Hobart Coffey was a professor emeritus of law and director emeritus of the law library at the University of Michigan. After his undergraduate work at Ohio State University, he pursued further studies at the University of Pittsburgh Law School; the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his bachelor of laws degree in 1922 and his Juris Doctor degree in 1924; and at law schools of the Universities of Paris, Berlin, and Munich. From 1924-26 Prof. Coffey was a Carnegie Fellow in International Law.
Prof. Coffey first came to the University in 1921 as an instructor in rhetoric, after three years of teaching in Ohio, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. In 1925, he was appointed assistant law librarian and assistant professor of law. He became professor and law librarian in 1926, and director of the law library in 1943. He taught domestic relations law and admiralty law. He served on the faculty for 43 years until his retirement in 1966.
From 1937 to 1939 Prof. Coffey was chairman of the Michigan State Board for Libraries in Lansing. In 1947-48 he was president of the Michigan Library Association, and first vice president of the American Association of Law Libraries. In 1948-49 he was president of the American Association of Law Libraries. From 1953 to 1960 he served on the domestic relations committee of the State Bar in Michigan.
Under Prof. Coffey's direction the University of Michigan Law Library became one of the great libraries of the world. Starting with some 55,000 volumes in 1926 when Prof. Coffey assumed active charge, the collection grew to 330,000 in 1964.
--From the University of Michigan Law School's Law Quadrangle Notes, V. 14, Iss. 02 (Winter 1970).