10.22.21 Portrait Dedication140 Gallery (HLB Winter 2022)

Portraits in Leadership

From the late 1800s to today, artists have created portraits of Harvard Law School's deans — a visual history of the school's leaders

Credit: Martha Stewart Martha Minow with Dean John F. Manning ’85 at the dedication of her portrait, painted by Mary Minifie

 

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A new portrait in Langdell

Watch as the painting of Martha Minow goes up in the Langdell Reading Room.

In October, Harvard Law School unveiled the official portrait of University Professor Martha Minow, dean of the school from 2009 to 2017. It’s the latest in a series of paintings of Harvard Law School’s past leaders, from Minow’s predecessor, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan ’86, the first woman to become dean of the school, all the way back to Christopher Columbus Langdell LL.B. 1853, who revolutionized legal education.

Minow’s remarks at the end of the portrait dedication ceremony evoke a picture of leadership that goes beyond these 12 images. “The only regret that I have is that the portrait is just of me, rather than all the people who really deserve to be there” because they were “there every step of the way,” said Minow, in front of an audience of colleagues, former students, family, and friends.

Her portrait was installed in the fourth-floor reading room of the Langdell Library in January.

Becoming dean is not about oneself, Minow said. It’s about the opportunity to serve, to collaborate. It would not be possible without constant teamwork, and discussion, and more discussion, and connections across every possible relationship imaginable.”

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A Portrait Tradition: The deans of Harvard Law School