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Recent Developments in the National Bankruptcy Archives

February 13, 2009

nba_logo_sm.jpgThere are many interesting projects currently going on in the National Bankruptcy Archives, a repository of records and papers related to bankruptcy, debtor-creditor relations, and the reorganization of debt.


Our pilot project funded by the Leon S. Forman Bankruptcy Archives Digitization Program was recently completed.  Approximately 50 oral histories conducted with important bankruptcy figures of the last 50 years have been digitized.  Funding for this project was provided by a fund established with generous contributions from Blank Rome, LLP and the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation.  Many of the oral histories are available on our website.  This page is under construction, so stop by frequently if you want to monitor our progress.

The Archives recently processed a series of reference material that Ken Klee, bankruptcy lawyer and Professor at UCLA Law school, compiled in the course of writing a forthcoming book about the history of bankruptcy argued before the United States Supreme Court.  The Archives already maintains many of Klee’s papers from the first phase of his career as a lawyer and counsel to Congress on bankruptcy-related legislation in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.  We feel fortunate to add this new series of papers to his collection, and we look forward to documenting more of Professor Klee’s recent activites.

Finally, the Archives has acquired the papers of Henry J. Sommer, a consumer bankruptcy attorney based in Philadelphia.  (Since Mr. Sommer lives in the Philadelphia area, I actually drove to his house in Mount Airy one Saturday morning to help him load his papers into the back of my car!)  This is the first collection of papers in the National Bankruptcy Archives that primarily reflect the field of consumer bankruptcy.  Arguably the most prominent consumer bankruptcy attorney of his generation, Sommer has spent the last thirty years advocating for the rights of ordinary debtors.  In addition to his groundbreaking work at the Philadelphia branch of Community Legal Services in the 1970s and 1980s, Sommer has also served in various governmental and public interest advisory roles.  He recently served as President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and he is Editor-in-Cheif of Collier on Bankruptcy.  Sommer’s papers are scheduled to be processed soon.

For more information about these and other projects in the National Bankruptcy Archives, please visit our website or contact me directly.