“Damage suits and certainly damaged suits”

The house in Roxbury where Archer conducted his first classesGleason Archer’s recollections of the Law School’s founding in the Suffolk Law School Register evoke a hardworking, serious man driven to help others realize their educational dreams. But his sense of humor also shines through.

In his reminiscence about the Law School's first days, Gleason Archer writes about an attempt to stretch his meager budget by designing and building some of the furniture for his home-based classroom.

A later passage describes his first class in his Roxbury living room on Sept. 19, 1906. He was trying to impress several students who were visiting, hoping that they would enroll in the newfound school, when “an event occurred that, however amusing it may seem now, filled me with consternation and alarm.”

Early sign for "Archer's Evening Law SchoolIt appeared that the varnish on the new furniture hadn’t dried properly, and the men were sticking to the chairs. The first hint of a problem involved a student and an “ominous stripping sound with which the fibre of the cloth of his trousers parted company from the varnish,” Archer wrote.

“Thoughts of damage suits and certainly damaged suits flitted through my mind, but I forged desperately ahead with my lecture, hoping against hope that the thing would not happen again.”

“The men assured me however that no damage had been done. Somebody produced a newspaper and distributed a sheet to every chair, and the men settled down on these rustling protectors with a sigh of relief, but the humor of the situation burst upon all of us.…”