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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Our Thoroughly Modern Millie

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |

The Charles B. Sears Law Library’s first director, Mildred Miles (later Jaffe), was quite a remarkable woman. Never heard of her? Here are a few quick highlights of her extraordinary life:

Mildred was born in 1899 right here in Buffalo. Her father, Henry Dickinson Miles, was a prominent businessman, and the Miles family lived on Linwood Ave.

After Mildred graduated from Wellesley College in 1922 (she was a Durant Scholar and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors), she went to the University of Yenching in China to teach English for a year.

On June 22, 1926 Mildred was admitted to the Middle Temple in London, England. The Middle Temple is one of the Inns of Court , which has a long history of training barristers. Notably, Middle Temple has American ties. Seven of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence were members of Middle Temple. Mildred was called to the bar on January 26, 1933.

The University at Buffalo hired Mildred in 1936 (she returned the Buffalo from London a year earlier) and she became the first law library director.

In 1938, Mildred married Louis L. Jaffe who was a professor at the Law School and later became dean. Mildred retired in 1939 and the couple had two children.

The Jaffe family moved to Cambridge in 1949, when Louis was named a professor at Harvard Law School. Mildred did charity work and supported the arts until her death in 1980.

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