I first came to know Bob Hunt in the middle 1950's when he pursued research and writing in United States legal history at the University of Wisconsin Law School under a Rockefeller Fellowship. The focus of his work was interactions between law and the economy in the 19th century. The program was a venture into unexplored territory. Scholars had almost always dealt with legal history in terms of the structure and procedures of the formal agencies of law or in terms of constitutional history in its conventional sense. There was little precedent for studying the functional—or dysfunctional—bearing of law on the structure and operation of the private market, of problems of mustering private capital, of government subsidies to private undertakings, of dealings with interest-group lobbies, of the distribution of gains and costs of using natural resources, of employing labor, and of responding to consumers. To move into such uncharted areas—to conceive of legal history as hyphenate history, as legal-economic, legal-social, legal-political history—demanded flexibility, imagination, and persistence from Professor Hunt, who met the challenge.
James W. Hurst,
Robert S. Hunt, Humanist in the Law,
62 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol62/iss4/7