On International Women’s Day, we honor and remember Kate Wallach — a powerhouse librarian and legal scholar whose time at LSU Law transformed the library and impacted many of our students’ lives.
Dr. Wallach was a German refugee, and her admittance to practice law in Berlin in 1933 was reported as “a rare accomplishment at that time for a woman” and that she was a “model of excellence to the students she taught” by her school newspaper at the University of Cologne. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1935 and became law librarian and a member of the faculty in 1949, posts she held until her retirement in 1975.
Dr. Wallach’s enviable reputation in her field was reflected in her elected to the presidency of the Louisiana Library Association — a rare honor for law librarians — and the American Association of Law Librarians for 1966-67. She was granted faculty status in recognition of her “scholarship in law and her professional attainments, as well as a recognition of her many contributions to the Law School’s teaching program throughout the years.”
When she came to LSU in 1949, the law library collection had 75,000 volumes and the annual book budget was $15,000. In 1975, the collection contained more than 205,000 volumes, and the book budget was $156,000.
Dr. Wallach’s work continues as many LSU Law graduates have been and continue to be active in law libraries. Kent McKeever (’80), Claire M. Germain (’75), Juan F. Aguilar (’66), and Mary Brandt Jensen (’84) are just a few of the alumni who were library directors at universities across the nation.