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Chapter 60: Emmett Wilson, Law Student

April 22, 2016
McKeldin Library
The University of Maryland
College Park, MD

Did you know Florida’s first law school was at Stetson University?

It was founded in 1900, and Emmett was one of the very first graduates (he was Valedictorian for the class of 1904).

When Emmett attended between 1902-1904, Stetson’s law school was in DeLand, Florida, and most of the classes met in a building called Science Hall. The law school during Emmett’s time wasn’t big; in fact, Emmett’s graduating class had only 10 students.

The 1904 graduating class with 10 students. Emmett's best friend, Paul Carter, is in here as well. Source: Stetson University Archives
The 1904 graduating class with 10 students. Emmett’s best friend, Paul Carter, is in here as well, and were likely roommates. Source: Stetson University Archives

Here’s a description of Stetson’s law school — actually ‘law department’ — back then:

A description of the law school facilities in 1903-04. They were 'second to none' at the time. Source: Stetson University Archives
A description of the law school facilities in 1903-04. They were ‘second to none’ at the time. Source: Stetson University Archives

Here’s an image from a Stetson brochure featuring the law school and some of the students:

Students in the law library in the upper left corner. Notice the guy in the pale vest? Does he look familiar? He should! Source: Stetson University Archives
Students in the law library in the upper left corner photo. Notice the guy in the pale vest? Does he look familiar? He should!  He’s also somewhere in the practice courtroom photo, but even with the original, I can’t zoom in close enough to pick him out. Source: Stetson University Archives

In 1903, Emmett lived in a dorm called East Hall his first year of law school, costing about $206 year. It included “tuition, board, furnished room, lights, and washing.” Books cost about $35 a year, and were references he’d use during his early years as a lawyer. When Emmett was ready to graduate, his diploma fee was $5.

Today, the law department is a school unto itself, and is in Tampa Bay. It has definitely come a long way since Emmett’s day.

Updated from April 22, 2016, at this link.

Categories: Book Congressman Family Florida History

Tagged as:

jsmith532

Professor
The University of Maryland Global Campus

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