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The Papers of John C. McCoid II

Identifier: MSS-94-2

Scope and Contents

The first part of the collection has 16 law student notebooks created by John C. McCoid II during his law study at Vanderbilt University between 1950 and 1953. The addendum, received in 2016, contains a University of Virginia report regarding the admission of women in 1968, and some correspondence regarding the recruitment of African American faculty members in 1972 and teaching materials.


  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1950-1953, 1968, 1972


Biographical / Historical

When John C. McCoid, II, retired from the University of Virginia School of Law after 36 years in 1994, he noted: “I can’t imagine – after having been here – wanting to go anywhere else.” McCoid received his B.A. in 1950 and LL.B. in 1953 from Vanderbilt University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review and a Founder's Medalist. He then served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy before joining the Virginia Law faculty in 1957. During his tenure at Virginia, McCoid wrote numerous law review articles and an influential civil procedure casebook: Civil Procedure Cases and Materials (1974). Among the many courses he taught were Bankruptcy, Civil Procedure, Conflicts of Law, Insurance, and Legal Ethics. He became the Armistead M. Dobie Professor in 1970 and the O.M. Vicars Professor in 1987, and was the Hunton & Williams Research Professor in 1990-92.

McCoid relied upon the Socratic method not only in the classroom, but with his colleagues, working through questions and cases rather than relying upon rules. As his colleague George Rutherglen wrote, “It is rare to find a law professor as interested as John in discovering what the limits of any general statement about the law might be.” This approach earned him the respect of law faculty and students throughout his teaching career. A dozen members of the class of 1971 surprised McCoid by showing up at the last class he taught at Virginia Law. As former student and fellow faculty member Earl C. Dudley put it: “John McCoid walked a wonderful tightrope between gentle decency and bracing intellectual challenge. He was not called ‘The Cobra’ for nothing.”


18 items

Language of Materials



University of Virginia documents realtive to the admission of women, teaching materials and student notebooks.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Papers of John C. McCoid were donated to the Law Library by John C. McCoid II in May 1994. The addendum was transferred to the archives in 2016.

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Repository Details

Part of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library Special Collections Repository

Arthur J. Morris Law Library
580 Massie Road
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22903 United States