William Ritchie (1854-1935), born in Frederick, Md., was a Chicago lawyer for over 50 years. In 1885 he formed a law firm with two other prominent Chicago attorneys: S. Corning Judd (1827-95) and Edward B. Esher (1857-1914). Edward S. Judd (1859-1946) joined their firm in 1887, and the partnership, doing business in the Ashland Block in Chicago's Loop, existed until S. Corning Judd's death in 1895.
The collection consists of a fully-used Attorney's Brief and Common-Place Book (1881) containing 398 numbered pages and many inserted items. Written in different hands, it includes arguments, depositions, notes, and legal research on cases handled by the firm of Judd, Ritchie, Esher, and Judd, from 1887 to 1895, and by William Ritchie from 1895 to 1902, on matters such as trademark infringement, the death of a child by negligence, mortgage disputes, eminent domain, home and business foreclosures, and land disputes, both in Chicago and elsewhere. The volume also contains several documents which have been pasted or tucked into its binding. These include court decisions, newspaper and trade journal clippings, and correspondence.
The Library acquired the volume from the Nebraska State Historical Society in 2009. It was probably preserved by William Ritchie, Jr. (1886-1956), a prominent Omaha lawyer and Nebraska Speaker of the House.