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Bar News - December 18, 2009

Supreme Court Society Celebrates Judge Elwin Page

The New Hampshire Supreme Court Society celebrated the life and work of Judge Elwin L. Page with three mini-lectures at the Supreme Court on the evening of Nov. 18. This celebration coincided with the recent republication by the Concord Monitor of Judge Pageís important work, Abraham Lincoln in New Hampshire, originally published in 1929 and reissued on the 80th anniversary of its publication, and the bicentennial of Lincolnís birth.

Admitted to the NH Bar in 1904, Page was a sole practitioner in Concord until he was appointed to the Superior Court in 1931. In 1934, Governor Winant appointed Page to the Supreme Court where he served until turning 70 in 1946. Although his best known opinion is State v. Chaplinsky, 91 N.H. 310 (1941), Page was most proud of his opinion in the lesser known State v. Lefebvre, 91 N.H. 382 (1941).

The Lefebvre children, Jehovahís witnesses like Chaplinsky, were banned from public school in Nashua for failing to salute the flag. When their parents were unable to afford private school or provide adequate home-schooling, the children were ordered sent to the State Industrial School. The Supreme Court ruled that the children had to be returned to their home. Page wrote, "Loving parents who do their best for their children in support, nurture and admonition are of more worth than pecuniary means."

Page described his first hobby as history and his second as Lincoln. It was this love of history that led to the original publication in limited edition of Abraham Lincoln in New Hampshire. Mike Pride, former editor of the Concord Monitor, recognized the importance of this book to Lincoln scholars and history buffs. Pride updated Pageís original work by including previously unknown accounts of Lincolnís stay in Exeter.

Pride, Richard Schubart, a professor at Phillips Exeter Academy and Megan De Vorsey, a professor at Franklin Pierce Law Center, gave the three mini-lectures on Page and his work.

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