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The Papers of Earle K. Shawe

Identifier: MSS-08-3

Scope and Contents

The papers of Earle K. Shawe consist primarily of memoranda and case briefs from Shawe & Rosenthal, some business and personal correspondence, newspapers clippings, and scrapbooks. Also included are some photographs, date books, and address book.

The Law Library received and addendum to this collection that consists of letters and postcards that Mr. Shawe sent to his brother while he was a law student at the University of Virginia.


  • Creation: 1938-2003


Biographical / Historical

Earle K. Shawe graduated from the University of Virginia in 1934, and proceeded to become one of the first attorneys at the National Labor Relations Board. After serving as the Chief Law Officer for the Board's 5th Region, Shawe stepped down in 1947 to start his own private practice in Baltimore, Maryland. Specializing in Labor and Employment Law, Shawe & Rosenthal rose to prominence after numerous notable cases, including a 1947 filing of the first unfair labor practice charge against a union under the Taft-Hartley Act.

Shawe gave generously to the University of Virginia Law School, establishing in the early 1990s the Earle K. Shawe Labor Relations Award, a monetary award that is given to the graduating student who shows the greatest promise of becoming a successful practitioner in the field of labor relations. In 2008, he donated materials from his career at Shawe & Rosenthal as a labor and employment lawyer. This collection was donated to the Law School Archives in 2008. It is organized into four parts: correspondence, professional materials, memoranda, and case briefs.

He is recognized as one of the first attorneys in the country to specialize in all areas of labor relations under the National Labor Relations Act, including union avoidance, union elections, collective bargaining, unfair labor practice charges, and union grievance matters. As one of the original attorneys at the National Labor Relations Board, Earle served in several positions, including the Chief Law Officer for the Board’s 5th Region. While at the Board, Earle tried cases throughout the country, often involving issues of first impression. Upon leaving the Board in 1947, Earle founded the Firm that became Shawe Rosenthal, LLP. Beginning with the filing in 1947 of this country’s first unfair labor practice charge against a union under the Taft-Hartley Act, Earle was instrumental in the firm’s development of a national practice representing management in all areas of labor relations. Earle’s interest in, and zealous commitment to, his firm’s clients and the furtherance of management’s interests in employee relations is nationally recognized and explains the roots of Shawe Rosenthal, LLP’s, continued growth in the successful representation of employers in significant local and national labor relations matters. Earle's contribution to the development of labor law was not limited to his activities on behalf of his firm's clients. He also wrote, spoke, and testified as to the concerns of management in regard to its relations with employees. He was similarly active in city, state, and national bar and professional associations. His accomplishments in the field of labor law were recognized by his election as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers in 1999.

Earle K. Shaw died June 30, 2017, aged 104.


4 Linear Feet (9 archival boxes, plus some oversized materials.)

Language of Materials



Professional files that relate to labor management relations, and personal memorabilia.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Papers of Earl K. Shawe were received in the fall of 2008 and in July 2017. The addendum was donated by his daughter.

Language of description
Script of description
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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