected to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Micigan and was continued in the office by successive re-elections until his death. During the year 1845-1846 he served as secretary to the Board of Regents of the State University. In 1859, when the Regents of the University established the Department of Law, he was invited to become a member of the first Faculty. On his acceptance of the Marshall professorhsip of Law, the Faculty made him their Dean. His subjects in the Law School were as follows: Criminal Law, Jurisprudence of the United States, Equity Jurisprudence, and Internal Law. His resignation of his professorship in 1885 . . . became a necessity on account of the growth of his judicial duties. He was not only well versed in the law; he was also an accomplished scholar in history and in literature. In 1876 he published 'Outlines of the Political History of Michigan,' a . . . history of the pioneer period of the State. He received the degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Michigan in 1866. . . . [He] died in Detroit, March 26, 1890." [Burke A. Hinsdale, History of the University of Michigan with Biographical Sketches of Regents and Members of the University Senate from 1837 to 1906 233 (Ann Arbor: Published by the University, 1906)(Isaac N. Demmon ed.)][Campbell was born on February 23, 1823, according to the typescript of "Authors and Poets of Michigan" compiled by E. Cora DePuy.]

Campbell was elected, in 1857, a justice of the newly created Michigan Supreme Court, an office which he held until his death in 1890. He served as Chief Justice of the court in 1870-71, 1878-79, and 1886-87. [Source: "Bio/History," The James V. Campbell Papers, The Political Graveyard]

Campbell was appointed the Marshall Professor of Law in the newly created Law Department at the University of Michigan and was Chair of the department for some years. According to one source, he held the Marshall Professorship from 1858 until 1883 and in 1883 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Michigan, the first ever conferred. [E. Cora DePuy, typescript titled, "List of Authors and Poets of Michigan," made available to James R. Elkins by the Library of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan]

Henry Wade Rogers, Law School of the University of Michigan
1 The Green Bag 189 (1889)

James V. Campbell
24th Justice, Michigan Supreme Court


James Valentine Campbell, "The University of Michigan," 5 The Green Bag 35 (1893)("An ode, read at the opening of the Great Hall of the University, in 1873")


James V. Campbell, On the Study of Law, an address (Ann arbor: The University [of Michigan], 1859)

________________, Closing Remarks of Prof. J.V. Campbell to the Graduating Class of the Law Department, March 21st, 1863 (Ann Arbor [Michigan]: Published by the Class, 1863) [online text]

_______________, Outlines of the Political History of Michigan (Detroit: Schober & Co., 1876) [online text]


J.V. Campbell, "A Legend of L'Anse Creuse," in Marie Caroline Watson Hamlin, Legends of Le Détroit 243-260 (Detroit: T. Nourse, 1883)(Illustrated by Miss Isabella Stewart) [online text]


Henry B. Brown, Mr. Justice Campbell, 2 The Green Bag 233 (1890)

Henry Billings Brown, Memorial Address: The Character and Services of James Valentine Campbell ... delivered at the request of the Detroit Bar Association (Detroit: [Winn & Hammond, printers], 1890)

Charles Artemis Kent, James Valentine Campbell, 5 Michigan Law Review ___ (1907) [online text]

Research Resources

James V. Campbell Papers
Bentley Historical Library
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Henry A. Chaney, The Supreme Court of Michigan
2 The Green Bag 377, 384 (1890)