About Us

About the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society

Mission Statement:

About the Michigan Supreme Court Historical SocietyThe Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, collects, preserves, and displays documents, records, and memorabilia relating to the Michigan Supreme Court and the other Courts of Michigan, promotes the study of the history of Michigan’s courts, and seeks to increase public awareness of Michigan’s legal heritage. The Society sponsors and conducts historical research, provides educational materials for students, and sponsors and provides publications, portraits and memorials, special events, and projects consistent with its mission.

There are currently about 450 members. To learn more about membership, including dues structure, click here.


The Society was established in 1988 by (then) Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley, who sought to preserve Court artifacts, collect memorabilia, and inform and educate the students and citizens of Michigan about their state’s judicial history.

Special Events:

The Society hosts portrait presentations, historical exhibits, and membership meetings. In affiliation with the State Bar of Michigan, the Society sponsors the Michigan Legal Milestone Program. Click here to read about some of our recent events.


  • Hon. Dorothy Comstock Riley* – Founder
  • Charles R. Rutherford – President
  • Carl W. Herstein – Vice President
  • Lawrence P. Nolan – Secretary
  • John P. Jacobs – Treasurer
  • Carrie Sampson – Executive Director


Front row (left to right): Hon. Avern Cohn, Hon. Mary Beth Kelly, Stephen K. Valentine, Jr., Lawrence P. Nolan, Charles R. Rutherford, Carl W. Herstein, Hon. Denise Langford Morris, John P. Jacobs.
Back row (left to right): Mary Massaron, Ronald Keefe, Janet Welch, John Fedynsky, Hon. Fred Borchard, Hon. Michael G. Harrison, Bruce Courtade, Julie Fershtman, Hon. Alfred Butzbaugh, Susan Fairchild, and Peter Ellsworth. Not shown: Matthew C. Herstein, Hon. Frank J. Kelley, John W. Reed, Richard D. Reed, Hon. James L. Ryan, and Wallace D. Riley.

Directors Emeritus

Alan Ackerman John Robert Dethmers* Thomas A. McNish*
John T. Berry Eugene Driker Eugene D. Mossner
Hon. Patrica J. Boyle Hon. John W. Fitzgerald* Michael Murray
Hon. Thomas E. Brennan Michael Franck* Christine D. Oldani
Scott S. Brinkmeyer Leonard D. Givens David L. Porteous
Prentiss M. Brown, Jr. Bruce M. Groom Hon. Wendy L. Potts
Frederick G. Buesser, Jr.* Samuel C. Gardner* John E. Riecker*
Frederick G. Buesser, III Boyd A. Henderson Wallace D. Riley
George E. Bushnell, Jr.* R. Stuart Hoffius* Jane K. Souris*
Lawrence G. Campbell Thomas G. Kavanagh, Jr. Nathaniel Stroup*
D. Larkin Chenault Roger F. Lane* Duane L. Tarnacki
John S. Clark* Hon. Charles L. Levin Hon. Clifford W. Taylor
Hon. Maura D. Corrigan Hon. Conrad L. Mallett, Jr. John M. Wright*