To celebrate its 75th anniversary, throughout 2003 the
Wisconsin Lawyer will include "From the Archives," a monthly
column devoted to lively snippets from past issues. Material is quoted
directly and attributed when the contributor is known. More in-depth
coverage of the magazine's publishing history will appear in September,
as part of the State Bar's 125th anniversary celebration this year.
Bravery in times of war
Jan. 1930, at 35: "Official certificates have been issued to Walter
P. Melchior, Stevens Point attorney, awarding him both the French and
Belgian croix de guerre for distinguished military service in France
during the World war. Melchior, a private who had enlisted at Appleton
in the 165th infantry, a unit of the Rainbow division, won the awards
for fighting during the Champagne defensive, where for more than six
hours he led a squad that engaged in hand to hand fighting with
bayonets, grenades and pistols."
April 1930, at 90: "Out of 984 cases in 1929 before Judge George
Grimm, of the 12th circuit court, all but 57 were settled out of court.
This ability to settle differences has won for Judge Grimm the title of
He knows how to party
April 1930, at 119: "Moses Hooper, dean of the Winnebago County Bar
Association, and the oldest practicing lawyer in the United States,
observed his ninety-fifth birthday January 21. He celebrated the
occasion as usual by being at his desk in his office at Oshkosh."
20th anniversary of Milwaukee Civil Court
July 1930, at 178: "Milwaukee civil courts celebrated the twentieth
anniversary of their establishment, on Saturday, April 19. The civil
court was established April 19, 1910, to displace justices of the peace.
... The volume of business has run from 2,691 cases in 1910 to over
52,000 cases in 1929."
The spirit of Christmas
Jan. 1931, at 47: "Judge George E. Page, Milwaukee, played Santa
Claus recently to an impoverished family, taking to the family of a man
he had sentenced to the house of correction two years ago its happiest
Christmas. Since the release of the father, he has been unemployed, and
his daughter wrote to the judge, pointing out the family's poverty.
Judge Page delivered to the family an automobile load of food stuffs,
wearing apparel, and toys."
The Seven Lamps of Advocacy
April 1931, at 88: J.G. Hardgrove, State Bar president, gave the main
address at a Rock County Bar Association meeting, speaking on the seven
lamps of advocacy: honesty, courage, judgment, industry, eloquence, wit,
and fellowship. "The attorney is the first contact of the public with
the administration of justice. It is through him that the layman
receives his first impression of the courts and whole administration of
justice," Hardgrove said.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
April 1932, at 108: "Civil Judge A.J. Hedding did not like the mural
painting entitled 'Labor,' which the artist, Francis Scott Bradford Jr.,
placed on the wall behind his desk in the new Milwaukee courthouse.
Therefore, he personally purchased mauve colored drapes, which he caused
to be hung over the painting, and then placed in front of the drapes a
picture of George Washington. There was some objection to this action
... but the judge finally prevailed. The mural painting is of a large
woman walking away from the spectators, done in modern style. The weight
of opinion, newspaper and otherwise, seems to be in favor of Judge
Hedding's treatment of the matter."
No time like the present
Oct. 1931, at 216: "A campaign to get smoother operation in his court
by penalizing the tardy was recently carried on successfully by Civil
Judge A.J. Hedding, Milwaukee. His plan is this: If plaintiffs or their
attorneys are late for their cases, the cases are dismissed and the
defendants go free. If the defendants or their attorneys are late, a
default judgment is entered against them. This plan was carried out with
very satisfactory results and great saving of time on crowded
Questionable tuition proceeds
April 1932, at 117: H.J. Mortenson, state insurance commissioner, in
an address to the Wisconsin District Attorneys' Association, said that
"insurance issued by benevolent societies of the post-mortem premiums
type are not sanctioned by the state insurance commission; that these
benevolent societies should not be confused with the regular fraternal
societies, which charge adequate rates and are properly organized. ...
Through some societies, a person is permitted to take out a policy on
another person, without that person's knowledge or consent, and he cited
the case of one university student, who remarked, 'I've made enough out
of the death of Mr. X to pay my first year's tuition in the university.
If I can pick three more cripples, my university career is
Regulating the use of automobiles
April 1932, at 104: At its January meeting, the Rock County Bar
Association discussed several proposals that were before a committee of
the State Bar Association, including: a compulsory automobile liability
insurance law; a requirement that all automobile drivers pass a rigid
examination before being granted a license and prohibit driving by those
found to be incompetent; and measures to enforce proper inspection of
all automobiles, with a view to forcing "$10 wrecks" off the highways,
among others. "It was pointed out that the killing and maiming of people
by automobiles is incredibly more widespread than were the industrial
accidents that led to the workmen's compensation act."
Gangsters and the alibi evil
Jan. 1932, at 52: "(From the Milwaukee Sentinel) District
Atty. Herman R. Salen of Waukesha County said, '[Gangsters] always seem
able to furnish an alibi and they seldom have any trouble getting
witnesses to swear that they were anywhere except where a crime was
committed.' Danny Stanton, a Chicago gunman, is wanted in Waukesha for
the murder of Chicago gangster Jack Zuta. Gov. Emmerson of Illinois had
granted extradition papers, an Illinois criminal court had approved
them, but the supreme court reversed the lower court. Why? Ten persons
swore an alibi for Stanton, deposing that he was present at a fish fry
in Chicago on the night when Zuta was killed in a Waukesha County dance
hall. The Illinois Supreme Court preferred to accept the testimony of
these witnesses against Col. Calvin C. Goddard, a ballistics expert, who
showed that bullets fired from a revolver taken from Stanton had the
same markings as bullets found in Zuta's body." Salen, who in 1930
received a threat that he would be "put on the spot" unless he
discontinued his investigation into the Zuta murder, bitterly suggested
that Stanton's criminal organization protected him by producing alibi