Thursday, September 11, 2008

State Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Renowned Michigan Book Anatomy of a Murder by Attorney, Angler John D. Voelker

LANSING - When Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker, writing as Robert Traver, penned Anatomy of a Murder, it became a national bestseller and then a movie starring Jimmy Stewart as a character based on Voelker's experience as a defense attorney in an Upper Peninsula murder trial. This fall, the Library of Michigan and organizations around the state will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Voelker's book, as well as his legacy as an attorney, author and angler.

A series of free events celebrating Voelker and his literary and legal contributions will take place Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27 in downtown Lansing. An Upper Peninsula celebration kicks off Sept. 18 in Ishpeming with an exhibit of Voelker memorabilia and personal items. Movie screenings, a concert and other events in Marquette will honor Voelker through Oct. 20.

"Writing as Robert Traver, Justice Voelker flourished, becoming one of our great Michigan storytellers," said State Librarian Nancy Robertson. "As the author of 11 well-loved books, a passionate fly fisherman and a champion of the law, Justice Voelker gained admiration and respect from his readers, his fellow sportsmen and his peers in the legal system. These events celebrate his literary and legal legacy, and his place in Michigan history."

Anniversary events in Lansing include:

-The opening of the exhibit "Justice John D. Voelker: Bard of Frenchman's Pond" at the Michigan Supreme Court Hall of Justice, 925 W. Ottawa St, with a reception starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26.

-A reception and presentation of the Jimmy Stewart stamp issued by the United States Postal Service in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Anatomy of a Murder will follow the exhibit opening, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Cooley Law School, Cooley Center Lobby, 300 S. Capitol Ave.

-A daylong event at the Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., on Saturday, Sept. 27 will feature screenings of the films Trout Madness and Anatomy of an Author, along with discussions with the filmmakers; a look at Voelker's courtroom drama Laughing Whitefish; a panel discussion of Anatomy of a Murder and more. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

All the events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Participants may purchase a boxed lunch on Sept. 27 at the Library of Michigan for $7.50. For more information about the anniversary celebration and a complete statewide schedule of events, visit or contact the Library of Michigan at (517) 373-1300 or

The Anatomy of a Murder 50th anniversary celebration is sponsored by Butzel Long; Loomis Law Firm; Dykema; The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C.; Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C.; Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP; Miller Canfield's Criminal Defense Team; Michigan Humanities Council; Sinas Dramis Law Firm; and State Bar of Michigan and Michigan State Bar Foundation.

Events are coordinated by the Library of Michigan, Library of Michigan Foundation, Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center, Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society, Cooley Law School, Northern Michigan University and Central U.P. Archives, Peter White Public Library, Michigan Council of Trout Unlimited, Grand Rapids Public Library, Bill Castanier and John D. Voelker Foundation.

The Library of Michigan is part of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. Dedicated to enriching quality of life and strengthening the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity, the department also includes the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Michigan Historical Center. For more information, visit

Casey Warner
Department of History, Arts and Libraries
(517) 373-5578

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