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Recent Acquisition: Marilyn Church’s Courtroom Drawings

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Drawing shows David Berkowitz sitting as District Attorney Eugene Gold argues his case at hearing to determine his competency to stand trial in the case of The People of the State of New York v. David Berkowitz.
David Berkowitz, Seated, as District Attorney Eugene Gold Argues his Case. Drawing by Marilyn Church, August 1977. Used with permission of Marilyn Church.

The tools of her trade are simple: colored pencils, crayons, pens, and paper. Yet, armed with just these tools artist Marilyn Church  has brought to life some of the most dramatic moments in high-profile courtroom trials during the past 36 years.  Her work has covered such well-known people as Martha Stewart, J.K. Rowling, Bernard L. Madoff, Jacqueline Onassis, the men responsible for the 1993 explosion in the World Trade Center, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, John Gotti, Bernhard Goetz, Rudolph Giuliani (as a prosecuting attorney), General William Westmoreland, Ariel Sharon, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Norman Mailer (as a witness) and John Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman.

Drawing shows Warren Burger swearing in Sandra Day O'Connor in the Supreme Court chambers as Justices Stevens, Powell, Marshall, Brennan, White, Blackmun, and Rehnquist look on.
Warren Burger Swearing In Sandra Day O'Connor in the Supreme Court Chambers. Drawing by Marilyn Church, 25 September 1981. Used with permission of Marilyn Church.

The Library of Congress has recently purchased a selection of Church’s most sought-after drawings, but the bulk of her 4,000-drawing archive has been generously donated to the Library by Church’s family.

Her drawings will reside with those of notable courtroom artists of the twentieth century including Howard Brodie, Arnold Mesches, and David Rose. Sara Duke, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art, explains, “The Library of Congress has a long tradition of collecting trial drawings by courtoom artists. These drawings are important because they capture moments in history which were not captured photographically for legal reasons.”

Learn More:

For another perspective, including tips on how to research the cases Church has covered, see the recent post in In Custodia Legis: Where Art and Law Intersect, the blog of the Library of Congress Law Librarians.

See a sampling of Marilyn Church’s drawings in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.

Read more about Church and her work in Artist Marilyn Church: From Courtroom to Library, a Collection of Sketchy Characters in the Library of Congress Information Bulletin.

Comments (3)

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