Daily Archives: November 3, 2021

Highlights from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Personal Library

Justice O’Connor’s interests were wide – the items received by the Ross-Blakley Law Library from the Justice’s personal library include joke books, photography volumes of the American West, historical texts, and fiction titles, among many other categories. Today we highlight a few books from the Justice’s collection that are in some way about one of the three branches of government.

Legislative branch
Before her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor served in a number of legal roles in the state of Arizona. One of those roles was as a state senator from 1969, when she was appointed by Governor Jack Williams to fill a vacant position, until 1974 when she was elected as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge. Some of the items that Justice O’Connor kept in her personal library from her time in the Arizona Legislature were the Senate Rules pamphlet (1973-1974), Rules of the House of Representatives pamphlet (1973-1974), Parliamentary Speaking: A Handbook for Legislators (helpfully sub-titled “WHEN to say it; WHAT to say; HOW to say it”), and the Directory of the 31st Legislature (1973-1974).

Executive branch
Justice O’Connor also owned an 1857 copy of the “Memoirs of Washington” by Mrs. Caroline. M. Kirkland. The book bears a beautiful inscription to the Justice noting her important place in American history. The Internet Archive has made a copy of this title available digitally here.

Judicial branch
Finally, a title with a focus on the judicial branch in Justice O’Connor’s collection was “A More Obedient Wife: A Novel of the Early Supreme Court” by Natalie Wexler. The author’s website states that the book “tells the story of two women in the 1790’s—each in a troubled marriage to a Supreme Court Justice—swept up in the little-known but fascinating early history of our nation’s premier judicial institution.” An inscription from the author states: “For Justice O’Connor, In grateful appreciate of your enthusiasm for this project.”