As of April 2012, the Board of the Historical Society submits the following updates:

 Book Celebration

     On Thursday, March 15, 2012, the Historical Society held a celebration for the introduction of The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: People, Law, and Politics, by David G. Chardavoyne.  Before an audience gathered in the historic courtroom on the seventh floor of the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan, Michael Lavoie, president of the Historical Society, hailed the publication of the book by Wayne State University Press as an historic moment in the twenty-year existence of the Society.  The book describes the history of the court, its judges, its major cases, and discusses the many issues of national importance that have been faced by the court since its inception in 1837.  The book is available from Wayne State University Press and can be ordered online at

Preservation of Records

     The family of the late Judge John Feikens has donated his chambers papers to the Walter P. Reuther Library for Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University.       

  Painting Restoration

    The Historical Society, with generous financial assistance from the Questers and the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, sponsored the restoration of the oil portraits of the first two Judges of the Eastern District: Judge Ross Wilkins and Judge John Wesley Longyear.  Featured below are photos of the restoration of the Wilkins portrait.  The first shows the progress of restoration work on Judge Ross Wilkins' face and the second shows the entire portrait after restoration.

  Wilkins During     

  Oral History Program

     Oral histories have been completed for the following Judges and Magistrate Judges who are serving or have served in the Eastern District of Michigan:  District Judges John Feikens, James P. Churchill, James Harvey, Horace W. Gilmore, Robert E. DeMascio, Stewart A. Newblatt, Paul V. Gadola, Julian Abele Cook, Jr., Anna Diggs Taylor, Lawrence P. Zatkoff, Avern Cohn, Patrick J. Duggan, Bernard A. Friedman; Magistrate Judge Paul J. Komives, Bankruptcy Judge George Brody and former Court Administrator John P. Mayer.  Complete transcripts are available to researchers with permission from the Historical Society.

     A guide to the oral histories can be found at http://  by clicking on the heading "Browse Resources" and then the "Law" category.

  Newsletters/ Publications

     Under the direction of editor John P. Mayer,  the Historical Society's newsletter, "The Court Legacy," has returned to a regular publication schedule of four times a year.  Each edition features an article on an important case or an issue or personage of past importance in the history of the Court.  All issues of the newsletter are posted on this website.

     The Board of the Historical Society has contracted with attorney/historian Kevin Ball to research and write a history of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.  Publication is planned for 2013.


     The museum on the first floor of the Courthouse is continually updated with new historical materials.  Judicial officers, court staff and related agency staff have been very generous with donations of documents and artifacts which are often discovered in the process of moving or redecorating offices and judges' chambers. 






Copyright 2008 United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan