An Index of Printed Virginia Trial Court Opinions Between 1850 and 1928

William Hamilton Bryson, University of Richmond

Co-authored with Lucinda Harrison-Cox, Stephanie Ploszay Karn, Rosemary Golden Seltzer


In the latter half of the nineteenth and the first quarter of the twentieth centuries, the Virginia bench and bar were served by four law journals. These were The Quarterly Law Journal (1856-1859), The Quarterly Law Review (1860-1861) The Virginia Law Journal (1877- 1893), and The Virginia Law Register (1895-1928). One of their major functions was the publication of the full texts of selected judicial opinions. Although most of these cases were from the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, there were also many from the lower courts of The Old Dominion. The Virginia Supreme Court opinions were later published in bound volumes, but the others were not reissued in any form. Furthermore, the others were never noticed in the various indexes or digests of Virginia case law. Occasionally, one sees a reference to one of these lower court opinions, but there is no systematic way of finding any of them. These law journals have been recently reprinted, and they are thus available again to the general public. The purpose of this index is to make the lower court case authority published in them (and nowhere else) accessible to the researcher. This index also analyses the lower court opinions that were published in book form by Robert R. Howison and J. Singleton Diggs. Because these two books did not publish appellate court decisions, they have not been dealt with in the various digests and indexes, although Howison's is covered by Shepard's Virginia Citations.