Courts And Communities: JVSTICE Is An Allograph

Nov 11, 2019

The word “Justice” is etched on the front of the Arkansas Supreme Court building with a V as the second letter instead of a U. This is because part of the basis for our system of law derives from Roman law and the Latin alphabet at one point didn’t have a U.

Up until the 17th Century, the Romans didn’t have a need for using separate letters for V, U or W. They used them interchangeably and they were pronounced in the same way. So, the use of V for U is a tribute to the neoclassical style.

The term allograph is used to describe the concept. An allograph is a variation of a letter in another context.

Other buildings where the letter V is used in place of a U include the Hall of Justice Building in Sacramento; the American Museum of Natural History; the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago; and the Carnegie Library at Syracuse University in New York.