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Roy M. Mersky
Marian O. Boner
Scholars at a party. Marian O. Boner is pictured second from the right. Courtesy of ACH/APL. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
A Reference Guide
Marian O. Boner's Book, A Reference Guide to Texas Law and Legal History, 1976. Courtesy of the University of Texas Press. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BONER, MARIAN OLDFATHER (1909–1983). Marian O. Boner, first director of the Texas State Law Library and authority on Texas legal history, was born in Cleburne, Texas, on June 25, 1909, the daughter of Henry and Berta Oldfather. She received her B.A. (1930) and M.A. (1931) in physics from the University of Texas. While at the university she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Chi, and Kappa Beta Pi. She dedicated herself for many years to raising her family before deciding to return to the university and begin a second career. In 1955 she was awarded her LL.B. with honors by the university law school and was admitted to the Texas bar. In law school she was a member of the Texas Law Review, graduated second in her class, and was awarded the Order of the Coif, the highest honor that can be earned by a law student in the United States. After graduation from law school, Mrs. Boner worked for Judge Robert Stayton before becoming reference librarian and assistant professor at Tarlton Law Library, a position she held from 1960 to 1965. She was promoted to associate librarian and assistant professor in 1965 and to associate professor of law in 1968. At the university she taught courses in legal research and writing. In recommending her for promotion to associate professorship, W. Page Keeton, dean of the University of Texas School of Law, stated, "As a scholar she has established herself quantitatively and qualitatively. Her article on the doctrine of Erie v. Tompkins [Texas Law Review, 40 (1960)], a jurisprudential issue of monumental proportions, is regarded as definitive." Among her other publications, her book A Reference Guide to Texas Law and Legal History is also a definitive legal reference source.

Boner's Grave
Marian Oldfather Boner's Grave. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

In 1972 Mrs. Boner was appointed first director of the Texas State Law Library; she served until her retirement in 1981. She was a member of the State Bar of Texas and served on the Committee on Legal Publications and the Committee on the History and Traditions of the State Bar. She was president of the Southwest Association of Law Libraries in 1969–70, secretary to the national organization of the American Association of Law Libraries from 1970 to 1973, and president of that association in 1974–75. She was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church. She married Charles Paul Boner on September 9, 1930. They had three sons. Marian Boner died in Austin on April 2, 1983.


Austin American-Statesman, February 1, 1970. Texas Bar Journal, March 1984.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Roy M. Mersky, "BONER, MARIAN OLDFATHER," accessed November 19, 2018,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on August 10, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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