In Memoriam: Anita Kessler Head

Anita Kessler Head
May 08, 2020

Anita Kessler Head, Professor Emerita of Law and Law Librarian, passed away on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Professor Emerita Head served as the Law Librarian from 1981 until her retirement in 1992. During the mid-1980s, she played a vital role in overseeing the expansion of the Jacob Burns Law Library. She established a liaison system whereby each faculty member was assigned a librarian who would facilitate that faculty member’s research needs and helped move the library into the age of Internet research and the early phases of the digital revolution.  

A native of Switzerland, Professor Emerita Head completed her legal studies at the University of Bern. After receiving her law degree, she studied English in London in preparation for a Fulbright Fellowship in the United States, where she went on to teach history at the seminary at the St. Joseph’s Center of the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God in Ojai, California.

Professor Emerita Head began her career as Law Librarian at the Ventura County Law Library in California in the mid-1960s. In 1968-69, she earned an MLS specializing in law libraries at Columbia University, after which she joined the staff of the Los Angeles County Law Library. In 1971, she was recruited to the law firm of Bancroft, Avery & McAllister in San Francisco.

Her academic career began with her appointment as Professor of Law and Law Librarian at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1975. Her duties there included contributing to the completion of the law school’s new building and library, moving the library, and teaching both Legal Writing and Comparative Law.

During her years in Washington, DC, she became an active member of the Washington Foreign Law Society. Her continued interest in comparative and international law led to a fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1989-90.