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Earle K. Shawe ’34In Memoriam: Earle K. Shawe ’34, ‘Dean of Labor Lawyers,’ UVA Law’s Oldest Alum

Earle K. Shawe ’34, the Law School’s oldest alumnus, a founder of Shawe & Rosenthal and a pioneer in the area of labor law, died June 30 at age 104. Shawe, who began his career as a trial attorney representing labor unions, founded the Baltimore firm in 1942 and became a well-known management-side attorney. He has been referred to as the “dean of labor lawyers.”

In one of his landmark cases, Shawe filed and won the first charge under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, which restricts the power of labor unions. He represented Baltimore Graphic Arts Association, a group of printing companies, in a labor dispute against the International Typographical Union.

Shawe’s son, Stephen D. Shawe, said he will always remember his father for his persistence. Even in collective bargaining negotiations when the chance of making a deal happen seemed impossible, his father would figure out ways to make things work out.

“He would not allow for failure,” Shawe said. “He would be there day and night and then do it again the next day. He would never allow the other side to say no. It was a very good lesson at what’s possible if you keep at it.”

Shawe continues to work at the firm his father founded. He called his father’s life the “classic story of the Great Depression.”

Earle Shawe grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. After a high school teacher pressured him to go to college, Shawe attended the University of Virginia at 16 and graduated with a law degree at 22. After a brief stint as a law clerk for a small New York firm, Halpert and Halpert, Shawe became an attorney for the Reconstruction Finance Corp. and then the National Recovery Administration.

Shawe eventually would end up joining the National Labor Relations Board, where he was the youngest attorney for the newly formed organization. There, he represented the employees of Bethlehem Steel and helped them gain legitimate bargaining rights.

Stephen Shawe said his father gained recognition because there were so few people who specialized in labor law. He continued to work into his 80s.

The annual Earl K. Shawe professorship will continue to honor selected UVA Law faculty in his memory.

—Holden Wilen, adapted from Baltimore Business Journal


Harwood Martin is “exhausted by retirement!” His activities include conducting Coast Guard Auxiliary patrols on the Chesapeake Bay, volunteering weekly at a local hospital as well as with a social service agency serving the disadvantaged by providing legal and medical services, along with food, clothes and housing.

John W. Warner ’53UVA Library Houses Papers of Sen. John W. Warner ’53

The papers of former U.S. Sen. John W. Warner ’53 are now available for public viewing through the University of Virginia Library. They became open to the public in April and are housed at UVA’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

When he retired in 2009 from the Senate, Warner had logged 30 years in the upper house of Congress and garnered a well-earned reputation as one of the most effective legislators of the last half-century.

He said he hopes that students and young civic leaders can use his papers as an example of how to build consensus and take on major national priorities.

“I put it all out there,” he said. “Some public officials only want to put things out piecemeal or only want to show this or that. I ‘dumped’ the whole thing, all the records for everyone to see.”

The full collection not only spans Warner’s three decades as a senator, but also reaches back to his earliest days as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy in the final years of World War II. Researchers will get a glimpse into his lengthy career as a public servant before he ran for office in 1978, including his years as a Marine officer in the Korean War, an assistant U.S. attorney, undersecretary of the Navy, secretary of the Navy and head of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration.

“Certainly the Warner papers will be an important window into the end of the 20th century and all the political issues that took up the nation’s attention in that time,” said Hoke Perkins, the associate University librarian for philanthropy. “We are thrilled to be able to add this important collection to our archives.”

Warner was a regular figure on Grounds throughout his career in public service and accepted an invitation from UVA in 2008 to make the University Library the eventual home of his public papers.

—Katie McNally