- Anne Fleming's History of Law and Consumer Finance
This review article does not set out to retell the story of Anne Fleming's life in a chronological fashion, but rather it engages intellectually with the themes in Anne's scholarship. Anne's passing means that her thoughts, guidance, and encouragement are lost to the scholarly communities of which she was a part. Over the course of her career, Anne offered sage advice, she helped others to develop their work, and she supported them wherever she could.1 Now, there will no longer be that voice in the conference room, the office, or the lecture hall. We will not know how her presence would have influenced the field in the years to come and how her engagement with other scholars would have shaped them. So I write to gather together the ideas within Anne's work, hoping to provide a fuller set of insights than can be gleaned by reading pieces of her scholarship individually. This integrated and coordinated view is the sort of comprehensive thinking that she would have given in her interactions.
Given that my aim here is both a professional and personal one, this also means that I will follow another unconventional pattern that those writing life stories actively discourage: I will refer to Anne by her first [End Page 316] name throughout. This is not anachronistic. I knew Anne simply as Anne. By doing this, I hope that it may be easier to engage with a strong, insightful, and supportive voice that has now been lost. Although this piece has a biographical aim, it is not littered with personal remarks or anecdotes. The theory and methodology of biographical scholarship is now sufficiently developed that it has a critical component rather than hagiographic aim. Academic writers should no longer retell the life story of the "great and the good."2 It is now customary and, indeed, even expected that authors—including those writing In Memoria—should avoid narrating a story of heroes and heroines. They should comment on all aspects of one's character, not just those of positive note.3 The absence of such a personal commentary in this case should not be read to mean that I have adopted this "other" format in order to avoid writing objectively.4
There are other resources that offer insights into Anne's personality, manner, and her style; they remark keenly on her interactions with others and the esteem in which she was held. Her colleagues as Climenko Fellows have authored a piece,5 Dan Ernst's tribute appears in the first few pages of the recent issue of the Georgetown Law Review,6 and Edward Balliesen has written in the Business History Conference's Exchange blog.7 Of all of these sources, most notable are the entries on Georgetown Law's In Memoriam webpage and also on the Legal History Blog.8 The latter is authored by the leading legal historians Dan Ernst, Mitra Sharafi, and Karen Tani. The In Memoriam webpage is reflective and open for others to comment. As it has been used in this way frequently and continues to be updated, this piece has a life force of its own. The notes placed there from friends, colleagues, and students capture Anne's character perfectly.9 No static single authored piece can claim to improve upon it.
This article has three sections. It begins by briefly explaining the issues at the core of Anne's research and the subjects of her scholarly [End Page 317] focus. It addresses not only what she had published thus far but also what Anne had planned for the future. This is followed by a section that considers her unique methodology. It does so by comparing and contrasting various different approaches and their disciplinary guises. The final part considers the historiographic debates for which Anne's work had most significance. Anne made a central contribution to several bodies of scholarship. I outline three key themes and the questions that Anne's work spoke to most definitively, although her work touched on many other areas of research.
Anne's academic gaze was almost universally focused on legal...