Erwin C. Surrency

May 11, 1924November 8, 2012

Erwin Surrency went to be with the Lord on November 8, 2012. Erwin was a resident of Magnolia Manor in Macon, Georgia. He was born on May 11, 1924 in Jesup, Georgia. He was the son of the late Harry Whaley Surrency and Mary Martha Campbell Surrency. His beloved wife of, 68 years, Ida Winn Surrency is currently a resident at Bolingreen Health Care in Macon. Erwin and Ida are parents of two children, Robert Surrency (Tracey) of Kathleen, Georgia and a daughter Ellen Surrency of Athens, Georgia. He leaves eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Harry Whaley Surrency Jr (Mildred), Leonard Carter Surrency (Geraldine) and Herbert Traub Surrency (Eleanor); sisters, Laura Virginia Surrency Hodges (Jimps), Mary Armstrong Surrency Freeman (Joseph) and Eva Kathleen Surrency Elder (Guy).

Special thanks are given to his loving care givers Rose and Danny McDurmon, Theresa Simmons, Beverly Ashley and Ebony McCrary. And to Virginia Collins of Heartland Hospice who provided loving care during the past few months.

Mr. Surrency attended and graduated from Wayne County High School, Georgia Military College in Dahlonega, Georgia, attended U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in 1947. Thereafter he earned a law degree and a master’s degree from UGA. In 1950 he also received a master’s degree in library science from George Peabody College.

During his long and scholarly career, numerous achievements have marked his work. He founded professional associations and launched new journals. Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren appointed Erwin Surrency to a special committee to recommend acquisition of historical legal items and memorabilia for display in the Supreme Court building.

When Erwin Surrency, director of the law library emeritus at the University of Georgia Alexander Campbell King Law Library in Athens, retired in the 1990s, he did so after a long career as an academic law library director at two major institutions. At Temple University in Philadelphia he served as law librarian and professor of law for 28 years, starting in 1950. He built the Temple library into a large and comprehensive collection. His ability to build collections and add services blossomed at Georgia, where he took over as Director of the Law Library in 1979. Erwin stepped down from this position after 15 years of service.

He was very active in American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). His extensive service to AALL included a term as President in 1973-1974, but he also served in many capacities as a representative to other associations, as chair of numerous committees, and as contributor to educational programs. During his AALL presidential year, Surrency appointed the Task Force in AALL organization, which ultimately led to the Association’s restructuring. In 2012, Erwin was inducted into the AALL Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was created in 2009 to recognize AALL members who have made significant, substantial, and longstanding contributions to the Association and the profession. Accepting this honor on behalf of Erwin in July, 2012, was Carol Watson, current Director of the UGA Law Library.

During the 1950s, Surrency helped found the American Society for Legal History and served as its first president. He also served as editor of the American Journal of Legal History (later renamed Law and History Review) for 25 years. The journal annually awards the Surrency Prize for the best article of the year. Surrency’s interest in history prompted many of his scholarly contributions, including articles on American legal literature and federal court history, as well as bibliographies of the Restatements of the Law and the American Bar Association. He has published or co-authored 14 books, more than 50 articles, and dozens of book reviews. His 1990 book A History of American Law Publishing is a standard work.

Although Erwin Surrency retired 18 years ago, he maintained his interest in law librarianship and his scholarly publishing career.

In Athens, Erwin was a founding member and longtime Treasurer of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church.

A graveside service will be held at the Jesup City Cemetery in Jesup, Georgia at 1:00 PM on Monday. Bishop Mark Haverland and Father Eugene Rosenkranz will officiate. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to University of Georgia Law Library: make check payable to UGA Foundation on the memo line, write UGA Law Library in memory of Erwin C. Surrency. Send to UGA Office of Law School Advancement, 225 Herty Drive, Athens, GA 30602.

Visit to express tributes. Macon Memorial Park Funeral Home has charge of arrangements.


  • Graveside Service Monday, November 12, 2012

Erwin C. Surrency

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Merle Rosenberg Slyhoff

November 12, 2012

Erwin (or Mr. Surrency as he was to me while I worked for him) was my first boss after I graduated college, when I worked as a paraprofessional at the Temple Law Library. He was a wonderful "first boss;" his devotion to the profession was very apparent; he supported his staff and encouraged me to get my Masters in Library Science and complete my own personal love of libraries by becoming a librarian; and he gave me "advance notice" of a librarian opening at neighboring University of Pennsylvania Law Library once I completed my masters degree - and it's where I still work many, many years later. I always considered Erwin to be my mentor and remember how emotional he got when I had the chance to tell him that years later. I always described Erwin as a perfect Southern gentleman who loved his family dearly. My thoughts are with Ida and his children.

November 11, 2012

Mr. Surrency enriched my life with his wisdom and his humor. God Bless.

Nancy Watkins

November 10, 2012

Mr. Surrency was just a wonderful loving man . I was so lucky to have know him.
Linda Condon Savannah Room UGA Ga Center.

Mary Carlson

November 10, 2012

We will always remember, fondly, the times spent with Erwin and Ida. We miss them and pray for them.